Illinois State Climatologist Jim Angel rounded up some explanations of last month's record heat. Here's the NWS Chicago office:
The 2.7°C difference between the average temperature for March 2012 at Chicago-O'Hare and the previous record for warmest March is by far the largest difference between 1st and 2nd place between record warm or cold months in Chicago. The second largest difference between 1st and 2nd place is the 1.7°C separating the average temperature of January 1880 (4.3°C) and January 1933 (2.6°C) for the warmest Januarys on record in Chicago.
The 8.67°C departure from normal for March 2012 is the 3rd largest departure from the 1981-2010 normal for any month in Chicago. The only months that had higher departures from normal were January 1877, which with an average temperature of 4.3°C, was 8.9°C above the 1981-2010 average January temperature, and December 1877, which with an average temperature of 6.3°C, was 8.72°C above the 1981-2010 average December temperature.
For a more technical discussion, check out NOAA's analysis, which concludes:
A black swan most probably was observed in March 2012 (lest we forget 1910). Gifted thereby to a wonderful late winter of unprecedented balmy weather, we also now know that all swans are not white. The event reminds us that there is no reason to believe that the hottest, "meteorological maddest" March observed in a mere century of observations is the hottest possible. But this isn't to push all the blame upon randomness. Our current estimate of the impact of GHG forcing is that it likely contributed on the order of 5% to 10% of the magnitude of the heat wave during 12-23 March. And the probability of heatwaves is growing as GHG-induced warming continues to progress. But there is always the randomness.
April, so far, has been bog-standard normal.
Raganwald yesterday posted a facetious resignation outlining the dangers to employers of asking prospective employees to disclose social media information:
I have been interviewing senior hires for the crucial tech lead position on the Fizz Buzz team, and while several walked out in a huff when I asked them to let me look at their Facebook, one young lady smiled and said I could help myself. She logged into her Facebook as I requested, and as I followed the COO’s instructions to scan her timeline and friends list looking for evidence of moral turpitude, I became aware she was writing something on her iPad.
“Taking notes?” I asked politely.
“No,” she smiled, “Emailing a human rights lawyer I know.” To say that the tension in the room could be cut with a knife would be understatement of the highest order. “Oh?” I asked. I waited, and as I am an expert in out-waiting people, she eventually cracked and explained herself.
“If you are surfing my Facebook, you could reasonably be expected to discover that I am a Lesbian. Since discrimination against me on this basis is illegal in Ontario, I am just preparing myself for the possibility that you might refuse to hire me and instead hire someone who is a heterosexual but less qualified in any way. Likewise, if you do hire me, I might need to have your employment contracts disclosed to ensure you aren’t paying me less than any male and/or heterosexual colleagues with equivalent responsibilities and experience.”
- He's right on the main point. Looking through employees' Facebook pages uninvited is tricky enough. Determining whether or not to hire someone based on a Facebook page is closer to the line. Forcing the disclosure crosses the line, surveys the land, plants a flag, and invites the natives to kill you in your sleep.
- Disclosing a password to anyone for any reason is, almost always, a bad idea. Authentication is half of security (the other is authorization, which depends on you being who you say you are). The corollary to authentication is deniability. If you lose control over your Facebook password, you expose yourself to identity theft. To emphasize this point, in our office we routinely prank developers who leave their keyboards unlocked when they leave the room. Walking away at a client site could let clients see other clients' materials, for starters, but it also could allow someone to send email or make Facebook posts in your name.
- I am proud to report that Illinois is right now passing a law to prohibit this practice. It will probably be signed later this month.
The Atlantic Cities today examines the retro ballpark trend, of interest to anyone following my 30 Park Geas:
The retro style quickly split into two schools; one, like Camden Yards, that strictly embraced classical design elements and the other that used more progressive forms (i.e. curtain walls, retractable roofs) while still implementing postmodern idiosyncrasies.
The historical references and unique site configuration that makes Camden Yards successful was eventually re-imagined in other cities through forcibly quirky stadiums surrounded by seas of parking. The best example of that, and what fittingly could be the last retro-classic ballpark, would be Citi Field.
The more modern half of the movement, meanwhile, has pushed along to an almost unrecognizable point. Since the Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati opened in 2003 with its contemporary, glass-wrapped facade, newer stadiums are more willing to embrace less familiar forms.
The anti-Camden trend takes its next step when Marlins Park officially debuts next Wednesday. Similar in form to the spaceship and entertainment palace known as Cowboys Stadium, Miami's new facility moves baseball stadium design even further from the nostalgia-drenched movement.
Next up for me: Miami and Tampa Bay in two weeks.
Yesterday, the forecast for tomorrow's Chicago weather called for—no April Fool's joke here—32°C. Just a few hours ago the forecast had changed to a more comfortable 25°C, which is about as close to ideal as I can imagine. Just now, though, the National Weather Service says to expect nothing better than 13°C. Aw, come on.
On the other hand, Chicago had its warmest March in history, at 11.9°C, which beat the previous record (set in both 1945 and 1910) of 9.2°C. So, you know, the weather hasn't been that awful lately.
The Economist reported this morning that engineers have developed a machine to create bespoke pets:
[A] small Californian company, the Gene Duplication Corporation, based in San Melito, proposes to push the technology to its limits. On Sunday it will announce plans to use 3D printing to make bespoke pets.
GeneDupe, as the firm is known colloquially, has previously focused on the genetic engineering of animals. However Paolo Fril, the company’s boss, is keen to expand into manufacturing them from scratch.
There are still a few technical difficulties to overcome, of course, but Dr Fril plans to start taking orders soon. And he is already looking forward to the firm’s next product, custom-printed boyfriends and girlfriends for those who cannot find the right partner by conventional means—a surprisingly large proportion of the population. If all goes well, these will be available by St Valentine’s day. If not, customers will probably have to wait until April 1st of next year.
In related news, Antonin Scalia pretended to be a lying, partisan hack this week. I'm sure he was making an early April Fool's joke as well.