The Daily Parker

Politics, Weather, Photography, and the Dog

The problem with being busy

It looks like I'm slowing down Daily Parker posts over the past year. Including this post, I've published 477 items in the past 12 calendar months, for an average of 39.75 per month or 1.3 per day. The long-term average is 40.2 per month or 1.33 per day. This means October 2016 is the first month since July 2011 in which the moving 12-month average dipped below the all-time average. Here's the chart:

I'm not sure why the count has dropped off, or why this month was especially slow, but there are some clues. This was the worst month for posting since November 2010, when I was finishing up my MBA. Other dips seem to have come around periods of being unusually busy. So, maybe I'm just busy.

We'll see what happens in the next few months. I expect the trend to stay around 40/1.33 for a while.

Living to fight another day

The Cubs won last night's game so they get to play Game 6 tomorrow night in Cleveland. Whew!

Last night also set a few records:

  • It was the latest Cubs home game ever (October 30th).
  • It ended the longest period in Major League Baseball that a team went between World Series home-game wins (25,955 days).
  • It set the record for highest attendance at Wrigley Field in a season (3,232,420).

The Cubs are still favored to win the series, but it'll be tough. I'll be watching.

So, this happened

Folks, if you have to evacuate a burning 767, leave your fucking bags in the plane. That would have prevented most of the injuries sustained when this happened yesterday at O'Hare:

The plane's 161 passengers and nine crew members scrambled down emergency chutes on the left side of the plane while flames flared and thick black smoke billowed from the wing on the right side, according to the airline and video from the scene.

Twenty people were taken to hospitals with minor injuries, mostly bruises and ankle problems, according to fire Chief Juan Hernandez, head of emergency medical services at the airport.

The aircraft experienced an "uncontained engine failure," in which engine parts break off and are spewed outside the engine, a federal official said. The official wasn't authorized to speak publicly about the incident and spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity. The danger of such a rare and serious failure is that engine pieces effectively become shrapnel and can cause extensive damage to the aircraft.

Scary, and they can't use the plane again, but since everyone survived and there were only minor injuries, this counts as a good flight.

Why is the FBI director being nakedly partisan?

Let me see if I understand. Eleven days before an election, FBI Director James Comey sends a letter to Congress that has no specific information about an issue that was deemed closed in July but with the implication that the presidential candidate in the other party may have committed some malfeasance, even though doing so is against his agency's own policies? How can he be trusted to run a police force now?

The FBI language in the letter to Congress made it clear that new evidence had been discovered and thus will be reviewed — meaning FBI agents will read these emails. It is unusual for the FBI to tell Congress it is looking over newly discovered evidence in a criminal inquiry that was otherwise closed.

Federal practice is not to comment on ongoing investigations, or discuss details of concluded investigations. Comey previously explained his departure from that practice in his earlier congressional testimony, given the special nature of this case and congressional oversight inquiries.

Great. The FBI will read some new emails. What about the 22 million emails George W. Bush and his gang sent through the RNC's email servers that have up and vanished? Can he find those too?

The OPM hack

Wired has a good, long article on how millions of security clearance documents were stolen from the Office of Personnel Management:

Once Captain America’s name popped up, there could be little doubt that the Office of Personnel Management had been hit by an advanced persistent threat (APT)—security-speak for a well-financed, often state-sponsored team of hackers. APTs like China’s Unit 61398 have no interest in run-of-the-mill criminal activities such as selling pilfered Social Security numbers on the black market; they exist solely to accumulate sensitive data that will advance their bosses’ political, economic, and military objectives.

The hackers...delved into the complete personnel files of 4.2 million employees, past and present. Then, just weeks before OPM booted them out, they grabbed approximately 5.6 million digital images of government employee fingerprints.

Scary stuff.

Meetings all day

All of these articles look interesting, and I hope I get to read them:

Oh, fun! Another meeting!

Oh, Cubbies

It's only one game out of a best-of-seven series, but last night the Cubs did not look like the same team they've been all year. Some highlights:

Corey Kluber pitched neatly into the seventh inning, Roberto Perez hit two home runs and the Cleveland Indians beat the Chicago Cubs 6-0 tonight in the World Series opener.

In a matchup between the teams with baseball's longest championship droughts, the Indians scored twice in the first inning off October ace Jon Lester and were on their way.

7:15 p.m.

Dexter Fowler took a called third strike from Cleveland Indians ace Corey Kluber leading off the game, becoming the first Chicago Cubs player to bat in the World Series in 25,948 days.

Chicago had not played a Series game since Oct. 10, 1945, when Don Johnson hit into a game-ending forceout against Detroit's Hal Newhouser in Game 7.

8:10 p.m.

Indians ace Corey Kluber has set a World Series record with eight strikeouts through the first three innings. Cleveland leads the Chicago Cubs 2-0 in Game 1.

The eight strikeouts also represent the most by an Indians hurler in a World Series game.

It just got worse. They looked like the Cubs of old. I am not pleased.

I ain't afraid of no goats

The guys over at 538 have proved the Cubs really are the unluckiest team in baseball—but they still give them a 48% chance of winning the World Series:

[A]ny ballclub that appears in the postseason often enough — no matter how mediocre its teams are — should eventually be guaranteed a World Series win. But for more than a century’s worth of Cubs squads, no level of greatness has been able to get them over the hump. I determined just how unlucky each franchise has been over its postseason history by taking its Elo rating and the size of the playoff field and then calculating how likely the team was to win the Series each year using the process I outlined above. I added up those probabilities from all the years in which a World Series was held and compared them with how many titles the teams actually won, and I found that the Cubs are the unluckiest team of the last 113 years.

Just based on the pretty-good teams the Cubs have featured in their 18 playoff appearances, my model expected them to win six or seven championships. Instead, they’ve only won two since 1903, and both were more than 100 years ago. (Notably, this year’s Cubs triumphed in the NLCSover the second-most-unlucky team, the Los Angeles Dodgers.) The Cubs have had more years to be unlucky than most teams, since they’ve existed for a long time. But even on a per-playoff-season basis, the Cubs have been the least fortunate franchise in baseball.

That said, the Cubs are in Cleveland tonight to play their first World Series game in 71 years. Will they win it all? No one can say. But they're here.