The temperature started rising Thursday morning and, except for a little blip last night, keeps going up:
The official temperature right now at O'Hare is 5°C—Δ36°C warmer than the low temperature Thursday morning. And wow, is it a slushy mess out there.
Just 72 hours ago, the official temperature in Chicago was -31°C. Right now, it's 0°C at O'Hare, the first time it's been above freezing since 11am Monday. Our 54-hour stretch of below-0°F temperatures was the 4th-longest such stretch. This has been an extraordinary few days, and it's just going to get weirder.
Bonus: The Tribune has a collection of satellite photos from the European Space Agency of our polar vortex.
...will be to Bletchley Park:
The National Museum of Computing is a must-see if you are ever in the UK. It was a short 30ish minute train ride up from London. We spent the whole afternoon there.
There is a rebuild of the Colossus, the the world's first electronic computer. It had a single purpose: to help decipher the Lorenz-encrypted (Tunny) messages between Hitler and his generals during World War II. The Colossus Gallery housing the rebuild of Colossus tells that remarkable story.
We saw the Turing-Welchman Bombe machine, an electro-mechanical device used to break Enigma-enciphered messages about enemy military operations during the Second World War. They offer guided tours (recommended as the volunteers have encyclopedic knowledge) and we were able to encrypt a message with the German Enigma (there's a 90 second video I made, here) and decrypt it with the Bombe, which is effectively 12 Engimas working in parallel, backwards.
I wanted to understand the computing power these systems had then, and now. Check out the website where you can learn about the OctaPi - a Raspberry Pi array of eight Pis working together to brute-force Engima. You can make your own here!
Yes, there's a Raspberry Pi Enigma-cracker. If only we'd had one in 1940...
The Metropolitan Water Reclamation District, the entity responsible for our sewers and rivers in Chicago, warns that the record-breaking warm-up currently underway could overwhelm the system:
As the warmer temperatures melt existing snow, the potential for flooding increases because the frozen ground is unable to absorb water and snow, causing runoff to flow immediately into sewers.
Sewer systems, therefore, can become overwhelmed from the combination of normal sewage flow, rain and snow melt, a scenario that often leads to flooding, according to the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago.
MWRD said Friday that it’s preparing for potential flooding by lowering water levels in Chicago-area waterways to make room for runoff. The agency will also rely on its network of tunnels and reservoirs, which it said are ready to hold more than 11 billion gallons of water.
The agency is also asking Chicago-area municipalities and the public to help prevent flooding by reducing water use, such as by postponing high-water consumption activities like bathing, showering, running the dishwasher and washing clothes.
Well, that stinks. Or rather, we will stink. And let's not even think about what a Δ42.8°C warm-up will do to our roads.