The Daily Parker

Politics, Weather, Photography, and the Dog

Today is like May 1st

Since I live in a temperate climate, I think about seasons more than my friends who live in, say, San Jose, Calif. This becomes especially pronounced the closer we get to the equinoxes as the change in daylight hours peak then. On my walk with Cassie earlier today, I started thinking about how actually to quantify the lengthening shadows in autumn.

Here, then, is a chart of the position of the sun in Chicago for the first day of each month, along with its equivalent day on the other side of the equinox. For example, today the sun is about 63° above the southern horizon at solar noon—almost exactly the same as on May 1st. This means also that the day has about the same length (14 hours, 2 minutes), and the sun rises and sets in the same parts of the eastern and western skies, respectively.

Using the code I wrote for Weather Now, it took just a couple of minutes to generate the basic data for this chart. It should make sense right away, except for the column marked "Shadow." That's the length of the shadow cast per unit of hight at solar noon. So, for example, today's 63.3° sun angle gave a 10-meter building a shadow almost exactly 5 meters in length. The two days of the year (in Chicago, anyway) when the sun is 45° above the horizon—giving everything a shadow equal to its own height—are March 13th and September 30th.


Date Sunrise Sunset Daylight Rise Noon Set Shadows Same as
Jan 1 07:20 16:31 9:11 121° 25° 239° 2.14 Dec 11
Feb 1 06:35 17:07 10:02 112° 31° 248° 1.67 Nov 10
Mar 1 06:27 17:42 11:14 99° 41° 261° 1.17 Oct 12
Apr 1 06:35 19:17 12:42 83° 53° 277° 0.76 Sep 11
May 1 05:48 19:50 14:02 68° 63° 292° 0.51 Aug 11
Jun 1 05:19 20:21 15:01 59° 70° 301° 0.36 Jul 11
Jul 1 05:20 20:31 15:11 57° 71° 303° 0.34 Jun 11
Aug 1 05:45 20:10 14:25 65° 66° 295° 0.45 May 11
Sep 1 06:17 19:26 13:08 78° 56° 282° 0.67 Apr 11
Oct 1 06:48 18:34 11:45 94° 45° 266° 1.01 Mar 12
Nov 1 07:24 17:46 10:22 109° 34° 251° 1.51 Feb 11
Dec 1 07:00 16:21 9:21 119° 26° 241° 2.03 Jan 11

Another thing I found interesting: notice how quickly shadows lengthen in the fall and shorten in the spring. That's what I noticed today, in fact: the east-west sidewalks were completely in shadow at noon today. They haven't been since, oh, the beginning of May.

Now, the date pairs should work for any point on earth, but all the other data will change. If you want to see your own location's sunrise and sunset times, go to Weather Now.

Week-end round-up

I think I finally cracked the nut on a work problem that has consumed our team for almost three years. Unfortunately I can't write about it yet. I can say, though, that the solution became a lot clearer just a couple of weeks after our team got slightly smaller. I will say nothing more. Just remember, there are two types of people: those who can infer things from partial evidence.

Just a few articles left to read before I take Cassie on her pre-dinner ambulation:

  • Titanic director James Cameron, who has made 30 dives to the famed wreck, slammed the news media for "a cruel, slow turn of the screw for four days" as he, the US Navy, and probably most of the rescuers already figured out the submarine Titan had imploded on its descent Sunday morning.
  • The US Navy in turn reported that its Atlantic sonar net had picked up the implosion when it happened, but didn't explain (see re: inferences, above) that it waited until the accident had been confirmed by other sources because the Navy's sonar capabilities are highly classified military secrets. And since the Titan didn't have any kind of black-box recorder, they would not make any effort to bring it up from the bottom.
  • New York Times columnist Jesse Wegman slaps his forehead and asks, "Does Justice Alito (R) hear himself?" (See re: inferences, above.) James Fallows argues that "it is time for outside intervention, and supervision" of the Court. Josh Marshall sees the "fish and flights" as emblematic of deeper corruption: "The guiding jurisprudence might best be described as 'Too bad, suckas' or perhaps 'Sucks to be you.' "
  • Biologists Jerry A Coyne (University of Chicago emeritus) and Luana S Maroja  (Williams College) argue that ideology is "poisoning" the study and teaching of biology.
  • The 2 quadrillion liters (give or take) of groundwater we humans have pumped out in the last 30 years found its way to the oceans, redistributing the mass of the earth and shifting our planet's axis by about 800 mm—not enough to change the seasons, but enough to subtly interfere with global positioning and astronomy.
  • LEDs in street lights and houses have added about 10% more light pollution to our skies each year, according to new research. Of course, LEDs provide more light and save 90% of the energy we used to waste on incandescent and nonmetal-vapor lights, so...

And finally, the Illinois legislature extended by 5 years the Covid-era regulations allowing restaurants to sell go-cups. We're not New Orleans by any stretch, but you can continue to take that margarita home with your leftover burritos.

I will now retire to my lovely patio...

Toujours, quelque damn chose

But for me, it was Tuesday:

  • The Democratic National Committee has selected Chicago to host its convention next August, when (I assume) our party will nominate President Biden for a second term. We last hosted the DNC in 1996, when the party nominated President Clinton for his second term.
  • Just a few minutes ago, Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg filed suit in the Southern District of New York to enjoin US Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) from interfering in the prosecution of the XPOTUS.
  • Speaking of the House Moron Caucus, Jonah Goldberg worries that the kids following people like Jordan and the XPOTUS have never learned how to behave in public, with predictable and dire consequences for public discourse in the future.
  • And speaking of, uh, discourse, New York Magazine features Stephanie Clifford (aka Stormy Daniels) on its cover this week, in which the actor describes her meeting in 2006 with a "pop-culture curiosity" years before destroying American democracy even entered into his dementia-addled brain. It...isn't pretty.
  • Jennifer Rubin thinks the Religious Right's "victory" in politicizing the Federal judiciary will cripple the Republican Party. (I believe she's right.)
  • Today I learned that Guthrie's Tavern did not die during the pandemic, and in fact will offer free hot dogs during Cubs home games to all paying customers (while supplies last).
  • Rishi Shah and Shradha Agarwal, the CEO and president of Chicago tech company Outcome Health, were convicted on 32 counts of fraud and other crimes for their roles in stealing investors' money.
  • The Hubble Space Telescope has detected a runaway black hole moving close to 1,000 km/s with a 200,000-light-year tail of baby stars following it. (Those baby stars happened because at that speed, it wasn't able to pull out in time...)
  • MAD Magazine cartoonist Al Jaffee, inventor of the Fold-In, died Monday at 102.

Finally, Tupperware has warned its creditors and shareholders that it may go out of business in what I have to uncontained failure of the company.

Too much to read today

I've had a bunch of tasks and a mid-afternoon meeting, so I didn't get a chance to read all of these yet:

Finally, close to me, after the lovely Grafton Pub closed last August, the Old Town School of Folk Music stepped in to buy the space. But that plan has hit a snag after a higher bidder emerged.

Sprint 80

At my day job, we just ended our 80th sprint on the project, with a lot of small but useful features that will make our side of the app easier to maintain. I like productive days like this. I even voted! And now I will rest on my laurels for a bit and read these stories:

Finally, the European Space Agency wants to establish a standard time zone for the moon. Since one day on the moon is 29.4 days here, I don't quite know what that will look like.

Will tomorrow be sunny too?

I have no idea. But today I managed to get a lot of work done, so I'll have to read these later:

Finally, if you live in Chicago and look straight up and slightly north with binoculars tonight, you might see a little green comet that last passed Earth 50,000 years ago.

Notes to self

The sun finally came out around 3:30 this afternoon, as a high overcast layer slid slowly southeast. Of course, the temperature has fallen to -11°C and will keep sliding to -18°C overnight, but at least the gloom has receded! January will still end as the gloomiest ever, however, with around 18% of possible sunshine all month, plus whatever we get tomorrow.

Meanwhile, I want to come back to these articles later:

Finally, looking back a little farther (about 13 billion years), the James Webb Space Telescope has picked out some of the oldest galaxies in the universe. And they're really weird.

(Semi?-)Annual sunrise chart

I forgot to do this in July, so the previous Chicago sunrise chart stayed up all year. As always, you can get sunrise times for your own location at

Date Significance Sunrise Sunset Daylight
3 Jan Latest sunrise until Oct 29th 07:19 16:32 9:13
27 Jan 5pm sunset 07:09 17:00 9:51
5 Feb 7am sunrise 07:00 17:11 10:11
20 Feb 5:30pm sunset 06:40 17:30 10:50
27 Feb 6:30am sunrise 06:30 17:39 11:09
11 Mar Earliest sunrise until Apr 16th
Earliest sunset until Oct 27th
06:10 17:53 11:43
12 Mar Daylight saving time begins
Latest sunrise until Oct 20th
Earliest sunset until Sep 19th
07:08 18:54 11:45
17 Mar 7am sunrise, 7pm sunset
12-hour day
07:00 19:00 12:00
20 Mar Equinox 16:24 CDT 06:55 19:03 12:08
4 Apr 6:30am sunrise (again) 06:29 19:20 12:51
13 Apr 7:30pm sunset 06:14 19:30 13:15
22 Apr 6am sunrise 06:00 19:40 13:39
10 May 8pm sunset 05:36 20:00 14:23
16 May 5:30am sunrise 05:30 20:06 14:35
14 Jun Earliest sunrise of the year 05:15 20:28 15:13
20 Jun 8:30pm sunset 05:16 20:30 15:14
21 Jun Solstice 09:58 CDT 05:16 20:30 15:14
27 Jun Latest sunset of the year 05:18 20:31 15:13
4 Jul 8:30pm sunset 05:21 20:30 15:09
16 Jul 5:30am sunrise 05:30 20:25 14:54
9 Aug 8pm sunset 05:53 20:00 14:07
16 Aug 6am sunrise 06:00 19:50 13:50
29 Aug 7:30pm sunset 06:13 19:30 13:16
14 Sep 6:30am sunrise 06:30 19:03 12:32
16 Sep 7pm sunset 06:32 18:59 12:27
23 Sep Equinox, 01:50 CDT 06:39 18:47 12:07
26 Sep 12-hour day 06:43 18:42 11:59
3 Oct 6:30pm sunset 06:50 18:30 11:39
12 Oct 7am sunrise 07:00 18:15 11:14
22 Oct 6pm sunset 07:11 19:59 10:47
4 Nov Latest sunrise until 6 Nov 2027
Latest sunset until March 1st
07:27 17:42 10:14
5 Nov Standard time returns
Earliest sunrise until Feb 28th
Latest sunset until Jan 12th
06:28 16:40 10:12
16 Nov 4:30pm sunset 06:42 16:30 9:47
2 Dec 7am sunrise 07:00 16:21 9:20
8 Dec Earliest sunset of the year 07:06 16:20 9:13
21 Dec Solstice, 03:21 CST 07:16 16:23 9:07
31 Dec 4:30pm sunset 07:19 16:30 9:10


Outside the vortex

The world continues to turn outside the Chicago icebox:

Finally, dog biologist (?) Alexandra Horowitz explains how dogs tell time with their noses.