After having the 4th-mildest winter in 70 years, the weather hasn't really changed. Abnormally-warm February temperatures have hung around to become abnormally-cool March temperatures. I'm ready for real spring, thank you.
- ProPublica reports on the bafflement inside the New York City Council about how to stop paying multi-million-dollar settlements when the NYPD violates people's civil rights—a problem we have in Chicago, for identical reasons—but haven't figured out that police oversight might help. (One Daily Parker reader suggested taking the money out of the police pension fund.)
- A bill moving through Florida's legislature would address suburban sprawl by redefining it. (Want to bet a real-estate developer lobbied for this one?)
- A ransomware attack a few weeks ago has affected up to 130 organizations, according to researchers and online boasts from the attackers.
- United Airlines wants to start air-taxi service between the Loop and O'Hare by 2025, using electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) airplanes.
Finally, I laughed out loud at the YouGov survey that found 46% of American men who have never flown an airplane think they could land an air transport with only some help from Air Traffic Control. I laughed because I do know how to fly a plane, and I don't think I could land a 787 well enough to use the plane again under any circumstances without a few dozen simulator hours. In fact, I would probably spend several crucial minutes trying to figure out how to change the radio to 121.5 and the transponder to 7700. But hey, the United States put Dunning and Kruger on the map, so this seems about right to me.
Welcome to March in Chicago, where the temperature drops 20°C in 31 hours:
This morning's -10.7°C was the coldest temperature in Chicago since the night of February 3rd-4th. What a strange winter.
Check back on Wednesday when it's back above 10°C.
I'm arguing with the Blazorise framework right now because their documentation on how to make a layout work doesn't actually work. Because this requires repeated build/test cycles, I have almost no time to read all of this:
Finally, a group of Chicago aldermen have proposed that the city clear sidewalks of snow and ice when property owners don't. Apparently the $500 fines, which don't happen often, don't work often either.
I spent way more time than I should have this morning trying to set up an API key for the Associated Press data tools. Their online form to sign up created a general customer-service ticket, which promptly got closed with an instruction to...go to the online sign-up form. They also had a phone number, which turned out to have nothing to do with sales. And I've now sent two emails a week apart to their "digital sales" office, with crickets in response.
The New York Times had an online setup that took about five minutes, and I'm already getting stuff using Postman. Nice.
Finally, I've got a note on my calendar to check out the Karen's Diner pop-up in Wrigleyville next month. Because who doesn't want to be abused by servers?
Cassie does not like staying inside because of the rain:
We've had rain since about 9am while the temperature has held onto 1°C with two hands and a carabiner, so neither Cassie nor I will get our quota of walks this afternoon. But that does give me extra time to digest all this:
- James Fallows eulogizes his old boss, President Jimmy Carter.
- After listening to yesterday's oral arguments, the Washington Post team covering Gonzalez v Google doesn't think the Supreme Court will overturn Section 230.
- A history teacher wants to help Bloomington, Ill., move past its anti-urbanist land use policies.
Oh, and I had some work to do as well.
Here we have a typical mid-March temperature profile for Chicago:
Of course, that's not from mid-March, that's today. It got up to 9.1°C at Inner Drive Technology World Headquarters, without a cloud in the sky, and it looks likely to do the same tomorrow. Cassie got a 5 km walk earlier today and I plan to do 7 km tomorrow.
Consequently I won't spend a lot of time banging away at my keyboard this afternoon. Probably not much tomorrow, either.
Just in time for spring, the City of Chicago has just announced the winning names for seven of our beloved snowplows:
- Da Plow
- Holy Plow!
- Jean Baptiste Point du Shovel
- Mrs O'Leary's Plow
- Salter Payton
- Sears Plower
- Sleet Home Chicago
From the Chicago Tribune:
Nearly 7,000 potential names were submitted in 17,000 suggestions from Chicago residents. Initially, the city planned to name six snowplows — one for each snow district — in its fleet of almost 300 baby-blue “Snow Fighting Trucks.” (During a major snowfall in Chicago, a pool of up to 675 motor-truck drivers can be dispatched.) Another was added due to a close vote.
Each of the snowplows will be trackable in real-time on the city’s plow tracker — and the name will be added to the vehicles too.
Since we've gotten less than half of our normal snowfall this year, we haven't seen the plows much. The Climate Prediction Center mid-term forecast doesn't look good for snow, either:
Not that anyone's complaining!
Next year, though, I'll watch out for Da Plow.
Update: Mount Washington, N.H., had some weather last night, too. The weather station there may have recorded the lowest wind chill temperature in US history shortly before 11pm. With sustained 167 km/h winds gusting to 189 km/h and an ambient air temperature of -43°C, the weather station had a wind chill of -76.6°C (-106°F)—colder than the surface of Mars. At this writing the station has a much more moderate wind chill of -61.4°C (-78.6°F). Bundle up.
I finished a couple of big stories for my day job today that let us throw away a whole bunch of code from early 2020. I also spent 40 minutes writing a bug report for the third time because not everyone diligently reads attachments. (That sentence went through several drafts, just so you know.)
While waiting for several builds to complete today, I happened upon these stories:
Finally, a school district food service director ordered more than 11,000 cases of chicken wings worth $1.5m over the last three years, which the State's Attorney says never got to the kids.
And now, since the temperature has risen from this morning's -17°C all the way up to...uh...-11.4°C, I will now walk the adorable creature who keeps nosing me in the arm as I type this.
It got practically tropical this afternoon, at least compared with yesterday:
Cassie and I took advantage of the no-longer-deadly temperatures right at the top point of that curve to take a 40-minute, 4.3 km walk. Tomorrow should stay as warm, at least until the next cold front comes in and pushes temperatures down to -18°C for a few hours Thursday night.
I'm heading off to pub quiz in a few minutes, so I'll read these stories tomorrow morning:
OK, off to empty the dog, refill the dog, and scoot over to Sketchbook Skokie for a shellacking. (Our sports person can't make it tonight.)