The Daily Parker

Politics, Weather, Photography, and the Dog

Stuff I didn't have time to read today

I had to put out a new version of the Inner Drive Azure tools for my day job today, and I had more meetings than I wanted (i.e., a non-zero number), so these kind of piled up:

There were other things I'll read later, but it's past 6pm and someone is staring at me because she needs a walk.

Monty the piping plover dies suddenly

The male of the Montrose Beach endangered piping plover couple, who has spent the last three weeks waiting for his true love to return, died yesterday:

“It is with great sadness that we confirm the passing of Monty, one of the Montrose Beach piping plovers,” said Irene Tostado, of the Chicago Park District.

Tamima Itani, of the Chicago Piping Plovers group, shared more details, saying Monty died Friday afternoon.

“He was observed gasping for air before dropping and passing away,” said Itani.

Great Lakes piping plovers numbered only 26 known individuals as recently as 1990, but conservation—like the protection given Monty and Rose since they arrived in Chicago three years ago—has brought the number up to about 140.

Sad news indeed.

In Chicago, spring lasts 6 hours

At 7am Monday, it was 12°C at Inner Drive Technology World Headquarters. By 6pm the temperature had gone up to 26.5°C, then 29.8°C at 2pm Tuesday, then 29.1°C at 3:15pm yesterday, before a cold front finally ploughed through and got us down to lovely sleeping weather right before I turned in:

The slow rise in my indoor temperature from 7am to 5pm was just my normal A/C program, as was the decline when the A/C turned on at 5. Then at 6, I discovered that the cold front had gone through, so I opened the windows.

Overnight, though, this happened:

This did not lead to a restful sleep, but did apparently lead to a backache.

I'm going to leave my windows open out of optimism that the forecast is accurate and today's high will only hit 27°C. But if it's above 25°C at 6pm, I'm giving up and turning on the A/C. I need sleep.

Such is the end of spring in Chicago.

Update, 3:15pm: I tried, man. But after sweating through two meetings and watching Cassie move from the couch to the hardwood flor, I gave up and turned on the AC. Now it's 31.5°C outside and a dry 24.4°C inside:

Just one or two stories today

Sheesh:

And finally, when I left for San Francisco on Saturday morning, it was 10°C and sunny. Here we are about 76 hours later and it's 30°C. We really don't have spring or fall here some years.

Monday morning round-up

According to my Garmin, I got almost 18 hours of sleep the past two nights, but also according to my Garmin (and my groggy head), few of those hours made a difference. I take some of the blame for that, but on the other hand, someday I want to stay in a hotel room where I can control when the air conditioner turns on and off.

Anyway, while I slept fitfully, these stories passed through my inbox:

And finally, good news for the Brews & Choos Project: Lagunitas plans to re-open their taproom later this year.

On the gloamin moors

Gray skies, day 45: they say the sun will come out tomorrow. I would not bet my bottom dollar on that.

In any event, I'll be in San Francisco for a couple of days, where they've had sun on and off for a while, with sun predicted tomorrow and Sunday. Then, if the predictions hold true, I'll come back here Monday in time to throw open all my windows.

We'll see. But I am really sick of the rain and clouds already.

Gloomier spring than we thought

I mentioned a couple days ago that we haven't seen the sun much this spring. Today the sun came out for only the second time in the last 43 days:

The National Weather Service categorized just one day in April as “clear and sunny,” said Kevin Donofrio, science and operations officer. NBC 5 meteorologist Paul Deanno said Tuesday just one of the past 42 days saw significant sunshine. That report was followed by another dark and soggy day.

Donofrio said this April saw 39.6 mm more rain than usual. Paul Walker, senior metrologist with AccuWeather, said there were only six days without rain last month. 

Chicago was also 1.5°C cooler than an average April, Walker said. Last year, it was 1.2°C warmer.

The gloom covered all of Illinois, in fact:

It’s not a stretch to say that most in Illinois are ready for warm weather by the time we hit mid-April. However, this year did not deliver as April temperatures were persistently well below normal. ... [M]ost days this past month were 3°C to 6°C colder than normal. Only 8 out of 30 April days in Galesburg were warmer than normal, and most by only a few degrees.

As a result of the colder weather, most of the state experienced below freezing temperatures as late as mid-April, and frost was reported as far south as the St. Louis Metro East on April 26.

Given how persistently rainy last month was, we best have a plethora of May flowers. For most places, the total amount of April precipitation was not excessive, and some areas were drier than normal. However, precipitation frequency last month was unusually high as most places recorded 12+ days with some measurable precipitation. Macomb had 22 days with measurable precipitation last month, Aurora had 20, Champaign had 19, and Cairo had 18. The 22 wet days in Macomb last month set a new record for April, which was the 2nd highest frequency of any month on record, only less than the 23 wet days in Macomb in October 2009. Frequent, small precipitation meant most places only had 2 to 2.5 days between precipitation events last month, which stymied fieldwork statewide.

Fortunately, the forecast calls for warmer and sunnier weather next week, with sun and 29°C forecast for Tuesday.

Monday afternoon stories

Just a few:

Finally, James Fallows rolls his eyes at the annual White House Correspondent's Dinner, but praises Trevor Noah's closing statement.

Sure Happy It's Thursday vol. 2,694

Some odd stories, some scary stories:

  • Microsoft has released a report on Russia's ongoing cyber attacks against Ukraine.
  • Contra David Ignatius, military policy experts Dr Jack Watling and Nick Reynolds call Russia's invasion of Ukraine "the death throes of imperial delusion" and warn that Putin will likely escalate the conflict rather than face humiliation.
  • Russia historian Tom Nichols puts all of this together and worries about World War III—"not the rhetorical World War III loosely talked about now, but the real thing, including the deaths of hundreds of millions."
  • The Saudi Royal Family finally returned a Boeing 747-8 to the manufacturer after it had sat on the apron in Basel, Switzerland, for 10 years. The plane has 42 hours on it but may have to be scrapped.
  • In other B747 news, Boeing admitted to $1.1 billion in cost overruns for the four planes the Air Force ordered to carry the President. Boeing will eat the costs after making a deal with the XPOTUS for a fixed-price contract. The Air Force should receive the planes in 2026.
  • George Will thinks we should amend the Constitution to prohibit people who have served as US Senators from becoming President. He argues that too many senators use their office to run for president. But since World War II, all but one former senator who became president came from the Democratic Party (Biden, Obama, Nixon, LBJ, JFK, Truman), so I'm not sure it would pass the States even if it didn't also have to pass the Senate.

Finally, DuPage County officials have demolished a partially-completed mansion that sat vacant for 10 years, to the eternal sadness of its owner.

Great moments in copy editing

This headline made me laugh so loudly I scared Cassie:

The article explains:

The building at 2222 N. Halsted St. went up in 1808 and is considered “orange-rated” in the Sheffield Historic District, meaning it possesses some qualities that contribute to the historical nature of the area.

Um. No. There was not a 3-flat sticking up out of the prairie 5 kilometers from the nearest European settlement in the middle of Potawatomi land four years before the Fort Dearborn Massacre. Chicago looked like this in 1812:

Here's a map of Chicago from 1820 from the Library of Congress; notice that the northern border of the city was Kinzie Street, still about 5 kilometers from 2222 N. Halsted:

The area around Halsted and Webster was built up in the 1880s. My hypothesis, which I hope Block Club Chicago chases down, is that the building actually dates from 1888, as it looks like a typical 3-flat from that era, and it makes sense that somewhere along the line someone read the second 8 as a 0.

I reached out to the reporter, who replied:

I've triple-checked the recording of the meeting, and the attorneys definitely said 1808, but you're totally right. We're tweaking the story until we have clarification from them on when the building was constructed.

OK, sure, except the date of 1808 doesn't pass the laugh test if you know anything at all about Chicago history. I can understand a reporter transcribing a meeting and triple-checking what someone at the meeting said. But the reporter's job requires him in this case to do the 15 minutes of work to confirm the assertion. And the editor's job is to push back on the reporter before publishing a ridiculous headline.

I'm taking them to task for this because this error really shakes my confidence in the Block Club editorial staff. If you publish something this laughably wrong, can I trust what you report about the city council? About political organizations that want more publicity for their own points of view? About people with long records of lying their asses off?

I replied to the reporter that I'll bet a $50 donation to Block Club that it's really 1888. I hope the bet motivates him to do his damn job and get a relevant fact corrected sometime today.

Update: The reporter checked with the Cook County Assessor's Office, and yes, they say it's from 1886. The new copy reads as follows:

The building at 2222 N. Halsted St. is considered “orange-rated” in the Sheffield Historic District, meaning it possesses some qualities that contribute to the historical nature of the area. The Cook County Assessor’s Office lists the building as 135 years old.

That makes a lot more sense.