I mailed in my passport renewal application on the 7th and got both my new passport and my passport card yesterday. I still haven't gotten my old passport back, but that's OK for now.
Two weeks and $200, start to finish, without using Express Mail. Nice job, guys.
Wildlife authorities captured the coyote that attacked a 6-year-old boy in Lincoln Park earlier this month, and have taken it to a rehabilitation center:
With help from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, local officials tested the animal and said it was the same one that on Jan. 8 attacked the child near the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum, 2430 N. Cannon Drive, biting the child on his head.
The results of the testing that were promised at the time of the coyote’s capture were released Sunday, and authorities now say the animal was limping because it had been shot with a BB gun, according to a statement from city spokesman Patrick Mullane.
Mullane also said testing confirmed the animal did not have rabies.
It looks like everyone, including the injured coyote, will recover.
I'm visiting one of my oldest friends in Durham, N.C. She is fostering Lexi, who had nine puppies on the 5th:
So, it turns out that puppies under two weeks old (a) smell horrendous, no matter how often you change their bedding, and (b) don't do a lot. But in the 18 hours I've been here most of them have opened their eyes for the first time. And they are really cute.
This morning we took a short hike at the Museum of Life and Science, which encourages John Cleese to visit:
It helps that while Chicago basks in its tropical -12°C January heat, here in Durham it's a chilly (to them) 12°C.
Fortunately, I'm debugging a build process that takes 6 minutes each time, so I may be able to squeeze some of these in:
Back to debugging Azure DevOps pipelines...
I had a lot going on at work today, so all I have left is a lame-ass "read these later" post:
I'd say "back to the mines," but I believe I have a date with Kristen Bell presently.
The New York Times analyzed eight social-studies textbooks published in both California and Texas. Both states have state-wide standards for education, which textbook makers have to honor given the number of students in each state. You can guess some of the results:
The books have the same publisher. They credit the same authors. But they are customized for students in different states, and their contents sometimes diverge in ways that reflect the nation’s deepest partisan divides.
Hundreds of differences — some subtle, others extensive — emerged in a New York Times analysis of eight commonly used American history textbooks in California and Texas, two of the nation’s largest markets.
The differences between state editions can be traced back to several sources: state social studies standards; state laws; and feedback from panels of appointees that huddle, in Sacramento and Austin hotel conference rooms, to review drafts.
Requests from textbook review panels, submitted in painstaking detail to publishers, show the sometimes granular ways that ideology can influence the writing of history.
Context: I have a Bachelor's in history, and a law degree, which means I have read a lot of social studies texts (not just textbooks) in my life. I have Howard Zinn next to Paul Johnson in my bookshelf, for example. So I favor the California method of teaching kids about the warts. I also believe that knowing how we screwed up in the past helps us become a better nation.
I'm glad the Times did this analysis. It helps show one more way in which we live in two Americas, and how politicians try to keep it that way.
But I think George Washington's farewell address might guide us even today: "One of the expedients of party to acquire influence, within particular districts, is to misrepresent the opinions and aims of other districts. You cannot shield yourselves too much against the jealousies and heart-burnings, which spring from these misrepresentations; they tend to render alien to each other those, who ought to be bound together by fraternal affection."
(The title of this post refers to this bit from Evita.)
A coyote (or coyotes, but maybe just one) has had enough of humanity in Chicago:
Another coyote attack was reported Wednesday night when a man walked into a hospital with a wound on his buttocks that he says came from a coyote.
The 32-year-old man showed up at Northwestern Memorial Hospital with a scratch on his behind, according to Chicago police.
He told officers that on Wednesday evening a coyote attacked him from behind and bit him in the buttocks while he walked on a sidewalk in the 700 block of North Fairbanks Court, police said.
Earlier that afternoon, a 5-year-old boy was bitten in the head by a coyote on Wednesday afternoon outside a nature museum in Lincoln Park.
This coyote (or coyotes) is not behaving normally. First, they're primarily nocturnal animals. Second, while they have acclimated to humans, they do not typically approach humans. According to local Animal Care and Control officials, however, the increased aggression may come from simple hunger, as food supplies dwindle during the winter.
If you see a coyote, "making loud noises, or using a whistle, is a good way to spook a coyote into leaving. Waving your hands and jumping up and down can also work, according to experts."
About 4,500 coyotes live in Cook County, with about 2,000 of those in Chicago. Longtime readers of The Daily Parker will remember that the cemeteries north and south of my apartment have multiple dens, and also that AC&C officials pulled a coyote out of a drinks cooler in downtown Chicago about 12 years ago.
More on coyotes from the Cook County Forest Preserve District.
Climate change has caused water levels in the Lake Michigan-Huron system to swell in only six years, creating havoc in communities that depend on them:
In 2013, Lake Huron bottomed out, hitting its lowest mark in more than a century, as did Lake Michigan, which shares the same water levels, according to data from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Around that time, the lake withdrew so far from the shore around Engle’s resort — then a collection of 12 rustic cabins and three docks — that mud was all that remained beneath his boathouse.
In just 3½ years, levels rose more than 1.3 m and last summer peaked at nearly 1.9 m above the record low.
Climate change is amplifying variability in lakes that are naturally predisposed to fluctuation. Unlike lakes Ontario and Superior, which are regulated by dams and binational regulatory boards, lakes Michigan and Huron, measured as one body of water because they are connected at the Straits of Mackinac, have no such controls and consequently have experienced the greatest variation from record low to high in the Great Lakes.
As the amount of heat-trapping greenhouse gases has spiked over the past century, the Earth’s warmer atmosphere is capable of holding additional moisture, which scientists say is resulting in more frequent and severe storms. Across the Great Lakes region, precipitation has increased 14%, and the frequency of heavy storms has risen 35% since 1951, contributing to widespread flooding. In the past two years, the states of Michigan, Wisconsin, Indiana and Ohio each have endured a string of 12 consecutive months that have been the wettest in 124 years.
Here is the latest water-level chart from NOAA. Notice that last year's levels hit record highs during the summer and ended the year just below the record for December--meaning they started January considerably higher than the record for the month:
At least we have a lot of fresh water nearby. That might come in handy someday...
Of all the things in the New York Times today, the fact that a census found 2,373 squirrels in Central Park made my day. Parker's too, no doubt, though he has trouble comprehending numbers larger than 2.
Not that anything has happened lately...
Finally, the New York Times had a feature yesterday on new architecture for Antarctic research stations. Cool stuff (ah ha ha).