History buffs Daniel Pogorzelski and Jacob Kaplan got permission to enter a space previously occupied by former Chicago alderman. They discovered that no one had ever cleaned the space out after the alderman died:
Longtime city clerk and former 35th Ward Ald. John Marcin, one of former Mayor Richard J. Daley’s closest political allies, had worked out of the building for years. There were rumors all of his stuff was still in there, virtually untouched since his death in 1984.
Pogorzelski and Kaplan, writers and editors for local history website Forgotten Chicago, tried for years to get ahold of the property owner, but they struck out each time.
It took awhile, but finally in 2014, with the help of Avondale Neighborhood Association President Liz Muscare, they got in.
And, much to their surprise, the rumors were true: Marcin’s office at 3534 W. Diversey Ave. had been left untouched. Old photos, campaign literature (some dating back to the 1930s when Marcin ran for congress), meticulously compiled scrapbooks, oil paintings and even neon signs were all sitting there, collecting dust.
Last week, Pogorzelski and Kaplan packed it all up in a U-Haul and delivered it to the University of Illinois at Chicago’s Richard J. Daley Library. The two donated the collection in hopes of deepening Chicago’s understanding of local politics.
“There’s all of the appointment books during his time as city clerk, the people he met with. You can kinda see how the city operated at that time,” Kaplan said.
“It’s not just ephemera. It’s stuff he used as city clerk and alderman that people will find really informative.”
For years, I thought I was going to be an historian, even going so far as to take the GRE and meet with a few East Coast history departments during my last two years in college. This kind of documentary bonanza can make someone's career. I'm glad it's going to an organization that can use it.
Just one thing, though: who paid the rent on the building for 30 years?
Starting today, my state has some new laws:
- The gasoline tax doubled to the still-too-low 10¢ per litre. Oh my stars. How could they. Ruination. (You will detect more ironic tone if you read my post from yesterday about how much gasoline I use.) For comparison with other OECD countries, the UK adds 57.95p (73.3¢) per litre, Australia gets 41.2¢ (28.6¢ US), and even Canada levies 45¢ (34¢ US). But hey, we doubled the tax, so now we can pay for our state pension deficit fixing our infrastructure.
- Cigarette taxes went up to $2.98 a pack, and e-cigarettes now have a 15% excise. Also, we raised the legal age to buy tobacco to 21, though you can still have sex and get a drivers license at 17 and sign a contract at 18, so kids still have lots of ways to ruin their lives. (Former governor Bruce Rauner vetoed these measures last year.)
- Schools now have to provide 5 clock-hours of instruction to count as a "school day." Having gone to Illinois schools as a kid that provided 6 to 7, it's hard for me to grasp that until today, schools only had to provide 4.
- Finally, our $40 billion budget took effect today, the first time in 5 years that a state budget has taken effect on the first day of the fiscal year.
This is what happens when the party that wants to govern takes power from the party that wants to shower gifts on their rich friends. More on that in my next post.
I bought my car, a Toyota Prius Prime plug-in hybrid, on December 23rd. It took almost 188 days—more than six months—before I finally put gas in the thing.
Friday morning, on my way to Toronto, I put 34.8 L into the car after driving it 2183.6 km since the dealer delivered her. That's an average efficiency of 1.6 L/100 km, and an operating cost of 1.4¢/km.
For comparison, the last six months I owned my last car, she was getting 13.3 L/100 km and had an operating cost (because of maintenance as well as gas) of 52.9¢/km.
The whole trip to Toronto, during which the car ran almost exclusively on gas instead of battery, used only 73 L of fuel and averaged 4.3 L/100 km.
I think it was a good purchase.
Also, let me just say that adaptive cruise control makes long-distance drives a ton easier.
Significant changes in the northern jet stream has caused serious problems for Europe and South Asia:
Unusual jet stream behavior has been recorded every three to five years since 2000 — in 2003, 2006, 2010, 2015 and 2018 — turning what scientists initially thought could be an isolated abnormality into what appears to be a pattern, [Jeff Masters, co-founder and director of meteorology for Weather Underground] said.
What is surprising to scientists now is that the wavier-than-normal jet stream has returned for a second year in a row — the first time that has been observed, said Kai Kornhuber, a climate scientist at The Earth Institute at Columbia University in New York City.
“I wouldn’t have expected this situation to return so quickly after the extreme summer last year,” Kornhuber said. “It gives me the chills to see this evolving in real time again. It’s a really worrying development.”
This weather pattern brought temperatures over 45°C to France earlier this week:
The highest reliable June temperature previously recorded in France was 41.5°C on 21 June 2003. The country’s highest ever temperature, recorded at two separate locations in southern France on 12 August during the same 2003 heatwave, was 44.1°C.
“At our local Potsdam station, operating since 1893, we’re set to break the past June record by about 2C,” tweeted Stefan Rahmstorf, of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research. Eastern parts of Germany, including Berlin, are already experiencing their hottest June on record.
“Weather data show that heatwaves and other weather extremes are on the rise in recent decades,” he said. “The hottest summers in Europe since the year AD1500 all occurred since the turn of the last century: 2018, 2010, 2003, 2016, 2002.”
Monthly records were now falling five times as often as they would in a stable climate, Rahmstorf said, adding this was “a consequence of global warming caused by the increasing greenhouse gases from burning coal, oil and gas”.
And the band played on...
My plan for an 8-hour drive from Chicago to Toronto yesterday did not survived contact with the GTA (Greater Toronto Area). It turns out, coming into Toronto from the west during rush hour on Friday before a three-day weekend may involve traffic. So it was, in fact, a 10½-hour drive.
So the secondary plan of wandering around the Rogers Centre, getting a bunch of photos, hearing both "The Star-Spangled Banner" and "O Canada," and then watching the Blue Jays beat the Royals, didn't quite work out. I arrived at my seat during the top of the 6th inning, well after both national anthems, with the Royals up by two, and didn't get any of the shots or wandering that I'd planned.
The Blue Jays did win, though, thanks to four Toronto home runs in the last three innings. And this is in a dome; it's not like the wind was blowing out.
Today: breakfast in Toronto, dinner in Sawyer, Mich., and probably straight to bed when I get home. Tomorrow: photos from the game, a new NuGet package from Inner Drive Technology, and maybe some Pride Parade viewing. Or fleeing the area. Haven't decided yet.
Articles that piqued my interest this morning:
Back to writing software.
NPR and other outlets reported earlier this week that the far-north Norwegian island of Sommaroy planned to abolish timekeeping:
If the 350 residents of Sommaroy get their way, the clocks will stop ticking and the alarms will cease their noise. A campaign to do away with timekeeping on the island has gained momentum as Norway's parliament considers the island's petition.
Kjell Ove Hveding spearheaded the No Time campaign and presented his petition to a member of parliament on June 13. During the endless summer days, islanders meet up at all hours and the conventions of time are meaningless, Hveding says.
Only, a subsequent press release admitted the whole thing was a marketing campaign:
NRK.no revealed today that the initiative to make Sommarøy a time-free zone was in fact a carefully planned marketing campaign, hatched by the government-owned Innovation Norway.
The story has been covered in more than 1650 articles in 1479 different media, including CNN, The Guardian, The New York Times, The Independent, Time, El País, La Repubblica, Vanity Fair and Der Spiegel, potentially reaching 1.2 billion people. The value of the coverage is estimated to 11.4 million USD - a pretty good return on investment for Innovation Norway, which spent less than 60,000 USD on the campaign.
Paul Koning, one of the moderators of the IANA Time Zone group--the group that maintains the Time Zone Database used in millions of computers, phones, and applications worldwide, including The Daily Parker--was not pleased:
That's very disturbing. It's problematic enough that not all governments give timely notice about time zone rule changes.
But if in addition we have to deal with government agencies supplying deliberately false information, the TZ work becomes that much more difficult.
Difficult indeed. The group has to deal with dictators changing time zones with almost no notice, political groups attacking the spellings of time zone identifiers, and all sorts of hassles. For a government agency to do this on purpose is not cool.
I saw this on the video monitor of an elevator I took heading back to my desk just now, and laughed out loud with all the derision I could muster (I was alone in the elevator):
This debt could force you into bankruptcy, and it’s not student loans
No shit. Student loans have huge barriers to discharge in bankruptcy in the US, so it's unlikely they would show up as "the cause" of bankruptcy actions.
I'm not sure what CNBC's goal was, but my guess is to counter the talking points from some of the Democratic primary campaigns about forgiving student loan debt.
Humorist and writer Jamie Allen has counted all the squirrels in Central Park:
“We kind of know other animal populations, like rats, in cities,” he says. (The conservative estimate is one for every New Yorker.) “It immediately became comical to me. Squirrels are an animal that we interact with on a daily basis, they’re disease-carrying, and they’re so common that we don’t even pay attention to them.” (It’s worth noting that most of the diseases squirrels carry don’t transmit to humans. Still, don’t go petting them.)
With that, Allen assembled a team of scientists, wildlife experts, and graphic designers and began counting the squirrels in Inman Park in Atlanta. After two counts, the team set their eyes on a more ambitious location: Central Park, which measures more than five times the size of his neighborhood park.
Overall, the volunteers documented 3,023 squirrel sightings (this number includes squirrels that were likely counted more than once). Of that, 2,472 sightings (about 81 percent) were of gray squirrels, with various mixes of black, white, and cinnamon highlights. Another 393 were primarily cinnamon-colored, and 103 were black. All in all, they recorded 21 variations in fur color.
Don't confuse this work with earlier work to map all the incidents of squirrel-on-power line mayhem in the US.
So I wonder if Dug helped?
I have a dilemma.
Under the rules I set up for the 30-Park Geas back in 2008, if a park got torn down before I completed the Geas, I would have to go to the replacement park in order to call it "done." Call it an acceptance criterion.
Two years ago, Atlanta repurposed Turner Field and opened SunTrust Park well outside their public transit service area.
Then, after Brian Kemp created a very real fear that his election may have been illegitimate, he signed an abortion law that clearly runs afoul of Roe v Wade and reminded us why it's hard to think of the state as a modern democracy.
So, I really don't want to give any money to Georgia, now or in the foreseeable future. Maybe if the white male establishment there accepts they're in the minority and stops trying to steal elections, kill women, and put baseball parks so far away from the cities they "serve" that only rich white people can even get to them.
Obviously none of this will matter to anyone in Georgia's white-supremacist government. They're not going to repeal onerous legislation because a blogger from Chicago doesn't want to go to their new ballpark.
But to me, I'm going to strike SunTrust from the Geas. Call it a moral exception to the rules of the Geas. This coming Friday, I'll go to my penultimate park in Toronto, and then at the end of September, I'll see the Cubs play the Cardinals in what was always going to be the last park on the tour.