Burger King's brand implosion aside, other, more important news came out in the last couple of days:
- This morning, UK Prime Minister Theresa May announced she would step down on June 7th, having lost the confidence of the right-wing crazies holding her majority together. The likely outcome of this will be Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who is actually less popular than May, forcing a general election through incompetence by the August bank holiday.
- The heads of NOAA and NASA have raised the alarm that the proposed 24 GHz frequency band proposed for 5G wireless will mask the existing 23.8 GHz frequency of passive microwave energy which weather forecasting systems need to actually forecast weather.
- Since February 2017, when he took his first of over a hundred golf trips as president, Donald Trump has cost us more than $100 million playing golf.
- San Francisco's KPIX-TV Broadcast Operations Manager Eliot Curtis apparently gave himself an LSD trip while repairing a 1960s-era synthesizer.
Must be Friday.
The Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore, just 50 km from downtown Chicago, became Indiana Dunes National Park in February:
Supporters of the switch, who have watched the proposal ebb and flow like Lake Michigan along the shoreline over the past few years, said they are excited by the change and hope the already popular attraction draws even more people, particularly those who make it a point to visit designated national parks.
Operations at the park, other than a change in signs, won’t be any different, said Paul Labovitz, park superintendent.
“There’s no real budget implications but perceptually, the change will probably result in more attention and more investment outside the park,” he said, adding the National Park Service also may invest more in the park’s infrastructure over time.
Also upping its marketing will be the South Shore Line, which is working on plans to encourage more people from Chicago, Michigan and Indiana to come check out the park using commuter rail, Nicole Barker, director of capital investment and implementation, said in an email.
“Thanks to the South Shore Line’s Bikes on Trains program, which allows bicycles on select off-peak trains, it is easier than ever to come visit the dunes by bike,” Barker said.
Trains from Chicago's Millennium Station to the Dune Park station take about 80 minutes and cost $9 each way.
Meteorologist Brian Brettschneider has figured out a road trip route that keeps you at a (normal) temperature of 21°C for a whole year:
For his data, Brettschneider pulled daily “normal” high temperatures from the National Centers for Environmental Information and Environment Canada. “Normals are a smoothed average of all days between 1981 and 2010,” he explains. He took temperatures from every weather station in the U.S. and Canada and “just connected the dots,” he says. “There were some decisions I made to maximize area and connectivity.”
Forging a route was no easy task, as weather stations hit normal high temperatures of 70 degrees over vast amounts of time and space. This visualization gives an indication of how America’s daily 70-degree highs shift throughout the year:
Might be a fun retirement trip. And it only requires driving 21,295 km.
Delta Airlines' management showed this week that they have no clue how their greed comes across:
Two posters made by Delta as part of an effort to dissuade thousands of its workers from joining a union drew a torrent of criticism after they were posted on social media Thursday.
The posters included messages targeting the price of the dues that company workers would be paying if the union formed.
“Union dues cost around $700 a year,” one noted. “A new video game system with the latest hits sounds like fun. Put your money towards that instead of paying dues to the union.”
The other, with a picture of a football, was framed similarly.
“What does $700 mean to you?” it said. “Nothing’s more enjoyable than a night out watching football with your buddies. All those union dues you pay every year could buy a few rounds.”
Delta made $5.2 billion in pre-tax income in 2018 and gave away about $1.3 billion to its employees in bonuses, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Union supporters were quick to point to the company’s financial success in recent years — it made $10.5 billion in revenue the first quarter of the year and saw its profits increase 31 percent to $730 million. Its chief executive, Ed Bastian, reportedly received $13.2 million in compensation in 2017.
Nice work, Delta. Yet another reason I fly American.
The Great American Rail-Trail is nearing completion:
On Wednesday, the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy gave the grand reveal for an entirely car-free way to get across the country—the Great American Rail-Trail—that would connect Washington, D.C., to Seattle. The path runs through 12 states: Maryland, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Nebraska, Wyoming, Montana, Idaho, and Washington.
The launch event kicked off at Capitol Hill in D.C., near where the Capital Crescent Trail begins the cross-country route, as part of a live-streamed broadcast of events at stops along the way, including Columbus, Ohio; Three Forks, Montana; and South Cle Elu, Washington.
The vision for a complete cross-country route was one of the founding dreams for the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy, an organization hatched in 1986 to help convert former rail corridors into public trails for bikers, strollers, and other active transportation types. Founders David Burwell and Peter Harnik were railroad history buffs, and a coast-to-coast backbone was always part their vision. Not coincidentally, this week marks the 150th anniversary of the completion of the Transcontinental Railroad in 1869.
The group believes that they can finish the project in about 20 years.
Twenty years ago today, on 9 May 1999, I took my first solo flight around Essex County Airport during my private-pilot flight training.
I haven't flown much in a couple of years, and I'm working on getting back in the air. I miss it. And I can scarcely believe that I've known how to safely land an airplane on my own for two decades.
A farmer in Scotland tweaks American tourists:
A cheeky farmer is winding up American tourists by spray-painting her sheep tartan – and claiming it’s caused by the animals drinking popular Scottish soft drink, Irn-Bru.
Owner Maxine Scott, 62, used her skills with a spray-can to brighten up ewes April and Daisy.
Scott puts up a sign pretending that the sheep turn bright orange naturally and that their fleeces are then used to make tartan wool for kilts and blankets.
The sheep live on Auchingarrich Wildlife Centre, Comrie, Perthshire, and are decorated using marker spray, used by farmers to identify sheep during lamb numbering.
I wonder what clan they're in?
A large number of articles bubbled up in my inbox (and RSS feeds) this morning. Some were just open tabs from the weekend. From the Post:
In other news:
And now, to work, perchance to write...
Sunday night I visited my 30th park. I have to say, Coors Field is better than Coors Beer.
The Phillies won, because apparently I am a curse on all the ballparks I visit. But that's OK. Being in Denver on 4/20, and having walked past the 4/20 Festival earlier in the day, I really didn't mind all that much.
It's hard to tell, but while I had a really great seat, the foul screen meant my photos weren't perfect:
The weather nearly was, though. And it was a fun game.
Just two parks left: Toronto on June 28th, and St. Louis on September 27th.
Friday night I got to my 29th (out of 32 planned) baseball park: Globe Life Park in Arlington, Texas. I didn't realize until I got there that they're tearing it down at the end of this season. (That might affect the Geas if I don't get to both Toronto and St. Louis this season.)
It was too busy at the start of the game to get the front-gate photo I always try for. But here's the view from my seat:
And the whole park:
Things didn't go well for the (then) last-place Rangers. Their in-state division rivals the Astros beat them 7-2.
But that didn't bother my neighbor, 4-year-old Leilee. She spent a good bit of the game figuring out, through trial and error, how to use binoculars:
It was a decent park, and we had really good seats as you can see. But hey, American League, right? And next year will be truly horrifying: the new Globe Life Field will have artificial grass. Sacrilege.