Politics, Weather, Photography, and the Dog
Thursday 10 November 2011
  • Two of my Duke classmates;
  • Crystal Bowersox;
  • Snow (which, in the last five minutes, has disappeared in favor of crystal clear blue skies); and
  • An aggressive batch of chicken soup that, about an hour and a half ago, destroyed my laptop.

Three out of four is, all things considered, a good average.

Thursday 10 November 2011 14:07:43 CST (UTC-06:00)  |  | Chicago | Kitchen Sink | Weather#

Last night, Penn State students rioted in support of disgraced football coach Joe Paterno:

Jimmy Gallagher, raised on the shoulders of students at the top of the Old Main staircase, shouted from a megaphone.

"We stand united as students. We don't care what anyone else has to say. We want Joe and we want him back," Gallagher (freshman-energy business and finance) said.

Jimmy, your football coach—a grandfather, if one can believe—failed to take action for nine years after he learned that one of his subordinates reported witnessing another subordinate raping a 10-year-old boy in a locker room shower. And there's evidence that Paterno had received other allegations against Sandusky going back to the mid-1990s.

The legal process must take its course before we can actually call former coach Jerry Sandusky a child rapist. But that doesn't matter to the appalling lack of moral intelligence Penn State students, staff, and administrators have displayed in the last few days.

Jerry Sandusky may not have done anything he's accused of doing. But if someone witnessed him having sex with a 10-year-old boy in the showers, for that person at the very least not to run to the nearest phone and call 911, or (given the witness was a former football player) not to beat the snot out of the (alleged) child rapist on the spot and then call 911, beggars the imagination.

So, Penn State students who rioted yesterday, you are voicing your support for a man who did nothing to investigate a credible report of child rape for 9 years after he learned of the incident. You're mad he won't get to coach a football game, but not mad he (allegedly) covered up a horrible crime? Wow.

The damage that Paterno, Sandusky, and everyone who failed to act even with the morality of a professional tobacco lobbyist did to Penn State's reputation will take a generation to fix. Who cares about the next three football games.

Updated to correct grammar, dates.

Thursday 10 November 2011 10:49:53 CST (UTC-06:00)  |  | US#
Wednesday 9 November 2011

Many people reading this blog actually see the posts a day or so later when they show up on my Facebook page. For years, Facebook has imported The Daily Parker through the blog's RSS feed.

Today, Facebook announced it will discontinue the practice before Thanksgiving:

You currently automatically import content from your website or blog into your Facebook notes. Starting November 22nd, this feature will no longer be available, although you'll still be able to write individual notes. The best way to share content from your website is to post links on your Wall. Learn more about notes.

Any ideas why?

Wednesday 9 November 2011 12:41:40 CST (UTC-06:00)  |  | Blogs#

Singer Kina Grannis has released a new video that used 280,000 Jelly Bellies and took her nearly two years to make:

As a plus, it's a catchy song with not one but two ear-worms in it. (Watch for the second one.)

Wednesday 9 November 2011 07:37:26 CST (UTC-06:00)  |  | Kitchen Sink | Cool links#

If you're in Chicago, wear layers:

The latest fall storm's "warm sector"—a prod of mild air which floods up the east side of many storms, often fueling t-storms while wrapping moisture into such systems' backside snows—is to send a brief but noticeable surge of warm into at least a portion of the metro area—primarily from the city and south suburban locations Wednesday morning. Some 16°C temperatures are possible before winds shift west and strengthen, sending temperatures diving the remainder of Wednesday into Thursday.

If the scenario unfolds as currently predicted, falling temperatures will take readings from 14.5°C lower by mid and late afternoon, situating readings near freezing at a number of locations before sunset. These would be the coldest daytime readings since April.

Check out the Tribune's graphic. Tomorrow I'll publish the actual temperatures to see how close they were.

For those keeping score, the last freezing temperature we had in Chicago occurred April 21st, but the last below-freezing reading was back on April 1st.

Wednesday 9 November 2011 07:30:59 CST (UTC-06:00)  |  | Chicago | Weather#
Tuesday 8 November 2011

How about adding more useless traffic controls?

Insisting it’s about protecting children — not raising revenue — Mayor Rahm Emanuel on Monday made a final push for the authority he needs to use red-light cameras and cameras concealed in vans to catch motorists who speed near schools and parks.

Of course, increasing revenue is a welcome side-effect:

A study of seven red light camera intersections tracked 1.5 million vehicles and captured over 360,000 drivers (25%) violating the 30 mph speed limit. If just those speeding drivers were mailed the traditional $100 fine, it would rake in $36 million into Chicago’s nearly depleted coffers. If 75% or more of Chicago’s 190 intersections were mailing speeders $100 violation notices, the revenue could be staggering–revenue that could help Mayor Emanuel fill the city’s massive budget deficit.

But think of the children. They're going to have to find some way to buy back the parking meters.

Tuesday 8 November 2011 13:29:31 CST (UTC-06:00)  |  | Chicago | World#
Monday 7 November 2011

Barry Ritholtz at the Washington Post explodes the big lie about why we're in a recession:

A Big Lie is so colossal that no one would believe that someone could have the impudence to distort the truth so infamously. There are many examples: Claims that Earth is not warming, or that evolution is not the best thesis we have for how humans developed. Those opposed to stimulus spending have gone so far as to claim that the infrastructure of the United States is just fine, Grade A (not D, as the we discussed last month), and needs little repair.

Wall Street has its own version: Its Big Lie is that banks and investment houses are merely victims of the crash.

[New York Mayor Michael] Bloomberg was partially correct [when he blamed the crisis on Congress]: Congress did radically deregulate the financial sector, doing away with many of the protections that had worked for decades. Congress allowed Wall Street to self-regulate, and the Fed the turned a blind eye to bank abuses.

The previous Big Lie — the discredited belief that free markets require no adult supervision — is the reason people have created a new false narrative.

The entire column is worth reading.

Monday 7 November 2011 11:50:20 CST (UTC-06:00)  |  | US#
Sunday 6 November 2011

No, not my student loan; my horological one. I might be alone here, but the return of standard time means I get the hour back that I loaned out in March. It also means I don't have to wake up before dawn any more—at least for a couple of weeks. Even Parker seems to like the "fall back." At least, he had the decency not to wake me up until 7:30am.

For most of the U.S. and Canada, today's was the earliest sunrise until February 28th. Unfortunately, today's sunset will the earliest since January 10th, as we enter the 12 or so weeks of afternoon gloom.

On the third hand (I missed my calling as an economist), Chicago's weather today is crisp and sunny, and Parker needs some walks.

Sunday 6 November 2011 09:23:04 CST (UTC-06:00)  |  | Chicago | Weather | Astronomy#
Friday 4 November 2011

Apparently the aurora borealis came all the way down to the middle of the U.S. earlier this week. With a little probing, I found the University of Alaska aurora forecast page. Tonight, we probably won't see the aurorae in Chicago. But there's a huge sunspot right now, so possibly we'll see one later in the week.

Here's the self-updating NOAA map. The bright area shows the current aurora; the red line points to the sun.

Friday 4 November 2011 13:45:19 CDT (UTC-05:00)  |  | Astronomy#

From last weekend, yet another Daily Parker duck:

ISO-200, 1/250 at f/8, 55mm, here.

By the way, can anyone identify the species?

Friday 4 November 2011 13:12:08 CDT (UTC-05:00)  |  | Chicago | Photography#
Thursday 3 November 2011

I'm not the only one watching sunrise times these days. Naomi the Nature Nerd also wishes we'd end Daylight Saving Time earlier:

I know that this weekend's Fall Back means I'll be coming home in the dark, instead. I'd rather just have longer days :) but given the latitude... If I have to choose, I'd choose to leave work at night, not arrive there at night!

At least this weekend won't be the latest sunrise ever in Chicago. That honor goes to 6 January 1974, when the U.S. went on Daylight Saving Time several months early in response to the 1973 oil crisis. That morning the sun rose in Chicago at 8:18.

This Saturday's sunrise will be the latest until 2016. Last year's November 6th sunrise, at 7:30am, was the latest since 1974 and will be the latest until 2021.

Of course, it could be worse. In Barrow, Alaska, the United States' northernmost city, the sun rises on Saturday at 11:37am. Barrow's latest sunrise will be November 19th, at 12:59pm—26 minutes before it sets again, not to return until January 23rd.


Thursday 3 November 2011 13:02:50 CDT (UTC-05:00)  |  | Chicago | Astronomy#
Wednesday 2 November 2011

Apparently Herman Cain's foreign-policy experience needs an update—to 1964:

JUDY WOODRUFF: Do you view China as a potential military threat to the United States?

HERMAN CAIN: I do view China as a potential military threat to the United States.

JUDY WOODRUFF: And what could you do as president to head that off?

HERMAN CAIN: My China strategy is quite simply outgrow China. It gets back to economics. China has a $6 trillion economy and they're growing at approximately 10 percent. We have a $14 trillion economy -- much bigger -- but we're growing at an anemic 1.5, 1.6 percent. When we get our economy growing back at the rate of 5 or 6 percent that it has the ability to do, we will outgrow China.

And secondly, we already have superiority in terms of our military capability, and I plan to get away from making cutting our defense a priority and make investing in our military capability a priority, going back to my statement: peace through strength and clarity. So yes they're a military threat. They've indicated that they're trying to develop nuclear capability and they want to develop more aircraft carriers like we have. So yes, we have to consider them a military threat.

Emphasis mine. Note that China detonated its first nuclear bomb in 1964, and launched an aircraft carrier earlier this year.

It seems more and more obvious this guy is running for President solely as a business plan and not because, you know, he wants to be President.

Wednesday 2 November 2011 13:00:59 CDT (UTC-05:00)  |  | US#
On this page....
Discovered in Chicago today
A heartbreaking scene of staggering idiocy
Facebook to stop importing The Daily Parker
Reagan would have swooned
How to dress today
How to increase cynicism in Chicago
The Big Lie
Aurora forecast page
Photo of the Day
Waking up in the dark
Does anyone take Cain seriously? If so, why?
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David Braverman and Parker
David Braverman is the Chief Technology Officer of Holden International in Chicago, and the creator of Weather Now. Parker is the most adorable dog on the planet, 80% of the time.
All content Copyright ©2015 David Braverman.
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