Politics, Weather, Photography, and the Dog
Monday 28 May 2012

I'm not sure what to make of this:

Inside, the capsule's sole passenger would ride in a near-standing position, wearing a G-suit to help force blood to the head during acceleration. The passenger's head would sit in a transparent hemispheric dome topped with an aerospike for better supersonic performance. It gets better.

Dimensions of the capsule's cabin area are roughly two feet (diameter) by 7.5 feet (length). There will be no room in the capsule for movement once the vehicle goes weightless. After launching to 100 miles, parachutes will be used to slow the final descent.

That sounds...well, "fun" doesn't come immediately to mind.

Monday 28 May 2012 09:21:40 CDT (UTC-05:00)  |  | Aviation#
Sunday 27 May 2012

The bridge opened for foot traffic on 27 May 1937:

Naturally, the city is having a party.

Sunday 27 May 2012 09:10:49 CDT (UTC-05:00)  |  | San Francisco#
Friday 25 May 2012

The last time I flew home from San Francisco, we landed in Rockford after missing the approach at O'Hare because of wind shear.

Yesterday, we didn't divert to a different airport, but neither did we take the most direct path:

We almost flew into Canada, according to the captain. As it is we were only about 20 minutes late.

Friday 25 May 2012 17:33:56 CDT (UTC-05:00)  |  | Aviation | Chicago | San Francisco | Travel#

Before leaving for California last weekend, I made sure to park my car on a street not scheduled for street cleaning while I was away.

At 9:02 this morning, with me still half a block away, I watched a cop put a ticket on the car.

Two minutes. Because I stopped for coffee. Herp derp.

Friday 25 May 2012 17:23:32 CDT (UTC-05:00)  |  | Chicago | Kitchen Sink#
Thursday 24 May 2012

I'm once again in an airport, on my way home. While you're waiting eagerly for my next blog post, check these out:

Share and enjoy.

Oh, and there's a Lufthansa Airbus 380 parked here today. I really must see one of those monsters up close someday.

Thursday 24 May 2012 13:31:44 PDT (UTC-07:00)  |  | Aviation | Kitchen Sink | San Francisco | Travel#
Wednesday 23 May 2012

At dinner last night with some of my B-school friends, conversation turned to the two most perplexing stock offerings of the last year: Facebook's and Groupon's. In both cases, the companies' very young owners and very rich venture capital investors got rich, but what happened after that? Here's Facebook's performance this week:

And Groupon's:

This morning, Groupon announced a proposed settlement in the class-action suit accusing them of practicing their well-known business model:

If you purchased or received a Groupon Voucher issued for redemption in the United States between November 1, 2008 and December 1, 2011, then you are a member of the class (“Class Member”) for purposes of this class action settlement, and may be entitled to receive settlement benefits, unless you are one of the following: (1) an employee of Groupon, Inc.; (2) a business with whom Groupon has partnered to offer Groupon vouchers (“Merchant Partners”); or (3) a parent company, subsidiary, affiliate or director or officer of Groupon or a Merchant Partner.

Facebook has its own problems. It's been a public company for less than three days, and already the SEC is investigating. Where they go, lawsuits surely will follow:

[R]egulators are concerned that banks may have shared information only with certain clients, rather than broadly with investors. On Tuesday, William Galvin, the secretary of state in Massachusetts, subpoenaed Morgan Stanley over discussions with investors about Facebook’s offering. The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, Wall Street’s self-regulator, is also looking into the matter. The chairwoman of the Securities and Exchange Commission, Mary L. Schapiro, said Tuesday that the agency would examine issues related to Facebook’s I.P.O., but she did not elaborate.

Morgan Stanely, the banker in question, led both the Groupon and Facebook IPOs.

At least they didn't lose $2 billion last week gambling with money insured by us taxpayers.

Wednesday 23 May 2012 08:21:59 PDT (UTC-07:00)  |  | US | Business#
Tuesday 22 May 2012

The fog will roll in after noon, but at 7am there wasn't a cloud:

This is my fourth-favorite city in the world.

Tuesday 22 May 2012 08:56:27 PDT (UTC-07:00)  |  | San Francisco#
Monday 21 May 2012

This evening's eclipse, through clouds:

Also visible in the shadows:

An hour later, it's a lot brighter out.

Sunday 20 May 2012 19:29:33 PDT (UTC-07:00)  |  | San Francisco | Astronomy#
Sunday 20 May 2012

I've never seen this before. Here's the French presidential airplane, parked on the south apron at O'Hare yesterday:

Parked nearby were Azerbaijan's, Italy's, and (I think) Russia's, but I couldn't get good photos with my tiny backup camera.

Let me be an aviation nerd for a second. This is an Airbus 320, without any obvious modifications. So how did it get an all the way here from Paris? I assume it stopped at Andrews AFB in Maryland to drop President Hollande off. But even Paris to Andrews seems like a long flight for that plane. The A320 has a maximum range of 6,150 km. Paris to Andrews is 6,183 km—possible, but risky, as it wouldn't leave any margin for error even after flying as efficiently as possible. Not to mention, flying trans-Atlantic westbound goes against the prevailing winds. So did they stop for fuel somewhere? Or does the plane carry more fuel than the bog-standard air transport model?

I realize this is not the most important aspect of the NATO summit, but I am curious.

Sunday 20 May 2012 07:32:18 PDT (UTC-07:00)  |  | Aviation | Chicago | World#

This week's Charlemagne column:

THE Merkozy era is over. So how to label the partnership of Angela Merkel and François Hollande? Merging first names to make Frangela is too familiar for leaders who barely know each other. Homer is too American (or worse, Greek). Merkollande sounds too close to Merkozy. That leaves just the shortened Merde, which at least sums up the state of the euro.

I read this on the plane yesterday, sitting next to someone eagerly studying his Bible (with highlights!). I laughed so hard I scared him.

Of course, once I finished with the Economist I returned to Krugman's End This Depression Now!, which just mad me sad. I'm hoping against reason that between yesterday's G8 summit and today's NATO conference, the Western democracies finally—finally!—throw out the austerity programs that have made things worse for millions of people, and instead start getting people back to work.

Sunday 20 May 2012 07:07:54 PDT (UTC-07:00)  |  | US#

Jeff Atwood has the definitive explanation:

["Lorem ipsum"] is arbitrarily rearranged and not quite coherent Latin, extracted from a book Cicero wrote in 45 BC. Here's the complete quote, with the bits and pieces that make up Lorem Ipsum ....

Nemo enim ipsam voluptatem, quia voluptas sit, aspernatur aut odit aut fugit, sed quia consequuntur magni dolores eos, qui ratione voluptatem sequi nesciunt, neque porro quisquam est, qui dolorem ipsum, quia dolor sit amet, consectetur, adipisci[ng] velit, sed quia non numquam [do] eius modi tempora inci[di]dunt, ut labore et dolore magnam aliquam quaerat voluptatem. Ut enim ad minima veniam, quis nostrum exercitationem ullam corporis suscipit laboriosam, nisi ut aliquid ex ea commodi consequatur? Quis autem vel eum iure reprehenderit, qui in ea voluptate velit esse, quam nihil molestiae consequatur, vel illum, qui dolorem eum fugiat, quo voluptas nulla pariatur?

At vero eos et accusamus et iusto odio dignissimos ducimus, qui blanditiis praesentium voluptatum deleniti atque corrupti, quos dolores et quas molestias excepturi sint, obcaecati cupiditate non provident, similique sunt in culpa, qui officia deserunt mollitia animi, id est laborum et dolorum fuga.

But what does it all mean?

He even included a lengthy list of websites that have tons of the stuff hanging around.

Quod erat demonstrandum.

Saturday 19 May 2012 20:23:55 PDT (UTC-07:00)  |  | Cool links#
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David Braverman is a software developer in Chicago, and the creator of Weather Now. Parker is the most adorable dog on the planet, 80% of the time.
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