Politics, Weather, Photography, and the Dog
Monday 29 October 2012

Their new baby is actually cuter than their Lab, but only just:

Also, the baby is too young to see the camera, while Uma here found it fascinating.

Monday 29 October 2012 10:53:25 CDT (UTC-05:00)  |  | Kitchen Sink#

Just watch:

Monday 29 October 2012 10:51:42 CDT (UTC-05:00)  |  | US#
Sunday 28 October 2012

A couple of days ago at work, we were talking about stupid things sports commentators say. In any sport, but much more so in baseball and U.S. football than others, you hear some commentator say "Well, Bob, with runners on first and third on a night with a 10-knot breeze out of the northeast, when the pitcher's name starts with 'M', there's only a 1-in-65 chance a left-handed batter with six toes on his right foot will fly out to center." Who cares, right?

But being in Chicago, there is a huge question in that category that we should answer: What are the odds that a baseball team can fail to win the World Series for 104 years?

Of course, given the Chicago Cubs' history, the odds are observably certain that one baseball team can do it. But, all things equal, what is the probability this can happen?

Here's how we figured it out. First, in any given year, all but one team does not win the World Series. For example, there are 30 teams right now, but only the San Francisco Giants will win the World Series. (Tonight, in fact, unless Detroit suddenly turns into a different baseball team.) So the basic formula for the probability of losing the world series is:

...where t is the number of teams and y is the number of years with that number of teams.

Since the Cubs last won in 1908, Major League Baseball has expanded six times, from 16 teams (in 1908) to 30 teams today. With 30 teams, the probability of losing the World Series is 0.9667, that is, 29 in 30. In 1908, the probability of losing was much smaller, 0.9375, or 15 in 16.

But here's the problem. The probabilities are multiplied together, like this:

Since 1908, there have been 103 World Series (there wasn't on in 1994, remember), so the data going into the formula are: from 1908 to 1960, 16 teams and 53 Series; in 1961, 18 teams, 1 Series; 1962 to 1968, 20 and 7; 1969 to 1976, 24 and 8; 1977 to 1992, 26 and 16; 1993 to 1997, 28 and 4; since 1998, 30 and 14. Doing the math, we come up with...wow.

The probability that the Cubs would lose all 103 World Series contests since last winning in 1908 is 0.00441, or 1 in 227.

I will now go cry.

And just for giggles, the probability that they would fail to play in the Series (i.e., win the pennant) since their last appearance in 1945 is 0.04798, or 1 in 21. So there's hope.

Sunday 28 October 2012 10:49:31 CDT (UTC-05:00)  |  | Baseball | Chicago#

As if my just-born nephew and soon-to-be-born other nephew weren't making this fall all about babies, two of my friends had to go and spawn as well. This is what they produced a couple weeks ago:

Wait, it gets cuter. Photobomb!

Now that we've met all the characters, let's bring them together:

We now return to your regularly-scheduled blog.

Sunday 28 October 2012 10:00:48 CDT (UTC-05:00)  |  | Kitchen Sink#
Saturday 27 October 2012

First, while I knew this existed, it still took me aback:

At the location the BBC used as the Torchwood 3 main entrance, the good people of the world have put up a shrine to fictional character Ianto Jones, which the Mermaid Quay management have sanctioned. As much as I found Torchwood to be an entertaining television show, and even though I went to Cardiff in part to see some of their shooting locations in person, I find this...creepy.

Cooler, significantly, were these props, at the Doctor Who Experience:

From left to right, those are baby Weeping Angels, a wounded Angel (both from the most recent Doctor Who episode, "The Angels Take Manhattan"), and the Oswin Dalek from "Asylum of the Daleks."

All right, you think it's cool too. Admit it.

Saturday 27 October 2012 15:18:35 CDT (UTC-05:00)  |  | Kitchen Sink | Travel#
Friday 26 October 2012

I've been a little swamped since getting home, so not until just now, when I have a few minutes to watch a deployment go out, have I had time to go through my Cardiff photos. Why Cardiff? I hear you cry. Well, I'm not ashamed to admit it:

Yes, that's the only place in the world that has the original TARDIS:

It was also a lot of fun to see Roald Dahl Plass; in particular, this:

Points if you know exactly what this is, and why I've included it. Major points.

More UK photos tomorrow.

Friday 26 October 2012 16:33:11 CDT (UTC-05:00)  |  | Kitchen Sink | Travel#

Way back in January 2006, the longest hurricane season ever to blow through the North Atlantic led to some off the wall updates from the National Hurricane Center. Today webcomic xkcd relives the experience. It's worth a quick read.

Friday 26 October 2012 15:33:58 CDT (UTC-05:00)  |  | Weather#

If we re-elect the President, then four years from now everyone in the US will have guaranteed health care—more than just the basic system we've had since 2009. If not, in four years no one will. (Note, also, that the President got us a health care system that ensures people don't die because they have pre-existing allergies or because they're somehow less lucrative for private insurance companies to cover.)

If we re-elect the President, then four years from now we'll have taken all our troops out of Afghanistan and Iraq, and we'll have forced Iran to give up its nuclear weapons program without firing a shot. If not, in four years we'll be at war with Iran, and we'll still have troops in the other two countries. And we'll be paying for it, whether in higher taxes or in a weaker dollar. (Note that the President has lined up support around the world to force Iran to capitulate, almost completely, on this issue.)

If we re-elect the President, then four years from now, taxes on the rich will be at least the same as on everyone else, and they'll have fewer loopholes to use to avoid paying their fair share. If not, in four years taxes on the middle class will be higher, and on the rich, lower.

I'm not making these things up. These predictions come from a plain reading of the stated positions of the two campaigns.

President Obama believes in a strong middle class, in making sure that Americans don't starve or go without basic health insurance, and that evidence is the best way to learn about the world.

Mitt Romney believes...well, I mean, who knows? Because in the last three weeks, Romney has changed from a radical right-wing Republican to endorsing the President's views on just about everything. His only goal in life is to become president, and he'll say and do anything to get the job. But for six years, since leaving the state house in Boston, he's campaigned on a platform so right wing that only the hardest-core Republicans supported him in 2008. (Against John McCain, too—hardly a liberal.)

If you're rich, or you're a Christian fundamentalist, then you should vote for Mitt Romney. If either the rich or the fundamentalists make you nervous, you should vote for the President. More precisely, if you want at least to stay where you are despite the rich guys trying to take your money, or if you worry about ever having to go to a hospital, If you're none of the above, you have 11 days to decide whether you believe in a United States governed by reason, or a United States ruled by fear.

This isn't the most difficult election the U.S. has ever faced; but it is the clearest choice presented in the last 50 years. Somehow, though, I think very few people will understand or accept the results this time. So we'll get to make the same choice in 2016. I only hope that then, we can have an election without the idiotic distractions we're seeing this time. I also hope to win the lottery. We shall see.

Friday 26 October 2012 00:12:06 CDT (UTC-05:00)  |  | US#
Thursday 25 October 2012

That was the Space Shuttle Carrier's call sign last month. Just watch:

Thursday 25 October 2012 14:34:12 CDT (UTC-05:00)  |  | Aviation#

What does it say that I sent this blog post to Instapaper because I haven't got any time to read it right now?

Sigh. Only a couple more days of this sprint, then things calm down.

Thursday 25 October 2012 08:43:20 CDT (UTC-05:00)  |  | Kitchen Sink#
Wednesday 24 October 2012

Apparently the weekend I just spent in the UK did not actually change the number of hours I have to work this month. Oops.

Wales photos tomorrow, I guess...

Wednesday 24 October 2012 16:26:44 CDT (UTC-05:00)  |  | Travel#
Monday 22 October 2012

...two things. (At least today.)

First, it turns out, if you don't get into the Tube in time, you wind up either having to walk several miles in the rain or you have to catch a cab in the City and spend £23 getting back to your hotel. There is no other OECD capital—I mean, none—that fails to provide 24-hour public transportation. Except Washington. But let's not discuss that for a moment.

Second, what the hell is this?

Before you say, "duh! It's a sink!", let me assure you I was able to identify the fixture in real time when it became relevant to do so. What I cannot fathom, so to speak, is how the United Kingdom has enjoyed 2,000 years of indoor plumbing and yet cannot seem to construct a washbasin, shower, or toilet that handles the basic necessities of the task for which it was constructed.

Take this thing. Those tiles are the same as U.S. tiles, about 13 cm on a side. The sink, therefore, is about 20 cm across and 15 cm deep, meaning unless you have hands smaller than the average park squirrel, they won't fit in there. Also notice, despite the technological advances made since the second century of the common era, there is a hot spigot and a cold one. On average, the two produce water at a comfortably warm temperature. Separately, one produces water barely able to remain liquid without flashing into superheated steam, and the other produces almost-freezing slush.

Can someone explain why these ridiculous dual-faucet sinks have survived into the era of the printing press and the wheel? It just doesn't seem like a great intellectual leap to prevent freezing and burning when trying to wash one's hands.

Monday 22 October 2012 02:57:48 BST (UTC+01:00)  |  | Travel#

Since reading about the renaissance of brewing in London last summer, I've had Southampton Arms on my short list of pubs to visit. I spent the evening there (now that I've gotten back on Chicago time after sleeping nearly 12 bloody hours), and I have decided it is, quite possibly, the best pub in the world—Duke of Perth excepted.

First, it has everything I look for in a pub bar one: good atmosphere, great beers, a regular crowd, and no televisions. I only wish it had WiFi. Instead, it has Fred:

Of course I don't mean to make Parker jealous, but Fred—a true bar bitch, despite her name—is astounding not only by being a sweet and calm bar hound, but also by not weighing two hundred kilos. Seriously: the amount of food I watched her Hoover off the floor would have swollen Parker up like the Graf Zeppelin.

Fred must have decided that I had good hands, or at least that I was a pushover, because she spent about two hours keeping my feet warm and hoping that I would drop something resembling food for her. That, and I kept scritching her. Everybody won!

The pub also had some top-notch English independent brews, especially Marble Pint APA and Lagonda IPA, the two best English-brewed beers I've ever had. It's almost as if the quaint island of Britain has discovered that beer tastes better with hops, damned be the old men drinking their real ales. And yet, these two beers topped out at perhaps 60 IBUs and under 4.5% ABV, putting them well within the category we Americans label "session beers." (In the UK, one must remember, all beers are session beers, so these two are actually near the top of the bitterness and alcohol scales here.)

I will absolutely return to this pub the next time I come to London, which, barring injury or war, will be shortly after the new year. And in the spirit of a true English public house, let me thank Joe, Laurie, Martin, Hester, Beatrice, Lewis, and the rest of the crowd with whom I shared many rounds on a rainy, cold Sunday in October.

Monday 22 October 2012 02:08:21 BST (UTC+01:00)  |  | Travel#
Saturday 20 October 2012

I'm in London this weekend, having used a bunch of frequent-flyer miles to get here. And because they were frequent-flyer miles, I decided to fly British Airways first class.

Usually, when I fly to London, I take American Airlines flight 90, a 767 (my favorite plane in American's fleet) that leaves Chicago around 9am and arrives at Heathrow around 10:30pm. That schedule completely eliminates jet lag for me. On arriving in London, I have dinner at a takeaway curry place or something around midnight, stay up until 3 or so reading, and from that point on manage to stay approximately on Chicago time for as long as I'm in London.

This time, because I wanted to fly in BA's updated first class cabin, I had to take an overnight flight. (From Atlanta, in fact—but that's a different story.) I thought, hey, great, I can sleep, and then wake up just before we land (at 10:30am), still pretty close to a Chicago schedule.

Nope. Not even close. At 6am London time (midnight Chicago time) I was in that wired state where I couldn't concentrate enough to read and I couldn't close my eyes to sleep. I managed about 90 minutes of sleep, disrupted, I have no doubt, by the Glenlivet 18 and 20-year-old port that the flight attendant kept bringing me.

In consequence, it's just past 7:30pm here, and all I want to do is sleep. But that would be really, really dumb, because I would wake up at some random time in the middle of the night, which would put my body on New Delhi time or something. I could go to a pub, but for some reason I don't think having a pint is a good idea at this particular moment. I can't really focus long enough to read yet, because of the fatigue and sleep deprivation, and as you can see I'm having trouble writing coherently.

Tomorrow I'll probably have gotten the diurnal cycle sorted out. Tonight, I'm kicking myself for making a series of choices that essentially cost me an enjoyable day in London.

Oh, and half the damn Tube is out this weekend. Moan, moan, moan.

Saturday 20 October 2012 19:45:26 BST (UTC+01:00)  |  | Aviation#
Search
On this page....
My friends' dog
Joss Whedon endorses...well...
What are the odds for a losing streak?
We interrupt this blog to bring you a new...baby
More of the Doctor in Cardiff
First Cardiff photos
xkcd looks at the 2005 Atlantic hurricane season
There is no time to 'splain. Let me sum up.
Astro 95 over Los Angeles
Popping up for a second
Home, mostly
New feature: "I love the UK! Except..."
Southampton Arms, Gospel Oak, London
Nice theory about overnight flights
Countdowns
The Daily Parker +3203d 12h 11m
My next birthday 13d 23h 19m
Parker's 9th birthday 298d 01h 02m
Categories
Aviation (322) Baseball (109) Best Bars (5) Biking (43) Chicago (866) Cubs (196) Duke (132) Geography (314) Higher Ground (5) Jokes (282) Kitchen Sink (624) London (41) Parker (185) Daily (204) Photography (139) Politics (302) US (1060) World (242) Raleigh (20) Readings (8) Religion (62) San Francisco (83) Software (196) Blogs (72) Business (223) Cloud (89) Cool links (130) Security (98) Travel (175) Weather (676) Astronomy (77) Windows Azure (59) Work (45) Writing (8)
Links
Archive
<October 2012>
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
30123456
78910111213
14151617181920
21222324252627
28293031123
45678910
Full archive
Blogroll
About
David Braverman and Parker
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.
Legal
All content Copyright ©2014 David Braverman.
Creative Commons License
The Daily Parker by David Braverman is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License, excluding photographs, which may not be republished unless otherwise noted.
Admin Login
Sign In
Blog Stats
Total Posts: 4435
This Year: 333
This Month: 30
This Week: 7
Comments: 0