It's time for the semi-annual update of the Chicago sunrise chart. (You can get one for your own location at http://www.wx-now.com/Sunrise/SunriseChart.aspx.) I'm a little late with the mid-year update because I've been a little busy. You haven't missed much—and anyway, they overlap.
An interesting note about 2010: the sunset on November 6th will be the latest sunrise in Chicago (7:30am) until 2021—and that, only within 4 seconds of precision.
||Equinox, 22:09 CDT
||Latest sunrise until 6 Nov 2021
Latest sunset until Feb 28th
||Standard time returns
Earliest sunrise until Mar 3rd
||Earliest sunset of the year
||Solstice, 17:38 CST
||Latest sunrise until Oct. 29th
||Earliest sunrise until Apr. 17th
Earliest sunset until Oct. 26th
||Daylight savings time begins
Latest sunrise until Oct. 19th
Earliest sunset until Sept. 19th
||7am sunrise, 7pm sunset
||Equinox 18:21 CDT
||6:30am sunrise (again)
||Earliest sunrise of the year
||Solstice 12:16 CDT
||Latest sunset of the year
You can get sunrise information for your location at wx-now.com.
The ParkerCam has returned:
It may be up infrequently, and I have no idea where I'm going to point it all the time, but at least it's on again.
A strong cold front and impressive thunderstorms came through last night. After an entire month of high temperatures above 26°C, it got down to 18°C last night. I've got my windows open, only one fan running (to pull air through the house), and a dog who needs a good, 8 km walk.
And then, later on today, a much-missed Daily Parker feature will return.
Every nine and a half years, I'm unable to leave the country for a few weeks because I've sent my passport off to be renewed. I just did that today. Not that I'm planning to flee into exile this month or anything, but still I hate not having the document. Right now the Department of State estimates 4 to 6 weeks to renew it. I guess I'll hang out here until September.
Still, it boggles my mind that only 28% of U.S. citizens have passports. That's far fewer than any other OECD country, though other rich countries have higher rates because they're surrounded by other countries.
I'm also getting extra pages right from the start. I hope to fill them before 2020.
My friend DC's puppy Rex:
Parker met Rex last week. Rex greeted Parker with lots and lots of barking. Parker, who for the moment outweighs Rex by 10 kg (but won't for very long) looked at Rex, blinked, and, with Rex following and barking hysterically, proceeded to investigate the apartment. Within about an hour Rex had decided that Parker was really cool and Parker had decided...well, nothing, because Parker is 4 and Rex is about 5 months old, so Parker just ignored Rex.
They'll have a play-date again when the weather cools off.
Via Sullivan, an unfortunate product from Scotland:
If the Old Spice guy really wants to prove his manliness, he should switch allegiances and endorse BrewDog, a Scottish craft brewery that has just released perhaps the most masculine product ever invented: a beer that contains 55 percent alcohol and comes packaged inside a taxidermied rodent. It costs £500 (about $760) per bottle and is called The End of History. PETA has yet to weigh in, but an Advocates for Animals rep calls the brew "a perverse idea" and adds: "People should learn to respect [animals] rather than using them for some stupid marketing gimmick." UPDATE: Despite the steep price tag, all 12 bottles of the beer sold out on Day 1.
Today's XKCD is unrelated to this, but still worthy of linking.
A friend drove through the squall line that hit the East Coast yesterday and got extremely lucky, when you think about it:
She's fine, and so is her car, though she had to have the windshield replaced in the dark because of the widespread power outages out there.
Then there's the heat. Cities all up and down the East Coast hit record high temperatures over the weekend, including 38°C in Raleigh, 41°C in Richmond, and 37°C in Washington.
Via Sullivan, Timothy Lee describes how freeway construction destroyed the center of St. Louis:
Planners in St. Louis, as in most American cities, decided that the new expressways would run directly through the cities’ downtowns. One of them (I-44/I-70) now runs North to South between the park and downtown. Not surprisingly, if you visit the park today you’ll find a light sprinkling of tourists, but nothing like the throngs of locals you’ll find in successful urban parks like New York’s Union Square, Philadelphia’s Rittenhouse Square, or DC’s Dupont Circle. Whatever “revitalizing” effects the park might have had on the rest of the city were undermined by the fact that the park isn’t really accessible to pedestrians in the rest of the city.
Planners pursued the same basic scheme in other American cities. And in almost every case, they encountered fierce resistance from people already living where the freeways were supposed to go. [Author Jane] Jacobs herself was a key player in the famous, and ultimately successful, effort to stop a proposed freeway through lower Manhattan. After decades of bitter conflict, similar plans were defeated in Washington, DC. Urbanists were partially successful in Philadelphia. They killed the Crosstown expressway, which would have cut through South Philly, but they failed to stop the Vine Street Expressway, which ran north of downtown and contributed to the destruction of Philly’s Chinatown.
In Chicago, the Eisenhower and U of I combined to destroy Little Italy; and the Dan Ryan sliced right through the principal middle-class black community, scattering black professionals to the winds.
Chicago got a bit of rain yesterday, after what seemed like a few weeks of drought:
Emergency personnel from Chicago and several suburbs headed to Westchester this morning after flooding caused by heavy overnight rainstorms forced the evacuation of a nursing home in the west suburb.
Overnight weather left many people and vehicles stranded on roadways as thunderstorms hit north central and northeast Illinois with intense lightning and winds up to 80 km/h. A flash flood warning [was] in effect until 7 p.m.
And it's not over:
Thunderstorms were on the decline by mid-morning, but as the day heats up and the front pushes into the state, thunderstorms should develop again by early afternoon. The National Storm Prediction Center has northeast and central Illinois and much of Indiana in the outlook area for potential severe storms.
With the front approaching from the west mid-afternoon, from that point on, it appears the biggest threat of severe storms in the Chicago area is south, then northwest Indiana late afternoon and evening.
Overnight it got down all the way to 21°C, briefly. Someday soon it'll get all the way up to 21°C, and I'll be happier.
Chicago is having a one-day respite from the longest streak of 32°C weather in four years:
Powerful thunderstorms bypassed Chicago Monday -- and so did 90-degree heat. It marked the first time in six days the mercury failed to reach 90 degrees here and ended the area's longest string of consecutive 90-degree days in four years. Not since July 28 through Aug. 2, 2006 had the Chicago area logged more 90-degree temperatures than in the five days leading up to Monday.
Incredibly, July 2010, with an average temperature of 25.6°C degrees on the books to date, is running 5.6°C warmer than the same period a year ago and nearly 2.8°C above the long-term average. Using temperature data as a guide, it appears air conditioner use for the month may be outpacing last year's usage by a whopping three and a half times!
The twelve 90-degree temperatures on the books this year is four times as many as had occurred by this time a year ago.
The more seasonable brand of warmth is to continue its dominance in the area Tuesday and Wednesday. Both days are likely to see highs in the mid 80s over the vast majority of the Chicago area. But a new round of 90-degree heat -- including the possibility of 2010's hottest temperature to date -- is in sight.
My air conditioners struggle to keep the temperature below 27°C. I am not happy. Parker has decided that sleeping on the hardwood floor directly under one of them is preferable to sleeping on his comfy bed. I'm beginning to agree.