The first significant snowfall of Winter 2012 has started:
The National Weather Service says:
A WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY REMAINS IN EFFECT FROM 9 AM CST /10 AM
EST/ THIS MORNING TO 9 AM CST /10 AM EST/ FRIDAY.
* TIMING...SNOW WILL BEGIN BETWEEN 9 AM AND NOON AND CONTINUE
INTO FRIDAY MORNING.
* ACCUMULATIONS...SNOWFALL TOTALS OF 100 TO 200 MM ARE LIKELY WITH
LOCALLY HEAVIER TOTALS POSSIBLE.
* HAZARDS...IN ADDITION TO THE FALLING SNOW...WINDS WILL INCREASE
TO 25 TO 40 KM/H WITH GUSTS UP TO 55 KM/H BY AFTERNOON RESULTING
IN BLOWING AND DRIFTING SNOW...ESPECIALLY IN OUTLYING AND OPEN
AREAS. WIND CHILLS ARE ALSO FORECAST TO DROP TO -17°C TO -24°C
BY FRIDAY MORNING.
* IMPACTS...ACCUMULATING SNOW AND REDUCED VISIBILITIES WILL LIKELY
MAKE TRAVEL DIFFICULT FOR THE AFTERNOON COMMUTE TODAY...WITH
TRAVEL CONDITIONS BECOMING TREACHEROUS AND EVEN DANGEROUS IN
OPEN AREAS TONIGHT INTO EARLY FRIDAY MORNING.
As bad as that sounds, the NWS also predicts it'll be gone by Monday.
Hey, it's Chicago in January, and yesterday it hit 12°C. One or two days of snowfall is no big deal.
More photos as the snow accumulates...
Charles Mahron at Strong Towns has the step-by-step description:
As the transformation from traditional to auto-centric continues, parking becomes more valuable for those establishments that remain. Commercial businesses that in another era would have been expanded or rebuilt at a grander scale as the community grew are now more valuable being demolished for parking. The same thing is happening to the homes throughout these neighborhoods. They are being taken down in favor of garages and "buffering". Neighborhoods originally designed to define space are now becoming space.
These changes are devastating to the tax base. Where the public has made the greatest investments in infrastructure (and has the greatest obligations for maintenance) the neighborhoods stagnate. But nobody has the job of worrying about the tax base throughout the existing neighborhoods. The traffic engineer worries about moving cars. The public works director runs the utilities and is primarily concerned with new connections. The planner administers the zoning code and is particularly zealous about parking ratios.
This all devolves into a farcical feedback loop. More people driving means that more transportation improvements are needed. There is a greater need to channel cars, to control the flow, to improve the capacity of the transportation system. The more the public realm is given over to cars, the more people must drive. The more people that drive, the more cars on the road. Etc. Etc. Etc. Nobody realizes that we're not actually adding cars. We're all just making more trips.
The whole article is worth a read, and if you like livable cities, will make you sad. There is hope, though: many cities—Chicago, for example—have avoided or reversed the spiral.
Apparently the flight was unprofitable:
"The historical financial performance of the route and its future outlook given the global economic climate and high oil prices has resulted in a decision by American to cancel its New Delhi-Chicago O'Hare service," the airline said in a memo to American managers.
The last flight to leave for India from Chicago will be on Feb. 28, while the last return flight from India to Chicago will be on March 1.
The flight from New Delhi to Chicago had been problematic during winter and early spring. The flight would often arrive at O'Hare earlier than 5 a.m., the time that O'Hare's customs agents start work, stranding passengers on the plane for an additional half hour to an hour.
Oddly, AA292 is scheduled to arrive in Chicago at 5am, so the possibility of it arriving before Customs opened must have occurred to someone. This unfortunate schedule probably comes from Delhi's odd penchant for launching international flights at midnight. AA292 takes off at 00:55 IST, about an hour before Cathay's flight to Hong Kong and two hours before a British Airways flight to London. The takeoff time certainly isn't dictated by the O'Hare arrival slot, as O'Hare, to my knowledge, doesn't require reservations between 11pm and 6am.
The forecast for Chicago today calls for 13°C temperatures and sunny skies. This is the normal high temperature April 10th, not January 10th—that would be -1°C—and would be only a bit shy of the record (16°C).
Don't worry, January will arrive this weekend. The same forecast calls for -9°C Friday night.
Via Gulliver, a Chinese company has built a 30-story hotel in Hunan Province from prefabricated, energy-efficient parts:
From Next Big Future:
The buildings are five times more energy efficient in operation and use about 6 times less cement.
They plan to build one hundred and fifty 30-story apartment building, hotel, office plans using the new system. They have started building a 1.33-million-square meter “NO.1 Sustainable Building Factory” and it will be able to produce 10 million square meters of mass produced skyscrapers each year. The 30 story building is 17,000 m² so the factory can produce about 500 of the 30 story building each year and many more factories will be built.
It did take a while to build the parts that they assembled at the building site, of course. But even then, the building cost 2/3 less than similar buildings to construct.
This looks a lot like a shot from last February:
It's still cool. And it's only about five minutes old.
It suggests, however, that I might want to rent a really cool lens sometime. I used the same equipment (Canon 7D, 200mm), but shot hand-held at ISO-400, f/5.6 at 1/1000, then developed it differently than the one from 11 months ago. I also shot this one raw instead of as JPEG, which gave me a lot more flexibility in post.
Mostly, though, we have clear skies and a full moon, so what more reason do I need?
The Red Rooster, Chicago:
Canon 7D, 37mm, ISO-400, f/5.6 at 1/60, here.
Via Strange Maps, malts.com has a free handy whisky chart everyone should bring to Duke of Perth this week:
Via Microsoft guru Raymond Chen, news that tourists continually block traffic outside Abbey Road Studios:
Apparently the studio also has a webcam.
The famous zebra crossing is here.