The Daily Parker

Politics, Weather, Photography, and the Dog

Lunar eclipse weather forecast: excellent

WGN's Tom Skilling is optimistic about seeing Sunday night's eclipse:

While the first vestiges of Sunday evening’s full moon will begin at 7:40pm, the partial eclipse stage is to be reached at 8:07 pm Chicago time moving toward the “total eclipse” phase at 9:11pm. The disc of the moon will take on a dim rusty-red cast in the total eclipse phase for 1 hour and 12 minutes (through 10:23pm Sunday evening). The partial eclipse phase is to be reached at 11:27 pm and the eclipse ends at 11:55 pm.

The early read is that the weather is going to cooperate in viewing the event from Chicago and the Midwest. Here, from the National Weather Service’s GFS forecast model is a forecast of the likely location of cloud cover at differing heights–and, finally, a composite of potential total cloud cover at 7pm CDT Sunday.

Here is the GFS model’s total cloud cover prediction. Sunday is likely to be an unseasonably mild late September day with brisk southerly winds likely to boost daytime temps across the VChicago area to around 80-degrees and to limit nighttime lows to the 60s.

Here's hoping. It should be an epic eclipse.

Nice weather we're having

It's a little warmer today than it was yesterday in Chicago, but it's still gorgeous. Here's the river yesterday afternoon:

I'm glad I took that walk, because I actually had some trouble getting steps with my schedule yesterday. Today, not as much of a problem—and also several degrees warmer. My office right now is north of 26°C. Opening a window hasn't helped much as the wind is blowing out.

Back to the mines anyway...

Self-fulfilling Googling?

I just Googled a problem I'm having setting up a continuous-integration build, because I've had this problem before and wanted to review how I solved it before. Google took me to my own blog on the second hit. (The first hit was the entry I cross-posted on my old employer's blog.)

Why even bother with my own memory?

Craft breweries sell out, like other businesses

Despite just complaining about everything I've got to do this morning, here's Crain's on why craft breweries are selling out:

At least 23 U.S. craft brewers and cider producers have sold all or part of their companies within the past 12 months, with buyers ranging from big brewers to private-equity firms to employee stock ownership plans. While the financial terms of the majority of those deals were not disclosed, industry insiders say more than $2 billion has changed hands, with valuations spiking in some cases to nearly 20 times earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization.

"Buyers are paying an absurd amount for craft breweries, and it's a great time to be a brewer who's potentially looking to sell in today's world,” says Chris Furnari, editor of Brewbound, a Watertown, Mass.-based trade publication. “When one deal is announced, and then another, and another, it causes others in the space to take a look at their business and ask, 'Well, what am I worth?'"

Sales in the U.S. craft beer market rose 22 percent to $19.6 billion in 2014, to 11 percent of all U.S. beer sales, according to the Brewers Association, a Boulder, Colo.-based craft beer trade group. Barrel volume was up 17.6 percent, far outperforming the U.S. beer industry as a whole, where volume rose 0.5 percent last year.

Ah, so, it's about money. Because no matter how much you like beer, if you're a brewer, you're in business first.

The problem the acquiring companies will have is this: People drink craft beers because they don't like the large producers, and what the large producers have to do to beer to produce large quantities. So the InBevs of the world will keep buying up craft breweries like Goose Island, and beer drinkers like me will simply stop drinking those acquired brands.

It's almost as if large companies can't understand why people like small ones. Oh, wait.

Dreamforce explained to the layperson

Wired does yeoman work:

It’s hard to overstate how massive the conference is. The annual event, now in its 13th year, draws 160,000 attendees—about a fifth of San Francisco’s population—all hoping to network and strike deals with other enterprise companies.

With many of the city’s hotels booked at full capacity, Salesforce even brought in a cruise ship to accommodate more bodies. The 965-foot-long Dreamboat, docked at San Francisco’s Pier 27, provided an additional 1,073 cabins, priced at $250 to $2000 per night. It too is sold out—and it has sparked the ire of at least one local watchdog group aiming to protect the waterfront from unseemly development.

But perhaps the most visible display of Dreamforce’s pull is its ability to literally stop traffic (well, while creating more elsewhere). A full block of Howard Street, a major thoroughfare in the South of Market district, has been closed off for the week. Workers have laid synthetic grass down on the cement, dotted it with colorful beanbag chairs, added outdoor games, and erected concert stages. On nearby blocks, businesses rented out whole restaurants and bars to give their employees—and their networking contacts—reprieve from the crowded halls of the cavernous Moscone Center, the main site of the conference. So-called Dreamforce “ambassadors” are trained for hours and do multiple walkthroughs of the space ahead of the conference so they can give proper directions to the unwieldy throng of attendees.

I'm skeptical of the 160,000-attendee figure (does that count support staff?), but otherwise it might give you a sense of scale. It's a bit overwhelming, in fact. Even the final event, a Q&A with Mark Benioff, filled a 1500-seat room.

It'll take me a few days, at least, to process all that I've absorbed this week. Right now I'm about two hours from O'Hare, looking forward to seeing Parker and taking a shower. (At least the nice young couple sitting next to me, with their very busy and not-quite-potty-trained two-year-old, really have nothing to say about me not having shaved yet today.)

Oldest known footage of Chicago

I'm camped in a familiar spot, SFO Terminal 2, on my way home. Traveling Saturday morning means no traffic, no lines at security, and sometimes no sleep. That fortunately isn't a problem today; in fact, had I gotten up half an hour earlier, I might have made the 8am flight home instead of the 9:15 I'm on.

Longtime reader MJG just sent me this to pass the time waiting for my flight to board:

Wrapping up Dreamforce 15

After last night's Killers and Foo Fighters concert-slash-corporate-party—and the free Sierra and Lagunitas Salesforce provided, more to the point—today's agenda has been a bit lighter than the rest of the week.

Today's 10:30 panel was hands-down my favorite. Authors David Brin and Ramez Naam spoke and took questions for an hour about the future. Pretty cool stuff, and now I have a bunch more books on my to-be-read list.

At the moment, I'm sitting at an uncomfortably low table in the exhibit hall along with a few other people trying to get some laptop time in. So I will leave you with today's sunrise, viewed from the back:

At this time, we ask that you get off the damn airplane

Patrick Smith was appalled by the British Airways incident last week. Not as much by the plane catching fire as by idiot passengers evacuating with their luggage:

Aboard British Airways flight 2276, the evacuation process may have seemed orderly and calm. How would things have unfolded, though, had a fuel tank exploded, or had the smoke and fire suddenly spread inside the plane? Now people are screaming. There’s a mad rush for the exits, but the aisle is clogged with suitcases dropped by panicked passengers. Your computer, your Kindle, your electric toothbrush, your underwear and your Sudoku books — all of those things can be replaced and aren’t worth risking your life over — not to mention the lives of the passengers behind you, who can’t get to the door because your 26-inch Tumi is in the way.

Perhaps most reckless of all is taking a bag down one of the inflatable escape slides. You can’t always see it in videos or photos, but those slides are extremely steep. They are not designed with convenience — or fun — in mind. They are designed for no other purpose than to empty a plane of its occupants as rapidly as possible. You’ll be coming down from over two stories high in the case of a widebody jet, at a very rapid clip, with others doing the same in front of you and right behind you. Even without bags people are often injured going down the slides. This is expected. Add carry-ons to the mix and somebody is liable to be killed, smacked on the head by your suitcase or baby stroller.

As the CNN story points out, "[a] majority of the injuries came as passengers slid down the inflatable chutes to evacuate the Boeing 777, Clark County Fire Department Deputy Chief Jon Klassen said."

So if you're ever in the unfortunate position of having to leave a plane whose right engine has disassembled itself during takeoff, leave your crap behind.

Lunar eclipse + Harvest moon + perigee = cool

I hope Chicago has decent weather for the full moon 11 days from now:

It's coming Sept. 27 at 9:47 p.m. CDT.

For starters, it is what some astronomy enthusiasts call a "super" moon because it will occur when the moon is close to perigee, its nearest point to Earth in its elliptical orbit.

The moon reaches perigee Sept. 28, and it will be just more than 222,000 miles away at the time of the full moon. That is about 31,000 miles closer than lunar apogee, the moon's farthest point in its orbit.

The moon appears about 14 percent bigger and 30 percent brighter at perigee than it does at apogee, according to NASA. But it doesn't look dramatically different to the naked eye.

The full moon also comes with a full lunar eclipse, all of which will be visible from the eastern half of the United States, including Chicago. Such eclipses can give the moon a reddish tint, caused by light bending through Earth's atmosphere.

Here's the official NASA page showing just how disappointed we'll be if it's cloudy in Chicago.