The Daily Parker

Politics, Weather, Photography, and the Dog

Purging old data

I mentioned yesterday that I purged a lot of utterly useless archival data from Weather Now. It sometimes takes a while for the Azure Portal to update its statistics, so I didn't know until this afternoon exactly how much I dumped: 325 GB.

Version 5 already has a bi-monthly function to move archival data to cool storage after 14 days and purge it after 3 months. I'm going to extend that to purging year-old logs as well. It may only reduce my Azure bill by $20 a month, but hey, that's a couple of beers.

As for Weather Now 5, if all goes well, I'll start downloading weather in the Production environment today, and possibly deploy the app over the weekend. Stay tuned...

Ah, conferences

The Tech Forum goes on. Tomorrow, though, I don't need my work laptop, and so will bring my personal one, enabling me to post a little more.

I've also thought about finally writing my own blog engine. Or, at least, forking an existing one (maybe even this one?) and going to town on it. During some downtime today I purged a lot of crap from my Microsoft Azure subscriptions, but I still have old applications (like this blog) running in old workloads.

Tonight: the Fun Dinner. Oh, boy.

US lurches to ending seasonal clock changes

As if from nowhere, the US Senate yesterday unanimously voted to pass S.623 (the "Sunshine Protection Act of 2021"), which would end daylight saving time by making that the new standard time, effective 5 November 2023. This blew up the Time Zone Committee mailing list, mostly with the implementation problems around time zone abbreviations. One of the maintainers listed four separate options, in fact, including moving everyone to a new time zone (Chicago on EST? New York on AST?), or possibly just redefining what CST and EST mean. Canada has a law that essentially lets the US set standard time zones for Canada, so it gets even more complicated the farther down the rabbit hole you go.

Fun fact: most time zone software running on most computers requires 3-character time zone abbreviations to work correctly. That rules out changing CST to, simply, CT. One maintainer suggested P for Permanent; another suggested A for Always (CAT, EAT, MAT?).

You might think this is funny, but we TZDB maintainers have the power to make your brain hurt this way.

By the way, if you think year-round DST is a good idea within our current time zone boundaries, you may want to consider when the latest sunrise will happen in 2024 if the law passes, in ascending order of orneriness:

Location Sunrise Sunset
Eastport, Maine 8:06 17:00
Miami 8:10 18:50
Chicago 8:19 17:33
New York 8:20 17:41
Salt Lake City 8:52 17:13
Detroit 9:01 18:12
Menominee, Mich. 9:29 18:21

The easternmost point in the U.S., Eastport, will have darker mornings, but still perhaps tolerable. Menominee, which actually lies a little west of Chicago, would not be a fun place to live in January.

To review: There is a reason we change the clocks twice a year, which everyone forgets until it's dark at 8:30 am.

Moreover, wall-clock time is arbitrary. We can get up earlier or later if we choose to. Cassie, for instance, gets up at sunrise, and expects me to do the same, so I actually liked the change last weekend.

We also had a bunch of messages today about Iran, which has decreed that they will no longer change their clocks twice a year, with immediate effect. Now someone in Iran has to tell the authoritarian, anti-technology mullahs why it might take up to a year for their cell phones to reflect the change.

Gotcha!

A year ago today, Cassie and I adopted each other, which was obvious even on the drive home from PAWS:

Right now she's sulking on the couch because she didn't get breakfast this morning. That's because in about 15 minutes she's going to the vet to get her teeth cleaned. Pobre perrita.

Not quite back to normal yet

We had two incredible performances of Bach's Johannespassion this weekend. (Update: we got a great review!) It's a notoriously difficult work that Bach wrote for his small, amateur church chorus in Leipzig the year he started working there. I can only imagine what rehearsals were like in 1724. I'm also grateful that we didn't include the traditional 90-minute sermon between the 39-minute first part and the 70-minute second part, and that we didn't conclude the work with the equally-traditional pogrom against the Jews of Leipzig.

It's still a magnificent work of music.

Meanwhile, elsewhere in the world:

Finally, Rachel Feltman lists five myths about Daylight Saving Time. Our annual tradition of questioning it without changing anything will continue, of course.

And it's about 16°C outside, so it's time to take Cassie on her third half-hour walk of the day.

What are the odds?

I surprised a colleague by suggesting that it won't get as cold as it did yesterday for the rest of 2022. The temperature bottomed out at -12°C around 6am (with a wind chill of -21°C), a record low. Plus, the climate normal low only goes below freezing until the 20th.

The upshot? I will now take Cassie on a 20-minute walk and enjoy the above-freezing temperatures as long as they last, which is currently forecast through...October?

High pressure, low temperatures

Even as the East Coast gets bombed by an early-spring cyclone, we have sunny skies and bitter cold. But the -12°C at O'Hare at 6am will likely be the coldest temperature we get in Chicago until 2023. The forecast predicts temperatures above 10°C tomorrow and up to 16°C on Wednesday, with no more below-freezing temperatures predicted as far out as predictions can go.

Meanwhile, I'm about to leave for our first of two Bach Jonannespassion performances this weekend. We still have tickets available for tomorrow's, so come on down!

Why do Republicans elect horrible human beings?

US Representative Madison Cawthorn (R-NC) yesterday laid out his love of American democracy at an event back home:

Now, did he really mean the election, or just the XPOTUS losing by more votes in history to now-President Biden? The more you learn about Cawthorn, the more it seems he said what he meant:

Within 72 hours of taking office, Cawthorn made headlines for helping to recruit and incite the mob that attacked the Capitol trying to subvert the peaceful and constitutional transfer of power and steal the presidency for Donald Trump.

In February 2021, TSA agents caught Cawthorn with a gun in his carry-on bag as he attempted to pass through security and board a commercial flight at the Asheville Regional Airport.

Cawthorn’s official conduct is no better than his personal conduct.  He has missed 36 of 519 roll call votes. That means he failed to report for duty 6.9% of the time, more than triple the median of 2.1% missed votes by his 434 House colleagues.

Western North Carolina may be better served when Cawthorn does not show up for work. He voted against funding for the Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILT) program that provides $3.4 million annually to 13 mountain counties with non-taxable federal land.  He voted against funding for the Safe Rural Schools program that provides over $1 million a year to our schools. He voted against VA health care eligibility for Burn Pit Veterans. He was the lone member of the North Carolina House delegation to vote against the Opioid Prescription Verification Act.

Moe Davis, the author of that column and Cawthorn's opponent in November 2020, left out a few other details that Wikipedia helpfully fills in:

U.S. Representative Mark Meadows nominated Cawthorn to the United States Naval Academy in 2014, but his application was rejected before his 2014 car accident; Cawthorn had claimed during his congressional campaign in advertisements that the accident "derailed" his plans to attend the Academy.[13][6][17][7] Cawthorn subsequently said that at the time of the injury, he knew only that he had been nominated to the Academy and that he had expected to be accepted, and added that he never said that he had been accepted before the accident took place, but could have applied again later.[18][19] But in a lawsuit deposition, Cawthorn admitted that he had been rejected before the accident.[12]

During the fall 2016 semester, Cawthorn attended Patrick Henry College, studying political science, but earned mostly D grades and dropped out. He said his grades were low primarily because his injuries had interfered with his ability to learn.[13] Cawthorn said in a deposition, "You know, suffering from a brain injury after the accident definitely I think it slowed my brain down a little bit. Made me less intelligent. And the pain also made reading and studying very difficult."[20] He also said he withdrew due to "heartbreak" after his fiancée broke up with him.[7][21]

In a 2021 speech, he called women "earthen vessels sanctified by almighty God".[83] In 2021, he joined the House Freedom Caucus, a caucus of conservative House Republicans.[84] He describes himself as "fiscally conservative", says his stance on immigration is "conservative", and supports legal gun ownership, opposing gun control legislation.[85]

In August 2020, during Cawthorn's campaign for Congress, several women came forward accusing him of sexually aggressive behavior, sexual misconduct, and sexual assault.[6][97][98][99] Katrina Krulikas described an incident when she was 17 and Cawthorn was 19 in which Cawthorn pressured her to sit on his lap and attempted to kiss her forcefully twice, which she resisted.[12] Cawthorn did not deny the allegations, but said, "I did try and kiss her, just very normal, just in a flirtatious way", adding, "If I did make her feel unsafe, I feel bad", but questioned the timing of her allegation.[100] His campaign characterized Krulikas's allegations as politically motivated, which she denied.[99]

After Krulikas made her allegations, three other women made allegations of sexual misconduct against Cawthorn, including forcible grabbing and kissing.[97] One woman said Cawthorn called her "just a little blonde, slutty American girl" when she rejected his sexual advances.[12][7]

On October 17, 2020, a group of Patrick Henry College alumni released a public letter accusing Cawthorn of "sexually predatory behavior" while he was a student there for little more than one semester, as well as of vandalism and lying. The letter originally had 10 signatories but the number increased to over 150 alumni. Cawthorn claimed that most of the signers did not know him personally and his campaign posted a letter of support for him signed by six alumni, two of whom work for Cawthorn's campaign. The letter implied support by former Patrick Henry College President Michael Farris; Farris disavowed the support letter and asked that he not be associated with it.[101]

A February 2021 BuzzFeed News investigation found 20 people who said that Cawthorn had harassed his female classmates during college; the reporters spoke to four women who said that Cawthorn had harassed them. It was alleged that Cawthorn often recklessly drove women in his car to remote areas off campus while asking them sexual questions, which he called "fun drives". Two resident assistants said they warned women to avoid Cawthorn and not to ride in his car. A male acquaintance said Cawthorn bragged about pulling a woman into his lap and putting a finger between her legs.[7]

So, basically, Cawthorn is an entitled, misogynist, philandering, lying asshole, who represents Christian white male privilege a lot better than he represents the North Carolina 13th. He deserves nothing more than to lose his seat in Congress to anyone else with a pulse. But the good ol' folks in Western N.C. will probably re-elect him until he finally gets charged with something he can't avoid, which seems like the path of highest probability for a man like him.

Lots going on the next two weeks

I'm hard at work on a presentation for my company's annual Tech Forum, which is next week. Meanwhile I've got two performances of Bach's Johannespassion this weekend, with our orchestra rehearsal this evening. Oh, and we change the clocks on Sunday.

So in lieu of anything more interesting, here's a photo I took of Chicago's St Boniface Cemetery on Tuesday morning:

Cassie's DNA

No, I didn't send Cassie's slobber to 78AndWoof.com or anything. Someone brought a DNA-shaped toy to the dog park today, which Cassie found irresistible:

This cattle dog also found the toy irresistible, leading to this irresistible tug-of-war that ranged around the park for a good five minutes: