The Daily Parker

Politics, Weather, Photography, and the Dog

So many things today

I'm taking a day off, so I'm choosing not to read all the articles that have piled up on my desktop:

Finally, a "mania" set Stravinsky's Rite of Spring to Teletubbies footage, and it's horrifying.

Well, blow me down

The National Weather Service has confirmed that Monday's storm spawned 7 tornadoes over Northern Illinois, including one that skipped through the far-North Side neighborhood Rogers Park:

Local news site Block Club Chicago reports:

The tornado saw estimated peak winds of 175 km/h, according to the weather service. It formed at about 4 p.m. Monday and traveled about 5 km, traveling roughly from Touhy Avenue near Lincoln Avenue and traveling eastbound to Lake Michigan.

The storm toppled dozens of large trees along Jarvis, crushing cars and leaving roads impassable well into Tuesday. Street lights and power lines were also downed along Jarvis, with numerous cars totaled and houses damaged from the falling debris.

Damage was spotted along Jarvis Avenue from about Western Avenue to the lakefront, said Ald. Maria Hadden (49th). Multiple trees were downed along a four-block stretch of Jarvis from Paulina Avenue to the lakefront. At least two city blocks were impassable due to fallen debris.

No major injuries have been reported from the storm, Hadden said.

The National Weather Service estimated the path:

They also published a montage of radar images of the derecho at one-hour intervals:

And about a block away from me, this already-dying maple finally gave up the ghost yesterday afternoon, to the detriment of an old Toyota and anyone trying to drive down the street:

Swinging in the breeze

A derecho blasted through Iowa and Illinois yesterday, blasting 120 km/h winds through Chicago and spawning at least one tornado two neighborhoods over from me:

Although it hasn’t been officially confirmed, meteorologists said it’s possible a tornado touched down in Rogers Park on the Far North Side, before heading out over Lake Michigan, where the funnel became a waterspout.

The derecho blew in from Iowa, where winds surpassed 100 mph. It swept east across Illinois and into Indiana, with winds of 65 to 115 km/h, with some gusts as high as 145 km/h, the weather service reported, but the Chicago area mostly dodged the direst warnings as no deaths or serious injuries were reported, forecasters said.

The storm continued across Lake Michigan until finally dissipating over eastern Michigan.

In my neighborhood we had lots of tree limbs down but apparently not so much property damage. We have some ailing ash trees nearby that fared particularly poorly:

Sixteen hours later, the weather is delightful, and predicted to stay that way for a couple of days.

Must be summer

It is hot in Chicago: 34°C that feels like 38°C because of the 22°C dewpoint. Last night the temperature didn't even go below 77°C. I helped a friend move a couple of things into storage this morning and I'm now soaked through. Parker hates it especially because he has two fur coats. (He deposited a significant amount of one of them around the house this week, though.)

I plan to spend the rest of the day inside with my air conditioning.

You know where else it's way too hot? East Antarctica. And that could cause problems for everyone on earth.

Hot summer so far

It's 31°C but feels like 32°C right now, which will seem almost comfortable this time tomorrow:

It could feel as hot as 41°C degrees this weekend in Chicago.

The city will get hit with high temperatures and humidity Saturday and Sunday, which could prove dangerous for some residents.

[T]emperatures will rise to 34°C Saturday and 33°C Sunday. Both days will be sunny with high humidity and a chance of rain. The heat and humidity could make it feel like it’s 38-41°C during the day, according to the National Weather Service.

We're already having the third-hottest summer on record (so far), and we're only a little past halfway done. The year 2020 continues to find more ways to suck.

Sure Happy It's Tuesday!

Today's interesting and notable news stories:

Finally, Lawrence Wright explores how historical plagues, particularly the European one in 1347, can sometimes spark radical social change.

No debates unless...

Tom Friedman gives Joe Biden some good advice:

First, Biden should declare that he will take part in a debate only if Trump releases his tax returns for 2016 through 2018. Biden has already done so, and they are on his website. Trump must, too. No more gifting Trump something he can attack while hiding his own questionable finances.

And second, Biden should insist that a real-time fact-checking team approved by both candidates be hired by the nonpartisan Commission on Presidential Debates — and that 10 minutes before the scheduled conclusion of the debate this team report on any misleading statements, phony numbers or outright lies either candidate had uttered. That way no one in that massive television audience can go away easily misled.

Of course, Trump will stomp and protest and say, “No way.” Fine. Let Trump cancel. Let Trump look American voters in the eye and say: “There will be no debate, because I should be able to continue hiding my tax returns from you all, even though I promised that I wouldn’t and even though Biden has shown you his. And there will be no debate, because I should be able to make any statement I want without any independent fact-checking.”

We'll see. But really, Biden has no reason to debate Trump otherwise. (Note: I am a financial contributor to Joe Biden's campaign.)

In other news:

Back to coding.

Wet, warm spring

The second-wettest spring in Chicago's history ended Sunday, clocking in at 427 mm of precipitation since March 1st. (The record was 445 mm set in 1983.)

Temperatures averaged just a bit above normal for the season, at 10.2°C (1.0°C above normal).

Today we might get a record high temperature. The forecast calls for 33°C, which would tie the record set in 1944.

Also, the Lake Michigan-Huron system finished its fifth straight month with record water levels, averaging about 930 mm above normal.

The Illinois State Climatologist office has more.

No larger message here. I just thought a post about the weather would be a good break from everything else.

Happy autumn

Summer ends in about two hours here in Chicago, after a kind of perfect late-summer day. The day is ending with a cool, gentle rain, which will clear up before dawn.

The end of August being the end of summer infused art and music for millennia before meteorologists set September 1st as the first day of autumn for statistical convenience. Maybe this is happy alignment of science and art?

Here's Dar Williams with the verdict:

Three unrelated articles

First, New York Times film critic A.O. Scott takes a second look at the 1999 film Election:

The movie has been persistently and egregiously misunderstood, and I count myself among the many admirers who got it wrong. Because somehow I didn’t remember — or didn’t see— what has been right there onscreen the whole time.

Which is that Mr. M is a monster — a distillation of human moral squalor with few equals in modern American cinema — and that Tracy Flick is the heroine who bravely, if imperfectly, resists his efforts to destroy her. She’s not Moby-Dick to his Ahab so much as Jean Valjean to his Inspector Javert.

Second, with Lake Michigan at record-high water levels for the second month in a row, several of Chicago's beaches have disappeared:

This year, the buoyant water has swallowed at least two Chicago beaches entirely and periodically closed others. It has swiped fishermen from piers, swimmers from beaches and submerged jetties, creating hazards for boaters. It has flooded heavily trafficked parts of lakefront bicycle and pedestrian pathways, leaving some stretches underwater and others crumbling.

But perhaps the most worrisome aspect of this summer is that these perils have occurred while the lake has remained mostly calm.

“Fall is the time of the year when wave conditions are historically the most severe on the Great Lakes,” said David Bucaro, outreach manager at the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Chicago District. “We’re at a calmer period right now. There’s been some summer storms. But that October, November time period is when we really experience historically the most powerful coastal storms. That’s the conditions that we’re monitoring and are most concerned with.”

Should be fun this fall.

Next, writing for the LA Times, Rebecca Wexler points out that data-privacy laws giving law enforcement the power to snoop on electronic devices is deeply unfair to defendants for an unexpected reason:

Social media messages, photo metadata, Amazon Echo recordings, smart water meter data, and Fitbit readings have all been used in criminal cases. The new laws would limit how defendants can access this key evidence, making it difficult or impossible for defendants to show they acted in self-defense, or a witness is lying, or someone else is guilty of the crime.

The California Consumer Privacy Act, which was approved in 2018, allows law enforcement officers to obtain data from technology companies and prohibit those companies from immediately notifying the person they are investigating. Such delayed notice may be necessary to investigate someone who is dangerous or likely to destroy evidence or flee. But the law does not give defense investigators the same right to delay notification to witnesses or others — who might well pose a threat to the defendant — when they subpoena data from tech companies as part of the defense’s case.

I will now rejoin a long-running data analysis project, already in progress.