Other than making a hearty beef stew, I have done almost nothing of value today. I mean, I did some administrative work, and some chorus work, and some condo board work. But I still haven't read a lick of the books I've got lined up, nor did I add the next feature to the Weather Now 5 app.
I did read these, though:
- An Illinois state judge has enjoined the entire state from imposing mask mandates on schools, just as NBC reports that anti-vaxxer "influencers" are making bank off their anti-social followers.
- Across the border, Canadians, generally a less sociopathic lot than American conservatives, have run out of patience with their own anti-vax protestors.
- The Washington Post demonstrates how the worst gerrymanders in the US work—like the one here in Illinois.
- Local bicyclists have had enough of winter, blaming the city for filling bike lanes with slush. But...the city didn't make it snow, right?
OK, back to doing nothing. Cassie, at least, is getting a lot of attention.
On the walk home from the Empirical Taproom last night, Cassie managed to lose all four of her boots, at roughly 500-meter intervals. It got to the point where I started compulsively checking her paws to see if any remaining boot(s) remained attached, and still, they just vanished.
Well, winter is almost over, I suppose...
We only got about 50 mm of snow overnight, but the second wave came in the morning and hasn't stopped. And yet, not everyone cares about the natural disaster unfolding around us:
She followed up on her romp this morning by eating my earmuffs. Sigh.
While we wait for the snow to start falling, the World Meteorological Organisation announced today that a lightning flash on 29 April 2020 extended for 768 km across three states and lasted for 10 seconds:
The new record for the longest detected megaflash distance is 60 kilometres more than the previous record, with a distance of 709 ± 8 km (440.6 ± 5 mi) across parts of southern Brazil on 31 October 2018. Both the previous and new record used the same maximum great circle distance methodology to measure flash extent.
The new record strikes occurred in hotspots for Mesoscale Convective System (MCS) thunderstorms, whose dynamics permit extraordinary megaflashes to occur – namely, the Great Plains in North America, and the La Plata basin in South America.
The Post has more.
Meanwhile, the temperature at Inner Drive Technology World Headquarters seems to have peaked at 7.6°C, and it has started to rain. Cassie and I got in from our walk before it got really gross out.
We got about 150 mm of snow this morning, thanks to the giant lake a short walk from my house. This made getting Cassie to school a slog (she loved it, though), and made me seriously worry about my flight this evening.
Now it's sunny, and the roads are clear.
If only I knew how many parking spaces O'Hare had right now...
We have one of those lovely January days when a tongue of cold air pushes south from Canada and gives us the warmest temperature of the day at midnight. Yesterday the Inner Drive Techology World Headquarters got up to 6°C around 3:30pm, stayed around 5°C from 6:30 pm until 1am, and since then has cooled down to -5°C. The forecast calls for continued cooling until reaching -13°C around 6am tomorrow.
Yesterday's weather conditions encouraged the formation of "pancake ice" on Lake Michigan. Block Club Chicago has tons of photos and videos of the phenomenon if you're curious.
Block Club Chicago's story on pop-up Covid testing facilities bilking consumers and governments alike got the attention of Bruce Schneier, who assures his readers that no, these guys aren't going to sell your data. They're just ordinary multi-level marketing scammers.
In other Chicago journalism news, Chicago Public Media's board voted unanimously yesterday to acquire the Chicago Sun-Times newspaper. The deal will create the biggest non-profit journalism organization in Chicago, and has the backing of billionaire Michael Sacks. (Note: I am a Leadership Circle contributor to Chicago Public Media, and once worked for Sacks at GCM.)
Now, Cassie and I will brave the cold for a few minutes so she can take care of her important business.
I managed to acquire a few bruises last night walking Cassie. I'm fine; she's fine; but my left hand and elbow are a bit sore.
Yesterday continued our really strange week as the repeating 96-hour cycle of cold and thaw continued:
Starting around 4pm, the warm front pushed just enough moisture ahead of itself to give Chicago a fine mist that instantly coated everything. Even though the air got above freezing later on, the sidewalks did not. Result: most of them got a perfectly smooth, nearly invisible coating of ice about 2mm thick.
Cassie, of course, failed to understand why I insisted on walking at a small fraction of our usual speed. She has four feet, you see, and while one or two of them might slip a bit, the dog remained standing.
I, however, did not. Several times.
And here we go again:
So, Cassie won't get all the walkies she deserves today, but she did get a ride in the car. And my bruises will heal.
The temperature at Inner Drive Technology World Headquarters bottomed out at -16.5°C around 8am today, colder than any time since February 15th. It's up to -8.6°C now, with a forecast for continued wild gyrations over the next week (2°C tomorrow, -17°C on Monday, 3°C on Wednesday). Pity Cassie, who hasn't gotten nearly enough walks because of the cold, and won't next week as her day care shut down for the weekend due to sick staff.
Speaking of sick staff, New Republic asks a pointed question about the Chicago Public Schools: why should their teachers be responsible for making life normal again?
The Washinigton Post asks, what will people do with the millions of dogs they adopted when they (the people, not the dogs) go back to work?
The lawyers for Cyber Ninjas ask, who's going to pay their fees after the grift-based organization shut down abruptly?
And North Michigan Avenue asks, will any more pieces of the Hancock Center fall off the building?
And I ask, will Cassie ever let me sleep past 7am?
After a lot of struggle trying to get Cassie to stop pulling on her leash, I finally gave up today and got her a prong collar. Dogs don't much like them, and neither do I, but no amount of treats or yanks on her harness worked with her.
As soon as I switched the lead from her harness to her prong collar, Cassie suddenly knew exactly where to walk on a heel, and only pulled enough to make the prong contract before falling right back to my side. We walked about 4 blocks total, and she never pulled enough that I needed to correct her. Amazing.
I realized after about a minute that she's worn a prong collar before. I worried that she would hate it, that we would have to spend a couple of weeks working with it for her to make the connection between pulling and neck irritation, but no. All that pulling for the last 10 months? The harness just doesn't provide enough correction.
In other words, she has always known how to heel, she just hasn't wanted to. Smart dog.
Despite the forecast of 200+ mm of snow overnight, we got about 50 over here. O'Hare reported 100 mm of snow on the ground at 6am, which again didn't even come close to the dire warnings we got Friday night.
Still, the sidewalks by my house have snow, slush, and salt all over them, which Cassie discovered (mostly to her delight) first thing this morning. Within 10 minutes, she'd gotten ice and salt lodged into one of her pads and had to hop the last 20 meters to the door.
I have a solution for that: dog boots. Parker's old boots just fit Cassie, though she expressed a bit of skepticism mixed with heartbreaking trust as I got them over her paws:
And just like Parker the first time he wore those same boots, Cassie figured out pretty quickly that they had benefits. We just did a 2-kilometer rectangle around the neighborhood with her bouncing through the snow and not getting salt in her pads.
Bonus photo from yesterday morning: