All four are dead:
Quiznos, the Denver-based sandwich chain, said Friday it had filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in Delaware, the second quick-service restaurant chain in a week to do so.
Quizno's bankruptcy filing comes just days after Sbarro, the New York-based pizza chain, filed for court protection in Manhattan on Monday, the second time in three years. Hot Dog on a Stick, another purveyor of quick-service food, in February also filed for bankruptcy protection.
This is unfortunate especially for Chicago-area coyotes, as they are known to like Quiznos.
Calumet Photo, one of the last real photography stores, has closed abruptly:
Calumet Photographic, a Chicago-based camera supply and photo services provider that first opened 1939, has abruptly closed its doors and filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection.
Calumet said on its Facebook page that it was closing its stores in the United States, but that its European stores would remain.
In its Chapter 7 filing, in which a company prepares to liquidate, it listed between $50 million and $100 million in assets and $10 million to $50 million in liabilities.
I rented lenses from them for my trips to Korea and Sint Maarten recently, and I found them truly helpful on other photographic issues. This is a big blow to photography.
Even though we have snow on the ground once again, the sun came out this morning, so my bus stop didn't look as grim as it did yesterday:
First, we get the worst cold and the most snow of any winter in the last 32 years. It even alienates many of its allies with its stubbornness in the face of popular (and meteorological) opposition, refusing to give up a fight it can't win. Finally, warm weather finally prevails, ending the snow's doomed effort to hold ground it will never be able to keep. This is Monday morning:
Then, just when we were loosening our scarves, Arizona hit this morning:
Winter, you're just making people despise you more. It's the middle of March already. Not only will you be gone and forgotten in two months, but an ENSO event is forming in the Pacific right now, so you won't even be back next season.
Go away, winter. You're obsolete, losing even your friends, and damaging the country.
I just did a dumb thing in Mercurial, but Mercurial saved me. Allow me to show, vividly, how using a DVCS can prevent disaster when you do something entirely too human.
In the process of upgrading to a new database package in an old project, I realized that we still need to support the old database version. What I should have done involved me coming to this realization before making a bucket-load of changes. But never mind that for now.
I figured I just need to create a branch for the old code. Before taking this action, my repository looked a like this:
Thinking I was doing the right thing, I right-clicked the last commit and added a branch:
Well, now I have a problem. I wanted the uncommitted changes on the default branch, and the old code on the 1.0 branch. Now I have the opposite condition.
Fortunately this is Mercurial, so nothing has left my own computer yet. So here's what I did to fix it:
- Committed the changes to the 1.0 branch of this repository. The commit is in the wrong branch, but it's atomic and stable.
- Created a patch from the commit.
- Cloned the remote (which, remember, doesn't have the changes) back to my local computer.
- Created the branch on the new clone.
- Committed the new branch.
- Switched branches on the new clone back to default.
- Applied the patch containing the 2.0 changes.
- Deleted the old, broken repository.
Now it looks like this:
Now all is good in the world, and no one in my company needs to know that I screwed up, because the screw-up only affected my local copy of the team's repository.
It's a legitimate question why I didn't create a 2.0 branch instead. In this case, the likelihood of an application depending on the 1.0 version is small enough that the 1.0 branch is simply insurance against not being able to support old code. By creating a branch for the old code, we can continue advancing the default branch, and basically forget the 1.0 branch is there unless calamity (or a zombie application) strikes.
One of the funnier things I've seen recently:
Officially, at 1pm today, O'Hare reported no measurable snow on the ground.
And at 2pm, the official Chicago temperature was 11°C, the warmest we've seen since December 4th.
If only they weren't predicting more snow tomorrow...
In the hopeless war between spring-like warmth and the ice still covering Chicago, the heat has almost prevailed. Officially at 7am O'Hare had only 25 mm of snow left after an overnight temperature rise to 6°C.
The end is near. Those last few millimeters have no chance of surviving the day, between nearly 12 hours of sunlight and a predicted high of 14°C.
Still, today is the 71st consecutive snow-covered day here. No one under 30 has ever seen this in Chicago before. And it's unlikely anyone ever will again.
You had a good run, winter, but it's over now. Go home.
It looks like we're going to go 71 days with snow on the ground before it all melts. But a couple of subtle yet telling things have happened since I last griped.
First, the temperature has gone up since sunset, as forecast. It hasn't gone up a lot, but the influx of warm air from the Gulf of Mexico will continue through tomorrow, to the detriment of all the snowdrifts in Chicago.
It's hard to get your mind around how much heat the atmosphere moves around. A human being can generate about 6-8 megajoules as heat every day. (A food calorie is about 4,200 joules.) Your car or office can generate tens of megajoules to keep you warm. But when an air mass comes up along the Mississippi to Chicago, it's dragging so much energy that we need to review exponents. We're talking about petajoules.
Which brings up the second point. We're not talking about an inch of fluffy ice crystals on a flower. We're actually talking about megatons of ice covering...everything. Not snow; ice.
Take a 10m square of ice just 50 mm thick—meaning just about any square of lawn in the Chicago area right now. So, that's 100 square meters times 50 mm (0.05m), which yields just 5 cubic meters of ice. It turns out, to change just that small amount of ice—oh, wait, that's five tons of ice (do the math)—into water takes 16.5 gigajoules of energy.
Also, when the energy goes into melting ice, it doesn't go anywhere else. I'll hold off on the physics for the moment, except to say that energy can't be created or destroyed, so when it goes into changing the state of a large mass of water without changing its temperature, it's pretty much unavailable for anything else. (Physicists reading this, please be kind; it's close enough.)
This is just a long way of saying: those last millimeters won't go quietly. The last bits of "snow" that the official weather observers measure aren't really snow, they're ice; and ice takes a lot of heat to melt. (Snow is easier to melt because it has so little mass for the same volume.)
Still, if the temperature gets up to its predicted 14°C tomorrow, that's a lot of heat fighting a lot of ice. It might get rid of the official snow cover at the airport, even. And that would leave us with nothing more than the two-meter snowbanks pushed up by all the plows for the last ten weeks. Joy.
When we got a few centimeters of snow on December 29th, no one expected it would still be on the ground after we changed the clocks in March. Yet there it is, officially 50 mm for the last 24 hours.
The 11am temperature at O'Hare was -0.6°C, and the forecast calls for the temperature to pop up to 7°C this afternoon and then stay above freezing until Tuesday night—possibly even getting up to 14°C tomorrow afternoon. If the little snow we've still got can survive that onslaught, then I will be impressed.
And the best part about this forecast? I won't write anything more about how many consecutive days of snow we've had. You're welcome.
Snow-cover reports come out every six hours. (The next report is due at 1pm.) I'll post as soon as the ground is officially snow-free.
Just one more moan: It's 18°C and sunny in London. But I won't be there for almost two more weeks.
Update: At 1pm the official snow depth was still 50 mm, but the temperature was up to 2°C. I'll check back in six hours.