We got about 10 cm (4 in.) of snow last night, so this morning Anne and I went out to shovel.
It was on this day in 1818 that my native Illinois became the 21st of the United States.
Tangential question: Why does the History Channel put this tidbit in the Old West category?
Anne and I attended the taping last night of Wait Wait — Don't Tell Me!, the NPR News Quiz. It airs Saturday.
If you don't listen to the show, tune in, and find out how to get Aerosmith and Kenny G to play the same gig, among other things.
Note: You may have seen this post earlier. In a continuation (recurrence?) of earlier problems, Das Blog ate the post about an hour after it went up. Grr.
From the National Hurricane Center just a few minutes ago:
...EPSILON BECOMES YET ANOTHER HURRICANE IN THE RECORD BREAKING 2005 ATLANTIC HURRICANE SEASON...
Epsilon, the 26th named storm in the Atlantic this year, is now its 14th hurricane.
See the complete public advisory.
Hurricane season ended Wednesday. Apparently Mother Nature didn't get the memo.
Update, 20:53 UTC: Forecaster Stewart at the NHC added this comment to the latest Hurricane Epsilon discussion:
GOING BACK TO 1851... HISTORICAL RECORDS INDICATE EPSILON IS ONLY THE FIFTH HURRICANE TO FORM DURING THE MONTH OF DECEMBER. OTHER DECEMBER HURRICANES ARE... UNNAMED 1887... UNNAMED 1925... ALICE #2 IN 1954... AND LILI 1984. EPSILON IS ALSO ONLY THE SIXTH HURRICANE TO EVER OCCUR DURING DECEMBER... INCLUDING UNNAMED 1887... UNNAMED 1925... ALICE #2 IN 1954... LILI 1984... AND NICOLE 1998.
North Carolina executed the 1,000th person since the U.S. reinstated capital punishment in 1976, putting us 1,000 ahead of our friends and allies in the contest to become the most barbarous democracy on earth.
I don't have time at the moment to go over the problems with the death penalty, except to note that the Jeanine Nicarico case is back in the newspapers in Chicago. The man most likely responsible for Nicarico's murder is finally on trial for it 20 years after a man who couldn't possibly have killed her was sentenced to death for the crime.
There are myriad reasons why no other country in the OECD still kills its prisoners, reasons I will articulate in future posts. For now, though, let me reflect on the passing of this milestone, and sigh.
Any software project that has more than one developer working on it needs to have some way of ensuring that there is one and only one "official" version of the code. This is called source control, for which teams use tools like Microsoft SourceSafe and Rational ClearCase.
In the land of myth and legend, the code checked in to source control is ready to roll. Checking something in that doesn't work, or that prevents other parts of the software project from working, is called "breaking the build." On some teams breaking the build results in the offending developer working late, suffering humiliation from his peers, or having Vinny come by and break his knuckles.
Adhering to this discipline allows developers to join the team, get the latest copy of the code, and start working on it. Failing to adhere to this disicipline causes anguish, frustration, and despair.
That is all.
...that Rosa Parks was jailed for not giving up her bus seat to a white man in Montgomery, Ala.
Thanks to eagle-eyed attorney Angela Riccetti for a correction to this item.
New Scientist is reporting this hour on findings published today in the journal Nature, showing a 30% reduction in warm-water flows in the Atlantic Gulf Stream. This is a long-predicted effect of global warming, similar to changes in the flow that may have caused the so-called "mini ice-age" of the 14th and 15th centuries—and the major ice age of 110,000 years ago.
Not to be alarmist or anything, but this news is the climatic equivalent of seeing fifteen "for sale" signs on your block. It shows that something is very, very wrong, and the effects will be very, very bad. Think: ice skating straight across the Thames from the London Eye to Westminster. Think: Western Ireland under three feet of snow. Think: Madrid with Denver's climate.
Think I'm exaggerating? Nature is, after all, an alarmist publication. And New Scientist is only repeating the party line. You've got to be skeptical of the evidence-based community, you know.
Look, we've known for decades that we were influencing the climate. Journalist James Burke talked about exactly this happening in his 1991 miniseries After the Warming. Only, he speculated the slowdown happening in 2050, not 1995.
I've always thought global warming would benefit Chicago, even as it punished cities like Edinburgh. I just didn't think it would happen in my lifetime.
(Why the sheep? He's in Western Ireland, and he's cute, and ten years from now his descendants will be glad they have wool coats.)
I just got a voice message from the National Republican Campaign Committee, asking for survey input.
As a matter of fact, I do have some ideas for the 2006 campaign...
The National Hurricane Center just a few minutes ago released this report:
...TROPICAL STORM EPSILON...THE 26TH NAMED STORM OF THE 2005
ATLANTIC SEASON...FORMS OVER THE CENTRAL ATLANTIC OCEAN...
AT 11 AM AST...1500Z...THE CENTER OF TROPICAL STORM EPSILON WAS
LOCATED NEAR LATITUDE 31.6 NORTH... LONGITUDE 50.4 WEST OR ABOUT
845 MILES...1360 KM...EAST OF BERMUDA AND ABOUT 1395 MILES...2245
KM... WEST OF THE AZORES ISLANDS.
For those of you keeping score at home, this means we've seen 7 more named storms than the previous record (19, in 1995), and 5 more than the record for all tropical storms and hurricanes in a season (21, in 1933), since we started keeping track in 1851.
Now, the NHC admits the evidence doesn't fully support a link between global warming and storm frequency, but the hypothesis supporting the connection continues to gain evidence. Evidence like, for example, the most intense tropical storm season on record, including the only known tropical cyclone ever to reach Europe (Vince, October 11th).
Aren't you glad the best President we have right decided to make us the only Industrial country to refuse the Kyoto Protocol?