The Daily Parker

Politics, Weather, Photography, and the Dog

A little busier than usual

And the Daily Parker suffers. This is my 38th post this month, making June 2015 the slowest month on the blog since November 2010, the last month of my MBA.

Let's see if I can do better in July.

Today is the longest day of the year

No, really. Today will have 86,401 seconds in it, as opposed to the usual 86,400 seconds that every day for the last 18 years has had.

Because the earth interacts with lots of other gravity sources in the universe—most notably the moon—its rotation sometimes speeds up and sometimes slows down. Over the last 18 years or so, the planet has lost an entire second because of these perturbations, requiring us to update our most accurate clocks to compensate. Of course, when those clocks get updated, there's a trickle-down effect, because so much of what we do in the 21st Century requires really, really accurate timekeeping.

So, this evening in Chicago, the 6pm hour will have 3,601 seconds in it as the master clocks all over the planet add their leap second at 23:59:60 UTC.

Enjoy your extra second.

June gloom in Chicago

People in Los Angeles talk about the "June Gloom," a common weather pattern that makes L.A. weather gloomy in the late spring. We don't typically have this phenomenon in Chicago. This month, however, is the gloomiest June ever here, with only 45.7% of possible sunshine through yesterday, and clouds today and predicted for tomorrow.

This month is already the fourth wettest month in Illinois history (and the wettest June in state history) with statewide average precipitation of 227.8 mm through Saturday. Much of the state is having more rain today, so it's reasonably likely that June 2015 will end as the second-wettest month in state history. We'll find out Thursday or next Monday when all the figures are in.

We Chicagoans are used to changing weather, and to some degree we enjoy it. We really dislike persistent stretches of unpleasant weather. Let's hope the weather changes in a few days. We're tired of the clouds and rain.

Happy Pride

The Chicago Pride Parade staging area is at the end of my street, so Parker and I had to at least see it. Money shot:

That's the Stanley Cup, back in Chicago where it belongs.

And just think of the hundreds of couples breaking up this weekend:

"Honey! We can get married now!"


Pride goeth before my apartment

Oh, shit.

Tomorrow will be the most epic Pride Parade in Chicago's history.

It starts four blocks from my house, and the staging area extends down Montrose past the end of my street.

Good thing I'm not going to be exhausted from having a party tonight, or have anywhere to go tomorrow morning...

On the other hand, this is the coolest map I've seen in a long time:

States where Same-Sex Marriage is Legal

Updated 26 June 2015

Know hope.

Bob, you're looking a bit blue

A trio of teenagers in the UK won a science prize for their concept of condoms that change color in the presence of sexually-transmitted disease pathogens:

Their idea - which is still at concept stage - involves a condom covered with antibodies that would react with the proteins in bacteria, or antigens, found in STIs.

Daanyaal [Ali, 14,] explained: "Once the [bodily] fluids come into contact with the latex, if the person does have some sort of STI, it will cause a reaction through antibodies and antigens hanging on to each other, which triggers an antibody reaction causing a colour change."

Dr Mark Lawton, [a consultant in sexual health and HIV at the Royal Liverpool Hospital,] said, "The technology for colour change in the presence of an antigen is certainly something that does happen - the home test for HIV relies on a colour change detecting antibodies for HIV. It does normally require some additional chemicals in that process and [with a condom] you'd obviously need to make sure that those chemicals weren't going to be harmful or toxic or in any way cause irritation."

This is a great concept. I hope they can commercialize it.

Marriage equality wins

A few minutes ago, the U.S. Supreme Court announced their 5-4 decision in Obergefell v Hodges:

Held: The Fourteenth Amendment requires a State to license a marriage between two people of the same sex and to recognize a marriage between two people of the same sex when their marriage was lawfully licensed and performed out-of-State.

The entire U.S. is now a marriage-equality jurisdiction. The ruling will take effect in just a couple of weeks, when the Court issues its mandates.

I'm glad this happened in my lifetime. This is great news for all couples, not just same-sex couples.

It'll take a while to digest the opinion and its four dissents (and you'll never guess who dissented).

Thoughts on the Confederate battle flag

A Facebook friend complained this morning that some of her friends had changed their profile photos to the Confederate battle flag, supporting what, no one seemed to know. My response:

It's interesting. We're the only country in the developed world where it's all right for a sizable number of regional governments to put up monuments to a rebellion we put down 150 years ago at a cost of 750,000 lives. Keep in mind, these rebels expressly took up arms to defend one of the two worst atrocities ever committed by an elected government in history. In the country that committed the *worst* atrocity in history, it's a *crime* to display the symbols of the political party that perpetrated it.

Let's follow England's example and mock rebel leaders with effigies and fireworks once a year. They have Guy Fawkes; we have Nathan Bedford Forrest. Except Fawkes was delusional and totally failed in his rebellion, while Forrest knew exactly what he was doing and killed hundreds of thousands of Americans before someone stopped him from doing it. If you think about it, no organization in history is responsible for more American deaths than the so-called Confederate States of America.

I don't know why we're even having this debate. The rebels failed, and slavery with them. And yet they have persisted for another 150 years trying to claw back as much racial inequality as they can. Enough.

More on the Confederate battle flag

TPM is doing a mitzvah in its coverage of the decline of Confederate memorabilia. Three articles published today:

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