I made a note to myself a while ago that as of today I've had a fitness tracker for 3,000 days. Sadly, my past self got it wrong: I got my first FitBit 3,029 days ago. Oopsi.
But it did give me a moment to check my lifetime stats. They don't suck. As of yesterday:
- Total days: 3,028
- Total steps: 40,490, 400
- Total distance: 34,076.1 km
- Goal hit (10,000 steps): 2,771
- Minimum hit (5,000 steps): 3,025
- Mean daily steps & distance: 13,372, 11.3 km
- Median daily steps: 12,770, 10.6 km
- Best 7-day period: 171,122 (7-13 July 2018)
- Best 30-day period: 537,798 (2-31 July 2018)
Not bad. And I'm still getting about 12,000 a day on average, even into my decrepitude.
My burn-up chart for the current sprint has a "completed" line that nicely intersects the sprint guideline, so I can take a moment this Monday morning to eat lunch and read some news stories:
And closer to home—like, less than a kilometer away—the City of Chicago has made some recommendations to improve a stretch of Clark Street that could be a model for other streets in the city.
Molly White would like major news outlets to treat the accused fraudster like the grown-ass adult he is:
[R]eading headlines and news stories, you would be forgiven if up until now you had thought he was a teenager still driving around on a learner’s permit, who picked up cryptocurrency trading to avoid the types of high school summer jobs that might force him to go outside.
SBF is being extended the benefit of the doubt that many are not so lucky to get. He is affluent, white, male, and accused of white-collar crimes, and so he is granted the charitable characterization of a naive boy. Meanwhile, the perception that Black children, particularly those accused of violent crimes, are adult criminals has earned its own term: adultification bias. The same term is used when abuse of Black children is ignored or even rationalized based on the perception that they are older than they are.
It’s jarring to read a story about a neighbor calling the police on a nine-year-old Black girl spraying for invasive lanternflies, describing the girl to a dispatcher as a “little Black woman walking, spraying stuff”, and then switch over to another tab with a story on the 30-year old “crypto kid” who might’ve just made an oopsie with billions of dollars of customer funds. On one hand, literal children are portrayed in the media as adults, and treated as such in the prison system; on the other, a man who’s been old enough to vote for over a decade is being described as “a young man in need of both defense and a friend” offering refreshments to a reporter “as if we were there for a playdate”.
Sam Bankman-Fried is continuing to cultivate this persona, hanging his head and slumping his shoulders to portray boyish shame, repeating “I made a lot of mistakes”. If he can keep it up, and if news outlets continue to fall for his narrative, perhaps he can sway not just some of the general public, but members of a jury.
As an aging Gen-Xer who couldn't wait to grow up, I have to wonder, is this a late-Millennial thing? Or just, as White says, a carefully-cultivated image that Boomer reporters are buying at a discount?
Eli Dourado takes a deep dive into the engineering and economics that could raise a fleet of 25,000 autonomous cargo airships, each two Chicago city blocks long floating just 1,500 meters over your head while carrying 500 tons of cargo:
Let’s say airships captured half of the 13 trillion ton-km currently served by container ships at a price of 10¢ per ton-km. That would equal $650 billion in annual revenue for cargo airships, notably much bigger than the $106 billion Boeing reports for the entire global air freight market. If one company owned the cargo airship market, taking only half of only the container market, it would be the biggest company in the world by revenue.
How many airships would we need to fill that demand? A lot. If each airship can carry 500 tons, cruises at 90 km/h, and is utilized two-thirds of the time, that adds up to around 260 million ton-km per year per airship. To produce 6.5 trillion ton-km per year would require 25,000 such airships. This is about the number of airliners in the world today.
Cargo airships would probably be among the easiest vehicles to make unmanned. The sky is big and empty, but it’s especially empty over the ocean at the lowish altitudes, below airliners’ Class A airspace, where airships would fly. Even when you get over land and near landing facilities, airships are slow moving relative to other aircraft, so there is time for a remote pilot to take over if any off-nominal condition occurs.
In my experience, once you start thinking about giant cargo airships, it’s hard to stop.
Try to actually picture it in your mind—an object the size of the Empire State Building floating across the sky a thousand feet above your head. They would be so common that you would see them daily, driving commerce and extending the gains from trade further than ever before. They would, of course, obey every law of physics, but to our minds trained on today’s mundane reality, they would appear to defy gravity.
For me, they would carry symbolic value. Every time I saw one, I’d remember that great things are possible.
I think the economics make sense, especially his math on using hydrogen instead of helium as the lifting gas. I hope I live long enough to see these things above Chicago.
Just in time for spring, the City of Chicago has just announced the winning names for seven of our beloved snowplows:
- Da Plow
- Holy Plow!
- Jean Baptiste Point du Shovel
- Mrs O'Leary's Plow
- Salter Payton
- Sears Plower
- Sleet Home Chicago
From the Chicago Tribune:
Nearly 7,000 potential names were submitted in 17,000 suggestions from Chicago residents. Initially, the city planned to name six snowplows — one for each snow district — in its fleet of almost 300 baby-blue “Snow Fighting Trucks.” (During a major snowfall in Chicago, a pool of up to 675 motor-truck drivers can be dispatched.) Another was added due to a close vote.
Each of the snowplows will be trackable in real-time on the city’s plow tracker — and the name will be added to the vehicles too.
Since we've gotten less than half of our normal snowfall this year, we haven't seen the plows much. The Climate Prediction Center mid-term forecast doesn't look good for snow, either:
Not that anyone's complaining!
Next year, though, I'll watch out for Da Plow.
Update: Mount Washington, N.H., had some weather last night, too. The weather station there may have recorded the lowest wind chill temperature in US history shortly before 11pm. With sustained 167 km/h winds gusting to 189 km/h and an ambient air temperature of -43°C, the weather station had a wind chill of -76.6°C (-106°F)—colder than the surface of Mars. At this writing the station has a much more moderate wind chill of -61.4°C (-78.6°F). Bundle up.
I finished a couple of big stories for my day job today that let us throw away a whole bunch of code from early 2020. I also spent 40 minutes writing a bug report for the third time because not everyone diligently reads attachments. (That sentence went through several drafts, just so you know.)
While waiting for several builds to complete today, I happened upon these stories:
Finally, a school district food service director ordered more than 11,000 cases of chicken wings worth $1.5m over the last three years, which the State's Attorney says never got to the kids.
And now, since the temperature has risen from this morning's -17°C all the way up to...uh...-11.4°C, I will now walk the adorable creature who keeps nosing me in the arm as I type this.
The last Boeing 747 rolled off the assembly line Tuesday. Sam Howe Verhovek gives it a eulogy:
Remarkably, barely three years after a handshake agreement, the Boeing 747 rolled out of a giant factory a bit north of Seattle. It quickly made global air travel more affordable than it had ever been, fulfilling Trippe’s vision of a world where plumbers and schoolteachers, not just the well-heeled, could think about taking their families to London or Rio de Janeiro or Tokyo.
This week, 53 years after the first Pan Am passenger flights between New York and London, the 1,574th — and last — Boeing 747 had its ceremonial send-off and took to the skies. This ultimate example of the famous airliner has a depiction on its tail of Atlas holding the world atop his shoulders, as the logo of the cargo and charter carrier Atlas Air Worldwide. How appropriate, for the 747 created a worldwide web long before there was a World Wide Web.
The “Queen of the Skies” is passing out of fashion because nimbler, more energy efficient jetliners with two engines — rather than the 747’s four — have come along to do a better job of getting people from point to point internationally.
Aviation engineers truly accomplished the phenomenal more than half a century ago when they met the challenge concocted by those two guys fishing in Alaska. Today’s airplane designers should use the story of the Boeing 747’s success as inspiration for the great task they now face of building an airliner that’s not only fast and affordable and safe, but green as well.
I last flew on a 747 on 7 December 2015, coming home from London, and last rode in the upper deck on 7 November 2014—on the same flight, Speedbird 295. British Airways gave up its last 747s during the pandemic, and very few other airlines still use it for passenger flights. So unless I hop a Cathay Pacific flight to Singapore soon, I'll probably never ride in one again.
Welcome to stop #79 on the Brews and Choos project.
Brewery: Bungalow by Middle Brow., 2840 W. Armitage Ave., Chicago
Train line: CTA Blue Line, California
Time from Chicago: 14 minutes
Distance from station: 600 m
I had plans to meet a friend who lives in Logan Square last Thursday, so why not combine it with the Brews and Choos Project? The friend loves Bungalow by Middle Brow, and I understand why. It's really cool.
I tried a sip of my friend's Cottage Mexican Lager (4%), and put it in the category of "really well-made beer that didn't work for me." I just had a Little Crush IPA (4.5%), which fell into exactly that category for my friend, but which I liked a lot.
We also had an appetizer of fresh, warm bread with nduja butter, and we shared a pepperoni pizza. We cleaned our plates.
I will head back there when the weather gets warmer. It will be a good place to start when I visit the many other breweries within 1 kilometer of California and Armitage.
Beer garden? Yes
Dogs OK? No
Serves food? Full menu
Would hang out with a book? Yes
Would hang out with friends? Yes
Would go back? Yes
It got practically tropical this afternoon, at least compared with yesterday:
Cassie and I took advantage of the no-longer-deadly temperatures right at the top point of that curve to take a 40-minute, 4.3 km walk. Tomorrow should stay as warm, at least until the next cold front comes in and pushes temperatures down to -18°C for a few hours Thursday night.
I'm heading off to pub quiz in a few minutes, so I'll read these stories tomorrow morning:
OK, off to empty the dog, refill the dog, and scoot over to Sketchbook Skokie for a shellacking. (Our sports person can't make it tonight.)
It's official. Last month had the lowest percentage of possible sunshine (18%) of any January in history and the second-lowest percentage of any month in history. The month also had more overcast days (18) than all but two of the 1,791 months in the historical record. Only January 1998 (20) and November 1985 (19) had more. (Records go back to October 1871.)
One interesting tidbit: 3 of the 5 least-sunny Januarys happened in the last 6 years.
But as I write this, there isn't a cloud in the sky. (It's -12°C, though.)