The Daily Parker

Politics, Weather, Photography, and the Dog

When the rain comes

I took Cassie out at 11am instead of her usual 12:30pm because of this:

The storm front passed quickly, but it hit right at 12:30 and continued for half an hour with some intensity. It'll keep raining on and off all day, too.

Other things rained down in the past day or so:

Finally, Super Size Me director Morgan Spurlock has died at age 53 of cancer. No word whether the production of the 2004 documentary contributed to his early demise.

Not the long post I hope to write soon

I'm still thinking about propaganda in the Gaza war, but I'm not done thinking yet. Or, at least, not at a stopping point where a Daily Parker post would make sense. That said, Julia Ioffe sent this in the introduction to her semi-weekly column; unfortunately I can't link to it:

The absolutely poisonous discourse around this war, though, has taken all of that to a whole other level. The rage, the screaming, and the disinformation, ahistoricity, the anti-Semitism and Islamophobia, the propaganda—all of it has felt overwhelming at times. The way that reasonable people I otherwise respect have shown themselves to be hard-hearted zealots—clinging to what they want to believe, starting not with the facts but rather their ideology and working backwards from there—has led me to stop talking to people on both sides of the divide. The facts of what’s happening in Israel and Gaza are hard enough to absorb as it is.

As usual, Ioffe wrote what I was thinking. Again, I'll have more, but that's a very good take.

  • The column Ioffe introduced in that email, an interview with international lawyer David Scheffer, is a must-read.
  • A jury found the National Association of Realtors liable for restraint of trade and anti-competitive practices, awarding the plaintiffs $1.87 billion in damages. (Where's my refund from my last house purchase?)
  • Strong Towns points out that contrary to the wishes of many on the left, rent control works as an anti-displacement policy, but not as an affordability policy.
  • Chicago Tribune sports writer Paul Sullivan laments that this year's World Series, between the 5th and 6th seeds, for which three 100-win teams lost in the playoffs, has the smallest audience of any World Series in television history. Can't think why.
  • It turns out, AI image generation can only be as good as the images it learns on, which means AIs have even more bias than humans do.
  • Somehow I wrote a 20-page paper for 11th grade on Mark Twain and never read the account of him meeting Winston Churchill in 1900.

Finally, Michelin just announced its Bib Gourmand list for Chicago, with its US stars all coming out next Tuesday. The Bib list has five new restaurants that I must now visit. We'll see who gets new stars in a few days.

Friday after the cold front

A rainy cold front passed over Inner Drive Technology WHQ just after noon, taking us from 15°C down to just above 10°C in two hours. The sun has come back out but we won't get a lot warmer until next week.

I've had a lot of coding today, and I have a rehearsal in about two hours, so this list of things to read will have to do:

Finally, for the first time in 346 days, the Chicago Bears won a football game. Amazing.

Late lunch

I had a lot going on this morning, so I'm only now snarfing down a Chipotle bowl. Also, I'm going to have to read these things tomorrow:

Finally, today is the 35th anniversary of the best baseball movie of all timeBull Durham. If I had time I'd watch it tonight.

How to avoid traffic, United Airlines style

United Airlines flight 2546 avoided traffic getting from O'Hare to Midway on Monday by taking the shortest route possible for an airplane its size:

The 13-minute flight got all the way up to 4,800 feet MSL to reposition an Airbus A320 the White Sox needed to get to New York later that day. The Sun-Times explains:

Although the flight did happen, it was merely the airline repositioning a charter plane, according to United spokesman Charles Hobart.

And although the flights have no passengers, they still appear on flight-tracking websites because of federal rules about airlines sharing their flight manifests, he said.

“This is very common, not only for United but for other major carriers,” Hobart said.

One social media user deduced from the plane’s tail number that this was the same charter plane used by the White Sox.

The White Sox confirmed it was their charter plane.

The Sun-Times helpfully concludes, "A drive from O’Hare to Midway during the same time, around noon on Monday, would’ve taken 55 minutes."

Update: In a cute Daily Parker coincidence, the White Sox and Yankees postponed tonight's game due to Canadian smoke.

More update: Yes, I can see why they cancelled the game. Current AQIs around New York are in the high 300s to low 400s, including a reading of 460 in the ironically-named Fresh Kills. At IDTWHQ, we have 85, which is also not great but not going to suffocate my dog, either.

How far from the park to downtown?

I love this chart from Twitter user Jay Cuda:

If you don't want to click through to Twitter, here's Jay's chart:

The chart doesn't tell the whole story, does it? For example, both Chicago teams, both New York teams, Boston, DC, Seattle, Philadelphia, and Oakland are all about the same distance from downtown, but easily accessible by train. (Chicago's are both on the same El line, in fact.) Atlanta's and LA's parks, by contrast, are approximately the same distance but completely inaccessible by any form of public transit. (Atlanta's new park even appears deliberately located to prevent those people from getting there.)

I speak from personal experience, as long-time Daily Parker readers know: I've been to every one of them, except the new Atlanta park, which I refuse to visit because of its anti-democratic location.

The beginning of the end of baseball

Fifty years ago today, Major League Baseball adopted a rules change for the American League that led by increments to the 10th-inning-runner rule adopted last season:

On January 11, 1973, the owners of America’s 24 major league baseball teams vote to allow teams in the American League to use a “designated pinch-hitter” who could bat for the pitcher while still allowing the pitcher to stay in the game.

The idea of adding a player to the baseball lineup to bat for the pitcher had been suggested as early as 1906 by revered manager Connie Mack. In 1928, John Heydler, president of the National League, revived the issue, but the rule was rejected by the AL management.

The NL resisted the change, and for the first time in history, the two leagues would play using different rules. Though it initially began as a three-year experiment, it would be permanently adopted by the AL and later by most amateur and minor league teams.

Major League Baseball continues to believe that more runs means more money, even though the appeal of baseball has always been as a pastime. But what do I know? I was a Cubs fan for 40 years.

World Series no-hitter

The Houston Astros won game 4 of the World Series last night with a no-hitter, which hasn't happened since 1956:

Pitching like a Game 1 starter, the young right-hander Cristian Javier put on a clinic on a night Houston was in need of something spectacular, throwing six no-hit innings at Philadelphia and combining with three relievers for the first combined no-hitter in World Series history.

Javier’s outing positioned the Astros for a 5-0, World Series-tying win in a Game 4 classic. Bryan Abreu struck out the side in the seventh inning, Rafael Montero worked a 1-2-3 eighth and Ryan Pressly lifted the Astros into the history books with a hitless ninth inning, delivering the third no-hitter of any type in postseason history and only the second to come in the World Series.

Only Don Larsen of the Yankees has ever thrown a solo no-hitter in the World Series. That was a perfect game in Game 5 in 1956, when catcher Yogi Berra famously leaped into Larsen’s arms to celebrate. On Wednesday, Houston’s catcher, Vázquez, had his choice of pitchers with whom to celebrate.

And yet, the TV audience declined again:

The Philadelphia Phillies’ 7-0 win over Houston in Game 3 of the World Series was seen by 11,162,000 viewers on Fox, down 2.7% from last year’s third game.

Atlanta’s 2-0 victory over the Astros last season was seen by 11,469,000. That game was on a Friday night, while this year’s Game 3 was on a Tuesday.

This year’s audience was up 34% from the 8,339,000 for the Los Angeles Dodgers’ 6-2 win over Tampa Bay in 2020, the lowest-rated World Series.

World Series viewership has declined steadily since its peak in the 1970s. But why?

Derek Thompson points to the influence of Sabermetrics ("Moneyball") strategies, which have "led to a series of offensive and defensive adjustments that were, let’s say, catastrophically successful:"

The religion scholar James P. Carse wrote that there are two kinds of games in life: finite and infinite. A finite game is played to win; there are clear victors and losers. An infinite game is played to keep playing; the goal is to maximize winning across all participants. Debate is a finite game. Marriage is an infinite game. The midterm elections are finite games. American democracy is an infinite game. A great deal of unnecessary suffering in the world comes from not knowing the difference. A bad fight can destroy a marriage. A challenged election can destabilize a democracy. In baseball, winning the World Series is a finite game, while growing the popularity of Major League Baseball is an infinite game. What happened, I think, is that baseball’s finite game was solved so completely in such a way that the infinite game was lost.

Cultural Moneyballism, in this light, sacrifices exuberance for the sake of formulaic symmetry. It sacrifices diversity for the sake of familiarity. It solves finite games at the expense of infinite games. Its genius dulls the rough edges of entertainment. I think that’s worth caring about. It is definitely worth asking the question: In a world that will only become more influenced by mathematical intelligence, can we ruin culture through our attempts to perfect it?

Case in point: Don Larsen threw his perfect game all on his own in 1956. Christian Javier had three relievers last night. So is it really the same accomplishment?

Happy November!

I've spent the morning playing matchmaker between disparate time-streams of data, trying to see what relationships (if any) exist between them. They all seem pretty cool to each other at the moment, which is sub-optimal from my perspective. If I can get a couple to get together amicably, then I can get baby time streams to analyze, which I need desperately.

Speaking of sub-optimal:

OK, back to work. Does anyone have an aphrodisiac for data streams?

Aviation perfection

This. Is. Amazing:

Chicago Public Media explains how they made it:

The viral video was shot earlier this summer, with the help of a Minneapolis-based production studio. With a “lean crew” of just three people, Sky Candy Studios paid a visit to the Windy City in late July, the company’s founder Michael Welsh said.

Over the course of a Saturday and a Sunday, Welsh piloted an FPV-style drone with a GoPro attached through the nooks and crannies of Wrigleyville. The “high-precision drone,” which weighs under 250 grams, is meant to cruise through tight spaces and wouldn’t do any damage if it were to bump into something — or someone, Welsh said.

“It’s incredibly small and safe and allows you to do these maneuvers that in the past you weren’t able to do with drones,” said Welsh, who initially started flying drones about 12 years ago when he was in the Army.

The final product includes five different videos that are stitched together “with some creative editing magic,” Welsh said. For each of the five videos, Welsh says they probably did about five takes, with a lot of prep and talking with the people who appear in the shots. Inside Murphy’s Bleachers, for example, they let patrons know a drone was coming through and they should ignore it. At first, Welsh said people can’t help but look at the camera flying by them, but by the third take “they’re kind of bored with it.”

And they did this all with a tiny 250-gram drone? Whoa.