The Daily Parker

Politics, Weather, Photography, and the Dog

Rumble rumble rumble. Mutiny mutiny mutiny.

I stopped to check email just now and found two odd things. I have the USGS earthquake feed on RSS. The USGS has deleted a number of 4.0+ magnitude earthquake reports tonight; it looks like fireworks are setting off the seismographs. But while I was laughing at that, I noticed a very real 7.6-magnitude earthquake near Kamchatka which, fortunately, does not appear to have caused a tsunami.

A 7.6 is a big deal. The earthquake that levelled San Francisco in 1906 was about an 7.8. No one appears to have been hurt today, which is fortunate.

Is that a dromedary or are you happy to see me?

Via Bruce Schneier:

Giraffe helps camels, zebras escape from circus

Amsterdam police say 15 camels, two zebras and an undetermined number of llamas and potbellied swine briefly escaped from a traveling Dutch circus after a giraffe kicked a hole in their cage.

Police spokesman Arnout Aben says the animals wandered in a group through a nearby neighborhood for several hours after their 5:30 a.m. breakout.

The animals were back at the circus later Monday after being rounded up by police and circus workers with the assistance of dogs. Aben says neighbors fed some of the animals — which he said was a bad idea — but they were tame and nobody was hurt.

Says Aben: "You have to imagine somebody rubbing his eyes first thing in the morning and saying, 'Am I seeing things or is that 15 camels walking past?'"

This was an afterthought in his main post, which was about random stupidity in terrorism.

First flight

I finally found the box containing my mother's journals and appointment calendars from 1971 to 1976, 1980 to 1982, and 1990 to 2004. I already had 2005 and 2006, so this fills in a lot. (She stopped writing in late 2006 because she could no longer hold a pen.) Somewhere there's one more box, I hope, but this is by no means certain.

The contents are mostly mundane. One interesting nugget: I finally found the date I first took an airplane flight. On 19 April 1974, at age 3½, I flew from Chicago to Los Angeles with my dad. I'll have to do the math later, but it looks like I've spent about 11 months of my life in L.A. altogether, which is about what I figured.

More later. It's hot, and I'm running late for dinner.

Consultant: More than adequate office space in Evanston

I spent the better part of the last few months looking for appropriate office space to hold a team of developers. We estimated we'd need about 325 m² for 18 people. For some reason we could not find appropriate space. I therefore found an Evanston city consultant's recent report fascinating:

Consultant Marty Stern of U.S. Equities Realty says, in a report to be presented to the city's Economic Development Committee Wednesday night, that nine different generally suitable Class B buildings have a total of 50,072 square feet of vacant space.... In addition, Stern says there is about 141,000 square feet of more expensive Class A space available downtown and 21,000 square feet of less expensive Class C space, most of it downtown.

That comes to 19,700 m²—almost five acres of office space. Slightly more than we needed, of course, but probably workable.

Txt a2m1

It seems text-message shorthand sorely vexes the French. Well, some of them, anyway:

"Look at what text-messaging is doing to the French language," lamented President Nicolas Sarkozy in February. "If we let things go, in a few years we will have trouble understanding each other." Most secondary-school pupils have their own mobile telephones, and they use an abbreviated phonetic language to communicate. A2M1, for instance, means à demain, or "see you tomorrow." JTM is je t'aime (I love you). Or try: Ta HT 1 KDO? (T'as acheté un cadeau?, or have you bought a present?).