I'm chilling in my hotel room on the second day of my trip, not sure how much longer I'll remain awake. (Waking up at 5am sucks, even more so when it's 4am back home.) This is a problem in that I need to write some code before tomorrow.
So I've spent a few minutes perusing the blog feeds and news reports that came in today, and I have a favorite. The favorite is not:
No, though all of those brought little flutters of joy to my heart, the story that London is going to make Oxford Street a pedestrian utopia by 2020 really got my interest. Since I have never driven a car anywhere in Zone 1 and have no intention of ever doing so, I think blocking 800 meters of Oxford Street to cars is fookin' brilliant.
Because of a quirk in the calendar, today's sunrise in parts of the United States that observe daylight saving time was the latest it's been in many years. In Chicago, that was 7:27 this morning. The sunrise won't be that late again until 6 November 2021.
Plus, it was pissing with rain when the sun finally did come up today, making it especially gloomy.
I'm not really sure why we switched from the end of October to the beginning of November in 2007, but I really hate it.
It's hard to believe, but if you're trying to use public transit to get to an airport, you might want to use Bing Maps instead of Google:
Instead of advising you to take one of the “Airporter” buses from San Francisco International Airport, Oakland International Airport, and San Jose International Airport to the north and south of the Bay Area, the app will propose a two- or three-step odyssey on Bay Area Rapid Transit rail and then local buses.
As Google describes things, putting those city-to-terminal routes into its mapping apps shouldn’t be that hard. A transit operator has to apply to be listed in Google Transit, publish its schedule in the standard General Transit Feed Specification (GTFS) format, and have Google run some quality tests on that feed before factoring it into directions.
Three Airporter services in the Bay Area, meanwhile, had not even gotten to that first step.
“Google has never reached out to us, but at the moment I don’t think we have our schedule in a compatible format,” David Hughes, charter manager at Marin Airporter, says via email. “We are currently working on a new website and we should have the formatting correct when it is published.”
By the way, Bing is not that bad in general. People use Google as their default (I do) but sometimes Bing has better results.
For Chicago, it's not as much of an issue, because the CTA Blue Line goes straight to O'Hare Terminals 1-2-3. But in this case, Google says I can take a bus to the Blue Line and be there in 58 minutes, while Bing doesn't seem to realize that my bus goes all the way to the Blue Line.
All of which suggests that you shouldn't rely entirely on one source of information.
While Catalonia starts a civil war in Spain, and glaciers in the Antarctic advance more and more rapidly each year, it's good to know that Andrew Sullivan and David Brooks can agree on something.
Sullivan: "This is what the Trump abyss looks like."
Brooks: "This is the week Trump won."
It's not really that bad. But it sure feels like it.
A succession of cold fronts has started traversing the Chicago area, so after an absolutely gorgeous Saturday we're now in the second day of cold, wet, gray weather. In other words, autumn in Chicago.
So here's what I'd like to read today but probably won't have time:
Meeting time. Yay.
I'm excited about my new project, but as we ramp it up, I'm becoming aware of a cost: sleep. And that's not good.
Thanks to my Fitbit, I have a pretty good idea of how much I'm sleeping. Here's what October looks like so far:
The 11th through 13th and the 16th through 18th were travel days. And then on the 17th (the "wake" column of the 16th) I had to get up at an ungodly hour to get to the San Antonio MEPS by 6am.
I think this will settle down quickly, but wow, I'm really feeling it today.
I'm about to fly to San Antonio for another round of researching how the military tracks recruits from the time they get to the processing center to the time they leave for boot camp (officially "Military Basic Training" or MBT).
I have some stuff to read on the plane:
OK, off to K20. Or K18. Or wherever my plane has got to.
On the southwest coast of Ireland, County Kerry's local newspaper warns that post-tropical storm Ophelia will hit within the hour with "violent and destructive gusts forecast with all areas at risk."
Galway schools are closed an Irish defence forces are being deployed throughout the area:
The Department of Education has ordered schools across Galway to close tomorrow as a red weather warning remains in place for the county.
It follows a special meeting of the Government Task Force on Emergency Planning this afternoon to discuss preparations for Hurricane Ophelia.
GMIT is also to close all of its campuses across Galway – while NUI Galway says it is currently assessing the threat and will make a decision at 7 this evening.
Meanwhile, the City Council says Hurricane Ophelia does not currently pose a strong flood risk.
In a statement, the local authority says while there will be a storm sea surge in Galway Bay, the overall tidal level is predicted to be below the critical level for flooding.
It adds it will continue to monitor the situation and further defences and other measures will be put in place if required.
Meanwhile the storm track seems to have shifted west, so that Islay and Campbelltown are not directly in Ophelia's path; but not entirely safe either:
Three battalions of soldiers are on permanent standby to deal with major incidents in the UK, but the Ministry of Defence said no specific requests had yet been made of them by local authorities.
The Republic of Ireland's Met Office predicts coastal areas will be hit by winds in excess of 80mph (130km/h) from 09:00 BST on Monday until Tuesday and is warning against unnecessary travel.
Gerald Fleming, head of its general forecasting division, told Irish broadcaster RTE: "The track is very consistent [and] has been for days.
"The strongest winds [will be] along the south coast.
"That'll be tomorrow morning, and it'll track up the centre again, going up along the western part of the country."
BBC Weather said Monday would be a "day of huge contrasts" with the strong gusts of wind travelling over the Irish Sea and heading north to central and southern Scotland, sparing eastern parts of the UK.
Eastern England is instead expected to enjoy unseasonably warm weather, with temperatures of 22C or 23C on Monday - compared with an average for mid-October of 15C.
Highs of 24C were recorded in the region on Saturday as some parts of the country basked in a "mini heatwave" thanks to warm air brought by Hurricane Ophelia
I hope the people I met in Ireland and Scotland over the years get through this once-per-century storm with their wits about them—and their houses. Good luck.
Imagine the largest office building (in land area) you've ever been in, add a small shopping mall, four food courts, and the security that demonstrates exactly how silly and ineffectual airport security is, and that's the Pentagon.
I'm in a little island that's like an anti-SCIF (Secure Compartmented Information Facility). We're in the one unclassified office in the ring, complete with unclassified Internet service, and because of that, behind two steel doors and in a Faraday cage. And it's literally the only place we're allowed to take pictures, which is sad because every hallway in the building is a museum exhibit. It's weird.
That, and we can't go to the bathroom without an escort, makes this a very strange day indeed.
Also, it's like an ongoing pop quiz in uniform insignia recognition. And I'm still having problems with upper enlisted ranks.
Home tomorrow, after a visit to a military facility outside Baltimore.
The Islay-based Port Ellen distillery closed in 1983, leaving only a few hundred barrels scattered throughout Scotland's blenders, and a few thousand bottles which now sell for upwards of £1,000.
Diageo, which bought the Port Ellen Maltings in 1987 and all of the original Port Ellen whisky stocks, announced yesterday that it will re-open the brand in 2020 with a £35m investment:
Multinational drinks company Diageo—which owns 28 malt distilleries and one grain distillery in the country—announced that it will invest £35 million (about $46.1 million) to reopen Port Ellen Distillery on Islay and Brora Distillery on the east coast of the northern Highlands. The two single malt distilleries closed in 1983, during a period of decline for the scotch industry. The process of reopening—which includes planning, design, and construction work for both distilleries—will take up to three years. Distilling is slated to begin no later than 2020.
According to Dr. Nick Morgan, Diageo’s head of whisky outreach, discussions about reopening the distilleries have happened periodically for the last 20 years. “We take a very long-term view of the scotch whisky market—you have to for planning and inventory and investment purposes,” he says. “We invested a billion pounds about five or six years ago in upgrading our production facilities, particularly to meet long-term demand that we forecasted for blended scotch whisky. Building on the back of that, we feel that the situation for scotch now is very bright…We felt this was the time to do something like this, with more of a single malt scotch whisky focus.”
While on Islay, I had the opportunity to sample an original Port Ellen dram. I'm looking forward to having another one...in 2030.
(Yikes. I'll be 70 before their whisky is ready...)