The Daily Parker

Politics, Weather, Photography, and the Dog

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Sigh:

I hope to read these articles sometime this year.

 

Not posting much lately

Since December I've been the technical lead on an 18-person project at work, which has tanked my blogging frequency. I may return to my previous 3-posts-in-two-days velocity at some point. For now, here are some articles to read:

That's all for now.

Easier medical requirements for general aviation

Starting May 1st, general aviation pilots like me will have an easier time getting aviation medical endorsements:

Starting on May 1, pilots will have the option to maintain their 3rd class medical, or opt to use the BasicMed rule. Under BasicMed, a pilot will be required to complete an online medical education course every two years, undergo a medical exam every four years, and comply with aircraft and operating restrictions. The medical exam will include a four-page FAA form to be completed by your doctor and kept available by the pilot for FAA inspection. Your regular doctor can complete the form, and they don’t need to deal with the FAA at all.

The aircraft and operating restrictions under BasicMed include: pilots cannot operate an aircraft weighing more than 6,000 pounds and cannot have more than six people on board. IFR operations are allowed, but pilots must fly at less than 18,000 MSL and no faster than 250 knots. Pilots using BasicMed also cannot fly for compensation or hire. To qualify for BasicMed, pilots also must have held a medical that was valid any time after July 15, 2006.

So instead of a $200 aviation medical exam every 2 years (at my age), I can just fill in a form and keep it in my flight bag? Sign me up. I'll take the online course just as soon as the FAA releases it.

So maybe I'll get bck in the cockpit this spring? I haven't flown for a while because it's expensive and I don't live near the airport...and also because I haven't gotten off my ass to renew my Class III medical certification. Well, here's one fewer thing I need to do.

 

Thanks, Obama!

The outgoing president has authorized $1.1 billion in Federal transportation funds to modernize the northern half of the CTA's Red Line:

City Hall has received the parting gift it wanted from the Obama administration: just under $1.1 billion in federal grants to rebuild a key stretch of the Chicago Transit Authority's Red Line north.

The city and U.S. Department of Transportation officials are scheduled to sign a contract tomorrow, known as a full-funding grant agreement, committing the DOT's Federal Transit Agency to provide $957 million in "core capacity" funds and another $125 million in anti-congestion money for the CTA's Phase One Red/Purple Modernization project.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel, in a phone interview, called the Red Line "the central nerve" of the CTA system.

The federal money "means 6,000 (construction) jobs, and it means decades of neighborhood improvements," he said, crediting U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., and state officials for taking the necessary preliminary steps to make it happen.

"Forty percent of the people who take the CTA take that line," he added.

Some of the track, embankments, and stations in the affected zone are 117 years old.

2016 in numbers

Welcome to another of my annual traditions: the stats dump.

In 2016:

  • Traveling was way, way down over previous years. I only visited one foreign country (the UK) and took only 15 flights all year. That amounted to only 42,588 km, not enough to re-qualify for Platinum status for the first time since 2008.
  • The Daily Parker had only 459 posts, down from 2015's 493, and the lowest since 2010. I was really, really busy this year. Posting suffered.
  • Parker got 211 hours of walks, up 62 from 2015. So he did not suffer as much as the blog.
  • Speaking of walks, I got 4,693,427 steps in 2016, beating 2015 by 29,266 steps—or 0.062%. That puts my 2016 daily average at 12,823.5, compared with 2015's 12,786.7. So, really, 37 steps a day. I think I can do better in 2017; we'll see. I still have yet to crack 50,000 steps in a day. Roll on spring.
  • I'm still not reading as much as I used to. I started 23 books in 2016 (up from 2015's 21) but finished 15. If you're keeping count, yes, I dropped some books I started, and still have a book from 2015 to finish. Again, I hope to do better in 2017.

So here we go. Another year. This one could kill us all. Certainly we're all going to be a lot poorer. But maybe I'll read more books, take more steps, and walk Parker more hours.

(See 2015 and 2014 for comparison.)

More stuff to read

Even though there are about 58 hours left in the year, I still have work to do. Meanwhile, a few things to read have crossed my RSS feeds:

OK, back to work.

Things I queued up to read on my last day in the office this year

From the Intertubes:

I'll also have some blog entries in January. December seems to have been pretty light.

Backlog

I didn't spend a lot of time blogging this weekend. Once I have a chance to go through the photos I took in London, I'll post some. (Probably Thursday.)