The Daily Parker

Politics, Weather, Photography, and the Dog

Krugman on the Dilbert Strategy

Krugman's column today explains how Treasury's banking "reform" over the last week isn't, actually. And he concludes with a fear I've had for some time now:

If we don’t reform the system this time, the next crisis could well be even bigger. And I, for one, really don’t want to live through a replay of the 1930s.

It's a must-read.

Finally flying again

After six cancellations due to weather, I finally got up in an airplane today. I flew 1.9 hours of just maneuvers and landing practice with an instructor. I'm a little rusty, but they can use the plane again, so that's all right.

Long-time readers know that I have a GPS-enabled bike speedometer. Today, I brought the little bugger along in the airplane, so you can see where I flew. (Google Earth 4.x required to view the file.)

Why are there red-light cameras again?

Via Bruce Schneier, confirmation of your suspicions about automatic traffic cameras:

Faced with data showing that drivers pay attention to cameras at intersections — resulting in fewer ticketable violations and ever-shrinking revenue from fines — municipalities across the country are reconsidering red light cameras, which often work too well.


Citywide statistics obtained by NBC [Dallas] affiliate KXAS-TV found that red light cameras do reduce accidents. That is a good thing.

But they do it by reducing red light violations, by as much as 29 percent from month to month at particularly busy Dallas intersections. On the face of it, that, too, is a good thing — but not, necessarily, if you rely on traffic fines to make up a healthy chunk of your budget.

I don't even know where to begin. It's just sad, isn't it, that saving lives isn't the reason we enforce traffic regulations.

It's official: 2007-08 one of the worst winters ever

From Chicago Tribune weather forecaster Tom Skilling:

Chicago's 2007-08 snowfall tally eased above 153 cm Thursday, making it one of only seven season to reach or exceed 60 inches. ... Thursday's 4.3 cm at O'Hare became the city's 43rd day of measurable snow. No season since 1978-79 has recorded more days of measurable (2.5 mm) snow.

Skilling yesterday gave the cheery forecast that the Cubs' home opener Monday will get rained out.

Finally, did you know the U.S. government patented the atomic bomb? This suggests a tactic we can use against North Korea: sue them for infringement! Forget the 82nd Airborne, send the patent attorneys!

Several creepy items

The first—the most serious one—comes from David Brooks via my friend RB:

Let’s take a look at what [Clinton is] going to put her party through for the sake of [a] 5 percent chance [of winning]: The Democratic Party is probably going to have to endure another three months of daily sniping. ... For three more months (maybe more!) the campaign will proceed along in its Verdun-like pattern. There will be a steady rifle fire of character assassination from the underlings, interrupted by the occasional firestorm of artillery when the contest touches upon race, gender or patriotism. The policy debates between the two have been long exhausted, so the only way to get the public really engaged is by poking some raw national wound.

The other story, via Bruce Schneier, concerns a weird but scary Craigslist hoax:

Two hoax ads on Craigslist cost a Jacksonville man thousands of dollars in property Saturday and could land the pranksters in jail on theft and burglary charges.

The classified ads popped up Saturday afternoon on the Web site saying the owner of a home ... was forced to leave the area suddenly and that his belongings, including a horse, were free for the taking, said Jackson County sheriff's Detective Sgt. Colin Fagan.

The only problem is that Robert Salisbury has no plans of leaving his home any time soon.

Finally, a new dating website that left my friend TLC "flabbergasted but intrigued:"

You fill out a profile which consists of photos, your height, body type, education, occupation and a personal statement, and get rated by other members of the In My League community on a scale of one to ten based on your attractiveness.

Once you've been rated five times, you'll see your rating and all of your matches. Your matches are people who are within one point of your rating either way on the ten point scale. You can send messages and flirts to your matches, and when you appear as someone else's match, they send messages and flirts to you.

So if you're a 7.0, you'll be able to contact members who are rated as high as 8.0. And nobody rated below a 6.0 will be able to get in touch with you.

We live in interesting times.

Didn't spring start yesterday?

Snow has started falling in Chicago this morning, with predictions of 25 cm by tomorrow:

Northern Cook County and Lake County could see as much as 9 inches of it by late afternoon, according to Rich Brumer, a National Weather Service meteorologist. Chicago and the western suburbs could see 4 to 6 inches, while the south suburbs may get 2 to 3.

The worst of today's snowfall, which Brumer described as "wet and heavy," should occur between mid-morning and early afternoon.

"By the evening rush hour, things should be letting up a bit," Brumer said. "We should get a reprieve by this morning's rush; the heavier stuff shouldn't occur."

Oh, I hope it lets up by this afternoon. I really do.

Recursive Karma

Let's review. I moved back to Chicago from Evanston. Between finding my new apartment and moving to it, I got a job in Evanston, across the alley from the old Inner Drive World HQ.

Then yesterday, because my new company is overflowing, my team moved back to IDTWHQ.

Today we looked at new space. The new space would combine space currently occupied by a friend's company (she was surprised to see me troop through) and my attorney's old office. In fact, my office would be my attorney's office.

When I found my new apartment, I figured by now, I'd come to Evanston maybe once a month to see friends or maybe go to my favorite Evanston pub.

I feel like Al Pacino.