I finished a sprint at my day job while finding time to take Cassie to the dog park and make a stir-fry for lunch. While the unit tests continue to spin on my work computer, I have some time to read about all the things that went wrong in the world today:
- Paul Krugman does the arithmetic on why, since the 1870s, conquering your neighbor impoverishes both countries. ("An aside: Isn’t it extraordinary and horrible to find ourselves in a situation where Hitler’s economic failures tell us useful things about future prospects? But that’s where we are. Thanks, Putin.")
- Jonah Shepp agrees, at least about the politics of it. So does David Remnick. In fact, it's pretty hard to find someone who thinks invading Ukraine was a good idea. And yet, every global village needs an idiot...
- Ukrainians have spared no insult on social media against the invading army. It helps that Putin has shown to the whole world that he hasn't got the power he claimed. Josh Marshall also reflects on Putin's, ah, performance issues.
- In lighter news, a Birmingham woman spent £150 on her very first Michelin-starred dining experience, and loved it.
I'm heading out tonight to watch President Biden's first State of the Union Address with friends. Robert Reich will also tune in.
Two weeks from today, the Apollo Chorus will join with the Elmhurst Symphony Orchestra for their performance of Bach's St John Passion. Our performance is the next day in Lakeview, Chicago. Today we had a 2½-hour special rehearsal, after which I needed to do some shopping, then give Cassie a bit of exercise.
I will now nap. Tomorrow will be easier.
It's 8.6°C according to the thermometer here at IDTWHQ, so guess who's about to get a walk?
And wasn't it just Tuesday?
I got an email from HR this morning reminding me that I'm approaching the upper limit for paid time off in my bank. I thought, what with taking half a day here and there over the past year, I might not already have almost a month of vacation to use. Cue searching on VRBO for places Cassie and I might like.
Meanwhile, back in the present:
But back to vacation: how cute is this place?
The temperature dropped 17.7°C between 2:30 pm yesterday and 7:45 this morning, from 6.5°C to -10.2°C, as measured at Inner Drive Technology World Headquarters. So far it's recovered to -5.5°C, almost warm enough to take my lazy dog on a hike. She got a talking-to from HR about not pulling her weight in the office, so this morning she worked away at a bone for a good stretch:
Alas, the sun came out, a beam hit her head, and she decided the bone could wait:
Meanwhile, in the rest of the world:
- Julia Ioffe interviews Russian diplomat Dr Andrey Sushentsov about Russia's views of the Ukraine crisis. tl;dr: the US and Russia don't even have a common set of facts to discuss, let alone a common interpretation of them.
- In Beijing, former Olympic figure skater Adam Rippon blasts the Russian team for once again crapping on their own performance with yet another doping scandal.
- The government of Ontario secured a court order last night allowing the Windsor Police and OPP to start clearing the Ambassador Bridge. So far, they have managed to do so without violence, but a few extremists haven't yet budged.
- James Fallows updates his earlier post on how framing outrageous actions as "that's just Trump" is an abrogation of the press's responsibility to its consumers. "For perspective here: the late Sandy Berger, who had been Bill Clinton’s National Security Advisor, was investigated, charged, fined $50,000, and sentenced to two years of probation for stuffing copies of a classified document into his socks, and sneaking them out from the National Archives. The story of his downfall was a major news feature back in the mid-2000s."
- The UK now allows fully-vaccinated travelers from most countries to arrive and depart without getting a swab stuck up their nose.
- Comedian Bob Saget died of blunt head trauma, consistent with a slip and fall, according to an autopsy. It also found his heart had a 95% blockage, which might have killed him even without the fall.
Finally, in 2018 Rebecca Mead returned to London after living in New York for 30 years. Her 15-year-old son now speaks with a unique accent Mead says has become the new standard "Multicultural London English."
Someone might need to have a word with HR. Yesterday, my office helper accomplished this:
After speaking to her about this performance gap, we got this today:
Clearly we have some work to do here.
Other than making a hearty beef stew, I have done almost nothing of value today. I mean, I did some administrative work, and some chorus work, and some condo board work. But I still haven't read a lick of the books I've got lined up, nor did I add the next feature to the Weather Now 5 app.
I did read these, though:
- An Illinois state judge has enjoined the entire state from imposing mask mandates on schools, just as NBC reports that anti-vaxxer "influencers" are making bank off their anti-social followers.
- Across the border, Canadians, generally a less sociopathic lot than American conservatives, have run out of patience with their own anti-vax protestors.
- The Washington Post demonstrates how the worst gerrymanders in the US work—like the one here in Illinois.
- Local bicyclists have had enough of winter, blaming the city for filling bike lanes with slush. But...the city didn't make it snow, right?
OK, back to doing nothing. Cassie, at least, is getting a lot of attention.
On the walk home from the Empirical Taproom last night, Cassie managed to lose all four of her boots, at roughly 500-meter intervals. It got to the point where I started compulsively checking her paws to see if any remaining boot(s) remained attached, and still, they just vanished.
Well, winter is almost over, I suppose...
We only got about 50 mm of snow overnight, but the second wave came in the morning and hasn't stopped. And yet, not everyone cares about the natural disaster unfolding around us:
She followed up on her romp this morning by eating my earmuffs. Sigh.
While we wait for the snow to start falling, the World Meteorological Organisation announced today that a lightning flash on 29 April 2020 extended for 768 km across three states and lasted for 10 seconds:
The new record for the longest detected megaflash distance is 60 kilometres more than the previous record, with a distance of 709 ± 8 km (440.6 ± 5 mi) across parts of southern Brazil on 31 October 2018. Both the previous and new record used the same maximum great circle distance methodology to measure flash extent.
The new record strikes occurred in hotspots for Mesoscale Convective System (MCS) thunderstorms, whose dynamics permit extraordinary megaflashes to occur – namely, the Great Plains in North America, and the La Plata basin in South America.
The Post has more.
Meanwhile, the temperature at Inner Drive Technology World Headquarters seems to have peaked at 7.6°C, and it has started to rain. Cassie and I got in from our walk before it got really gross out.