The trouble with holiday parties on Wednesday is that you have to function on Thursday. So, to spare my brain from having to do anything other than the work-related things its already got to do, here are things I will read later:
All for now.
After 38 years of publication, Dr. Dobbs is shutting down:
Why would a well-known site, dearly loved by its readers and coming off a year of record page views, be sunset by its owner?
In one word, revenue. Four years ago, when I came to Dr. Dobb's, we had healthy profits and revenue, almost all of it from advertising. Despite our excellent growth on the editorial side, our revenue declined such that today it's barely 30% of what it was when I started. While some of this drop is undoubtedly due to turnover in our sales staff, even if the staff had been stable and executed perfectly, revenue would be much the same and future prospects would surely point to upcoming losses. This is because in the last 18 months, there has been a marked shift in how vendors value website advertising. They've come to realize that website ads tend to be less effective than they once were.
So rather than continue with Dr. Dobb's until it actually loses money, [our owners] decided to sunset the site — a sudden end to remarkably robust and wondrous journey that began 38 years ago.
In the 1980s and 1990s, Dr. Dobb's was the best source of information about C/C++ programming, bar none. I've read the magazine and the website off and on for about 30 years. I'm sad to see it go.
Finally, after 50 years of stupidity:
The United States intends to open an official embassy in Cuba in the coming months, the White House announced Wednesday, part of a broader normalizing of diplomatic relations after the countries exchanged prisoners.
The White House said that Obama would order Secretary of State John Kerry to begin discussions with Cuban officials on re-establishing diplomatic relations and high-level discussions and visits between the countries are expected to follow. The opening of the embassy will happen "as soon as possible," an official said, noting that "the decision has been made" to normalize relations. The main issues to be resolved are logistical, the official said.
Other expected changes include increased travel permission for Americans to visit Cuba, an official review of Cuba's current designation as a state sponsor of terrorism and increased coordination between the United States and Cuba on issues like disaster response and drug trafficking.
As for the Cuban embargo, officials said that the White House supports efforts to end it, but knows congressional approval for lifting it is unlikely in the immediate future.
That bit about the embargo, including the Helms-Burton Act, means you won't have a vacation in Havana for a couple of years. But this change signals an end to one of the stupidest policies we've had for half a century.
What happens when you're a talking head and your mom calls into your show?
The Woodhouse brothers are on opposite sides of the political spectrum. Brad is a Democratic operative who helps run the super PAC American Bridge and Dallas, by contrast, is a Republican who helps run the conservative Carolina Rising. The were on C-SPAN to talk about their documentary, Woodhouse Divided, when their mother called in.
Very busy today; less so the rest of the week. So after I'm done with this deliverable today I'll read these:
Back to the mines...
In the legislation passed over the weekend that will keep the U.S. government operating for another few months, the House had its cake and ate it with respect to marijuana. Slate's Josh Voorhees explains:
Among the myriad policy riders buried inside the 1,600-plus-page bill is one aimed at blocking the Washington, D.C., City Council from legalizing recreational marijuana, something voters in the district instructed them to do by a margin of nearly 2-to-1 last month.
That ban was inserted at the behest of a small band of anti-pot conservative hardliners led by Maryland Rep. Andy Harris, and ultimately neither the White House nor Democratic leaders were willing to make fighting it a priority.
But despite that symbolic victory, it’s a different pot-themed provision tucked deep inside the bill that offers a more accurate illustration of Washington’s evolving position on legal weed—the Capitol’s posture is quietly becoming much more supportive than the effort to block D.C.’s legalization effort might suggest.
That less-discussed provision stops the Justice Department from spending a dime to prosecute patients or medical marijuana dispensaries that are acting in accordance with state law but running afoul of federal ones. The policy change might not make for splashy headlines, but it promises to have a major impact on the medical marijuana movement around the nation.
In other words, medical marijuana is still illegal, but not really. Scott Adams scoffs at the inefficiency:
While I appreciate that the government is moving in the direction the citizens prefer, how much does it tell you about the effectiveness of our system that lawmakers couldn't change a law that nearly 100% of well-informed and honest (meaning not taking money from private prison lobbyists for example) folks prefer?
My point is not about weed. That fight is essentially over. We're just waiting for the referee to count to ten, although that might play out over several years. Full legalization for adults (in effect) is inevitable because the data will be so clear after a few states do their test runs.
My point is that if your government can't pass a law that has has nearly universal approval, do you really have a functioning government?
This is akin to the criminal adultery statutes that littered the states until 1991, when the state finally repealed it. This, after four half-hearted prosecutions in 1990 embarrassed the state.
I was a bit overloaded yesterday, so I didn't have time to absorb these articles thoroughly:
Even though I thought the 10 km walk Parker and I took two weeks ago was going to be our last really long one of the year, I didn't predict today's 9°C temperature forecast, so off we go on another one.
...if we weren't arming drug dealers?"—Aaron Sorkin
Alas, Americans increasingly want everyone to have guns:
For the first time since Pew began asking the question two decades ago, a majority of Americans now say that gun rights are more important than gun control — a striking shift in public opinion over both the last generation and just the last few years. As recently as December 2012, in the immediate aftermath of the Newtown, Conn., shooting, 51 percent of people surveyed by Pew said it was more important to control gun ownership than protect the rights of gun owners.
What's most striking in Pew's new data is that views have shifted more in favor of gun rights since then among nearly every demographic group, including women, blacks, city-dwellers, parents, college graduates, millennials and independents. The two groups that haven't budged? Hispanics and liberal Democrats.
These numbers may capture the short memory of many Americans. But the long-term trend is undeniably grim for gun-control advocates, who seem to be losing ground even among their strongest traditional sympathizers.
The "short memory of many Americans?" Yup.
Since the client on the Paris thing for some reason declined to spend $9,000 per person for us to fly business class, I decided to take American 90 to London and then take Eurostar under the Channel. The strategy worked; I got sleep on a real bed Sunday night, and was coherent and lucid Monday afternoon at the job site.
This time, I put a clock on the train. Here's what my phone GPS showed about 30 minutes outside London:
The screen shot above (click for full size) shows that about here the train was moving 281 km/h, which is how it gets from London to Paris with two stops in under two and a half hours. Flying from London City to Orly would take about that long, and I'd still have had to take the RER up to the job site. At one point I clocked it at 297 km/h, which is still not the fastest train in France. SNCF's TGV-320 goes—wait for it—320 km/h. (Then there's the Shanghai Maglev...)
This is why I love Europe.
They're interesting if you like, for example, airplanes:
That's it for now.