Meteorological summer ends in just a few hours here in Chicago. Pity; it's been a decent one (for us; not so much for the Western US). I have a couple of things to read this afternoon while waiting for endless test sessions to complete on my work laptop:
And via Bruce Schneier, a group of local Chicago high schoolers will never give you up and never let you down.
Longtime Daily Parker readers know that I always want my software deployments to be as boring as possible. Push some code, watch the automated continuous delivery pipeline whirr for a bit, and boom! Dev/test deployment done. If any part of the deployment fails in the pipeline, the deployment stops. I've spent a lot of time making it vanishingly unlikely that a bad deployment will succeed.
Cryptocurrency start-up OptiFi apparently had not learned this lesson before they locked themselves out of their entire $661,000 holdings:
OptiFi, a derivatives defi project, accidentally and permanently shut down the project smart contract, irretrievably locking up $661,000—the project's entire fund. A developer had been trying to push an update to the project, and ran into issues related to Solana network congestion (a recurring issue). While trying to clean up from a partially-executed transaction, the developer accidentally ran a command that closed the project's primary smart contract.
Oopsi. I hope they take some of their cash and invest in good DevOps management in future.
McSweeney's channels Lovecraft—at Olive Garden:
A homogeneity characterized its flaxen cast. Bubbling sacks of slime upon a platter scorching. Beware! Doused in the pureed remains of a dozen orbic fruits, I feel my breath quicken and hands tremble as I pen its likeness as well as I might. My own mind conspires against me when presented with this frightful entrée. To dine? Or will my own visage mirror its sickly jaundice? I have touched with too much haste the vessel of Hades, a burn be my meal.
The Tour of Italy
A terse presentation of memories, three to be precise. A chicken, but unclucking. A plate of worms, wriggling in saucy terror. And then, horror unbounded, a cube of entombed layers coated in a crimson, comestible smear. Dreams fleeting and reborn, of monoliths—Pisa—floating mid-air and dripping gruel. A gurgling voice emerged from the deep, a chaos that did not speak a mortal tongue, a promise emitted: “Unlimahtated brrrrurdstihks!”
Meanwhile, over at the New Yorker, Dennard Dayle imagines a letter straight out of The Dark Forest:
Congratulations! If you’re reading this, you’ve successfully contacted alien life. It’s not a dream—unimpeded by fear, you’ve accomplished what countless generations couldn’t. Impressive, considering fear’s role in survival. One could even say that you’ve achieved what they wouldn’t.
Take a bow. A hundred years from now, there will be a holiday named for you, observed across a changed galaxy: a day commemorating the moxie, intellect, and sheer luck needed to contact another world while knowing nothing about it.
You must wonder what comes next. After all, your imagination made this possible. Will there be media training? Your own office in low orbit? A well-deserved vacation? The answer is simple:
I mean, they're not wrong...
A line of thunderstorms just blew past my office about 3 hours ahead of schedule, which means I might get home at a reasonable hour without drowning. Of course, we might get more storms:
Scott Lincoln, a National Weather Service meteorologist. The first storms are expected to hit Chicago as early as 1 p.m., but that could vary — and more storms will be possible throughout the afternoon, he said.
Some parts of the city could get 1-2 inches of rain or more if they’re hit by strong storms, while other parts will see less than 1 inch, Lincoln said. In general, the Chicago area will get .5 to 1 inch of rain, he said.
“Summertime storms are very variable with rain amounts,” Lincoln said. “All depends who lucks out and who ends up getting a storm.”
The entire world has serious problems with water, though. Most troubling, a new study found that Greenland will lose 110 trillion tons of ice regardless of what climate mitigations we put in place, raising sea levels 30 cm:
The predictions are more dire than other forecasts, though they use different assumptions. While the study did not specify a time frame for the melting and sea-level rise, the authors suggested much of it can play out between now and the year 2100.
“The point is, we need to plan for that ice as if it weren’t on the ice sheet in the near future, within a century or so,” William Colgan, a study co-author who studies the ice sheet from its surface with his colleagues at the Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland, said in a video interview.
“Every study has bigger numbers than the last. It’s always faster than forecast,” Colgan said.
And in the southwestern US, the drought looks worse and worse every day:
The Colorado River, which supplies water to more than 40 million Americans and supports food production for the rest of the country, is in imminent peril. The levels in the nation’s largest freshwater reservoir, Lake Mead, behind the Hoover Dam and a fulcrum of the Colorado River basin, have dropped to around 25% of capacity. The Bureau of Reclamation, which governs lakes Mead and Powell and water distribution for the southern end of the river, has issued an ultimatum: The seven states that draw from the Colorado must find ways to cut their consumption — by as much as 40% — or the federal government will do it for them. Last week those states failed to agree on new conservation measures by deadline. Meanwhile, next door, California, which draws from the Colorado, faces its own additional crises, with snowpack and water levels in both its reservoirs and aquifers all experiencing a steady, historic and climate-driven decline. It’s a national emergency, but not a surprise, as scientists and leaders have been warning for a generation that warming plus overuse of water in a fast-growing West would lead those states to run out.
Everyone thought anthropogenic climate change would happen slowly, giving us plenty of time to adapt. It seems even the pessimists underestimated how quickly the shit hit the fan.
When I visited Hailstorm Brewing in March 2021, I chose not to walk along the sidewalk-free 80th Avenue and instead, after Froggering across the aforementioned stroad, I went through one of the most depressing subdivisions I've ever seen.
I had to repeat that stretch in order to visit Soundgrowler Brewing last Friday. And since Banging Gavel Brews is just over 3 km away (directly, anyway), I decided to walk from one to the other. The walk did not go as planned:
Most of that trip, until well past the 4 km marker, went through treeless, car-centric subdivisions with parks no one would ever want to play in and houses so ugly they would make even Kate Wagner cry. But the truly enraging bit happened around the 1.6 km mark, as you can see here:
My goal, supported by Google Maps and even satellite photos of the area, was to walk straight up Timber Drive to Harlem, without crossing the tracks. But you can see how that didn't work. At the point where I had to turn around and traipse through the (treeless, ugly) parking lot on my way to schlepping through the (treeless, ugly) circular subdivision, the local authorities had put up a roadblock and "no trespassing" signs. I have no idea why. Maybe even Tinley Park has parts so unconscionably ugly they can't bear to show them to anyone? Seems likely.
I took some photos along the way but I'll spare you.
It's possible that I have a particular sensitivity to this right now because I just finished Jeff Speck's Walkable City, a successor to his 2009 book Suburban Nation. I strongly recommend both books to anyone concerned about the environmental and mental destruction that our car-centric culture has wrought.
Cassie, on Thursday night, not letting me go to bed:
I posted this last night on Facebook:
It's so interesting to me that we're having a (manufactured) political argument about canceling $10k in student debt while all the countries we compete with are horrified that people even have to pay $10k to go to university. Even privatization-happy Brits flipped some constituencies to Labour in the last general election because the Tories raised university fees to £9,250 ($10,900) per year. The outrage isn't that we forgave a token amount of Federally-held debt. The outrage is that the richest country in the history of the world doesn't ensure its entire population gets the same education as the average teenager in Belgium.
One of my more rabid Republican friends did not like that, but I'll spare you his response. Instead, I'll note Paul Krugman's take on the topic:
The right is inveighing against debt relief on moral grounds. “If you take out a loan, you pay it back. Period,” tweeted the House Judiciary G.O.P. On which planet? America has had regularized bankruptcy procedures, which take debt off the books, since the 19th century; the idea has been to give individuals and businesses with crippling debts a second chance.
But, you may argue, student borrowers weren’t struggling to cope with a pandemic. True. But many student borrowers were suckered in by the misleading marketing of for-profit colleges; millions ran up debts but never received a degree. Millions more went into debt only to graduate into a labor market devastated by the global financial crisis, a market that took many years to recover.
So don’t think of this as a random giveaway. Many though not all of those who will benefit from debt forgiveness are, in fact, victims of circumstances beyond their control.
Of course, that's an argument based on facts and evidence, so it won't sway anyone on the far right. I just wish they'd find something else to do than get outraged over every single thing the administration does.
Welcome to stop #77 on the Brews and Choos project.
Brewery: Banging Gavel Brews, 6811 Hickory St., Tinley Park
Train line: Rock Island District, Tinley Park
Time from Chicago: 35 minutes (Zone E)
Distance from station: 100 m
The owners of Banging Gavel Brews opened a beer garden at the historic Vogt House in Tinley Park to get people interested in their beers while they restore the house. Since they have an abbreviated beer list at the moment, and they expect to open the brewpub proper next spring, I have an abbreviated review, and will revisit the place since it doesn't require walking through suburban hell. (More on that later this week.)
I had only one of their beers, the Prop 65 West Coast IPA (6%). The joke, if you haven't seen it before, is that California's Proposition 65 requires a warning when the environment contains cancer-causing chemicals. Whether this beer causes cancer I can't know for sure, but I thought it was OK, if a bit thin.
Regardless of what I think of Tinley Park (at least the suburban hellscape west of Harlem Ave.), they have a decent train station just a few meters from the brewery.
Beer garden? Yes
Dogs OK? Yes
Serves food? Partners with the place next door
Would hang out with a book? Yes
Would hang out with friends? Yes
Would go back? Yes, when they open the full brewpub
Welcome to stop #76 on the Brews and Choos project.
Brewery: Soundgrowler Brewing, 8201 W. 183rd St., Tinley Park
Train line: Rock Island District, Tinley/80th
Time from Chicago: 37 minutes (Zone E)
Distance from station: 1.4 km
When I visited Hailstorm Brewing in March 2021, I really should have gone to Soundgrowler next, as they're just a short walk from each other and I'd never have to go to their industrial park in Tinley Park again. They're both great in their own ways, don't get me wrong; but now that I've visited and walked through the west part of Tinley Park twice, I'm in no hurry to return. More on that in a future post (or if you prefer, one from 18 months ago).
Soundgrowler bills itself as "Beer, Tacos, Metal," which I can confirm from my visit. To the mellifluous strains of Thou's "Inward" and other much-beloved death-metal ditties, I had a flight of excellent beer and two satisfying tacos.
I started with the Small Poems Vienna lager (5%): smooth, malty, with a clean finish; well-done. The Jaguar Elixir APA (5%) had a hazy, light-straw color, lots of hop but not overwhelming amounts, and a refreshing finish. I'd drink that one on a hot day. The excellent Orange Haze West Coast IPA (7%), their flagship beer, burst out with fruity hops, and lingered with a long, malty, citrusy finish. I ended with their limited-release Bending Blades West Coast Imperial IPA (8%) and its big-ass hops and a citrus-without-Citra flavor. I'd get any of them again.
I'll go back at some point, possibly if I ever need to visit the south suburbs for some other reason, and I'll get more delicious $3 tacos.
Beer garden? Seasonal
Dogs OK? Outside
Serves food? Tacos and other Mexican food
Would hang out with a book? Yes
Would hang out with friends? Yes
Would go back? Yes
One of my favorite local breweries, Urban Brew Labs, will close when it runs out of beer in the next week or so:
Owner James Moriarty announced on Instagram the brewery and taproom, 5121 N. Ravenswood Ave., will close by the end of the summer. Moriarty did not give a specific end date for the business, but thanked fans, neighbors and employees for keeping the business going for so long.
“We’ll keep the lights on as long as we have beer to serve, but this will be our final summer season,” Moriarty wrote.
Moriarty told Block Club in an email the closure is due to a lack of sales.
“It’s unfortunate, but we just didn’t have enough traction [through] distribution,” he said, in the email.
I tried to help, Jim. I really did. And I'll miss y'all.
Meanwhile, I'm taking advantage of some beautiful weather on the last Friday of summer to add two more entries to the Brews & Choos list. Stay tuned.