I posted this morning about the decline in craft brewing that seems to have started, thanks to market saturation and the pandemic. Two other things have reached the ends of their runs as well, and both have deep Chicago connections.
First, Boeing this week rolled out its last 747 airplane. The 54-year-old design has come a long way, to the point where the 747-8i that left the Everett, Wash., factory on Tuesday has 150% the carrying capacity of the first 747-100 produced in 1968 (333 tonnes vs. 458 tonnes—just over 1 million pounds).
Second, the Lincoln Park Zoo plans to remove what could be the oldest tree in Chicago in the coming weeks. The bur oak, on the Zoo's south lawn by the white-cheeked gibbons, has grown in the spot for between 250 and 300 years, making it about as old as Händel's Messiah. The tree has a 117-cm diameter trunk and stands 13.7 meters tall. (Two other trees—an oak in Norwood Park and another bur oak by the University of Chicago—may be older.)
Time and chance happeneth to them all.
The Tribune has a cheery article today about the decline in craft beer sales and concomitant decline in craft breweries, citing the two closest breweries to where I'm sitting as evidence:
In recent months, Urban Brew Labs went out of business in Chicago’s Ravenswood neighborhood. Just around the corner, so did Empirical Brewery.
Smylie Brothers Brewing shuttered its Lakeview brew pub in September, barely a year after opening. And after years of trying to find its footing, Finch Beer Co. closed its production brewery this summer.
While the bubble isn’t quite bursting when it comes to craft beer — as some onlookers have long been speculating — the industry is facing headwinds long in the offing for small and local breweries that knew mostly growth for more than a decade.
During the last 15 years, the number of breweries nationally has grown from about 1,500 to nearly 10,000; in the Chicago area, that figure surged from about a dozen to more than 250.
Yet years of exuberance have skidded to a halt, and for a number of complex and interlocking reasons: ever-increasing competition, the rising cost of doing business, the broader economy and shifting consumer habits rooted in the COVID-19 pandemic.
With the holidays coming, and a bit of flexibility on working hours during the last two weeks of December, I need to kick the Brews & Choos Project into another gear. At least, before more breweries close.
We've got a big demo at 8am that we've just put to bed, which means I get to go to bed. While the pipelines ran I came across Cory Doctorow's latest post on how DRM ruins everything:
[In 2002,] we warned that giving manufacturers the power to restrict how you configured your own digital products would lead them to abuse that power – not to prevent copyright infringement, but to shift value from you to them. The temptation would be too great to resist, especially if the companies knew they could use the law to destroy any company that fixed the anti-features in their products.
For brain-wormed market trufans, the digital media dream was our nightmare. It was something I called "the urinary tract infection business model." With non-DRM media, all the value flowed in a healthy gush: you could buy a CD, rip it to your computer, use it as a ringtone or as an alarmtone, play it in any country on any day forever.
Everywhere we find DRM, we find fuckery. Even if your cable box could be redesigned to stop spying on you, you'd still have to root out spyware on your TV. Companies like Vizio have crammed so much spyware into your "smart" TV that they now make more money spying on you than they do selling you the set.
Remember that the next time someone spouts the lazy maxim that "If you're not paying for the product, you're the product." The problem with Vizio's TVs isn't that they're "smart." The problem isn't that you're not paying enough for them.
The problem is that it's illegal to unfuck them, because Vizio includes the mandatory DRM that rightsholders insist on, and then hide surveillance behind its legal minefield.
This all starts with the idea that the problem with "content" is that Congress gave us, the public, too many rights under copyright, and that nickel-and-diming us to buy those rights a la carte would fix this problem. 20 years later, the benefits of this system are thin gruel indeed, and the costs keep mounting.
At least you can still read The Daily Parker for free.
And now, I'm off until the demo.
With tomorrow night having the earliest sunset of the year, it got dark at 4:20 pm—two hours ago. One loses time, you see. Especially with a demo tomorrow. So I'll just read these while devops pipelines run:
Finally, John Seabrook takes a few pages to explain how to become a TikTok star. Hint: do it before you turn 22.
The deployment went so smoothly, it bored me to tears. Perfect.
Oh, and the XPOTUS's company got convicted of tax fraud. Where's my popcorn?
We didn't deploy code to production at the end of last sprint because we had a seriously large epic that took 3 weeks to complete. It involved re-architecting an entire feature so that it can support multiple data types rather than the single type we originally planned for.
We knew this would happen, and we expected it right around the three-year point in development. So here it is, right on time. But despite all the testing and care that we put into the Dev/Test branch, and despite the multiple safeguards we have to prevent stupid code from getting into production, I worry we will not have a boring deployment in two hours.
Ah, well. We can roll back if needed, and I haven't got anything on my schedule tonight.
My drivers license expired in 2020, when all the Secretary of State's offices (what we in Illinois call the DMV) were closed, so I just renewed it online. I had hoped to upgrade to a Real ID, but it turned out the 2021 deadline for getting one got pushed back to 2023.
Since I moved in October, I actually have to go to the SOS office as they won't accept address changes online. But I still don't need a Real ID, it turns out:
Americans will have two more years to obtain a Real ID driver’s license or identification card, the Department of Homeland Security announced Monday.
U.S. air travelers will be required to present the Real ID credential to board a domestic flight beginning May 7, 2025. Before Monday’s announcement, implementation had been scheduled to take effect in May next year.
Postponing enforcement of the last phase of the Real ID Act will give motor vehicle departments across the country more time to process the new credentials, but will come 17 years after the changes initially were to be in place. States have reported that progress on the Real ID program was hindered by the coronavirus pandemic.
In any event I already have both a passport book and a passport card. But still, how has it taken 17 years to get this done?
Yesterday was the 30th birthday of the SMS, too.
Also, I came across a nifty live CTA tracker, so I now know where part of my bonus is going. I feel seen! (They have a bunch of other live trackers, including one for the Tube. Kewl.)
Clearly, I have to get my priorities in order. I've spent the afternoon in the zone with my real job, so I have neglected to real all of this:
Finally, because only one guy writes about half of the songs on top-40 radio, modulations have all but disappeared from popular songs.
In Chicago, from November 15th to December 31st, the sun sets before 4:30pm. Not much before; for about 11 days, it sets within a few seconds of 4:20pm before getting just a few seconds later.
The only point I'm making is: it's dark already. Cassie has gotten exactly one walk in full daylight a day for the last week, and that will likely continue.
Oh, and the Fourth Circuit has once again (metaphorically) called XPOTUS-appointed Federal Circuit Judge Aileen Cannon an idiot.