The Daily Parker

Politics, Weather, Photography, and the Dog

Sam Bankman-Fried is not a child

Molly White would like major news outlets to treat the accused fraudster like the grown-ass adult he is:

[R]eading headlines and news stories, you would be forgiven if up until now you had thought he was a teenager still driving around on a learner’s permit, who picked up cryptocurrency trading to avoid the types of high school summer jobs that might force him to go outside.

SBF is being extended the benefit of the doubt that many are not so lucky to get. He is affluent, white, male, and accused of white-collar crimes, and so he is granted the charitable characterization of a naive boy. Meanwhile, the perception that Black children, particularly those accused of violent crimes, are adult criminals has earned its own term: adultification bias. The same term is used when abuse of Black children is ignored or even rationalized based on the perception that they are older than they are.

It’s jarring to read a story about a neighbor calling the police on a nine-year-old Black girl spraying for invasive lanternflies, describing the girl to a dispatcher as a “little Black woman walking, spraying stuff”, and then switch over to another tab with a story on the 30-year old “crypto kid” who might’ve just made an oopsie with billions of dollars of customer funds. On one hand, literal children are portrayed in the media as adults, and treated as such in the prison system; on the other, a man who’s been old enough to vote for over a decade is being described as “a young man in need of both defense and a friend” offering refreshments to a reporter “as if we were there for a playdate”.

Sam Bankman-Fried is continuing to cultivate this persona, hanging his head and slumping his shoulders to portray boyish shame, repeating “I made a lot of mistakes”. If he can keep it up, and if news outlets continue to fall for his narrative, perhaps he can sway not just some of the general public, but members of a jury.

As an aging Gen-Xer who couldn't wait to grow up, I have to wonder, is this a late-Millennial thing? Or just, as White says, a carefully-cultivated image that Boomer reporters are buying at a discount?

Long but productive day

I finished a couple of big stories for my day job today that let us throw away a whole bunch of code from early 2020. I also spent 40 minutes writing a bug report for the third time because not everyone diligently reads attachments. (That sentence went through several drafts, just so you know.)

While waiting for several builds to complete today, I happened upon these stories:

Finally, a school district food service director ordered more than 11,000 cases of chicken wings worth $1.5m over the last three years, which the State's Attorney says never got to the kids.

And now, since the temperature has risen from this morning's -17°C all the way up to...uh...-11.4°C, I will now walk the adorable creature who keeps nosing me in the arm as I type this.

Notes to self

The sun finally came out around 3:30 this afternoon, as a high overcast layer slid slowly southeast. Of course, the temperature has fallen to -11°C and will keep sliding to -18°C overnight, but at least the gloom has receded! January will still end as the gloomiest ever, however, with around 18% of possible sunshine all month, plus whatever we get tomorrow.

Meanwhile, I want to come back to these articles later:

Finally, looking back a little farther (about 13 billion years), the James Webb Space Telescope has picked out some of the oldest galaxies in the universe. And they're really weird.

Shooting in Half Moon Bay

Longtime readers will know that I have spent a lot of time in Half Moon Bay, Calif., over the past 15 years. So yesterday's events shocked me:

Seven people are dead following two linked shootings in the Northern California city of Half Moon Bay, officials said.

The San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office tweeted at 3:48 p.m. Monday that they were responding to a shooting “with multiple victims in the area of HWY 92 and the HMB City limits.” The office tweeted roughly an hour later that a suspect was in custody and there "is no ongoing threat to the community at this time."

San Mateo County Sheriff Christina Corpus confirmed at a press conference Monday evening that seven people were killed in two related shootings. She said four victims were found dead from gunshot wounds at a location in the 12700 block of San Mateo Road, also known as Highway 92, around 2:30 p.m. A fifth victim was discovered with "life-threatening injuries" and transported to Stanford Medical Center. They remain there in critical condition.

California Governor Gavin Newsom (D) learned of the shooting while at the hospital with victims of Sunday's mass shooting in Los Angeles.

Neither the National Rifle Association nor the right-wingers suing Illinois over its latest attempt to regulate military weapons commented, though we can all expect them to say it's "too soon" to talk about why we're still the only country in the OECD where this happens. Perhaps they'll talk to the San Mateo County farm families mourning their loved ones today?

Molly White is exactly who we need right now

Accused fraudster Sam Bankman Fried did what every prosecutor hopes a defendant will do: start a blog. Researcher Molly White annotated his first post:

Sam Bankman-Fried has apparently decided to fill his time spent confined to his parents' Palo Alto home with blogging, perhaps in the hopes that he can just blog his way out of the massive criminal and civil penalties he's facing.

Although many of his statements here repeat things he's said elsewhere, I think it is useful to be able to analyze some of the story he's trying to spin all in one place, rather than cobbling his narrative together from multiple sources.

It's remarkable the extent to which SBF outright lies, or at the very least twists his version of events to distort reality in his favor. I don't intend to annotate further posts from him—which I suspect will be many—but instead hope that this will be sufficient to give some idea of just how thoroughly misleading his statements are.

Sample annotation:

If I was going to try to pick out a crypto firm that suffered large losses in an attempt to say "look, it was happening to everyone!", I might not pick the one whose founders have allegedly been in hiding for the last six months.34

And this:

It's clear that SBF's definition of "accurate" differs from most people's. SBF seems to think that if you tell someone that you have $1,000, and then later you say "...in monopoly money", it was still an accurate and defensible statement.

You know, I'm beginning to think 2023 will be the year people lose patience with lying fraudsters.

Waiting for customer service

I'm on hold with my bank trying to sort out a transaction they seem to have deleted. I've also just sorted through a hundred or so stories in our project backlog, so while I'm mulling over the next 6 months of product development, I will read these:

And my bank's customer service finally got back to me with the sad news that the thing I wanted them to fix was, and we are so sorry, it turns out, your fault. Fie.

Waiting for an upload

I got a lot done today, mostly a bunch of smaller tasks I put off for a while. I also put off reading all of this, which I will do now while my rice cooks:

Finally, I've mentioned heading to San Francisco this coming weekend, has gotten some rain. By "some" I mean over 350 mm of rain in the past 15 days, making it the rainiest two weeks since 1866. The weekend forecast does not look encouraging: rain likely, highs around 12, lows around 9, and yet more rain likely. I have never taken an umbrella to California before. First time for everything, I guess.

And now my rice is done.

More black smoke

Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) has lost his seventh bid for Speaker—nope, eighthwhile Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) has amassed more cumulative votes for the office than anyone except Sam Rayburn. Things in the House have become surreal, even without a bad lip reading for levity. As Tom Nichols puts it,

What all of these GOP members do seem to have in common is a shared belief that they should be in Congress in order to make other people miserable. Usually, those “other people” are Democrats and various people on the generic right-wing enemies list, but lately, the targets include the few remaining Republicans who think their job in Washington is to legislate and pass bills and other boring twaddle that has nothing to do with keeping the hometown folks in a lather, getting on television, and getting reelected.

And yet, the XPOTUS remains absent from the proceedings, with both sides of the Republican Party basically ignoring him. His "wishes, feelings, threats, anger and really anything else about him are just completely absent from this entire drama. In a way that is the biggest story here."

Meanwhile, back in the real world:

Finally, the most recent defense authorization bill the outgoing Congress passed last week included a provision promoting Ulysses S Grant to General of the Armies. Only George Washington and John J Pershing have held that rank (O-11).

Stupid is as stupid does

One of the most loathsome, talentless personalities on the Internet self-pwnd yesterday after going 0-for-2 against 19-year-old climate activist Greta Thunberg, and it was beautiful. Actor George Takei sums it up:

Oh my, you have that right, George. MSNBC has the details on the accusations against Tate:

On Thursday, [Romanian] prosecutors said that they found evidence that six women had been sexually exploited “using physical violence and mental constraint” by members of the group.

The women had been forced into making pornographic content for distribution on social media for financial gain to the group, they said.

And the New York Post enlightens us about how Tate got caught:

Tate and his brother Tristan were detained on kidnapping and rape charges Thursday after the controversial social media star tweeted a video response to one of Thunberg’s tweets.

In it, Tate asks someone off-camera to bring him pizza and “make sure that these boxes are not recycled” as he’s handed two pies from Jerry’s Pizza — a local chain in Romania.

The video was all authorities needed to pinpoint the former kickboxer’s location and make the arrest.

The back-and-forth between Tate and Grunberg just adds to the Schadenfreude one feels at his arrest. Tate on Wednesday:

Thunberg replied:

And then yesterday evening, after Tate's arrest:

Chef's kiss, Ms Thunberg.

Oh, by the way, you can't recycle pizza boxes—at least not in Chicago, unless you do it very carefully. The oils from the pizza ruin the cardboard.

Outside the vortex

The world continues to turn outside the Chicago icebox:

Finally, dog biologist (?) Alexandra Horowitz explains how dogs tell time with their noses.