I spent the morning going over an API for standards and style, which will result in an uncomfortably large commit before I leave the office today. I prefer smaller, more focused commits, but this kind of polishing task makes small code changes all over the place, and touches lots of files.
So while I have my (late) lunch, I'm taking a break to read some news:
Finally, the Securities and Exchange Commission has fined the Mormon Church $5m for failing to disclose its holdings as required by law. As the Church has some $32 billion in holdings worldwide, that $5m fine will sure sting.
I released 13 stories to production this afternoon, all of them around the app's security and customer onboarding, so all of them things that the non-technical members of the team (read: upper management) can see and understand. That leaves me free to tidy up some of the bits we don't need anymore, which I also enjoy doing.
While I'm running multiple rounds of unit and integration tests, I've got all of this to keep me company:
- US Senator Diane Feinstein (D-CA), who even people who love her wonder if she knows where she is half the time, announced she's finally retiring from the Senate at the end of this Congress.
- Both Paul Krugman and Josh Marshall call bullshit on the GOP's (latest) plans to steal my social security contributions. (Note to the masses: the only way Social Security could be in trouble is if the United States somehow lost its taxing authority.)
- Air India has ordered 220 airplanes from Boeing and 250 from Airbus, including 70 long-haul A350s and 777s.
- Cranky Flier chides United Airlines for publishing a flight schedule they have no intention of flying over the summer.
- In other "fictional schedule" news, the CTA hasn't fixed its own frequency and reliability problems even after six months of trying.
- Rick Steves recommends traveling to Europe's second cities, like Manchester, Lyon, and Hamburg.
- Timothy Noah draws a straight line from railroad cost-cutting through crew size reductions and the massive derailment in East Palestine, Ohio, last week.
- Corrupt former Chicago police sergeant Ronald Watts, whose misconduct has led prosecutors to throw out more than 200 felony convictions and will probably cost the city half a billion dollars in settlements, blamed his downfall on "anti-police atmosphere" without the self-awareness required to see his part in that.
- Bruce Schneier bemoans the lack of urgency in Washington (and other capitals) to regulate cybersecurity.
Finally, you may not want to know what the CBP beagle squad has found in baggage at O'Hare.
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?
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.
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.
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?
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.
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
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.
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.
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:
- The EU's Copernicus Climate Change Service determined that 2022 was the fifth-hottest year on record, once again making the last 8 years the hottest on record. As North America sees record warmth and record-low snowfall this winter, we can guess how 2023 will end up.
- In no small irony, Illinois was actually cooler than normal last year. I've said before, Chicago will look better and better as the world looks worse and worse.
- Loathsome creep Andrew Tate lost all four of his appeals to Romania's appellate court, so will remain in the country until his trial for human trafficking.
- A report by INRIX Research put London and Chicago at the top of the list of cities with the worst car traffic. Oddly, in a related study, London also ranked 10th and Chicago ranked 20th of cities with the best public transit.
- Delta Airlines' "free" wi-fi reminds passengers of the adage, when someone else pays, you're the product, not the customer.
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.
Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) has lost his seventh bid for Speaker—nope, eighth—while 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).