Forget Christmas songs: Chicago does not have the most wonderful time of the year between mid-November and the beginning of January. We haven't seen the sun all month (well, I have, but I was in California), and we had a lovely thing we call "wintry mix" during morning rush hour. It looks like we might get up to 13°C on Friday, at the cost of an obscene amount of rain dumping on the Pacific Northwest as the warm air mass makes it way toward us.
And finally, Bruce Schneier believe generative AI will greatly enhance spying capabilities enabling spying on a scale never before imagined. "We could limit this capability. We could prohibit mass spying. We could pass strong data-privacy rules. But we haven’t done anything to limit mass surveillance. Why would spying be any different?"
With that, 5 straight days of overcast skies doesn't seem so bad.
It's still not what I want to see on Hallowe'en:
Tomorrow will be warmer, we think.
We officially had our first freeze last night as the temperature at O'Hare dipped to -1°C. At Inner Drive Technology World HQ it only got down to 0.1°C, barely above freezing, but still cold enough to put on ear muffs and gloves taking Cassie to day camp this morning. It'll warm up a bit this weekend, though.
Meanwhile, I'm writing a longer post about propaganda, which I may post today or tomorrow. And that's not the only fun thing happening in the world, either:
- Ukraine has had a lot of success blowing up $2 million Russian tanks with $400 drones. Good.
- The XPOTUS keeps making fun of the President's age, which, like everything else he does and says, turns out to have a pretty large element of projection. (Remember: to figure out what the XPOTUS wants to do, listen to what he says our lot are doing.) Bad.
- Chicago house prices have risen faster than in any other major US city lately, but only because they still lag almost every other US city. Mixed.
- BlueTriton, the parent company of Poland Springs-brand bottled water, not only sells one of the worst products for degrading our natural environment, but also has engaged in ballsy corruption to "persuade" the Maine legislature to let it continue doing so. Bad.
- HackRead reports a 587% increase in "quishing" attacks, where bad guys get you to scan bogus QR codes to steal your credentials. Very bad.
- Paleontologists have published evidence that the dust layer kicked up by the Chicxulub impact 66 million years ago may have persisted for 15 years, shutting down photosynthesis entirely for up to 24 months. Bad for the dinosaurs, good for the paleontologists.
Finally, as you sniffle and snort this winter, it might not comfort you to know that you have two noses that can get congested and runny. Bad.
After having the 4th-mildest winter in 70 years, the weather hasn't really changed. Abnormally-warm February temperatures have hung around to become abnormally-cool March temperatures. I'm ready for real spring, thank you.
- ProPublica reports on the bafflement inside the New York City Council about how to stop paying multi-million-dollar settlements when the NYPD violates people's civil rights—a problem we have in Chicago, for identical reasons—but haven't figured out that police oversight might help. (One Daily Parker reader suggested taking the money out of the police pension fund.)
- A bill moving through Florida's legislature would address suburban sprawl by redefining it. (Want to bet a real-estate developer lobbied for this one?)
- A ransomware attack a few weeks ago has affected up to 130 organizations, according to researchers and online boasts from the attackers.
- United Airlines wants to start air-taxi service between the Loop and O'Hare by 2025, using electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) airplanes.
Finally, I laughed out loud at the YouGov survey that found 46% of American men who have never flown an airplane think they could land an air transport with only some help from Air Traffic Control. I laughed because I do know how to fly a plane, and I don't think I could land a 787 well enough to use the plane again under any circumstances without a few dozen simulator hours. In fact, I would probably spend several crucial minutes trying to figure out how to change the radio to 121.5 and the transponder to 7700. But hey, the United States put Dunning and Kruger on the map, so this seems about right to me.
Welcome to March in Chicago, where the temperature drops 20°C in 31 hours:
This morning's -10.7°C was the coldest temperature in Chicago since the night of February 3rd-4th. What a strange winter.
Check back on Wednesday when it's back above 10°C.
I'm arguing with the Blazorise framework right now because their documentation on how to make a layout work doesn't actually work. Because this requires repeated build/test cycles, I have almost no time to read all of this:
Finally, a group of Chicago aldermen have proposed that the city clear sidewalks of snow and ice when property owners don't. Apparently the $500 fines, which don't happen often, don't work often either.
I spent way more time than I should have this morning trying to set up an API key for the Associated Press data tools. Their online form to sign up created a general customer-service ticket, which promptly got closed with an instruction to...go to the online sign-up form. They also had a phone number, which turned out to have nothing to do with sales. And I've now sent two emails a week apart to their "digital sales" office, with crickets in response.
The New York Times had an online setup that took about five minutes, and I'm already getting stuff using Postman. Nice.
Finally, I've got a note on my calendar to check out the Karen's Diner pop-up in Wrigleyville next month. Because who doesn't want to be abused by servers?
Cassie does not like staying inside because of the rain:
We've had rain since about 9am while the temperature has held onto 1°C with two hands and a carabiner, so neither Cassie nor I will get our quota of walks this afternoon. But that does give me extra time to digest all this:
- James Fallows eulogizes his old boss, President Jimmy Carter.
- After listening to yesterday's oral arguments, the Washington Post team covering Gonzalez v Google doesn't think the Supreme Court will overturn Section 230.
- A history teacher wants to help Bloomington, Ill., move past its anti-urbanist land use policies.
Oh, and I had some work to do as well.
Here we have a typical mid-March temperature profile for Chicago:
Of course, that's not from mid-March, that's today. It got up to 9.1°C at Inner Drive Technology World Headquarters, without a cloud in the sky, and it looks likely to do the same tomorrow. Cassie got a 5 km walk earlier today and I plan to do 7 km tomorrow.
Consequently I won't spend a lot of time banging away at my keyboard this afternoon. Probably not much tomorrow, either.