I could have worked from home today, and probably should have, but I felt well enough to come in (wearing an N95 mask, of course). It turned that I had a very helpful meeting, which would not have worked as well remotely, but given tomorrow's forecast and the likelihood I'll still have this cold, Cassie will just have to miss a day of school.
I have to jam on a presentation for the next three hours, so I'll come back to these later:
- Alex Shephard says this is the week Twitter finally went totally evil.
- Bret Stephens says the American anti-Israel left really needs to sit down for a minutes.
- Julia Ioffe decided to take the risk of getting yelled at as she mourns the chance for any peaceful resolution to the millennia-long conflict in the Levant.
- Yair Rosenberg interviews his friend Amir Tibon, who describes how he and his family survived the Hamas attack on Nahal Oz on Saturday.
- Yoval Noah Harari draws a line from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (Likud) and right-wing populism to Saturday's attack.
- Netanyahu and opposition leader Benny Gantz (Blue and White) have agreed to form a wartime coalition, excluding the crazy parties on both sides, and to suspend routine legislative activity.
- Speaking of crazy parties, House Republicans have nominated Steve Scalise (R-LA), "David Duke without the baggage," to take over as Speaker. He needs 217 votes to get elected, which means any 4 people in his party can send this game to overtime.
- As soon as that's done, the New York delegation to the Republican House Caucus plans to introduce a measure to kick out Rep. George Santos (R-NY). This will probably succeed as the seat will certainly go to a Democrat next November if he stays, but only probably go to one if the GOP can run someone else.
- In a filing with the court overseeing the XPOTUS's classified-documents trial this week, the US said it can show why he took the documents. ("Vell, Donald's just zis guy, you know?")
- Speaking of fraud, Molly White takes us through the first half of Caroline Ellison's testimony in the Sam Bankman-Fried trial.
- Speaking of corruption, US Associate Justice Clarence Thomas (R$), the subject of thousands of press reports that he took bribes in every form but bags of cash from billionaires before ruling on their cases before the Supreme Court, once again called on the Court to do away with the Sullivan rule that ensures the press can find out when Justices are on the take.
- Caltrans fired its deputy director for planning and modal programs for advocating against widening I-80 through Sacramento, even though widening I-80 through Sacramento is one of the worst ideas currently proposed by Caltrans.
Finally, no sooner did it open than the new Guinness brewery in Chicago is for sale. It will stay a Guinness brewery, just under different ownership. The Brews and Choos Project will get there soon.
Just a few:
- US Representative George Santos (R-NY) faces another 21 felony charges in New York, with prosecutors alleging he stole donors' identities and misappropriated their donations.
- Isabel Fattal attempts to explain Hamas, the terrorist organization that attacked Israel on Saturday.
- Alex Shephard is glad the news media have gotten better at reporting on the XPOTUS, but they've still missed the biggest part: he's a "singular threat to American democracy."
- Jason Pargin pays homage to celebrity worship, and goggles at how weird it's gotten.
- Molly White explains the evidence presented at Sam Bankman-Fried's trial yesterday that (allegedly) shows how they perpetrated the fraud in code.
- McSweeney's has a helpful template for right-wingers who are upset with Taylor Swift.
Finally, National Geographic gets cozy with the history of bedbugs and their relationship to humans. Fun evening read, y'all!
The Writers Guild of America membership ratified the contract with the AMPTP yesterday by a vote of 8,435 to 90. The Guild provided a summary of what the contract contains, compared with what the studios didn't accept on May 1st, and it's clear the writers won almost everything they demanded:
The ratification marks the conclusion to the WGA’s turbulent 2023 bargaining cycle, which sparked a historic 148-day strike. After holding a strike authorization vote during a brief break from negotiations in the spring, union leaders officially called a work stoppage of around 11,500 scribes on May 2. As the strike got going, WGA members not only ceased their writing work but also set up picket lines in front of ongoing productions, seeking to shut them down as crew members and other workers refused to cross these barriers in solidarity. The strategy proved to be effective in disrupting day-to-day set work in Hollywood even before SAG-AFTRA called its own strike (which scrapped virtually all production) on July 14.
Multiple stops and starts to the talks with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers ensued, and in the meantime a broad swath of industry workers were affected: Food insecurity among industry workers spiked as the months dragged on, and some workers reported facing eviction. Ultimately, only the entrance of some of the industry’s top leaders was able to finally break the impasse. Starting in late September, Netflix co-CEO Ted Sarandos, Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav, Disney CEO Bob Iger and NBCUniversal Studio Group chairman and chief content officer Donna Langley began attending regular bargaining sessions and speaking with guild leaders directly. The deal then got wrapped up in a matter of (marathon) days: The WGA announced a tentative deal on the evening of Sept. 24, after a long weekend of negotiations.
Congratulations to the Guild! I hope this is the first of many successes for labor taking back its power from management.
I woke up this morning feeling like I'm fighting a cold, which usually means I'm fighting a cold. One negative Covid test later, I'm still debating whether to go to rehearsal tonight. Perhaps after a nap. And wearing an N-95.
Meanwhile, in the rest of the world:
- Kenyan runner Kelvin Kiptum ran the world's fastest marathon yesterday in Chicago, finishing the race in 2:00:35, 36 seconds faster than Eliud Kipchoge's 2:01:09 set last year in Berlin.
- David Ignatius reflects on the massive intelligence failure that allowed Hamas to attack Israel over the weekend.
- Matt Ford completely debunks the XPOTUS's argument that being president granted him total immunity from prosecution. Along those lines, David Graham says that anyone who represents the XPOTUS in court has a fool for a client.
- David French finds "moral outrage" in the insult "OK Boomer."
- Chicago spent $3.5 million hosting NASCAR over the summer, offset only a bit by the $620,000 in fees the organization paid to the city for the privilege. And we're stuck doing it next year, too.
Finally, pilot and journalist Jim Fallows annotates a 17-minute video of the Air Traffic Control conversations with FedEx 1376, which made a gear-up landing at Chattanooga, Tenn., last week. (No one was injured, but the Boeing 757 will probably be written off.)
Iranian-backed Hamas attacked Israel yesterday by sea, air, and land, killing hundreds and taking dozens—including US citizens—hostage in Gaza:
Israel’s military said its forces were still battling gunmen from Gaza on Israeli territory on Sunday afternoon, more than 30 hours after the initial surge of armed militants across the border as part of the broadest invasion in 50 years.
The land, sea and air assault on Israel launched by Palestinian militants on Saturday prompted Israel to respond with heavy strikes on Gazan cities, which continued into Sunday morning. Hamas, the militant group that controls Gaza, also continued to fire rockets into Israel, hitting the city of Sderot and injuring at least one person. The Israeli military reported fighting was underway in seven border communities and an army base, and tanks were seen crossing farmland in parts of southern Israel, heading south toward Gaza.
This is without a doubt the worst intelligence failure in Israel's history, with proportionately worse casualties and destruction than our 9/11.
Israel has formally declared war against Hamas. Lebanon-based Hezbollah has also taken potshots at Israeli targets near the border, threatening to make this a regional war that could involve American allies on both sides. (Not Hezbollah, obviously, but Jordan, who have formal but not actual possession of the West Bank.)
What this means for Israeli politics, especially for its embattled prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, who already faces tremendous criticism for the failure of his government to detect, let alone prevent, this attack. For now, though, the country is united against Hamas. Nothing good will come out of this.
Not a lot happened today, except that I and other members of the Apollo Chorus sang at the wedding of one of our own. She asked for some pretty challenging repertoire, but we nailed it, and we may have been the second-best thing about the afternoon. The best, of course, was watching our friend get married.
Regular posting resumes tomorrow.
A rainy cold front passed over Inner Drive Technology WHQ just after noon, taking us from 15°C down to just above 10°C in two hours. The sun has come back out but we won't get a lot warmer until next week.
I've had a lot of coding today, and I have a rehearsal in about two hours, so this list of things to read will have to do:
Finally, for the first time in 346 days, the Chicago Bears won a football game. Amazing.
Chicago experienced its warmest October 1st through 4th ever, clocking in at 24.4°C, before a cold front pushed through this morning. Many of my friends, plus another 25,000 runners, look forward to Sunday's Chicago Marathon and its predicted 7°C start temperature going up to a high of 14°C.
So, with real autumn temperatures finally upon us, let us chill out:
Finally, something other than the dumpster fire in Congress: Gideon Lewis-Kraus looks into allegations that Duke Professor Dan Ariely and Harvard Professor Francesca Gino fabricated evidence about dishonesty.
One of my colleagues at another office sent an email this morning to basically everyone in the company with a screen shot and a brief cry for help. One of her customers had an app with our company's name on it that had stopped working, and could anyone identify the app or where it came from? Also, it seems to run on something called "ANSIC" which no one in the customer's office knows.
I should at this point mention that the dialog box was from a Windows NT 4 or 2000 computer, and was version 2.0.415—so it probably started life on an even older version of Windows. And "ANSIC" means ANSI C, a language almost as old as COBOL. So even before we get to asking whether my company can still support it, I have to ask: how is the computer it's running on still working?
To me as a software developer this is like meeting a 30-year-old dog on the street.
Update: the author of the email got back to me, after hearing from someone who recognized the app. Its author died years ago, and the only other person who might have worked on it retired in the 2010s. The only thing to do, then, is to reverse-engineer the business process and start fresh.
You know, I still have code I wrote in Applesoft in 1981, but it's on printouts. The oldest runnable code I have is from 1986, and I need to spin up a DOS 3.3 virtual machine to get it to run. I hope that my craft has matured enough since then that the code I write today will still work in 15 years, but 30? No way. I've recently had to give an old client some bad news about their 16-year-old app: we either need to re-write most of it, or I can only keep it alive for 4 or 5 more years, because Microsoft will stop supporting the language (.NET 4.7) someday soon.
Other things actually happened recently:
- Slate's Sarah Lipton-Lubet explains how the US 5th Circuit Court of Appeals and the US Supreme Court keep allowing straw plaintiffs to raise bullshit cases so they can overturn laws they don't like.
- Julia Ioffe, who has a new podcast explaining how Russian dictator Vladimir Putin's upbringing as a street thug informs his foreign policy today, doesn't think the West or Ukraine really need to worry about Robert Fico's election win in Slovakia.
- Chicago Transit Authority president Dorval Carter Jr. has a $376,000 salary and apparently no accountability, which may explain why we have some transit, uh, challenges in the city.
- The Bluewalker 3 satellite is the now 10th brightest thing in the sky, frustrating astronomers every time it passes overhead.
- An Arkansas couple plan to open an "indoor dog park with a bar" that has a daily or monthly fee and requires the dogs to be leashed, which makes very little sense to me. The location they've chosen is 900 meters from a dog park and about that distance from a dog-friendly brewery.
- Conde Nast Traveler has declared Chicago the Best Big City in the US.
Finally, as I write this, the temperature outside is 28°C, making today the fourth day in a row of July-like temperatures in October. Some parts of the area hit 32°C yesterday, though a cold front marching through the western part of the state promises to get us to more autumnal weather tomorrow. And this is before El Niño gets into full swing. Should be a weird winter...