As much fun as Cassie and I have had over the last few days, the news around the world didn't stop:
- After 448 days, Illinois will finally reopen fully on Friday.
- Security expert Tarah Wheeler, writing on Schneier.com, warns that our weapons systems have frightening security vulnerabilities.
- Fastly's content-delivery network (CDN) collapsed this morning, taking down The New York Times, The Guardian, Bloomberg News, and other major properties; no word yet on the cause, but we can guess.
- About 12,000 volunteer software developers around the world contributed to the Mars Helicopter project through GitHub.
- Josh Marshall looks at the burn-it-all-down ethos of defeated Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and our own XPOTUS.
- Alexandra Petri wonders why anyone would buy a Swiss Army knife when an AR-15 does the job better?
- ProPublica divided income tax by (unrealized) wealth growth and found that the wealthiest 25 Americans paid almost no income tax from 2014 to 2018; however, they did not apply that methodology to the millions of middle-class families whose 401(k) funds appreciated, which would show that most people paid smaller percentages than they thought.
- Earth's CO2 levels have reached 419 ppm, a level not seen since around the time humans and chimpanzees split from their last common ancestor.
Finally, journalist Jack Lieb filmed D-Day using a 16mm home movie camera, which you can see on the National Archives blog. It's really cool.
Just look at this beauty:
This dog had way too much fun on Sunday. Towards the end of her time at the beach, she chased this dude all over:
I have almost as much fun as she does, watching her open up to full speed. Wow, she is fast.
I didn't have as much time to edit photos yesterday as I expected, so I only have two more for today:
And I want to give a big shout out to this little guy, named Bear, who forded the 5-meter-wide tidal pool all by himself:
I took 540 photos at Montrose Dog Beach today. I expect to post a bunch this afternoon and tomorrow evening. For now, though, here's a quick taste:
Did she have fun? Oh, my yes.
Cassie and I went to the Montrose Dog-Friendly Area (aka Montrose Dog Beach) this afternoon for the first time. I don't recall ever seeing her have more fun, which says a lot. Tomorrow I'll bring my real camera and a long lens to get some action shots.
Cassie, she of large webbed feet and recent Labrador retriever ancestry, has steadfastly refused to go into the kiddie pool at the dog park for as long as I've had her. Until today, that is:
She kind of padded in, turned around a couple of times, snapped at the water, and delicately stepped out. Then she did it again. Twice.
Well, OK, maybe this weekend when it's 33°C we'll hit Montrose Beach? (Note to self: schedule a bath for Cassie this weekend.)
The northern hemisphere started meteorological summer at midnight local time today. Chicago's weather today couldn't have turned out better. Unfortunately, I go into the office on the first and last days of each week, so I only know about this from reading weather reports.
At my real job, we have a release tomorrow onto a completely new Azure subscription, so for only the second time in 37 sprints (I hope) I don't expect a boring deployment. Which kind of fits with all the decidedly-not-boring news that cropped up today:
- The XPOTUS and his wackier supporters have a new conspiracy theory about him retaking office in a coup d'état this August. No, really.
- In what could only 100% certainly no doubt how could you even imagine a coincidence, former White House counsel Don McGahn will testify before the House Judiciary Committee tomorrow morning.
- Also uncoincidentally, a group of 100 historians and political scientists who study this sort of thing have put out a statement warning of imminent democratic collapse in the US. “The playbook that the Republican Party is executing at the state and national levels is very much consistent with actions taken by illiberal, anti-democratic, anti-pluralist parties in other democracies that have slipped away from free and fair elections,” according to the Post.
- Speaking of democratic backsliding, Josh Marshall takes the Israeli cognoscenti to task for still not getting how much the Israeli government aligning with an American political party has hurt them.
- Here in Illinois, the state legislature adjourned after completing a number of tasks, including passing a $46 billion budget that no one got to read before they voted on it. (I'm doubly incensed about this because my own party did it. We really need to be better than the other guys. Seriously.)
- For the first time since March 2020, Illinois has no states on its mandatory quarantine list. And we reported the fewest new Covid-19 cases (401) since we started reporting them.
- The Northalsted Business Alliance wants to change the name of Chicago's Boystown neighborhood to...Northalsted. Residents across the LGBTQ spectrum say "just, no."
Finally, a Texas A&M business professor expects a "wave of resignations" as people go back to their offices.
Remember the deer in the cemetery? He's getting bolder:
He (I think it's a male fawn) let me get pretty close, and held still when I took photos through the fence:
A local artist named him "Spooky Boi," which fits, I think. It's pretty spooky when megafauna stares at you through a cemetery fence at 7am as you pass by with a dog.
In Pittsburgh yesterday, Cubs player Javier Báez drew the first baseman into a rundown between home and first, allowing another player to score, and then capitalized on the catcher's error to advance to second:
With Willson Contreras on second, Pittsburgh Pirates third baseman Erik González fielded Báez’s grounder and threw to first, but Will Craig caught the ball off the bag. Craig, instead of just trotting back and touching the base, advanced to try to tag Báez — and then Báez’s baserunning savvy kicked in.
As Contreras raced around third, Báez darted back toward the plate in spurts as if playing tag. Craig still hadn’t tagged Báez as Contreras dived toward home, and Craig’s toss to catcher Michael Perez was too late. After signaling Contreras should be safe, Báez then raced back to first. When Perez’s throw to first was off the mark and bounced into short right field, Báez made it to second.
The scoring determination: fielder’s choice, RBI, E2.
Báez said he simply was trying to help Contreras score by keeping Craig close to him so he would chase him. After Báez signaled Contreras safe — a moment that made Ross chuckle when watching the replay — he realized he should get back to first.
Note that all Will Craig had to do was step on first base to end the inning. Apparently he got confused, but only catcher Perez got charged with an error for his wild throw back to first.
The Cubs have won 9 of their last 11 games.
About two weeks ago I told a relative newcomer to San Francisco about the Embarcadero Freeway, which used to cover the Embarcadero from Fisherman's Wharf down to the Bay Bridge. From its construction in 1959 to its destruction (with the help of the Loma Prieta earthquake) in 1991, it stood, without question, as the biggest urban planning mistake west of the Rockies. Looking at it photos today makes me angry.
Removing I-480 showed other cities how their lives might improve if they also removed or buried freeways. Boston's Big Dig reconnected the North End with the Common; removing the eastern section of Rochester's Inner Loop has made that city more livable.
The New York Times reports on the other cities that have followed:
As midcentury highways reach the end of their life spans, cities across the country are having to choose whether to rebuild or reconsider them. And a growing number, like Rochester, are choosing to take them down.
In order to accommodate cars and commuters, many cities “basically destroyed themselves,” said Norman Garrick, a professor at the University of Connecticut who studies how transportation projects have reshaped American cities.
“Rochester has shown what can be done in terms of reconnecting the city and restoring a sense of place,” he said. “That’s really the underlying goal of highway removal.”
In recent years, more cities have started to seriously rethink some of their highways. The Congress for the New Urbanism, a group that tracks highway removals, counted 33 proposed projects in 28 American cities. And the idea is being discussed in many others.
Among the proposed removal plans: getting rid of the BQE in New York, the Buffalo Skyway, and New Orleans' Claiborne Expressway—all of them ugly roads that destroyed neighborhoods and made lives demonstrably worse. (See, for example, the Eisenhower Expressway in Chicago.)
Not under consideration? Burying I-90/94 in downtown Chicago. Maybe someday.