The Daily Parker

Politics, Weather, Photography, and the Dog

Long day

I have tickets to a late concert downtown, which means a few things, principally that I'm still at the office. But I'm killing it on this sprint, so it works out.

Of course this means a link dump:

I promise to write something substantial tomorrow or Saturday. Promise.

Quickly jotting things down

I hope to make the 17:10 train this evening, so I'll just note some things I want to read later:

Finally, Molly White looks at the ugly wriggling things under the rocks Sam Bankman-Fried's trial turned over: "Now that Sam Bankman-Fried has been convicted in one of the largest financial fraud cases in history, the crypto industry would like people to please hurry up and move on. The trial is over, and it’s just so dang inconvenient that Bankman-Fried so publicly ruined the general reputation of an industry rife with scams and frauds by making it seem as though it is an industry rife with scams and frauds."

In other news...

Despite the XPOTUS publicly declaring himself a fascist (again), the world has other things going on:

Finally, Google has built a new computer model that they claim will increase the accuracy of weather forecasts. I predict scattered acceptance of the model with most forecasters remaining cool for the time being.

Productive day, rehearsal tonight, many articles unread

I closed a 3-point story and if the build that's running right now passes, another bug and a 1-point story. So I'm pretty comfortable with my progress through this sprint. But I haven't had time to read any of these, though I may try to sneak them in before rehearsal:

  • The XPOTUS has started using specific terminology to describe his political opponents that we last heard from a head of government in 1945. (Guess which one.) Says Tomasky: "[Republicans] are telling us in broad daylight that they want to rape the Constitution. And now Trump has told us explicitly that he will use Nazi rhetoric to stoke the hatred and fear that will make this rape seem, to some, a necessary cleansing."
  • Writing for the Guardian, Margaret Sullivan implores the mainstream print media to explain the previous bullet point, which she calls "doing their fucking job."
  • The average age of repeat home buyers is 58, meaning "boomers are buying up all the houses." My Millennial friends will rejoice, no doubt.
  • Bruce Schneier lists 10 ways AI will change democracy, not all of them bad.
  • The Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution says not to worry, the Gulf Stream won't shut down. It might slow down, though.
  • The Times interviewed Joseph Emerson, the pilot who freaked out while coming off a 'shrooms trip in the cockpit of an Alaska Airlines plane, and who now faces 83 counts of attempted murder in Oregon.
  • Author John Scalzi got to see a band he and I both listened to in college, Depeche Mode, in what will probably be their last tour.
  • The Times also has "an extremely detailed map of New York City neighborhoods," along with an explainer. Total Daily Parker bait.

Finally, a firefighter died today after sustaining injuries putting out a fire at Lincoln Station, the bar that my chorus goes went to after rehearsals. Given the description of the fall that fatally injured him—he fell through the roof of the 4-story building all the way into the basement—it sounds like the fire destroyed not only the restaurant but many of the apartments above. So far, the bar has not put out a statement, but we in the chorus are saddened by the fire and by Firefighter Drew Price's death. We hope that the bar can rebuild quickly.

My car is watching me do what, now?

Via Bruce Schneier, your car does not respect your privacy anymore:

Mozilla recently reported that of the car brands it reviewed, all 25 failed its privacy tests. While all, in Mozilla's estimation, overreached in their policies around data collection and use, some even included caveats about obtaining highly invasive types of information, like your sexual history and genetic information. As it turns out, this isn’t just hypothetical: The technology in today’s cars has the ability to collect these kinds of personal information, and the fine print of user agreements describes how manufacturers get you to consent every time you put the keys in the ignition.

Companies claim ownership in advance, so that you can’t sue if they accidentally record you having sex in the backseat, for example. Nissan claimed in a statement that this is more or less why its privacy policy remains so broad. The company says it "does not knowingly collect or disclose customer information on sexual activity or sexual orientation," but its policy retains those clauses because "some U.S. state laws require us to account for inadvertent data we have or could infer but do not request or use." Some companies Engadget reached out to — like Ford, Stellantis and GM — affirmed their commitment, broadly, to consumer data privacy; Toyota, Kia and Tesla did not respond to a request for comment.

This gets even more complicated when you think about how cars are shared. Rental cars change drivers all the time, or a minor in your household might borrow your car to learn how to drive. Unlike a cell phone, which is typically a single user device, cars don’t work like and vehicle manufacturers struggle to address that in their policies. And cars have the ability to collect information not just on drivers but their passengers.

Consumers are effectively hamstrung by the state of legal contract interpretation, and manufacturers are incentivized to mitigate risk by continuing to bloat these (often unread) agreements with increasingly invasive classes of data. Many researchers will tell you the only real solution here is federal regulation. There have been some cases of state privacy law being leveraged for consumers' benefit, as in California and Massachusetts, but on the main it's something drivers aren't even aware they should be outraged about, and even if they are, they have no choice but to own a car anyway.

Note to self: no more don't start having sex in my Prius.

Seasonal, sunny, and breezy

We have unusual wind and sunshine for mid-November today, with a bog-standard 10C temperature. It doesn't feel cold, though. Good weather for flying kites, if you have strong arms.

Elsewhere in the world:

  • The right wing of the US Supreme Court has finally found a firearms restriction that they can't wave away with their nonsense "originalism" doctrine.
  • Speaking of the loony right-wing asses on the bench, the Post has a handy guide to all of the people and organizations Justice Clarence Thomas (R) and his wife claim have no influence on them, despite millions in gifts and perks.
  • NBC summarizes the dumpster fire that was the XPOTUS and his family lying testifying in the former's fraud sentencing hearings.
  • Alexandra Petri jokes that "having rights is still bewilderingly popular:" "Tuesday’s election results suggest that the Republican legislative strategy of 'taking people’s rights away for no clear reason' was not an overwhelming success at the ballot box."
  • Earth had the warmest October on record, setting us up for the warmest year in about 120,000 years.
  • Could the waste heat from parking garages actually heat homes?
  • John Scalzi has a new film review column for Uncanny Magazine, with his first entry praising the storytelling of the Wachowski's 2008 Speed Racer adaptation.

Finally, Citylab lays out the history of San Francisco's Ferry Terminal Building, which opened 125 years ago. I always try to stop there when I visit the city, as I plan to do early next month.

Evening reading

I actually had a lot to do today at my real job, so I pushed these stories to later:

Finally, The Economist calls out "six books you didn't know were propaganda," including Doctor Zhivago and One Hundred Years of Solitude.

When Tuesday feels like Monday

We've switched around our RTO/WFH schedule recently, so I'm now in the office Tuesday through Thursday. That's exactly the opposite of my preferred schedule, it turns out. So now Tuesdays feel like Mondays. And I still can't get the hang of Thursdays.

We did get our bi-weekly build out today, which was boring, as it should be. Alas, the rest of the world wasn't:

  • The XPOTUS has vowed revenge on everyone who has wronged him, pledging to use the US government to smite his enemies, as if we needed any more confirmation that he should never get elected to any public office ever again.
  • Meanwhile, the XPOTUS looked positively deranged in his fraud trial yesterday, as the judge continued to question him about things that cut right to his fraudulent self-image.
  • Walter Shapiro thinks comparing President Biden to Jimmy Carter miss the mark; Harry Truman might be a better analogy.
  • Lawyers for former Chicago Alderperson Ed Burke have asked that a display in the Dirksen Federal Building celebrating the US Attorney's successes securing public-corruption convictions be covered during Burke's public-corruption trial.
  • Adams County, Illinois, judge Robert Adrian faces discipline from the state Judicial Inquiry Board after reversing the conviction of a man who sexually assaulted his girlfriend because the teenaged assailant's 148 days in jail was "plenty of punishment."
  • In a move that surprised no one, WeWork filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection yesterday, after failing to "elevate the world's consciousness" through "the energy of We."
  • Josh Marshall relays some of his thoughts about the Gaza War, with one in particular I want to call out: "Nothing that has happened in the last month constitutes genocide, either in actual actions or the intent behind those actions. Not a single thing." Worth repeating. But also: "there is a media and propaganda war about this conflict on TikTok and it is one Israel is losing."
  • Kevin Dugan relishes the exposure of Sam Bankman-Fried as a common criminal, and not a very original one at that.
  • Via Schneier, eminence gris Gene Spafford reflects on the Morris Worm, which chewed its way through most of the 100,000 machines connected to the Internet 35 years ago last week.

Finally, let's all tip our hats to George Hollywood, a parakeet who lived off the land in my part of Chicago for the better part of summer. He didn't exactly blend in with the pigeons, but as the photos in the news story show, he sure tried.

Confusing weather

Remember how it snowed six days ago? Today it didn't:

Unrelated, I'm monitoring some frustrating slowness with the Daily Parker. I'm not sure what's going on. Doubling the VM memory didn't seem to help. I've been thinking of writing my own blog engine again (as I have for about 15 years), so maybe this will give me the push I need.