My flight from Munich landed at Charlotte about 40 minutes early, and I got through customs and back through TSA in 34 minutes. Sweet!
And now I'm watching the plane that will take me to Chicago pull into my gate. Sweet!
Really, I just want to hug my dog and get 10 hours of sleep tonight. I have a feeling one of those things will happen and the other won't.
As I'm trying to decide which books to take with me to Germany, my regular news sources have also given me a few things to put in my reading list:
Finally, the North Atlantic has near-record jet streams again this week, approaching 360 km/h, and shaving 45 minutes off the DC–London route. I would love that to happen Wednesday.
With the news this morning that Ukraine has disabled yet another Russian ship, incapacitating fully one-third of the Russian Black Sea fleet, it has become apparent that Ukraine is better at making Russian submarines than the Murmansk shipyards. Russia could, of course, stop their own massive military losses—so far they've lost 90% of their army as well—simply by pulling back to the pre-2014 border, but we all know they won't do that.
In other news of small-minded people continuing to do wastefully stupid things:
- The House of Representatives voted 214-213 to impeach Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas for, it turns out, no good reason, since it's the House Republican majority's failure to advance the Senate immigration bill that has Immigration and Customs Enforcement mulling a mass release of detained immigrants.
- While that vote took place, the New York 3rd Congressional District elected Democrat Tom Suozzi 58-42 to flip the seat held by defenestrated former Representative George Santos (R). This is the 4th consecutive special-election win by Democrats since the 118th Congress began last year, so of course news organizations have to explain why Suozzi's win is bad for us.
- Neuroscientist Charan Ranganth patiently explains how President Biden has normal age-related recall issues, which are not indicative of failing health or mental acuity, and are manifestly not the same thing as the serious memory issues that would be.
- Closer to home, the Chicago Transit Authority released preliminary plans to expand the Addison Red Line stop adjacent to Wrigley Field as part of the phase of its Red-Purple Modernization project starting in 2026.
- February is, and will almost certainly wind up, the 11th consecutive month of above-normal temperatures in Chicago, averaging 7.2°C (13.1°F) above normal so far, with continued warmth predicted after a weekend cool-down to the end of the month.
- Bill Post, who invented Pop-Tarts, has died.
Finally, a reader who knows my perennial frustration at ever-lengthening copyright durations sent me a story from last March about who benefits from composer Maurice Ravel's estate. Ravel died in 1937, so his music will remain under copyright protection until 1 January 2034, providing royalties to his brother’s wife’s masseuse’s husband’s second wife’s daughter. Please think of her the next time you hear "Bolero."
Dogs adapt very quickly to new environments when they're comfortable, as Cassie and Butters have done these past few days. Butters has appropriated both of Cassie's beds just as Cassie appropriated my couches:
My lungs have also gotten mostly back to normal, meaning I don't need any more Delsym, meaning no more mild cognitive side-effects. In other words, my upcoming week could be completely back to normal. Hosting Butters has been fun; 16 days of bronchitis have not.
I'm still not 100% over this horrible bout of bronchitis that started more than two weeks ago, so I spent one more evening chilling on the couch drinking lots of water. But these two cuties seemed perfectly happy with that plan:
They did get about an hour and 25 minutes of walkies yesterday, some at Cassie's speed, and some at Butters'. Beagles will keep up with the pack when goaded, but Butters prefers a more thorough investigation of all the smells in the immediate vicinity.
It seems the bronchitis has mostly run its course, too. For the first time in over a week, I got through the night without a coughing fit. One more good night and I might actually have normal cognition by tomorrow. A guy can hope, anyway.
Another sprint has ended. My hope for a boring release has hit two snags: first, it looks like one of the test artifacts in the production environment that our build pipeline depends on has disappeared (easily fixed); and second, my doctor's treatment for this icky bronchitis I've had the past two weeks works great at the (temporary) expense of normal cognition. (Probably the cough syrup.)
Plus, Cassie and I have a houseguest:
But like my head, the rest of the world keeps spinning:
- A 3-judge panel on the DC Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that presidents do not have blanket immunity from prosecution, which the XPOTUS has vowed to appeal en banc and then to his hand-picked Supreme Court.
- The Republican Party got the border deal they asked for, but they refuse to pass it because the XPOTUS needs border chaos for his re-election campaign. Greg Sargent has even more about their own-goal.
- Los Angeles experienced record rainfall yesterday, with a whopping 104 mm of rain recorded downtown, smashing the old record of 65 mm set in 1927.
- Here in Chicago, we expect above-average temperatures to hang out for the rest of winter, possibly even hitting 16°C later this week.
- That means we won't get to see the winners of this year's snowplow-naming contest: Skilling It, CTRL-SALT-DELETE, Casimir Plowaski, Ernie Snowbanks, Mies van der Snow, and Bad, Bad Leroy Plow.
- Speaking of roads, the Sun-Times ran an essay today outlining the history of Chicago expressways (motorways), and what we lost when we built them.
And now, my production test pipeline has concluded successfully, so I will indeed have a boring release.
The current work sprint ends tomorrow. Throughout, I've had several moments of "wow, I actually did that right three years ago" as I've extended or improved existing features for the next release. I've even added a couple of extra stories that didn't take me long to do.
Meanwhile, I'm starting to get the sense of what it might be like when I'm 80, coughing so much that for the first time in years I'll actually miss rehearsal tonight. Which explains this post's headline: the cemetery is usually where the coffin stops.
Ah, ha ha.
I'm also reminded that, five years ago, we had some weird weather. We have some weird weather today, too, but in the opposite direction.
Anyway, if I can get this coughing under control, and get some sleep tonight, I should have more creative things to say tomorrow.
Between the Dobbs decision allowing states to enforce or enact medieval restrictions on women's rights, an estimated 59,000 pregnancies resulted from rapes in states where women could no longer terminate them:
A new study estimates that more than 64,000 pregnancies resulted from rape between July 1, 2022, and January 1, 2024, in states where abortion has been banned throughout pregnancy in all or most cases. Of these, just more than 5,500 are estimated to have occurred in states with rape exceptions—and nearly 59,000 are estimated for states without exceptions. The authors calculate that more than 26,000 rape-caused pregnancies may have taken place in Texas alone. The findings were published on Wednesday in JAMA Internal Medicine.
“Highly stigmatized life events are hard to measure. And many survivors of sexual violence do not want to disclose that they went through this incredibly stigmatizing traumatic life event,” says Samuel Dickman, chief medical officer at Planned Parenthood of Montana, who led the study. “We will never know the true number of survivors of rape and sexual assault in the U.S.”
The researchers obtained their findings by combining data from multiple sources. Because state-level data weren’t available, the team analyzed national data from a U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention survey on intimate partner sexual violence from 2016 to 2017. The researchers also used a Bureau of Justice Statistics survey on criminal victimization. Putting these together, they determined the number of completed vaginal rapes among girls and women of reproductive age—defined as between the ages of 15 and 45 (although some even younger girls and older women are also capable of pregnancy).
The XPOTUS put the deciding votes on the Supreme Court. George W Bush elevated John Roberts—no moderate, he, despite his PR—to the center seat. When you vote for Republicans, this is what you get.
And I guess Texas governor Greg Abbott needs to work a little harder to "eliminate rape" in his state. How surprising that he never really came through with that promise.
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.
Sadly, my doctor did not tell me to try to have fun no matter what I do, though we did have a brief conversation about which Bourbons we both like. Nope, he just said I'm perfectly healthy: I exercise enough, I eat right, I don't drink too much, my vital signs are perfect, and I get enough sleep. Doctor visits should be like software releases: boring.
If only that were true elsewhere:
Finally, for those of you just tuning in, Chicago-based Motorola invented cell phones. And today marks (only!) the 40th anniversary of David Meilahn making the world's first commercial cellular telephone call from Chicago's Soldier Field. Meilahn won a race to get his phone turned on and dialed in order to get that bit of recognition.
On a more serious note, I haven't commented on the war in Gaza yet because I haven't sifted through all the propaganda and disinformation enough. Julia Ioffe said a lot of what I'm thinking on Monday, but right now, no one can hear us moderates. I plan to address it soon. Maybe my lone center-left voice will end 3,000 years of conflict peacefully, who knows?