I wondered about the name “Las Vegas.” I am a California resident who dabbles in Duo Lingo. “Las Vegas” means “The Meadow,” named by a Spaniard who enjoyed stopping over at this grassy meadow in the desert. A meadow fed by natural springs. Later, the Americans would come and build pumps, draining the springs, and leaving the city to sink several feet into the desert sand: vegas no más. Other minds beheld this sunken place near the Hoover Dam, nodded at the lack of prohibitions on gambling, and began building casinos. The casinos begat a nice airport. Other minds contemplated diversification: cheap power, cheap land and easy logistics are all good for the datacenter business. The party will last as long as the Colorado River flows. It is a visit to the dimmed lights of the datacenter that brought me.
When America allows itself to take all its worst instincts and run with them, we get Las Vegas. The City feels like any suburb in America: a series of large shopping malls in the middle of town sealed in to their own reality, surrounded by humbler strip malls where the locals satisfy their day-to-day commercial needs. All generously connected by a grid of six lane roads and choked highways. The area leading to the Buy N Large datacenter is rocky desert strewn with trash. A developing country missing its stray dogs.
It was from the driver of the rental car shuttle bus that I gleaned a potential use for Las Vegas. As we rode from the Airport Terminal to the Car Rental complex across the street, he took to the mic to entertain and inform. The weather was in the fifties that day, but in a few days the forecast called for ninety. He then explained that the airport had recently been renamed from “McCarran” to “Harry Reid” and fortunately most of the signs have been changed, but for the first year a lot of folks had been confused. Our driver then informed us of a list of national parks and how many hours of driving they were from Las Vegas: Bryce, Zion, Death Valley, and the North Rim and the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. Ah, I thought: as an air hub, Las Vegas could be a good spot to fly to with the family to rent a car and explore. Coastal Northern California is surpringly far from The West. Perhaps I would be back.
An early morning line at the airport Starbucks, where I’m pretty sure I won’t be served.
The morning was long. I had been up at 5:30 to shower, drive, park, and catch my flight. I had hoped for a pastry and coffee at the airport Starbucks, but the line was long and moved at zombie speed. I stood patiently for a few minutes until the airport loud speaker announced that my plane was now boarding, and I had the length of the terminal to cross. On the plane, the pilot announced that due to the unusual presence of Weather in California, the flight could be choppy, so no “service” would be attempted, for safety. At Harry Reid’s rental car terminal, there was a big Starbucks in the middle, but I had an orientation to get to at the Buy N Large datacenter, and at that point I had achieved my “cruising altitude” for the morning and didn’t need anything. I made my way to the cars and picked the Blue One. When asked to choose a rental car, I try to go for the most unusual color, in hopes of remembering which car I was driving.
Driving rental cars is its own pleasure for me, because at any given point in my life I am probably driving an older car. Behold, the crisp video feed from the backup camera! How does the cruise control work? Lane keeping! That’s neat. Where do I put my phone for easy navigation. Once I discover that I can pair my phone to the car’s video screen I am in a good place. At some point I ask myself whether I might want to be the kind of person who always drives a newer car. And I explain to myself that sounds nice but what is even better than that is to be the kind of person who doesn’t spend enough time driving for car quality to be important.
The Buy N Large datacenter has several entries in the Maps App. Because I had shipped some hardware last month, I recognized the street name of the one I needed to get to. I met my colleague and an armed security guard gave us the orientation, and guided us through our navigation of the sectors. Buy N Large is the largest data center I have ever worked in. It is one of those monuments which people in my line of work are likely to visit at some point in our careers. I recalled an old colleague who gave up living in Oakland, because The Company was content to have him work remote near the datacenter. He was content to rent a Large House to share with his cats, and drive out into the desert some nights to look up at the stars. Las Vegas was a home base from which he could visit The Universe.
Between orientation and getting work done I needed to eat. I asked The App for Brunch and settled on a place called “Mr Mamas.” A diner in a strip mall. Clean and efficient and delicous, with American portions. I had French Toast and eggs and a lot of coffee and was in a great mood for an afternoon of Moving Cables Around. At one point, I realized I would need More Cables which can be a problem because after all, Fry’s Electronics is no more. But the app suggested that Kiesub Electronics was on the way to Grainger. I hopped in the Blue Car and found The Cables that I needed at Kiesub. I had wanted to buy Extra but they had exactly Enough for my purposes. I got to chatting with the guy and he noted that while Fry’s had come and gone, Kiesub had stood for fifty years. We chatted some more. He inquired about me and I enumerated my blessings, and noted that for me, everything was pretty great. For Now. I’ll always remember the Lean Years after 2001. The guy had been married some decades and explained that while Marriage is Work, it really helps if you don’t take yourself too seriously. Amen.
Back at Buy N Large, I got the cables moved around and around 5:30pm, I called it A Day. I checked in at the hotel and asked for advice regarding dinner. The clerk kindly explained her favorite options which I duly checked out but I just wasn’t Feeling It. I wanted to sit at The Bar, somewhere quiet. I resorted to asking The App for Irish Pubs. After all, that is our comfort in Sunnyvale, which is the name we settled on when the Post Office told us we couldn’t call our town Murphy. The first on the list was in Mandalay Bay, which is a massive golden cube. I drove up to it, and pulled into a driveway. I passed a line of taxis wondering what the parking situation would be. I was deposited back out onto another six lane street. I asked The App again, and scrolled West into the Sprawl. I found my way to an Irish Pub in a Strip Mall. The parking lot was full, but a local vouched that the No Parking Tow Zone filled with parked cars was a place he parked Every Week. For tonight was Trivia Night.
I sat at the bar and the menu bragged that the Fish and Chips were the best in the US in 2019. I had travelled to an inland desert and I ordered The Fish and it was tasty. As suggested, I filled out the trivia cards. Brian the Owner stood near and we chatted. I told him about Buy N Large and he recounted a friend who was gifted in the ways of computers who had a confidence that he could talk himself out of anything, who had met a violent end from a neighbor who had mental problems. It was Halloween, and another Body in the yard had initially been mistaken by the kids as a decoration.
Come morning, I surveyed the Hotel Breakfast. Eager guests fed themselves off styrofoam plates, as is The Custom at American Hotel Breakfast Buffets. I allowed myself to recoil and to drive back over to Mr Mamas to enjoy the same damn meal I had enjoyed the day before. It did not disappoint. I dropped by Buy N Large to check on my colleague. My work done, I dropped in at a local coffee shop, which was okay. Back to Buy N Large, to bring my colleague to the Rental Car Return and on to the airport, where we parted ways, to our different airlines serving different sectors of the Bay Area.
I had a few hours to kill. I walked the length of the terminal, studying my options for sustenance and souveniers. I eventually settled on a $4 Nathan’s hot dog and discovered another Irish Bar next to my gate. A guy left a Blue Moon at the counter, which the barkeep acknowledged would be an insult in Ireland. I took this neglected pint under my care, which I nursed alongside my own Goose Island IPA. Another Illinoisan from Naperville who had matriculated from the same High School as the girl I had once dated from Naperville asked the Irish Bartender what he thought of the mixed drink known as an “Irish Car Bomb.” The bartender named a woman who he had known who got blown up in the early eighties. “It wasn’t intended for her, but her boyfriend, an English soldier.” If an Irish Pub promoted “Car Bombs” you could tell it was run by Americans. Conversation passed well through a third beer.
“Nevada” means “snow” and this year the “Sierra Nevada” lives up to its name.
The flight home was pleasant. I was served a Coke and a snack and had time for the buzz to recede so that I could drive home safely from the Long Term Parking, and help my sweetheart put our boys to bed.
[I wrote this up in 2018 but never posted it. Since then, we have added bike lanes on Maude and approved bike lanes on Sunnyvale Ave. I think the contrasting approaches to street design are still really interesting. -danny]
I thought I would catch up on a little reading. I skimmed this article about an intersection in the Netherlands where a distributor road with bicycle lanes intersects smaller roads. The main road is similar in form and function to Maude between Mathilda and Fair Oaks: it is a local distributor with one lane in each direction and a speed limit of 30mph. The Dutch street has curb-separated bicycle lanes and no parking. Maude is slated to eventually receive bicycle lanes, and City Council decided to retain parking.
Graafseweg, as featured in Bicycle Dutch. This is what Maude might look like under Dutch design standards: bicycle lanes are buffered from traffic, and traffic lights are avoided in favor of clear markings and buffers for turning vehicles.
Here’s a look at these streets on a map.
E Maude Ave, in Sunnyvale
Graafseweg, in ‘s-Hertogenbosch
Both streets pass through a residential neighborhood with small businesses. There’s a main road to the West, and most intersections with the collector road are Ts. Because the bicycle lanes and sidewalks are separated from Graafseweg by parkways, the Dutch road looks much bigger on the map. If you zoom down on the satellite view, the roads, especially the travel lanes, are comparable in size. If you drop street parking and narrow the parkways, this design could fit in the Maude corridor.
Here’s a rough overlay of the intersection of Graafseweg and Pater van Den Elsenstraat overlaid at Maude and Sunnyvale Ave.
Maude and Sunnyvale Ave: Current Version
Maude and Sunnyvale Ave: Dutch Version
The street itself lines up perfectly, but the park strip would need to be trimmed to fit. The first difference you notice is the absence of slip lanes, which Sunnyvale plans to remove from this intersection. (The Dutch intersection does have a slip lane on the lower right for bicycle traffic.) The next difference you notice is the absence of turn lanes. There is no signal in the Dutch intersection: vehicles turning left pull into a succession of buffer zones yielding to oncoming traffic.
Consider the pedestrian experience: right now, pedestrians crossing Sunnyvale or Maude must press a “beg button” and wait a minute or two for a walk signal. (This can feel like an eternity and is especially infuriating when there is no oncoming traffic. This is why people “jaywalk.”) In the Dutch version, pedestrians make a series of crossings: a one-way bike lane, then a one-way vehicle lane, then a one-way vehicle lane, and a one-way bike lane. Each crossing is much simpler, and pedestrians complete each crossing in a few seconds.
Motorists also experience a series of simpler crossings. For example, a left from Sunnyvale onto Maude would require a yield to the pedestrian and bicycle lanes, then a yield to Eastbound traffic on Maude, and then a yield to Westbound traffic.
One distinction from the Netherlands is that in California, without a signal, pedestrians have the right-of-way at intersections. In this Dutch intersection, bicycles and pedestrians have the right of way across Sunnyvale Ave but would be obliged to yield to traffic on Maude. You can parse this out by looking closely at the placement of “shark tooth” triangle markings on the pavement to see who is being told to yield. I don’t know if that would be allowed under existing state law.
If you look closely at the Dutch analog of Sunnyvale Ave, you see something very interesting.
Many wish to see a cycle track along Sunnyvale Ave, Sunnyvale’s principal North-South bicycle route. The Dutch street looks like a parkway, but the street to the left is a separate street. The street on the right is narrow and two-way. The bicycle lanes are just under 5′ wide, and between those lanes is a 15′ wide road for two-way traffic. The standard speed limit for this road would be 30mph, but drivers likely slow down because they don’t have much room to maneuver. Also, check out that sweet bus shelter! Compare this with the scene on Sunnyvale Ave at Hazelton. Can you spot the bus stop?
What about parking? The American approach seems to be “put in as much road as possible, and use the sides for parking.” The Dutch approach seems to be “put in less road, more landscaping, and sidewalks, then carve out parking spots where you need them.”
Yes, that mom has enough confidence in the safety of this street to have a young child riding on the back of her bicycle.
The Right-of-Way for these streets is comparable, but the Sunnyvale Ave roadway is 40′ wide. The Doctor Poelsstraat roadway is 25′ wide. The Dutch street still accommodates parking, but the overall experience is more pleasant: pedestrians can cross a narrower street, and the narrow street is a cue for drivers to slow down.
The Dutch have also found a convenient use for their wide, separated bicycle lanes: they can double as parking lanes! Let’s take another look at the Dutch version of Maude Ave.
The 10′ bike lane has car parking along the sides. The nearest car on the right is a reserved spot for a disabled resident. Maude is 50′ curb-to-curb and could fit a 20′ roadway, two 10′ bike lanes, and parking on one side of the street. Parking on both sides might fit at the cost of removed park strips or smaller lawns. The parking-versus-landscaping tradeoff could be made at the block level by local property owners.
I remember asking Adina about the Green Caltrain blog. Had blogs died, or is that still a way to reach people? Times have changed, she acknowledged, but a lot of people subscribed to the blog via email, and that made it, to this day, a very good way for news to reach people. One “obsolete” technology relied on an older, and even more “obsolete” technology. Video leans upon the radio star.
I put “obsolete” in quotes because while blogs had their day and receded some, people still use them. And email is still great at being email. Some of us are even daring to believe in distributed communication platforms again, thanks to Elon’s ongoing effort to drive Twitter into a wall.
When I was in college, I initially avoided Computer Science, mainly because it felt like Microsoft was eating the technology world, and that wasn’t a platform that gave me joy. But then I discovered Unix, and the ideals of an Internet built by different folks along open standards. Linux and FreeBSD and the ideal that software should be as free (to inspect and modify) as possible. In the early days, most web sites, like this one, were just people writing up HTML markup by hand, later with tools. Blogs came along: get access to a server and run some software, and you can publish your own thoughts for the world to see. And people would subscribe in Google Reader.
Then the Internet took a dark turn. All the content got hoovered into The Walled Garden. I can understand. The Internet is complicated, and Facebook serves some compelling, predictable, fast content. Why leave the restaurant when a visit to McDonald’s is sure to engage you in petty squabbles punctuated with pictures of cats and grandkids?
Twitter is dying. It will shuffle along in a zombie state, perhaps indefinitely. For me, the walled gardens are just so much ping pong distraction candy. Put the engagement machine down, quiet the mind, and let the inner Creation flow.
I’ve signed up for Mastodon. I get more “engagement” than I did on Twitter, and then I get bored and put it away. The concept is Social Media built on Open Standards. Blogs with open standards, shrunk to a Twittery microblog essence. It is nice to be trying a New Thing, especially when that New Thing isn’t built to contain us all in some weird psychology experiment where we are the product.
A year ago I was finishing my second Steve Ramsey build. Or first, if you count the workbench as a “bonus” … I had fun doing the miter cuts and setting up a jig for square angles, sanding, gluing, assembling, screwing … the finishing and sanding and finishing and sanding and finishing was a drag, especially because it was cold out and I had to do the smelly stuff indoors and even put a little space heater in the garage just to keep the gooey stuff warm enough.
At the end of the day, I had a nice table. It has been sitting out in my yard all year, and the tabletop is still smooth as silk.
But as I finished that project, a mob attacked the US Capitol and tried to kill Congress, and we let it happen. We barely managed to keep our Democracy that day. I stayed up late to watch Congress certify the damn vote count. And a few weeks later I listened to Amanda Gorman’s poetry.
I look forward to rekindling my enthusiasm for woodworking. That’s been deferred a bit as I slowly erect a bike shed / fun fort in the back yard to store the bicycles so I can once again putter around the garage workshop.
We bought our home in Northern California in 2012, which was great timing because that was about the last time after the mortgage crisis that we could reasonably afford a home, at a mere $605,000. At that time, the home had a floor/wall furnace from 1949 that had a hole that made it a carbon monoxide risk. We upgraded to central heating shortly after. Guys came out and ran ducts all over the attic and hooked them all up to an efficient gas furnace with an air filter. Topped it all off with a shiny Nest thermostat. It gets chilly out here on winter nights, and it used to be only a few days in the summer that anyone needed air conditioning, at which point you go to the office during the week or to the mall on the weekend.
In 2016 I added an air conditioner to the system. The local contractors seemed not quite comfortable with heat pumps, and the furnace was new, and we only run the air conditioner, well, now maybe a total of a few weeks each summer. A major construction project across the street involved asbestos mitigation, and we were having a baby, so the ability to shut the windows on bad days had some appeal. (I later gifted our old box unit AC to another expectant couple who had concerns with construction dust.)
Most of the time, we enjoy having windows open, day and night. Most of the time, our climate is blessedly mild—most of the time. The past few years have had a lot more smoke from all the fires in California. 2020 had an apocalyptic vibe when the plague was joined by a daytime sky turned orange. Shut the windows, run the AC, praise the air filter in the HVAC. For the Pandemic, I also set the air to circulate 15 minutes every hour during off-peak energy hours. (We’re on a Time-of-Use plan.) The idea is that if we had COVID-19 in our air, we would filter some of it out and help improve our odds.
This year has been less awful. The winds have been mostly blowing the fire smoke from the hellscape experienced elsewhere in the West, away from the Bay Area. As a result, AQI has stayed mostly under 200. But as I had gotten back in the habit of checking purpleair.com to figure out if the windows need shut, I got curious to better understand the air quality inside our house, so I ponied up $200 for an indoor monitor. It has a bright LED that changes color based on what it measures, and the boys think that’s a pretty great night light.
My first revelation was that indoor AQI was spiking overnight, starting around midnight. Since I first installed it near the dishwasher, I figured that was the culprit. After a week of A/B testing, I had ruled out the dishwasher and figured out when the wife goes to bed, she likes to run a humidifier, and the water droplets in the air can look like pollution to a laser. Mystery solved!
The other thing I noticed while keeping an eye on purpleair.com to see if it was time to shut the windows is that our indoor AQI would tend to have a lower (better) score than outdoor sensors nearby. That’s good news. Zooming in, I could see a jaggy pattern where the AQI would drop when the furnace fan circulated our air through the MERV 16 filter in the attic, then it would spike back up. The upshot is that we could have open windows most of the time and cleaner air inside the house, but how to run the fan on an efficient schedule?
Well, it is tied to a thermostat … I could implement an “AQI-o-stat” with a Python script that scrapes the AQI reading and tells the Nest to run the fan. The script took about 3 hours to write. 10 minutes to scrape purpleair.com, 2.5 hours to figure out Google/Nest’s authentication API, and 20 minutes to figure out how to set the Nest fan. The authentication part took only 2.5 hours because Wouter Nieworth posted a bunch of helpful screenshots on his blog.
I implemented the “AQI-o-stat” on the afternoon of Sep 3, at which point CatHouse A now keeps AQI around 60 or below, while the neighboring Zinnias outdoor sensor reads in the low hundreds.
There was some tweaking, but I now have a Python script running out of cron that checks the indoor AQI, and if it is above 50, it triggers the timer on the fan. I started polling at 15-minute intervals but found 5-minute intervals made for a steadier outcome. The result is that we can leave the windows open, and the indoor air quality hovers around 60. One less thing to worry about. (There are plenty of things to worry about.) I have been thinking that, in the “New Normal” (which really means there is no “normal” because the climate systems have been thrown into turbulence) that having an air sensor as an input to your smart thermostat will probably just become a standard feature.
A few months back, everyone was talking about what it was like a year ago to enter the Pandemic. I never was much for that kind of nostalgia. I’ll say the Shelter in Place order came in on a Saturday and the boys cried because it meant their birthday party on Sunday was completely canceled after all. That’s metaphor enough to last me a few years.
I remember that early on, someone asked how long: 6-8 weeks? I suggested that we were looking at 12-18 months because that’s the fastest we could conceivably develop, test, approve, manufacture, and distribute vaccines. I didn’t want to be a bummer so I didn’t bring up my pessimism much. Everyone figured a couple of months.
When things opened up in June, I got us a plane trip to Chicago. We had a big party planned the year before that couldn’t happen, and the youngest had never been, and the older kid I really owed a fireworks show. I had worried about the logistics and whether everyone would have a good time but the trip was so immensely enjoyable.
“We need to have our fun now, before the next wave,” had been my thinking. Of course, I was thinking of the vaccine-resistant strain that has yet to evolve, not the wave that is currently hitting the vaccine-resistant population.
During the Pandemic, my employer figured out that our staff are really productive working from home, and the lease was up on the office so we took the opportunity to downsize. The new location is right next to the train, and on days when family obligations allow, I really love taking the train to the office. I think this is a pretty ideal commute: walk fast to the station, sit down, read a book, walk sorta fast to the office. Some light exercise for the body and relaxation for the mind built right into the schedule.
Lately, I’ve been coming into the office any chance I can get. As I explain, I really like working from home, and I have a good setup, but it also reminds me of the Pandemic, which I am happy to forget. Yesterday came the Public Health Order that we now wear masks in the office. I am here today and tomorrow. There is definitely a feeling of setback.
We had the technology and the money to free our country of the Pandemic this year. What we lacked was a cultural consensus that rolling up sleeves and getting a shot was worth everyone doing. I think this is just a warm-up for how our century will go. The planet is on fire again this year. Portland fried like it was Death Valley. We have, so far, been lucky in the Bay Area. No orange skies, no smoke … I haven’t run the air conditioner in weeks. Just the ongoing drought. This year, the Salmon fry will all be cooked in their natal streams.
We never took action to prevent the Climate Catastrophe beforehand. Even now, we have tools like electric cars and induction stoves and any number of ways we can reduce our Carbon emissions and … we make excuses. The new budget stimulus adds some money for public transportation, but the big money is in building more roads. In a few years, maybe, they say, there will be a few more electric cars you can buy. (And don’t bring up bike lanes.) The power grid is getting cleaner, at least.
I caught the opening of the impeachment trial today. The video from the House Impeachment managers was harrowing and damning. As a friend said last night, the US Capitol is sacred ground. Then Trump’s lawyers got up and rambled aimlessly. Bargain bin guys who came in unprepared to defend a guy who incited a mob to try and kill Congress. I wanted to feel that the case was so one-sided and the defense such a sham that the Senate would see through it and convict him and set a precedent that the United States will not tolerate anyone trying to take the government by force but I know better.
President Trump doesn’t need any defense better than a farce because we all know exactly what will happen. A majority of the Senate, all the Democrats, and some Republicans will vote in favor of Democracy. But not enough. Republicans are loyal to their party. Their Fascist will run again. He’s got a lot more charisma than Ted Cruz.
When the Insurrection happened on January 6, I was impressed that Congress picked themselves up, dusted themselves off, and got back into session. I watched until they certified the vote. Every time the objections to the count were withdrawn for lack of Senate support, I cheered, and for the few hours that objections were required to be heard, I rode it out. Congress certified the vote towards 3 am in Washington, and I counted it fortunate that I only had to stay up towards midnight in California. I explained that as a SysAdmin, when the system crashes and people get upset, I feel like I need to keep an eye on the systems as they get back to normal.
I feel optimistic that Joe Biden could well turn out to be a great President. He’s got a lot of experience, a lot of rapport, and the challenges are substantial. I also feel dread that our flirtation with autocracy is only going to get worse.
Here’s a bit from an interview I enjoyed with Eileen Crist from the December 2020 issue of The Sun magazine, which you can read online. I appreciate that folks have done the math to figure out what a good population would be and how we could very reasonably get there. This would be an effort across generations, and who knows what will really happen anyway? We can all chip into a vision that we ourselves will never see.
Tonino: You said earlier that there are approximately 7.8 billion humans on the planet. What would be an ideal number of humans?
Crist: Many analysts are thinking of a provisional goal of around 2 billion. This figure is for a human population enjoying roughly a European standard of living, sustained by organic food production, and eating far less fish, meat, and animal products than the average Western consumer.
Of course, there is no “optimal” population number in an absolute sense, because a lot depends on the level of consumption people gravitate toward, their dietary choices, and unknown variables having to do with technological developments. But 2 billion is more optimal than where we are now and where we are headed. Two billion is what the global population was about a hundred years ago. It is a big-enough number to enable a connected global civilization to continue, with achievements in the sciences, humanities, technology, and so on. In other words, 2 billion can sustain a lively “conversation of humanity.” But it’s a low-enough number to enable the substantial protection of nature that we are discussing.
According to Cornell agronomist [the late] David Pimentel and his colleagues, 2 billion people is the estimated number that can be sustained on organic, diversified, mostly regional agriculture, with farm animals living on the land and people eating a mostly plant-based diet. This way of eating would not only be wholesome for people but good for the planet and for all other animals as well.
You might say: “Fine, 2 billion sounds good, but how do we get there?” We get there by fast-tracking two important human rights: One, full gender equity and schooling for all girls, through at least secondary education. And, two, affordable and accessible family-planning services for all. If we could bring the global fertility rate — voluntarily: I do not support coercion of any kind — to an average of one child per woman, the human population would start to approach 2 billion within four generations.
Tonino: The ecophilosopher Arne Næss said that he was pessimistic about the twenty-first century but optimistic about the twenty-second. How do you think about the future?
Crist: What Næss meant, I think, is that in the twenty-first century there will be a reckoning with how we’ve lived, what we’ve done to the planet and ourselves, and that reckoning will set in motion an awakening: a different way to go about things, a different relationship between Earth and humanity. It’s quite possible that things will play out that way — get bad, then better. In some respects it’s an optimistic prophecy. But obviously there’s no guarantee that the future will follow this trajectory. We don’t even know where we are with respect to climate change. If runaway heating happens — or a nuclear war or some other unimaginable disruption — this trajectory that Næss outlines will be impossible.
The president had often talked about fortifying a border wall with a water-filled trench, stocked with snakes or alligators, prompting aides to seek a cost estimate. He wanted the wall electrified, with spikes on top that could pierce human flesh. After publicly suggesting that soldiers shoot migrants if they threw rocks, the president backed off when his staff told him that was illegal. But later in a meeting, aides recalled, he suggested that they shoot migrants in the legs to slow them down. Thatâ€™s not allowed either, they told him.
—New York Times
Mr. Jeanâ€™s brother took the stand to address Ms. Guyger, he offered only forgiveness.
â€œI wasnâ€™t going to ever say this in front of my family or anyone, but I donâ€™t even want you to go to jail,â€ said his brother, Brandt Jean. â€œI want the best for you.â€
When he finished, he turned to the judge: â€œI donâ€™t know if this is possible, but can I give her a hug, please?â€
When the judge agreed, Ms. Guyger stood up, walked toward Mr. Jeanâ€™s brother and threw her arms around him. As the two embraced, sobs filled the courtroom.
—New York Times
I want your best name for ADUs! Anything and everything would be appreciated!!!
A homelet is a smaller home that lives alongside your single family home. The homelet can house your family, or if you have a homelet to let, the rental income can help support your family.
Does your town have homeless? Consider building homelets!
On a chilly morning, there’s nothing quite as satisfying as a fresh omelet fried on the stove in the modest kitchen of your homelet.
Single-Family Rental Bonds
Corporations bought up cheap houses during the Great recession, and rent them to families. “These large companies frequently charge higher rents and are more likely to evict tenants.”
But wait, there’s more:
These homes are not just properties that are rented out to house families; they have been transformed into a new class of financial asset and investment vehicle. According to the NBER study, the homes have been capitalized into single-family rental bonds, which has grown into a $15 billion-plus market.
—Richard Florida, CityLab
You can buy shares in being an oppressive landlord.
I wonder if anyone has the right soul to be a cop. It is a hard hard job and I assume every cop is going to come up short to some degree. Some cops are better and some cops are worse. I try to respect these folks doing their hard work, and I want the failing cops off the streets.
The [Asian Art Museum] showâ€™s lead curators and education staffers Iâ€™d metâ€”all but one of whom were white …
. . .
[The founder of the Asian Art Museum] was â€œthe preeminent American apologist for Nazi Germany,â€ in the words of author Jeremy Schaap.
. . .
Just a few years ago, the British Museumâ€™s Twitter account revealed as much when it shared how it decides to label artwork, tweeting: â€œWe aim to be understandable by 16 year olds. Sometimes Asian names can be confusing, so we have to be careful about using too many.â€ (Dang, sorry to all those 16-year-old Asian kids with funny names.)
. . .
At one point, a draft of the marketing material [for #WhitePeopleDoingYoga] referred to my work as an â€œamusingâ€ and â€œlightheartedâ€ collection.
. . .
One of the museumâ€™s staff members, who was white, came to my defense in that boardroom. He exposed the museumâ€™s hypocrisy by holding up its own branded tote bag that bore only the word â€œAsianâ€ on it, and as I remember it he said, â€œIâ€™m a white man walking around San Francisco with this bag that just says â€˜Asianâ€™ on it, without â€˜museum,â€™ and itâ€™s completely â€˜out of context.â€™ Why is our bag okay but Chiraagâ€™s is not?â€ The marketing chiefâ€™s response: â€œWell, thatâ€™s our brand, so itâ€™s okay.â€
. . .
The opening parties featured Indian classical music performed by white people, acro-yoga performed by white people, a chanting group mostly compromising white people, and a white couple from Marin teaching yoga for an hour. There was a sprinkle of Brown acts, but the headlinerâ€”wait for itâ€”was a white rapper named MC Yogi, who spit about yoga and Indian culture over a beat dropped by DJ Drez, a white DJ with dreads. (Reminder: the largest institution of Asian art in the United States.)
. . .
After more than a month of fine-tuning our plans, the curator said there was one last â€œhurdleâ€ to clear before approval: The Cleveland museum planned to invite the cityâ€™s commercial yoga studios to teach classes and had to make sure the studios felt comfortable in the same space as an installation titled #WhitePeopleDoingYoga.
Not that anyone is going to ask me, and, why should they, anyway? But if anyone asks: white people, we have got to step it up. And sometimes that means shutting up and stepping aside.
My mom fainted the first time she set foot in an American supermarket. I stood transfixed in the cereal aisle. After six long years on Earth, here was a place that understood me. These were cartoon characters, made of pure sugar, that you could eat as a meal. Every box had a toy inside. How could I possibly choose just one?
I ask forgiveness of Hong Kongers if at times I am still that six year old kid, dazzled by what to you is ordinary. You live in a kind of city we Americans can only aspire to, and itâ€™s no wonder you love your home so much you will take any risk to save it.
A man driving a dump truck the size of a house put my sonâ€™s life in danger.
The details of what happened unfortunately arenâ€™t that remarkable. It was a perfect storm of road rage, reckless driving, terrible street design, and total lack of any kind of recourse, so basically a normal Tuesday on a bicycle in DC.
The dump truck driver drove aggressively and blasted his airhorn over many blocks on R Street NW. He was just feet from a half dozen other people on bikes who could do nothing but cringe and hope he didnâ€™t mash us into pulp.
Oliver was terrified, asking me if we can ride on the sidewalk, asking me if we can stop, almost in tears.
After we turned up 18th Street and jumped the light at S Street to get away from this reckless man, Oliver turned and asked, â€œCan we take the Metro instead?â€ And that was it. I decided I canâ€™t subject my son to this traffic violence anymore.
The most infuriating thing about this particular incident and many others is that this is how itâ€™s supposed to work. R Street is supposed to be shared by cement trucks, tractor trailers, monster SUVs, dump trucks, and squishy fleshbags on two wheels.
They call it an unprotected bike lane, but in practice, itâ€™s a little bit of extra space that people on bicycles can use as long as no motor vehicles are using it. Itâ€™s a design that squeezes us into sharing a narrow road with literal dump trucks.
No protests were authorised in China, the world’s biggest source of greenhouse gas emissions, but Zheng Xiaowen of the China Youth Climate Action Network said Chinese youth would take action one way or another.
“Chinese youth have their own methods,” she said.
On Children Kahlil Gibran
Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.
You may give them your love but not your thoughts,
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow,
Which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.
You are the bows from which your children are living arrows sent forth.
The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite,
and He bends you with His might that His arrows may go swift and far.
Let your bending in the archer’s hand be for gladness;
For even as He loves the arrow that flies,
so He loves also the bow that is stable.
Come mothers and fathers
Throughout the land
And don’t criticize
What you can’t understand
Your sons and your daughters
Are beyond your command
Your old road is rapidly agin’
Please get out of the new one
If you can’t lend your hand
For the times they are a-changin’
I took Tommy down to the San Jose Climate Strike on Friday. He enjoyed reading the various signs and trying to make sense of everything. When we got to City Hall, he quickly lost interest, and after a pee break and some ice cream, we headed home.
I’ve been to a lot of protests that blocked a lot of street traffic. The Climate Strike is the first time I recall any motorists Freaking The Hell Out. We were near the head of the march and cars had to sit through a light at a four-lane off-ramp. (Because the South Bay is the kind of place with four-lane off-ramps…) A dude slammed on his horn, we all raised our fists in solidarity, then he jumped out of his car and came running, maybe four car lengths down to the crosswalk, and started arguing with people.
I didn’t stick around for details, as I was with a six-year-old who wanted to read signs further up.
I was thinking. Don’t Go to War? Don’t Hate Gays? Most protests I have been to haven’t asked much of the public. Climate Change is a different beast: if we’re going to make it work, we’re all going to have to make adjustments to bring our energy use into a sustainable place. Some folks find this threatening. But does it have to be threatening?
It does have to feel threatening, not out of necessity for stopping climate change but in order to avoid making systemic changes. We need to make big changes at the level of national policy and international treaty. If you find that threatening, then you need to shift the discussion to the tragic impractical sacrifices the climate extremists are asking of you. Greta Thunberg is looking down on you sternly, in your internal combustion car, getting off the freeway. These youngsters waving signs about saving the Earth are Your Enemy.
The way I describe it: we need to change our policies so that people can live closer to work, and to give them the option to walk or bike or take transit. Sure, we need to electrify our buildings and raise energy prices to discourage careless consumption. When Greta gives us a stern disapproving look she isn’t getting on Your case about Your sloppy recycling habits, her stare is fixed at Donald Trump, and the myriad other world leaders who want to keep strip-mining the planet to burn the carbon out of the ground and into the atmosphere, who want to keep you buying cars and driving on wider and wider roads and highways to get anywhere because that is where the money is at. She’s looking down on shitty land-use policies that perpetuate wealth inequality.
We have to do our parts. For regular folks, it is merely a question of trying to live better. The heated rhetoric is for the Powers That Be that Profit from The Status Quo who are willing to fight stern-faced teenage girls in the name of the Almighty American Dollar.
Save your ire for the protestors, Off-ramp Dude. It ain’t about You. It is about all of Us, and especially the High and Mighty, who will need to surrender some Power and Convenience for the sake of our Children.
Last night, the Mountain View City Council enacted an RV ban.
If I were a Mountain View resident I would make a mental note to "toss all the bums out" at the next election. https://t.co/KM8gdN96OY
… millions of decision variables that affect any solution, including varying road widths, differing bus infrastructures (for example, the presence of wheelchair lifts or child safety restraint seats), students who require the same bus driver every year, students who have monitors, and students who have been in fights and, therefore, need to be on different buses … Emma Coleman
The Anthropocene Is a Joke
There’s an idea kicking around that humanity has created its own geological era, characterized mainly by the rapid change in the atmosphere’s CO2. I like this idea, primarily because it emphasizes the degree of change that is happening, and quick change on a geologic scale is dangerous. The shift we are undergoing now rivals the meteor strike that killed the dinosaurs. I am simultaneously hopeful and skeptical that we will survive.
Yes, the rapid change in atmospheric Carbon is a Big Deal, but on a geological time scale, it is at best an “event” that may one day puzzle some intelligent species. It certainly isn’t a new “era,” and in the grand scheme of geological time, we don’t register and if we were to go extinct in the next few millennia, we would disappear without a trace.
If one wanted to know what a particular 10-, 100-, or 1,000-year span was like, buried in this vastness of time (or, even worse, in some particular region of the continent), good luck.
This astounding paucity can be explained by the fact that there just arenâ€™t that many rocks that survived these extreme gulfs of time, over this vast province. And even among those rocks that did survive, and which are exposed today, the conditions for fossil preservation were rare beyond measure. Each fossil was its own miracle, sampled randomly from almost 200 million years of historyâ€”a few stray, windblown pages of a library.
If, in the final 7,000 years of their reign, dinosaurs became hyperintelligent, built a civilization, started asteroid mining, and did so for centuries before forgetting to carry the one on an orbital calculation, thereby sending that famous valedictory six-mile space rock hurtling senselessly toward the Earth themselvesâ€”it would be virtually impossible to tell. All we do know is that an asteroid did hit and that the fossils in the millions of years afterward look very different than in the millions of years prior.
The Promethean fire unleashed by the Manhattan Project was an earth-changing invention, its strange fallout destined to endure in some form as an unmistakable geological marker of the Anthropocene. But the longest-lived radioisotope from radioactive fallout, iodine-129, has a half-life of less than 16 million years. If there were a nuclear holocaust in the Triassic, among warring prosauropods, we wouldnâ€™t know about it.
Plastic, that ubiquitous pollutant of the oceans, might be detectable by analyzing small samples of sedimentâ€”appearing, like many organic biomarkers in the fossil record, as a rumor of strangely heavy hydrocarbons. Unassuming peaks on a chromatograph would stand in for all of modernity. Perhaps, perhaps, if one was extremely lucky in surveying this strange layer, across miles of desert-canyon walls, a lone, carbonized, and unrecognizable piece of fishing equipment may sit perplexingly embedded in this dark line in the cliffs.
Dinosaurs in space. All that has passed has passed. If humanity is doomed, or if humanity has a bright future ahead, this will happen. I have a tiny vote in my tiny lifetime, and I vote that my species adapt to the challenges of its time. I want us to survive and thrive, and reach out into space and find the rest of the life that I hope is abundant in the Universe beyond our local star. The final tally of this poll will be smeared into a layer of ash, eroded by wind and rain and crushed by rocks and wholly forgotten in time.
If I am piecing this together correctly: 1) Orange Skull starts trade war with China 2) China stops buying US soybeans 3) China says hey Brazil got any soy 4) Brazil says yeah hold on a sec we just gotta burn down the Amazon real fast 5) That McKinnon Hillary skit was on point pic.twitter.com/exYhEIU9Dz
Asked whether the person who is believed to have opened their door into the cyclist’s path had been charged, a police spokesperson responded: “It’s not a crime to open your car door.” Per section 1214 of the vehicle and traffic law, it’s illegal for motorists to illegally open their doors into moving traffic. The spokesperson later clarified they were “joking around.” Jake Offenhartz
If you’re wondering how I could leave Google after nearly 10 years, here’s this article. Claire Stapleton sent out e-mail every week about the all-hands meeting, and they were erudite and funny and creative and deeply weird. She was a valuable and important part of the old Google, the place I loved to work and would not shut up about. And because management went into the hands of a Wharton MBA, who hobnobs with fellow alums Ivanka and Donny Jr., whose spreadsheets about profitability don’t have any columns for ethics or culture or valuesâ€¦Google is now HP. The company that used to be a great place to work.
Schneider notes that in Chicago, where 80% of the city is off-limits to multifamily housing, downzoning has been heavily concentrated in white, wealthy neighborhoods. Under Mayor Bill de Blasio, New Yorkâ€™s zoning changes have followed a similar pattern: Poorer neighborhoods get upzoned, allowing for more development, and wealthier ones get downzoned. That means people who are already relatively advantaged have been legally absolved of their responsibility to share their neighborhoodâ€™s resources. In DC, Lanier Heights residents organized to ban more housing in their neighborhood by asking the city to downzone it in 2016.
One-size-fits-all solutions are often knocked as ignorant of the concerns of local communities. But localities have a stronger track record of keeping people outâ€”often via zoningâ€”than building enough homes for the people who live there or want to live there. Recent maps from DCâ€™s Office of Planning show how the cityâ€™s neighborhoods that are disproportionately zoned single-family are also the neighborhoods that have seen the least amount of new housing.
Plus, as Chicago and New York show, twiddling only particular knobs in certain places says that development is OK in some places (typically disadvantaged neighborhoods) and off-limits in others (typically wealthy ones). Spot or selective upzoning isnâ€™t equitable and wonâ€™t make housing more affordable.
A one-size-fits-all upzoning increasingly looks, at this point in time, like a necessary reset button that we will have to push if we are serious about both affordability and climate.
In January, Warren announced what may be the defining idea of her campaign thus far: a proposed wealth tax of two percent on the assets above fifty million dollars of the seventy-five thousand richest families in the country. (Thereâ€™s a surcharge for billionaires.) She calls this the Ultra-Millionaire Tax, and, during campaign events, she jokes about it in ways that most candidates wouldnâ€™t, for fear of being accused of fomenting a class war. At an event in Salem, New Hampshire, she pointed out that most middle-income voters are already paying a form of wealth tax, through property taxes. â€œAll I want to do thatâ€™s different is include the Rembrandt and the diamonds!â€ she said. A man called out from the audience, â€œAnd the yacht!â€ Warren replied, â€œAnd the yacht with the Imax theatre!â€
To illustrate how the tax would work, Warren describes a schoolteacher who has no savings and an â€œheirâ€ who has five hundred million dollars in â€œyachts, jewelry, and fine art.â€ If both of them made a fifty-thousand-dollar salary, they would pay the same amount in federal income taxes. Raising income-tax rates would do nothing to fix this disparity, Warren says, and the very wealthy have numerous tax-sheltering strategies to protect them anyway. Based on estimates by two economic advisers, Emmanuel Saez and Gabriel Zucman, of U.C. Berkeley, Warrenâ€™s wealth tax would generate $2.75 trillion in revenue over ten years by having the I.R.S., in the words of her plan, chase down â€œall household assets held anywhere in the world,â€ including â€œresidences, closely held businesses, assets held in trust, retirement assets, assets held by minor children, and personal property with a value of $50,000 or more.â€ Warren proposes using the money to fund universal childcare and pre-kindergarten, to forgive student-loan debt, and to finance infrastructure projects. She frequently says that, even after these initiatives are paid for, sheâ€™ll have two trillion dollars left over.
In polls, a majority of voters have expressed support for the wealth tax, including half of Republicans. At events, the idea reliably draws cheers from the audience. â€œListen, you got a chance to build a great fortune, and good for youâ€”or inherit a great fortune, O.K., itâ€™s O.K. You got a chance to do that. Good for you,â€ Warren said in Dubuque. â€œBut, remember, you built that fortune in America, where the rest of us helped pay for the education of all your employees, where the rest of us helped pay for the roads and the bridges so you could get your goods to market, where the rest of us helped pay for the police and the firefighters who were there to keep you safe. We were all glad to pay. We understand thatâ€™s how America works. But, when you build one of those great fortunes, just take a little and pitch it back in the kitty . . . so every kid gets a chance in this country.â€
Unsurprisingly, the demographic least thrilled with the idea of a wealth tax is the one that would have to pay it. Howard Schultz, the former Starbucks C.E.O., who is contemplating a Presidential run, called the proposal â€œridiculousâ€ and accused Warren of cynically using a sensational idea to generate headlines. Michael Bloomberg, the billionaire and former New York City mayor, suggested that taxing wealth, as opposed to income, could violate the Constitution.
Question 6 makes me feel cheap. “Walk/Bike” like these are the same marginal thing? I spent a bunch of money to get a family bike with e-assist, so that I can drop off my young children and make the 20 mile round trip commute through your district every day. A lot more people would bike, especially thanks to e-bikes, which extend range, but riding on our roads, with no protection, is terrifying.
For a very modest investment, we could build a network of protected bicycle paths, which would allow residents to ditch their cars, substantially drop their CO2 emissions, and enjoy better health. For those who keep driving, the roads will be less congested. It is a win-win for a very light investment.
The greatest thing that is needed is some imagination on the part of our public leaders.
I am not a spandex-clad bike jockey. I am just a father who feels pain at handing my boys a car-dependent suburbia in the face of climate catastrophe, and I want to help them enjoy a better future. Please, Assembly Member Berman, champion the cause of allowing regular folks, young and old and in between, enjoy the possibility of getting around on two wheels and no tailpipe.
Yesterday I was touched by a NextDoor post, entitled “Speedy man, killed all baby animal!” A woman stopped her car for a Mama Duck crossing the street with her babies. She took a short video, which, fortunately, did not capture what happened next. A man drove through at high speed and killed the babies. The woman cried, and shared her story on NextDoor. The man is universally condemned among the comments left by the neighbors. And of course, the next day, I learn of yet another road atrocity.
Meanwhile, in Nebraska, a man hit a kid on a bicycle, backed up, ran over him again, gave the kid a chance to climb out from under the truck, then drove off with the bicycle still stuck under the truck.
We live our lives in boxes: houses, offices, cars, smartphones, TVs … technologies that are supposed to make the world smaller and more connected, but too often we find ourselves disconnected from each other, and isolated. Some of us “act out” our rage …
I feel like cars are helping to make us lonely rage monsters and that it is great to make an effort to get away from the box, and walk or bike or take transit whenever that is a good option. I try to cast my lot with Mama Ducks and bicycle kids.
What happened here is horrible and yet it happens every day. I am glad many of us stopped to take note and commiserate with Veronica. I hope we can all try to be a little kinder.
Warren is bursting with what we might call â€œcharismaâ€ in male candidates: She has the folksy demeanor of Joe Biden, the ferocious conviction of Bernie Sanders, the deep intelligence of fellow law professor Barack Obama. But Warren is not a man, and so those traits are framed as liabilities, rather than strengths.
Itâ€™s significant that the â€œI hate you; please respondâ€ line of political sabotage only ever seems to be aimed at women. Itâ€™s also revealing that, when all these men talked about how Warren could win them over, their â€œcampaignâ€ advice sounded suspiciously close to makeover tips. In his article, Payne advised Warren to â€œlose the granny glasses,â€ â€œsoften the hair,â€ and employ a professional voice coach to â€œdeepen her voice, which grates on some.â€
Warren really is an intellectual, a scholar; moreover, she really is running an exceptionally ideas-focused campaign, regularly turning out detailed and exhaustive policy proposals at a point when most of the other candidates donâ€™t even have policy sections on their websites. Whatâ€™s galling is the suggestion that this is a bad thing.
The â€œschoolmarmâ€ stereotype now applied to Warren has always been used to demean educated women. In the Victorian era, we called them â€œbluestockingsâ€â€Šâ€”â€Šunmarried, unattractive women who had dared to prioritize intellectual development over finding a man. Educators say that 21st-century girls are still afraid to talk in class because of â€œsexist bullyingâ€ which sends the message that smart girls are unfeminine. Female academics still report being made to feel â€œunsexual, unattractive, unwomanly, and unnatural.â€ We can deplore all this as antiquated thinking, but even now, grown men are still demanding that Warren ditch her glasses or â€œsoftenâ€ her hairâ€Šâ€”â€Što work on being prettier so as to make her intelligence less threatening.
Warren is accused, in plain language, of being uppityâ€Šâ€”â€Ša woman who has the bad grace to be smarter than the men around her, without downplaying it to assuage their egos. But running in a presidential race is all about proving that you are smarter than the other guy. By demanding that Warren disguise her exceptional talents, we are asking her to lose. Thankfully, sheâ€™s not listening. She is a smart woman, after all.
On average, cars left 10 inches (29 cm) less room when cyclists were using painted cycle lanes, 12 inches (30cm) less room when there were rows of parked cars along the curbs, and 15.7 inches (40cm) less room when a road had both parked cars along the curb, then a painted cycle lane. (In other words, cars left cyclists the most room on stretches of road with no painted cycle lanes and no parked cars.)
“We know that vehicles driving closely to cyclists increases how unsafe people feel when riding bikes and acts as a strong barrier to increasing cycling participation. Our results demonstrate that a single stripe of white paint does not provide a safe space for people who ride bikes,” said Dr. Ben Beck, lead author of the study.
Over time, my husband and I started to suspect that Samâ€™s musings on doxxing and other dark arts might not be theoretical. One weekend morning as we were folding laundry in our room, Sam sat on the edge of our bed and instructed us on how to behave if the FBI ever appeared at our door.
Mr. Smart Phone sized me up â€” an elderly, decently-tailored gentleman with a walking cane â€” and thought I would immediately be on his side. He walked towards me and started to complain about how the gray-haired man and his hippie van were parked overnight on the street.
â€œOkay,â€ I said, â€œbut why are you surveilling him?â€ It was a loaded question for Mr. Smart Phone. He knew â€œsurveillanceâ€ was still not totally cool in San Francisco. As he was continuing towards me, his jaw hardened and his eyes grew cold. He said nothing. So I asked him another question, even though I knew it would be even more provocative. Like I said â€” Iâ€™m an idiot. We live in times when even the most everyday altercations can turn deadly. But I couldnâ€™t keep my mouth shut.
â€œIâ€™m curious â€” Iâ€™ve lived in this neighborhood for a long time and I donâ€™t recognize you,â€ I said. â€œHow long have YOU lived here?â€ Since he was applying residency standards to the man in the hippie van, I thought it was a legitimate question. But Mr. Smart Phone didnâ€™t. â€œFuck you!â€ he exploded, just a few feet from my face. Here I was trying to calm things down and they were quickly spiraling out of control.
Just then a neighbor whom Iâ€™ll call Maria, whose fluffy little dog often plays with Brando, came to the rescue. â€œWhy are you bothering people with your phone?â€ she bravely asked the menacing man. â€œWe donâ€™t like that sort of thing in our neighborhood.â€ And with that show of neighborhood solidarity â€” that clear expression that Mr. Smart Phone was violating our more tolerant community standards â€” he sheepishly backed down and walked away.
The hippie van-owner then hurried over to Maria and me and thanked us profusely for our intervention. â€œThis gives me hope about our city,â€ he said. â€œYou canâ€™t treat people the way this dude was treating me â€” like I donâ€™t belong here â€” like I donâ€™t have a right to exist. Iâ€™ve lived in San Francisco for 35 years. I was a social worker, but I lost my home. Iâ€™m only going to park here for a couple more days, then Iâ€™m leaving the city.â€
The spate of milkshake attacks in the United Kingdom follow on from the story of Australia’s “Egg Boy,” a swoopy-haired teenager who cracked an egg on the back of far-right lawmaker Fraser Anning’s head at a news conference in March. Following the attack, Egg Boy was punched in the face by the senator, as security officials scrambled to control the situation.
Last month, political eggings continued in Australia. Prime Minister Scoo Morrison was hit on the head with an egg – although on this occasion it failed to crack.
In Britain, it is believed that milkshakes have become the preferred weapon of choice as attackers sipping shakes appear far more inconspicuous than bystanders clutching eggs.
The trackball was invented 11 years before the mouse, in 1952. It was invented by Tom Cranston and Fred Longstaff as part of a computerized battlefield information system called DATAR, initiated by the Canadian Navy. It used a standard five-pin bowling ball as its trackball, which is smaller than the more common 10-pin bowling ball.
“And then there is the ever annoying parking in the cycle lane.”
AT LAST! A bit of Dutch infrastructure that sucks in a way that an American can relate to!
I love watching these vehicles but it also makes me frustrated that the most cutting edge American bicycle infrastructure is already obsolete in the Netherlands. :)
In late 2014, Lieutenant Graves said he was back at base in Virginia Beach when he encountered a squadron mate just back from a mission â€œwith a look of shock on his face.â€
He said he was stunned to hear the pilotâ€™s words. â€œI almost hit one of those things,â€ the pilot told Lieutenant Graves.
The pilot and his wingman were flying in tandem about 100 feet apart over the Atlantic east of Virginia Beach when something flew between them, right past the cockpit. It looked to the pilot, Lieutenant Graves said, like a sphere encasing a cube.
The near miss, he and other pilots interviewed said, angered the squadron, and convinced them that the objects were not part of a classified drone program. Government officials would know fighter pilots were training in the area, they reasoned, and would not send drones to get in the way.
â€œWe have helicopters that can hover,â€ Lieutenant Graves said. â€œWe have aircraft that can fly at 30,000 feet and right at the surface.â€ But â€œcombine all that in one vehicle of some type with no jet engine, no exhaust plume.â€
Lieutenant Accoin said only that â€œweâ€™re here to do a job, with excellence, not make up myths.â€
The ambulance arrived, and the paramedics started treating the bleeding man for shock. A police officer took my statement, and the knife. I washed my hands at some point. Then my date and I got in a Lyft to the Palace Hotel.
We walked into a scene reminiscent of Versailles. A pair of models in red gowns stood in banded hoops from which one could pluck a champagne flute. There was food, dessert, wine, music. Dancing pandas. Live bands. A silent disco. Women in gowns, men in suits and tuxedos. A casino, with the buy-in going to a local charity. The night glittered. This time next year, I whispered, our heads will all be in baskets.
In many ways, the train crews practice railroading as it was done a century ago, from assembling the train in the yard and coupling one car to another, to climbing down to the tracks to maneuver heavy hand switches. As they lumber along through the dense urban landscape, passing highways, parks, cemeteries and shopping centers, the freight trains draw curious stares.
â€œThe surprise on peopleâ€™s faces when we go through their L.I.R.R. station â€” theyâ€™ve never seen anything like it,â€ said Alex Raia, a 50-year-old engineer, as he worked the throttle and brake on a 2,000-horsepower diesel locomotive to thread it between tight rows of sooty freight cars in the Glendale yard. He likened the task to â€œplaying a game of chess every day.â€
The railway also handles so many cars of flour and beer that Mr. Bonner has nicknamed it â€œthe pizza-and-beer railroad.â€
During peak beer drinking times â€” think St. Patrickâ€™s Day and the Super Bowl â€” that can mean 30 rail cars of beer a week â€” each car can hold 3,500 cases â€” including Modelo Especial and Corona that has rumbled by train all the way from Mexico.
I would prefer if I could take a bus to work, because then I would have a great swatch of time for reading. I have instead, on the bicycle, been listening to podcasts, which is sometimes difficult amid heavy traffic, but whatever.
On 99% Invisible, I was digging on the story of Froebel’s Gifts. Froebel pioneered the idea of kindergarten in the 19th century. Along the way, he developed the first educational toys. Starting with a soft ball of yarn at 6 weeks old, and progressing to more and more interesting objects, along with an educational curriculum where the objects could help teach a kid important concepts of how the world works. Before Froebel’s gift, kids basically played with whatever leftovers the adults had: the carpenter’s kid played with scrap wood, for example. When the idea was brought to America, our Capitalists seized upon this idea that parents and schools might be willing to pay money for objects that children would play with. Froebel gifts are cool and all, but how about an endless buffet of TOYS!?
Anyway, they claimed that early 20th-century design was influenced by Froebel, as Frank Lloyd Wright, Buckminster Fuller, and Le Corbusier each learned important geometric concepts in Kindergarten. Fuller conceived of the buckyball in kindergarten and Wright kept a set of blocks on his desk to inform his creativity.
The fact that I most dug is that around the time kindergartens were taking off, the very first playgrounds were created. And the very first playground was a “sand garden” where they got a huge pile of sand and dumped it in a vacant lot for the kids to play with over the summer. Over time, the “sand garden” became a smaller component in playgrounds which featured other things like swings and slides. Today the giant pile of sand is maybe a sandbox. When Tommy was a baby, there was a sandbox down at Murphy Park. I found it a nice place to lie down as I was often sleepy back then. They took the sandbox out when they fixed up the park. We have come so far … but, I feel that in one respect, Max has been cheated.
With Regard to Uncle Joe . . .
The last election seemed to go “choose between the politics of the late 90s, where we are super careful not to take any positions based on strong principles, just middle of the road stuff that doesn’t offend or inspire anyone, or vote for the guy who will tell you whatever you want to hear, lie to you with a straight face, while he grabs your pussy.”
Why did that second guy do far better than anyone believes he deserved? Because he speaks “straight” to the concerns of a lot of Americans and he doesn’t give a fudge whether his solutions offend your delicate moderate middle of the road do nothing sensibilities.
Now we have Warren and Bernie and AOC and dozens upon dozens of other Democrats who have taken the clue that the electorate is hungry, not for some kindly sooth-saying grandparent, but for someone who is willing to speak up for their beliefs, even if they make some folks feel uncomfortable.
I voted for Clinton. Both of them. But even in the 90s, I yearned to vote not for some warmed-over middle-of-the-road do-nothing compromise, but for leadership that spoke to and acted from convictions. Uncle Joe used to appeal in those days, but now he’s the warmed-over establishment.
I’ll vote for him in the general, if that is what we got, but Trump is good at beating up on the establishment, and I think we’d do better to ride with someone who isn’t afraid to speak truth to power, to have a point of view that doesn’t focus test well with every last median-income household in Nebraska, someone who has plans to make up for all the time America has lost bending over backward to accommodate the right wing.
Remember Obamacare? That’s Romneycare. The uninspiring mush of consensus. It is adequate for liberals and hated by conservatives. Well, you know what? Screw those ungrateful jerks. If we’re going to have a system of universal healthcare that offends them, we might as well have at the very least a Public Option. (For example.)
I’m tired of compromise. Tired or compromise with right-wing extremists. And when it comes to the collapse of our planet’s climate stability, there’s no room for compromise and consensus anyway. We are decades behind on preventing a disaster that is beginning to truly unfold upon every last man, woman, and child on the planet and we have to stop Appealing to the Middle for the Politics of the Possible and engage instead in Policies of Necessity to make our planet and our country better for everyone.
The thalidomide tragedy was averted in the United States because Dr. Kelsey, alone and in the face of fierce opposition, did her job. Her perspective was educated, fresh and unique. If there had been no thalidomide crisis, the United States, with the rest of the world following, would still at some time have brought pharmaceutical regulation into the 20th century. But thalidomide created one of those moments when something had to be done. It could not be ignored in 1961-62, and it led immediately to a better and stronger regulatory system. Maybe someone else would have stopped thalidomide in the United States had Dr. Kelsey not been assigned the NDA, but, interestingly, no one else stopped it anywhere else until it was too late. Dr. Kelsey was the only person in the entire world who said no. She said no to a bad drug application, she said no to an overbearing pharmaceutical company and she said no to vested interests who put profits first. She was one brave dissenter. In the end, the question is not what made Frances Kelsey, but why aren’t there more like her?
I don’t know what to do to help. There’s an informal memorial at the corner. You could leave some flowers there. A family member passing by will have another sign of love.
I think that driving with a bit of love, as posted above, is good advice. As a bicycle commuter who carries kids on a bike in mixed traffic, seeing the pictures of twisted bicycles and backpacks in an intersection I travel often was really disturbing. We need better bicycle infrastructure in Sunnyvale so that people can get around safely. Until then, when you’re behind the wheel of a car please do take a moment to appreciate the folks around you. Slow down and in a moment of frustration try to take a deep breath and count your blessings.
The girl in the coma, and all the victims, and I think even the perpetrator are all carrying different kinds of wounds. Please share your prayers and compassion with them and also for everyone on the road.
A note I posted on NextDoor
The Earth’s climate is usually very erratic. Decades of drought, then decades of flood, for example. Humans have existed for a few hundred thousand years but only after the last Ice Age, when the planet hit an unusual period of climate stability, did humans manage to achieve agriculture and civilization.
I keep trying to rationalize an optimistic outcome, but as best I can read the situation, we are at a crucial point in history where humanity understands that we have an existential challenge that can be solved only through a spirit of shared sacrifice and cooperation. We know what adaptations we need to make to maintain these stable climate patterns, but so far we have not demonstrated a collective will to make these adaptations. The window of opportunity is shutting more and more rapidly. Mainly due to complacency, we’ll miss the opportunity, the climate will continue to deteriorate, agriculture will fail, and the long and delicate supply chains required to sustain technological civilization will fail. All in the next few decades.
Maybe I am wrong. Maybe civilization will make it through the century. The last century was pretty dire, too, but we managed to avoid the worst outcomes. But my feeling is that civilization will collapse, in my lifetime, and that most of humanity will die, at first through war and tyrannical government but mostly of starvation. Humans, as a species, will survive. A few of the remaining hunter-gatherer tribes will adapt to the crisis. They will be joined by several new tribes peopled from refugees of our failing civilization.
Humanity will muddle through on a hostile planet amidst a mass extinction. Tens or hundreds of thousands of years will pass before the Earth enters a new stable phase. Agriculture and civilization will re-emerge, perhaps a bit faster due to whatever technological clues we leave behind, perhaps a bit slower and more sustainably, due to our having robbed them of the easiest fossil fuels. Perhaps there will even be a memory, perhaps uncovered through archaeology, and an understanding of The Fall of our First World Civilization. If we fail to survive this century, it is my hope that our distant descendants will avoid repeating our mistakes.