I spent part of the afternoon at Spiteful Brewing yesterday and made good progress in Iain Banks' second Culture novel, The Player of Games. It was a lovely fall day:
Cassie enjoys going to the brewery but she does not understand that the treat bag sometimes runs out:
But she does make friends everywhere she goes:
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:
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.
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.
Today's roundup includes only one Earth-shattering kaboom, for starters (and I'll save the political stuff for last):
- Scientists hypothesize that two continent-sized blobs of hot minerals 3,000 km below Africa and the Pacific Ocean came from Theia, the Mars-sized object that slammed into the Earth 4.5 billion years ago, creating the Moon in the aftermath.
- October was Illinois 31st warmest and 41st wettest in history (going back to 1895).
- National Geographic looks into whether the freak winter of 1719—that never really ended that year—could happen again.
- The world's last Beatles song, "Now and Then," came out today, to meh reviews all around.
- University of London philosophy lecturer Rebecca Roche extols the virtues of swearing.
- Charles Blow warns that House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA), who grew up in the same place, won't register for most people as the bomb-throwing reactionary MAGA Republican he is because "unlike Trump’s, Johnson’s efforts to undermine American democracy are served like a comforting bowl of grits and a glass of sweet tea. ... It’s not just good manners; it’s the Christian way, the proper Southern way. And it is the ultimate deception."
- At the same time, New York Times editorial board member David Firestone calls Johnson "deeply unserious." And Alex Shepherd shakes his head that Johnson has "already run out of ideas." And Tina Nguyen thinks he hasn't got a clue.
Finally, Asia Mieleszko interviews Jake Berman, whose new book The Lost Subways of North America reveals, among other things, that the Los Angeles electric train network used to have direct lines from downtown LA to Balboa Beach and Covina. ("I think that the original sin of most postwar cities was not in building places for the car necessarily. Rather, it was bulldozing large sections of the old city to reorient them around the car." Amen, brother, and a curse on the souls of 1950s and 1960s urban planners.)
It's still not what I want to see on Hallowe'en:
Tomorrow will be warmer, we think.
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.
With a concert on Sunday and other things going on in my life before then, I don't know how much I'll post this week. Tomorrow I get to walk Cassie to day care and hop on a train to my downtown office in the snow, which sounds really bad until you look at the data and see that October 31st is actually the average date of Chicago's first snowfall. The weather forecast promises it won't stick.
Speaking of sticking around:
- David French believes President Biden has threaded the needle well with his response to the war in Gaza, even though his poll numbers have declined.
- US Sen. Kristen Sinema (I-AZ) may have done more to enable the lunatic fringe of the party she claims to oppose than any other Democratic senator (before she became "independent"), save perhaps Joe Manchin (D-WV).
- Author Anne Lamott, who recently turned 70, offers a plea to let yourself age gracefully.
- Bruce Schneier points out a hack long known to Scandinavians: you can avoid EU alcohol tax by taking a ferry from Helsinki or Stockholm to the Finnish archipelago Åland.
Finally, John Kelly interviewed some expert sources to find out what language tics really irk them. For example, to someone who rows, saying "a crew team" is like saying "an ATM machine." Don't do it.
We have a typical cloudy autumn day, good for reading and not so good for long walks with the dog. So I'll read and Cassie can wait for a bit:
- Turns out, House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA) is even more of a scary, right-wing Christian nationalist nutter than most people knew. Paul Krugman concurs, warning that Johnson wants to eliminate the social safety net entirely.
- Actor Matthew Perry drowned in his California home yesterday. He was 54.
- New DNA evidence confirms that the Assateague horses on Delmarva's barrier islands arrived in North America when a Spanish galleon wrecked there 400 years ago.
- Data from Tallinn, Estonia, suggests that even free public transit doesn't keep people from wanting to drive.
- Chicago's first railroad line turned 175 this week. Happy birthday.
Finally, new research shows elucidates the complex relationship between alcohol and orgasms. Apparently there's a sweet spot somewhere in the "moderate drinking" zone. I will leave the details as an exercise for the reader.
I really love the Lakewood-Balmoral neighborhood in Chicago's Edgewater community area. I only had 25 minutes to walk Cassie while my car got serviced nearby, so I didn't stop to photograph everything. But I did snap this at the corner of Magnolia and Bryn Mawr:
And then, just 200 meters away on the 5400 block of Wayne, this:
That's not too creepy, is it?
Yesterday's temperatures at IDTWHQ fell off a cliff right before dinner:
(I know, we play this game a lot.)