The Daily Parker

Politics, Weather, Photography, and the Dog

Layout frustrations

I'm arguing with the Blazorise framework right now because their documentation on how to make a layout work doesn't actually work. Because this requires repeated build/test cycles, I have almost no time to read all of this:

Finally, a group of Chicago aldermen have proposed that the city clear sidewalks of snow and ice when property owners don't. Apparently the $500 fines, which don't happen often, don't work often either.

First sunny day since I returned

We had four completely-overcast days in a row, including one with some blowing snow, so I'm happy today has been completely clear. Tomorrow might even get above 10°C—which would at least get into normal March temperatures. This whole winter has been weird, as the next few will likely be until temperature increases start leveling out.

In other news:

Finally, Bruce Schneier and Nathan Sanders explain how AI could write our laws in the future.

Why we still need humanities degrees, Tech Forum edition

I'm in Phoenix for my company's Tech Forum, where all the technology professionals come together for a few days of panel discussions and heavy drinking networking events. This morning's lineup, including the keynote speaker, emphasized to me the dangers in the United States' declining ability to teach kids English and history.

I will have more details later, but for now I'll mention these three things. First, if you show the ubiquitous graph of the growing gap between productivity and wages that the US and UK have experienced since the mid-1970s and blame technology for this gap, I'm going to point you to Ronald Reagan, Margaret Thatcher, and the history of capitalism as possibly contributing factors. I mean, there was a similar wage-productivity gap in the southern US from about 1800 to 1865, which technology certainly made possible, but ultimately public policy had a lot more to do with it.

Second, if you present your company's most exciting new AI technology, and someone in the audience asks you if you can show some non-scripted input, saying "no" calls your entire presentation into question. But that's OK; it was already the most boring presentation on an exciting topic I'd seen in years, so I the guy may have challenged them to go off-script with less-than-honorable intentions.

Finally, to the junior developer presenting for the first time to other professionals: if your slide has content on it obviously copied and pasted from the previous slide, your colleagues will forgive you with a little razzing. If you then cannot for the life of you figure out what the content should be, your colleagues—particularly the more senior ones—will think you've blown off your homework and as a consequence your presentation has wasted their time. Because what am I learning from you anyway, if you have not learned it yourself?

What does this have to do with humanities education? I guarantee all of these presenters were engineers without much history or English study, and their lack of breadth showed.

Next up: the "Sonora Desert Hike" experience, with 45 of my best friends. It's cool and cloudy right now so I anticipate I will enjoy it immensely.


I'm in the desert southwest for a company event. They gave me this (East) view:

Since I last visited Phoenix in 2015, they've added a light rail system. It got me from the baggage retrieval carousel at the airport to the hotel (which is by the convention center, pictured above) in 32 minutes, which I appreciate.

The first airplane they had us on to get here broke, so I got to Phoenix two hours later than planned, which I did not appreciate.

I've got nothing scheduled for the next two hours so I'm going to explore. Unlike the 39°C that baked my last visit, right now it's about 22°C and pleasant, and I need 3,000 more steps for today.

Use-it-or-lose-it PTO, plus the oncoming storm

My company distributes each employee's paid time off (PTO) by distributing a certain number of hours of per half-month pay period. The hours accumulate in a bank that the employee can tap into at any time. Salaried employees can spend it in half-day increments, making it a straightforward arithmetic problem to see how much time off one has available.

There is, of course, a catch: At some point, you hit your maximum number of PTO hours, and it stops accruing. I will be at that point on the 31st of this month.

So, today, I'm taking a day off, and will use it to perform necessary research for the Brews & Choos Project.

There is, of course, a catch:

Yeah. That crap is slowly moving northeast and looks likely to hit Chicago in a couple of hours.

Well, I'll be on trains for a while, and the places I'm visiting are pretty close to the stations. And I can always adjust the plan on the fly. But it does look like I'll get a bit of snow.

Anyway, look for a couple of Brews & Choos entries this weekend.

Following up on a few things

Perhaps the first day of spring brings encourages some spring cleaning? Or at least, revisiting stories of the recent and more distant past:

  • The Navy has revisited how it names ships, deciding that naming United States vessels after events or people from a failed rebellion doesn't quite work. As a consequence, the guided missile cruiser USS Chancellorsville (CG-62, named after a Confederate victory) will become the USS Robert Smalls, named after the former slave who stole the CSS Planter right from Charleston Harbor in 1862.
  • Author John Scalzi revisited whether to stay on Twitter, given its "hot racist right-wing trash" owner, and decides why not? It's not like Musk will ever benefit financially from the app.
  • Charles Blow revisited the (long overdue) defenestration of cartoonist Scott Adams, deciding it doesn't matter whether Adams was lazy or stupid, throwing him out the window was appropriate.
  • Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul revisited the Equal Rights Amendment, but the DC Circuit Court of Appeals decided yesterday not to.
  • WBEZ revisited the only other two Chicago Mayors who lost their re-election bids in the past century, Michael Bilandic and Jane Byrne.
  • A group of US intelligence agencies revisited Havana Syndrome, without finding sufficient evidence to blame either an adversary government or an energy weapon.

Finally, here's a delightful clip of US Representative Jamie Raskin (D-Md.) patiently explaining to Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-Colo.) and her banana-republican party the difference between an adjective and a noun:

Sprint 80

At my day job, we just ended our 80th sprint on the project, with a lot of small but useful features that will make our side of the app easier to maintain. I like productive days like this. I even voted! And now I will rest on my laurels for a bit and read these stories:

Finally, the European Space Agency wants to establish a standard time zone for the moon. Since one day on the moon is 29.4 days here, I don't quite know what that will look like.