Posts in: Journal

Bad air

For the second day in a row, I am explaining to my 3-year-old why we’re not going to the playground. Hauling out the weather app, showing him the AQI map, and saying “Do you remember when you said the air was smoky? You were right - the air is bad right now.” He and his peers are not the first toddlers to have air pollution explained to them (or just have had to deal with it), in fact we have more than enough code orange days around here that systematically impact others more than us, but the intensity, range, and reason is still a shame.

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It’s a trope, but only because it is an essential act of life.

Close-up oblique shot of a fire in a fire pit.

Listening to behind-the-scenes tales of the incoming demise of the debt ceiling negotiations. Democrats playing to lose, as always. Doesn’t matter how bad it gets.

(Edited for clarity: what was intended was the demise of things in the course of debt ceiling negotiations. All lose, no win on the part of the Dems. The negotiations themselves continued and its participants wouldn’t recognize a demise.)


“Propellers are louder over ground.” This study seems to state the obvious, but I am sure I didn’t read the article closely enough to understand what was novel. That said, it also seems to be speaking to its relevance in a near future urban environment with more VTOL air taxis and ubiquitous drones. But I am going to imagine it bears directly on present-day Washington, D.C. which seems to be increasingly (over the past twenty years of living here in three of the four quadrants) plagued by helicopters, seemingly flying lower too. So much so that our non-voting Congresswoman has made repeat protest actions that in yet another way, mark the failure of the Congress to be a steward of the city. (There’s no change that bill will be acted on.)


Mike Gravel would’ve been 93 today. Before the ‘08 election he took me to lunch on the recommendation from Ralph Nader’s camp, hoping I’d join his campaign. I was flattered but passed. I don’t regret it, but even with how I saw things go, I think it was a bigger opportunity than I understood.


Total Cost of AI?

I was listening to the latest episode of The Important Thing, where they meander around the implications of generative AI. One form of the question they articulated was what happens when stuff is cheaply generated for, as I heard it, by such AIs and for everyone. The question that came to mind for me was: is it even cheap? I don’t know. I haven’t done my homework, so I am speaking for myself in articulating this question — I have a vague sense of recently seeing some reporting on energy usage by these breakthrough AIs (one reason they’re in the cloud is it isn’t practical to run this client-side, they need the cloud)… but I don’t know the particulars, or how it compares to say, crypto mining.

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Trying to build my first iOS app (again). SwiftUI this time. I figure I don’t have the baggage of other frameworks, and I don’t yet know what I’m missing either.


Here's a tip

Regarding the Towson Apple Store union request to allow tipping (via Macrumors): As someone who both is pro-union (union family, and while I’ve never had a union job, I have thrown the IWW a few bucks) and a former Apple Store employee, I agree with John Gruber. Tipping is a bad look, even as a sacrificial negotiation point. Tip culture is obnoxious (and confusing). Demand better pay, more time off, and just tell me what the price of the damn computer is.

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Some nights it is just our cat and me. I, sipping some whisky; him, staring into dark shadows of the alley, tracking the rats.


I was going to write something pithy, maybe slightly trite, which I thought to be true.

I recognized some complications and the pithy thing became definitely trite and untrue. I also realized I am not in a mood, or perhaps the mode, to try to share the more complicated rendition of the thing I thought worth sharing.

Still in sponge mode, and running a little dry.