I’ve been knocked on my ass a bit this week, and it’d probably be better for my mental and physical health to not consume SOTU coverage, but, bless the anti-genocide demonstrators who seemed to force a motorcade detour on the way to the Capitol tonight. It barely counts as close, but this is the closest I’ve seen since demonstrators disrupted George W. Bush’s inaugural motorcade … a quarter century ago?

[Before we put these questions to a sperm whale unit, we’d have to think hard about whether we’d act on the answers. Kristin Andrews told me a heartbreaking story about a chimpanzee named Bruno who was taught sign language at the University of Oklahoma. Bruno was encouraged to build his whole life around the practice of asking humans for things. But after a few years, the scientists’ grant ran out and he was transferred to a different facility. When one of the lab’s scientists visited him there, he was distressed to see that Bruno seemed upset. He kept signing Key and Out. The scientist had taught the chimpanzee to communicate, but even in the face of a clear request, the scientist couldn’t help him. “If these whales start saying Go away; make the ships leave, what will we do?” Andrews said. And how will it reflect on us as a society if we ignore them?](https://www.theatlantic.com/science/archive/2024/02/talking-whales-project-ceti/677549/?gift=S4EwRLGNogt2Kqjs1lNdf1C5Zvy59Sc8vQ93xrMMh-I))

I assume the writers of Extrapolations were up on this whale research a couple of years back.

Dragging myself ... forward.

I was short with my father on the phone today. I couldn’t take his fatalist “it will get worse,” (and he’s a Trump voter) point of view. It may seem ironic to some who know me, because I also can say “It will get worse” — before it gets better. I think I am still not fatalistic, but my hoarder, prepper, some-kind-of-Republican father, who doesn’t even think Trump will fix things, is.

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New truths, fuel for future models

In this age of AI generative content in now all (?) of the mediums, it seems like one of the only things there will be to do in a knowledge economy is write hard truths not yet entered into the models. Hard science that validates models and predictions and personal experiences and feelings in circumstances not yet validated and simulated by the models one has access to. And that will also be the thing people will continue to be punished for, perhaps more so.

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I pay for Apple News+ partly because the ad experience is better than the open web. If it weren’t for that, I’d prefer Apple just be a payments middleman negotiating micropayments on the open web. It could be a better walled garden—give me Books features like highlights and notes!

A sigh of relief. I think I have a backlog of something on the order of 15,000 suspended sighs of relief—that is, breaths held—but I let that one rip. And gulped in a new one for the Supreme Court appeal to come.

To be fair, I am worried when I see hashtags on my tictacs.

…but I wish this hearing wasn’t so full of grandstanding to promote poor solutions to horrible problems. Not that I am particularly sympathetic to the witnesses.

But what’s new?

Snow day

He whose face shall not be posted surveying the National Mall from the bottom of the sledding track on the Senate side. (Apparently, later, actual Nazis came out. Pretty much since this dude was born, I’ve not gone out to document the actual self-described fascists who come to town, but there have been many. :/ )

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Remembering, and onward

Aaron Swartz, ¡Presente! A day late, but not forgotten. Far too late, but let me remember James Dolan in this breath too. I corresponded with Aaron briefly, in headier days. I worked alongside James for one evening in DC. I can’t say I knew them but I saw and understood some of what they were doing and it’s worth. Tomorrow is the anniversary of Dean Allen’s death. I benefit today, with gratitude, from things all three built.

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State of the World 2024: Ritual and Solidarity

The 25th annual State of the World thread on The Well has commenced. This is one of my favorite rituals. It can get a little hard on the “catastrophizing,” a little digressive, and it isn’t necessarily the most inclusive… it is what it is, and that is part of what makes it interesting. Not necessarily the be-all end-all on the “state of the world,” just this particular group’s (whoever that happens to be at a given time) sense, as much as they can write it out, as much as you or I might chime in, at that moment.

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