Silent Sunday

Closing third of Lincoln's Second Inaugural at the Lincoln Memorial ✍️ Reply by email

Originally posted at Nice Marmot 13:14 Sunday, 23 June 2024

FDR Memorial

Long exposure image of a water feature at the FDR Memorial in Washington DC

Spent time yesterday as tourists before it got super-hot today. Mitzi's daughter took some time off and accompanied us as we visited some of the memorials we didn't visit last time. We were fortunate that the crowds that were present when we were here two weeks ago were absent yesterday.

I wanted to be sure to visit the Lincoln Memorial, having just finished The Demon of Unrest and Union. I'm glad we did. The memorial is undergoing a great deal of renovation, presumably in preparation for the nation's sesquicentennial in 2026. But it's still open, just not as picturesque. I'll post some pics at Flickr later.

Probably because I'm an old man now, I felt very moved as I read the words of Lincoln's second inaugural address. The last time I visited this monument was more than 20 years ago, and I've learned so much since then. I was also affected by watching the other tourists lining up to have their pictures taken in front of Lincoln's statue.

From there, we visited the Martin Luther King Memorial. Also a remarkable experience. It's interesting that King's body is facing the Jefferson Memorial, though his gaze does not. King's memorial falls between Jefferson's and Lincoln's and has something to say about the promise of freedom and equality, and the unfinished work of realizing that promise.

Walking up the tidal basin, past the cherry trees, we went to the FDR memorial and lingered there for a while. I took the opportunity to try some long-exposure shots with the Oly XZ-2, which has a built-in 3-stop ND filter. There's some motion blur as the camera's IBIS isn't quite able to compensate for a hot, tired old man's unsteady grip.

Sherri, Mitzi's daughter, and I talked a bit about how remarkable it was that at two crucial moments for our nation, leaders emerged who seemed uniquely fit to meet that moment, and we wondered where that leader was today. I also wondered how it happened that each was succeeded by a man who was chose on the basis of a political calculation of compromise.

I have to say that as cynical as I can be about partisan politics, I am profoundly affected by the ideals and sacrifices memorialized in our capital city.

(And may I just say that the words "capital" and "capitol" are utterly confusing in usage.)

The beat goes on...

✍️ Reply by email

Originally posted at Nice Marmot 10:44 Saturday, 22 June 2024

It Ain’t The Humidity

<img src=“https://nice-marmot.net/Archives/2024/Images/Image 1.JPG” alt=““Show your stripes” graphic indicating the rising temperature annually due to antrhopogenic climate change”>

We made it to DC safely. A couple of interesting/scary moments. People are insane. Though for the most part, traffic was rather light and we encountered only a small amount of construction. Right at twelve hours door to door.

Apple Maps let me down on finding a rest area in North Carolina just over the border from South Carolina. There were two entries indicated on the map when I searched for rest stops, one indicated being closed, the other was a bit north on the map and indicated it was on I-95 North. Well, suffice to say, there is only one and it is closed.

Mitzi had been driving for a while and it's our custom to pull over at a rest area, stretch our legs and eat lunch before switching drivers. I relied on Apple Maps and was disappointed. We ended up eating standing up next to the car in the shade of a tree by the side of a road off one of the other exits.

It's hot here. Unsurprising.

Supposedly, one of the best things we can do about climate change is "talk about it." I do that a fair amount here, perhaps too much.

I get frustrated by "attribution" reports. That climate change has made a certain weather event X-percent "more likely."

It's not "more likely," because there is no "likely" climate that exists anymore, and hasn't for some time. But the cumulative effects are now being felt with regularity.

The climate system that produces the weather we experience today is unprecedented in earth's history. Not just human history, the history of the planet.

All of the weather we are experiencing is due to this new reality. It's not "more likely," it just is. It's not going to revert to some "normal" state.

Attribution analyses were kind of a response to denialism, but I think reality is a sufficient response to denialism and these attribution analyses seem misleading to me with these weasel words, "more likely." Likely compared to what? A climate that doesn't exist anymore?

The reality is that there is more energy in the climate system. Energy is the capacity to do work. Weather events will do "more work," be "more extreme" (Although even that's misleading because they're by no means "extreme" in the context of our present climate system.)

We have a civilization with a physical and economic infrastructure built for a climate that no longer exists and that we cannot return to. We can stop making it worse, and we must. But the sooner we wake up and accept the new reality and what brought it about, the sooner we can begin making the kinds of changes that will reduce suffering.

Anyway...

The beat goes on.

✍️ Reply by email

Originally posted at Nice Marmot 11:01 Friday, 21 June 2024

Take In All Lines

We'll be underway in just over an hour. I'll shut down the iMac and be posting from the 14" MBP for the next month or so.

Packing for a trip like this remains a challenge, mostly with regard to camera gear because I have so much to choose from, and inevitably I'll wish I had something at some point while we're away.

I'm bringing the OM-1 and the E-M1X as the only two interchangeable lens cameras. For lenses, the 12-45mm/f4 as a small walkabout and the 12-100/f4 as a large walkabout. The 40-150/f2.8 for possible birds, bugs and astro, and the 100-400mm for birds (and the moon). Primes include the 8mm/f1.8 fisheye for star trails, Milky Way and wide-angle interior shots using in-camera de-fishing; and the 17mm/f1.2 for possible aurora. I'll also have the MC14 teleconverter, though I'm just now thinking I should add the MC20. Hmmmm...

I have the Cotton Carrier G3 for the big zooms, and I'll use a sling with the 12-45 and the FE.

I went a little nuts on compact cameras. Into a small bag I have stuffed an XZ-1, XZ-2, Stylus 1s, TG6 and LX7. Three of those will charge in-camera, the other two (LX7 and Stylus 1s) required bringing along a charger, alas. It was mostly a case of I couldn't make up my mind, so I brought all of them. Left behind are the XZ-10, Fujufilm XQ1 and Pentax MX1.

A few filters, a flash, a couple of tripods, well, four tripods including the little ones, and an assortment of USB-C, micro USB and Oly proprietary USB cords.

I remembered this morning that I'm going to want to wear a light, long-sleeved shirt today. Driving north in the afternoon will have the sun beating on my left arm and it gets quite uncomfortable. I'm happy I remembered that.

The car is nearly all packed, just the perishables we're taking along and a few items I've just recalled.

I wish I enjoyed travel more. That is, I wish I enjoyed getting ready to travel more. In the days leading up to a trip, I'm just a mess. I feel like I can't start anything because there's no time to finish it before I have to leave, whether that's for a weekend or a month. There's just this overall feeling of dread. Once I'm on the road or at our destination, I'm fine. But I really struggle in the days before departure.

We're visiting friends and family for the first week before we arrive at the Finger Lakes. Because the prices have spiked so much for rentals, we're not spending the whole time with a view of the lake. The first two weeks are at a rural home with a creek running alongside it. I'd hoped for clear horizons, but it looks surrounded with trees. The last week is in a small cottage on Seneca Lake, which should be charming but I'm definitely going to miss the views we had from the places with more elevation. Florida is claustrophobic, and elevation is a cure for that. I'll have views driving around and hiking, but it was always just so refreshing to wake up in the morning overlooking a lake. Expansive. Like the world isn't closing in.

But, despite our relative wealth and privilege, those sorts of things are increasingly exclusively available to the more wealthy and more privileged. I suppose we could have rented a place with a view for a shorter period. Maybe that's the answer if we ever do something like this again.

And, of course, we're heading up north to escape the Florida heat (and insanity).

It's cooler in Florida as I write than it is in New York.

So it goes. Next stop, DC. Wish us safe travels.

✍️ Reply by email

Originally posted at Nice Marmot 05:03 Thursday, 20 June 2024

Departure Preps

We're headed up to New York beginning tomorrow, with a weekend stop in DC. I should have been making preps yesterday, but I fell down a rabbit-hole at the National Archives, reading the deck logs of ships in the Pacific near the surrender of Japan. It was fascinating and disappointing and a story for another time.

I saved a story in Apple News, my apologies if you can't follow the link. It resonates with my own struggle with anxiety bordering on depression. But...

There is never going to be a point when it’s too late to be a good planetary roommate, he insists. “It’s late. It’s very late, and it’s very tragic that it’s gotten to this point, but it’s not too late because it’s not a binary on or off thing. It’s like every gallon, every litre of petrol that gets burned, every aeroplane that flies, every cow that is raised and slaughtered for meat makes it a little bit worse.”

I welcome the possibility of being surprised, too. Tom Murphy has been playing with some numbers (He "does the math."), and they reveal some interesting things.

I would like to read or hear more from demographers about the UN's projections and what seems to be happening with fertility rates around the world.

What Tom writes seems to at least suggest the possibility of a controlled descent. I've read various opinions on what earth's "carrying capacity" is, and the numbers I've seen range between 1 and 3 billion. I have no idea how accurate those may be, and I suppose they depend on what level "degradation" of the "natural" environment is desirable. For what it's worth, there is no "natural environment" left on earth, in the strictest sense. I think we're looking for a sustainable level of species diversity versus an ongoing mass extinction event, as a minimum.

The decrease in fertility rates allows for a significant decline in the world's population that doesn't require famine, disease and war to achieve it. Those things will still occur, of course, but perhaps not on a scale that might include a nuclear exchange and wholesale slaughter on global scale.

Inequity will still be the defining characteristic, with those of us in the global north likely suffering the least. It may prompt a serious reexamination of our way of life, though.

May.

It should certainly illustrate the genuine "limits to growth," that should inform how we choose to organize our economic activity and what a sustainable, reasonable quality of life might be. Consumption shouldn't be the primary goal of living a "good life."

There's still plenty to despair though. I just finished Union: The Struggle to Forge the Story of United States Nationhood, by Colin Woodard. It's a fascinating book, and a good companion volume to The Demon of Unrest, by Erik Larson, or Robert E. Lee and Me, by Ty Seidule.

The Civil War was fought to end slavery and preserve the union. It was not fought to end white supremacy. If slavery is America's "original sin," the fruit we were deceived into biting was the myth of white supremacy. I've had to think about this a bit, and I'm not certain I've got it right, but in the "chicken or the egg" matter of racism and white supremacy, I think white supremacy came first.

And white supremacy is still with us, though I don't understand why.

When I was on Twitter and Ta-Nehisi Coats was as well, I recall reading tweets from him that suggested the role of white supremacy/racism was to serve the psychological needs of poor white men. That, while they were still poor, they weren't at the bottom of the social hierarchy because they were still superior to other "races" and people. And I guess I still don't understand how someone grows up to need that. I'm certain it's passed along from parent to child, chiefly fathers to sons, but how much psychological or emotional utility does it actually have?

I know we're born with some sort of intrinsic sense of fairness and that we can experience unfairness with a negative emotional response. Poverty, being poor, is inherently unfair, though I suppose it can also be a learned experience as many people can truthfully say, "We didn't know we were poor," because there was no other or larger experience to compare it too.

And ambitious people, again, mostly men, can exploit this characteristic to serve their own ambition or agenda. But only in an environment of ignorance. White supremacy, or any form of bigotry, requires othering some group. Making them seem undesirable in some fashion, and that only works if the people they're making this appeal for bigotry to, don't know the "other." Because none of the undesirable characteristics are especially unique to any group being "othered." Because we're all people. So bigotry relies on ignorance and deception.

I don't know where I'm going with this. I just meant to say that Woodrow Wilson was a real racist and a genuinely weird dude too. I knew he segregated federal civil service because I visited his presidential library (unofficial, because it was before "official" presidential libraries) in Staunton, Virginia. The only thing I knew about Josephus Daniels, Wilson's Secretary of the Navy, and just one of the racists he surrounded himself with, was that he banned alcohol aboard navy ships. They never told us he was also a vehement racist and white supremacist (if that's not too redundant). Let's not name another ship after him.

In any event, white supremacy, and the ignorance it requires, is behind so much of the unfairness and inequity in the world, and will play a shameful role in how the great simplification plays out.

And we should be ashamed.

Now I've got to start packing.

✍️ Reply by email

Originally posted at Nice Marmot 07:07 Wednesday, 19 June 2024

Moon 6-16-24

Closeup of the waxing gibbous moon, 71% illuminated.

I hope all the dads and granddads out there had a pleasant day yesterday. My son and his wife and their three boys joined us at the water park here in our neighborhood. Their youngest, Jackson, is four now and is less shy around me and far more eager to play in the various water features than last year. The older boys did an excellent job looking after their little brother. Weather cooperated with broken clouds keeping the sun's intensity in check.

Out of fatigue more than interest, we watched Armageddon last night on (shudder) cable television. I'm pretty good at finding the mute button on the remote by feel, but the number of commercials was simply incomprehensible. By the end of the movie I realized why CW selected that title for its Father's Day offering. A horrible movie, but in an almost camp, so-bad-it's-good sort of way, it was worth watching yesterday.

We're making preps for heading north, just in time for the heat wave. We just may have the timing right, where the worst of it will be moving south toward the mid-Atlantic as we're moving north. In the past, one of the most refreshing things about visiting upstate New York in June was that it was a good ten or fifteen degrees cooler than Florida. July could get hot, but it still tended to cool more in the evenings. But that was in the "old" climate. Who knows what to expect these days?

Was chatting with a friend last week about Governor DeSantis and I referred to him as being stupid. My friend insisted he isn't stupid. I suppose he's correct. He clearly possesses some measure of intelligence. So perhaps I should use the term "fool," instead; because even people who aren't stupid can be fools, and DeSantis is a fool.

An ambitious, reckless, irresponsible fool.

✍️ Reply by email

Originally posted at Nice Marmot 08:05 Monday, 17 June 2024

Further to the Foregoing

Those "recurrence intervals" for extreme rainfall events?

The data set that established those intervals was a assembled from weather records in a climate that no longer exists.

I don't know how those can be "adjusted," "corrected" or "modified" to provide meaningful guidance in a climate that has changed, is changing and will continue to change for centuries.

"Buckle up, Dorothy, because Kansas is about to go bye-bye."

✍️ Reply by email

Originally posted at Nice Marmot 09:06 Sunday, 16 June 2024

Communication Breakdown

Since I don't engage in "social media" anymore, apart from blogging, I'm not terribly up to date on what climate experts are thinking and writing about. I get some email newsletters, and follow the news, but I do feel a little out of touch.

Nevertheless, I'm frustrated by things like this piece in the Miami Herald, that contains utterances like this:

<blockquote>“What we are seeing lately is very consistent with what we would expect to see in a warmer world,” said Jayantha Obeysekera, head of Florida International University’s Sea Level Solutions Center. “This is a sign of things to come.”</blockquote>

And...

<blockquote>“Climate change did not cause this event,” he said. “Let’s be clear, it did not trigger what happened yesterday, however, the severity of the event got enhanced by climate change.”</blockquote>

No, "let's be clear," the climate has changed, is changing and will continue to change until such time as we stop altering the earth's atmospheric composition and the system approaches a new equilibrium state, which may not happen for hundreds or thousands of years.

Climate is:

The meteorological conditions, including temperature, precipitation, and wind, that characteristically prevail in a particular region.

The key words there are "characteristically prevail."

As of some time ago, those words became meaningless because the climate system, which establishes those prevailing characteristics, departed from its own "prevailing characteristics," chiefly the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere.

The climate we are currently experiencing has never existed before in this planet's history.

Yes, there have been periods with similar amounts of CO2 in the atmosphere. But not with the present and recent past polar ice sheets, the locations of the tropical rain forests, the ocean current systems, and certainly not with the human generated land characteristics.

What happened in south Florida last week is not a "sign of things to come," it is a "prevailing characteristic" of the present, which is one of period of transience. We do not currently have the luxury or advantage of a stable climate system. We have destroyed that for ourselves and we're not getting it back in the lifetime of anyone living today.

It is undergoing a transient, driven chiefly by CO2, but also by the heat that has already been absorbed by the oceans, the changing polar ice coverage in the arctic, and other changes that are ongoing, which include the slowing and possible collapse of the AMOC.

It's meaningless to say, "Climate change did not cause this event."

"This event" occurred in a changed climate. There is no other context to consider.

Climate does not "cause" the weather. "Climate is what we expect, weather is what we get." But weather is caused by the conditions that establish what the climate is, and those conditions have changed, are changing, and have caused the weather we experience to change.

This is not a "sign of things to come," this is our present reality and it is only going to get worse from now on. It is not going to stop changing, until we stop dumping CO2 into the atmosphere and then we have to wait centuries until it achieves a new equilibrium state.

Maybe less time if we can actively remove CO2 from the atmosphere at a rate that makes a difference.

Yes, as the article mentions, it's possible that Florida may actually become drier in our changing climate, while also still experiencing rainfall events that exceed all of our present stormwater infrastructure capacities.

"Climate change" is what is happening right now. It's a reality. All of our weather is occurring in a climate system that is undergoing a rapid, dynamic and possibly non-linear transition, a dramatic change.

Everything we have built, all of our infrastructure, our economies, our transportation systems, our agriculture was constructed in and for a climate that no longer exists.

It is useless, stupid and futile to think about whether or not a particular extreme weather event was "caused" by climate change. It's a distraction. We no longer have a stable climate, the "prevailing characteristics" no longer prevail, and we are in a world of hurt and the sooner we figure that out, the better.

I'm not optimistic.

✍️ Reply by email

Originally posted at Nice Marmot 08:10 Sunday, 16 June 2024

Maybe Some Good News?

This is a video of the blog post I mentioned last week.

Stick around to about the 12:40 mark for maybe some good news?

✍️ Reply by email

Originally posted at Nice Marmot 11:02 Friday, 14 June 2024

Hell And High Water

I hope you can read this article in the Miami Herald. Might be behind a paywall. It's a good look at what reality is like today in Florida.

One homeowner who has now been flooded three times said he is selling his home and moving. Another guy who's been flooded twice declared that he wasn't going to "give up paradise for a little bad weather."

It's insanity.

Part of my struggle with the cognitive dissonance that is the normal state of mind in Florida is due to my career in the navy.

When you're out at sea and there's a catastrophic event, there's no place to run. You fight to save the ship. The navy learned a lot from accidental fires and disasters, as well as combat or near-combat actions (STARK) and made sure it trained and equipped sailors to save the ship.

We would hold "mass conflagration" drills. These were all hands efforts. The entire ship would go to general quarters to maximize the watertight integrity of the ship, bring all of its firefighting capabilities to their maximum state of readiness. Fully man all the repair lockers, get people out of their racks and into their spaces where they were alert and informed and ready to take action when directed to.

There is a fire aboard spaceship earth and it has reached the life support system, and the officers on the bridge are debating what the best liberty port will be.

You can't blame Republicans for the catastrophe we're facing. It's been a couple of centuries in the making and we've all played a role in causing it.

But you can blame Republicans for our failure to do ANYTHING about it.

We just passed a law to delete the words "climate change" from the state's statutes.

It's madness. MADNESS!

This wasn't a named storm. This was just weather. Ordinary weather. You can't call it a "1000 year event," when it happens two years in a row! (And please, no lectures about "that's not how statistics work." Go learn physics and meteorology and then come talk to me.)

If we have one major hurricane strike Florida this year, we will have an unprecedented, catastrophic insurance crisis in this state.

The "reforms" the legislature enacted chiefly made it harder to sue insurance companies, and made it easier for them to deny claims. And they will still lose money and leave the state, and their clients and customers will not be made whole and will not be able to sue to be made whole. Blue tarps and property values in the toilet. Tax base collapsing. Let's see DeSantis reject federal money then.

He'll be begging for it.

This issue has been well known and well understood for decades. Florida has been exclusively governed by the Republican party for more than a generation, and they have done nothing to prepare this state for what has been foreseeable, predicted and now experienced.

It's insanity. Stupidity.

✍️ Reply by email

Originally posted at Nice Marmot 09:34 Friday, 14 June 2024

Ron DeSantis, Please Take Note

This is alarming, but then everything is alarming these days so...

Toward the end, he notes that we may have already passed the tipping point. We won't know until we have a few more decades of observations showing consistent slowing. Here's the PDF.

Florida Republicans don't care. Depending on the speed of the effects, they may not live long enough to regret it. Their grandchildren will, though.

✍️ Reply by email

Originally posted at Nice Marmot 10:07 Thursday, 13 June 2024

Good Morning

Drone shot looking east toward the sun rising over the Atlantic Ocean with the Tolomato River in the foreground

Sunrise looked promising but I wanted to get my bike ride in before I put the drone up. The best clouds had drifted away by the time I got home and got it launched, but it still wasn't bad.

I took a look down into the swamp and it's pretty dry, maybe drier than I've ever seen it. Net, we're above average in total rainfall in the preceding 12 months, but May was about 30% below average. (We're in St Johns County.)

Meanwhile, south Florida is flooding.

I've been watching Dark Matter on Apple TV+ and I'm ambivalent about it. It's like Quantum Leap in some ways, but the latest episode makes me think it's a remake of The Wizard of Oz, with Amanda as Gwendolyn and the tip that, "There's no place like home." The only thing missing was a pair of ruby slippers (which I saw at the Smithsonian a couple of weeks ago).

I've been playing Quartiles in Apple News+ Puzzles. I guess it's Apple's version of Wordle. I find it pretty entertaining. I seldom get all the words, but I get all the "quartiles" and made "expert" on every game I've played since late last May. I don't understand the "streak" thing on the Scoreboard. My "Current Streak" is 1 day, but my "Expert Rate" is 100% and my "Longest Streak" is 7 days, and I've played every day since I started. Makes no sense to me.

The chainsaw arrived yesterday, and it was really used. They stuck a new chain in the box, but I'm sending it back. I'd rather buy a new one than a scratched=up, oil-soaked used one with a well-thumbed, oily user manual for only a 12% discount. If it'd been discounted 35%, I'd say it was a fair deal. But the previous owner did some serious wood cutting and then returned it. Cheapskate. I didn't even stick a battery in it.

Anyway, the beat goes on...

✍️ Reply by email

Originally posted at Nice Marmot 07:39 Thursday, 13 June 2024

Florida

It's a good thing that the generation-long (mis)governing Republican legislature and Ron DeSantis have scrubbed the words "climate change" from the state's statutes! Otherwise, we'd be totally unprepared for stuff like this... (Turn down the volume, don't need the "dramatic" soundtrack.)

✍️ Reply by email

Originally posted at Nice Marmot 16:04 Wednesday, 12 June 2024

Material World

I've just bought the Kindle version of the book. This is a lengthy conversation, but it's fascinating and you can watch it at 1.25x speed (I did 1.5x, but it's a bit uncomfortable at that speed). This conversation is very much of a piece with "the limits to growth," without ever mentioning "the limits to growth."

Worth a watch.

✍️ Reply by email

Originally posted at Nice Marmot 13:54 Wednesday, 12 June 2024

Movies: Wicked Little Letters

Rented this last night and thoroughly enjoyed it. Very funny story layered over tragedy and injustice.

A tonic for what ails ya.

Recommended.

✍️ Reply by email

Originally posted at Nice Marmot 07:01 Wednesday, 12 June 2024

No Hurry On Sequoia

I installed the beta yesterday on my 13" M1 MacBook Pro. Rather unremarkable, for the most part. Apparently, all the whizzy stuff isn't ready yet. Frankly, I'm pretty happy with "unremarkable," as long as they're fixing things rather than adding new, broken things and breaking things that used to work in the process.

Maybe it's old age, but a new version of MacOS isn't the exciting thing it once was.

I also installed iOS 18 on my 6" iPad (6th gen). Changes are more evident there, mainly in Photos where the new "organization" mode is present. Meh. I don't perceive any value added. Maybe I'm missing something.

It re-indexed the Photos library. At first I couldn't search for something like "20mm" (as a focal length). This morning I can.

Didn't notice anything different in the editing tools.

The handwriting adjustment feature seems present in Notes, but I haven't tried it yet.

Calculator has the notebook feature in both OSes. I hadn't noticed the RPN feature before, so I don't know how long it's been present. Kinda cool if you like RPN.

I was planning to get a new phone this year, undecided on a 15 or a 16, but I guess it'll be a 16. I think the 14" M3 MBP is relatively safe for the foreseeable future. I'm glad I got the 24GB model if all this AI stuff takes a lot of RAM. Even then, it's probably not enough. I'll have to play with it and see how relevant it is to what I do these days, which isn't much, before I decide if the 27" 2019 iMac is no longer relevant. It'll be five years old next month. I'd gotten 7 years out of my 2012 13" MBP Retina, which was my main machine for all that time. At the time, it was the lack of RAM that made it obsolete. 8GB just wasn't enough anymore. The iMac was an enormous improvement, but two years later they came out with the M1 processor.

World's on fire. People are dying from the heat in India. Windshields and radomes of passenger jets are getting smashed by extreme hail. Steve Bannon is threatening former FBI directors.

And I'm worried about buying a new computer so soon.

The cognitive dissonance! It burns!

✍️ Reply by email

Originally posted at Nice Marmot 06:34 Wednesday, 12 June 2024

I Feel Seen

One of the things I enjoy about personal blogs are the stories of people wrestling with various aspects of our technologically mediated existence. And one that resonates most frequently of late is Jack Baty's.

I starred this post in NetNewsWire so I could come back to it and blog about it one day. I have the exact same problem when it comes to handwriting. I'm accustomed to "thinking" at the speed that I can type, and when I try to write in longhand, I find myself starting words without finishing the intervening ones. This was brought home to me when I was sending photo cards to my mom every day, and writing little notes in them. I had to force myself to try and slow down. My handwriting improved, but there was still this angst that the whole process was taking too long.

And I make similar mistakes when doing other things. I'll decide I want to ride my bike, but discover I need to put air in the tires. I want to get out on the road now before the sun gets too high, or traffic gets worse, but now I have to put air in the tires! Rather than focusing on the small, simple steps to get the pump out and connected to the valve stem, I'm thinking about why air constantly leaks out of tires, why the valve stem is never at the bottom of the wheel, hurrying, fumbling and tipping the bike over.

And the "still small voice" nags at me to slow down! "Slow is smooth, and smooth is fast."

So I bought a Makita inflator. Why meditate when you can spend money?

I'm a failure.

The notes thing kind of prompted this post. I've pretty much abandoned the idea of "taking notes." I mean, I write stuff down that I don't want to forget, or I write blog posts, but I'm frustrated by the whole concept of PKM now.

I suspect that this AI facility may be somewhat useful, or helpful in surfacing information I've saved. But I'm unpersuaded or uninspired by the concept of "information gardening."

"Garden" gardening makes sense. You're outside, in some vestige of "nature," nurturing something, a living thing that will grow and serve some purpose, be it ornamentation, or providing food for pollinators, or food for people. You're working with the plant.

I used to be enamored with the idea of PKM, or "information gardening." Not so much anymore. Basically, I want to be able to recall how to do something, like call up the maintenance menu on Olympus cameras to check shutter counts or error codes. Stuff that I've saved in hundreds of Apple Notes or downloaded PDFs that I have to fumble around to find.

Yesterday, we noticed that the golf cart charger was still running, hours after Mitzi got back from her stretch class. And the LED was blinking in a way that suggested something was wrong. I wondered if the batteries were low on water. Sure enough, they were! Added water to all of them.

Still the charger blinked. Now I need to find the manual. I know I have a PDF copy, and in a transient frenzy of "organizing," I recalled I placed the PDFs of many of the household appliances in the Home folder (which is literally about our home, not the main folder of some user account). Of course, the first several PDFs all have names like ax17000c2388ssz.pdf. I space-bar down through the list using Quicklook to id them and there it is, the third file in the listing. Remaining in Quicklook, because who has time to actually open the file in Preview? I scroll through the pages and read the LED error codes. Discover I have to reset the thing by unplugging it and waiting 10 seconds.

Suitably equipped with "knowledge," I go back to the garage and unplug the charger and wait the requisite 10 seconds, adding a few for good measure, plug it back in and the LED indicates it's charging.

This morning, the golf cart is charged and the file is still open in Quicklook in Finder. I figure I'll rename the file to Golf Cart Charger, and Finder complains that the name is already taken by another file. I look down the list and sure enough there it is, down the list, which is sorted alphabetically. Delete file ax17000c2388ssz.pdf.

Presumably, I'll soon be able to say, "Show me the golf cart charger manual," and the right pdf will appear. But who knows? Maybe it'll reply "Which one?" or "What's the magic word?"

"Please?"

These things never work the way you expect them to.

Anyway, these days I worry more about "wisdom" than "knowledge." I worry more about "knowing myself," than knowing how to craft the right prompt to get Chat GPT to tell me how to write the regex to do something I don't really need to do at all.

Does any of this matter? Is it all just an effort to flatter ourselves? I mean, the world is on fire. Democracy is on life support and we're seemingly helpless to do anything about it, or a significant proportion of our friends and neighbors think it's just fine with them!

But yeah, check out my cool graph!

This post is from a month ago, but I'm pretty sure I just saw it today. Having just returned from DC where I brought two cameras (plus my phone), I can relate.

In the shower yesterday, I thought about how "lucky" I was. My "quality of life" is better than nearly anyone's. Apart from having a court of bowers and scrapers, it's certainly better than that of medieval kings. It's ridiculous how good it is, and how little I "deserve" it.

And how soon it may all be gone.

Maybe I'll deserve that.

✍️ Reply by email

Originally posted at Nice Marmot 08:07 Tuesday, 11 June 2024

This Morning’s Pond

Morning twilight sky reflected in a retention pond.

Had dinner last night with my daughters, my son-in-law, one of my granddaughters and Mitzi. The restaurant was right next door to a Whit's custard, so dessert was on the menu as well. Enjoyed seeing them all together. We ate at a restaurant in Atlantic Beach in an area of town known as "the corner." It was formerly Ocean 60, but it's an Italian restaurant now. In any event, I dread going down there because parking is nigh-on impossible. They implemented paid parking to try and alleviate the situation by keeping people from going to the beach and taking a parking place all day.

We began our second orbit when we noticed a car backing out on the left side of the street. I turned on my left blinker but there was a pickup truck headed the other way and I thought he would snag the spot first. He slowed, but he didn't pull in.

We were puzzled, but as we approached we saw that it was an "EV Charging Only" space, and guess who drives a plug-in hybrid? Woo-hoo!

Not only was the parking essentially "free." (I got a text from ChargePoint that the city begins charging $2.00/hour for the space after the first three hours.) When we left, the RAV4 was fully charged, and it only cost $1.65!

Normally, that round-trip would have been all electric, but we had to pick up and drop off my youngest daughter, so the extra mileage made it right at the ragged edge of our battery-only range. With the charge, we did the whole thing in EV mode with battery to spare when we got home.

After last night's large dinner and ice cream dessert, I didn't exactly feel like getting up at 0500 and walking. But I did and I'm glad.

While I was sleeping, Amazon delivered my "new to me" Makita DMP181ZX high-pressure inflator. I usually have to pump up the bicycle tires every couple of days and I have a compressor, but it makes an awful racket. The bicycle pumps work fine, and I know I need the exercise. But when we were on the road to New York a few years ago, we had a leaking tire. We'd stop every couple of hours to change drivers and stretch our legs, part of Mitzi's pain management, and have to add some air to the tire. We got it fixed when we got to our destination, but it made me anxious having to always look for a gas station to pull into and hope that they had a working compressor.

I'll be bringing this thing along with us this trip. If we have to top off a tire, we can do it anywhere.

Anyway, got back from the walk, opened the box and stuck in a battery. Pumped up both my bike tires in no time and it's much quieter than the compressor, and much easier than futzing with the bicycle pump. I was playing with the info screen on the RAV4 yesterday, and noticed that it reported one of the tires down about three pounds. So I'll top that off this morning before I head out to my dentist appointment.

If I'm looking at a Makita tool, I'll watch for an Amazon Warehouse sale. It only saves about 10%, which is what I could save at Home Depot, but Home Depot has it listed for $10 more than the Amazon retail price, so I still saved $10. I can't imagine why anyone would have returned it, it looks band new and all the little accessory fittings were present. Maybe they didn't like that you have to screw on the valve connector.

Later this week I should receive a 10" Makita 18v chainsaw. Also a Warehouse buy. It's not something I'm likely to use very often (if ever), but it's the kind of thing that when you need one, you probably really need one. And it's hurricane season. I don't think I'd need anything larger than 10". And if I did, we're probably in more trouble than some downed limbs. I have a bow saw and used it a couple of months ago when Mitzi wanted to remove a couple of cypress trees she'd mistakenly planted too close to the house. Between my little Fiskars hatchet and the bow saw, we got them down, but it was a lot of work.

Anyway, fools and their money and all that.

✍️ Reply by email

Originally posted at Nice Marmot 07:18 Monday, 10 June 2024

Dawn Patrol

Morning twilight sky reflected in a retention pond

I've been walking at 0500 every morning for the past week, and biking right after that. I get 5K in on the walk, and 10K on the bike and I'm home by about 0630, and I'm pretty much assured of closing my Move ring without doing another "workout." That's important because we're entering the hot part of the year with the heat index often exceeding 100°F.

Shot the image above with the iPhone this morning. It was 76° and humid this morning, so I'm disinclined to press just for a better time. So pausing for a moment to see if the phone could render a nice image was fine.

Turned out pretty well, I think. This is SOOC, other than being converted to jpeg.

I'm reading Eight Days in May: The Final Collapse of the Third Reich, by Vulker Ulrich, translated by Jefferson Chase. This is a close look at the days between Hitler's suicide and the final surrender agreement. It moves quickly. If you haven't read anything about Germany in the immediate aftermath of the war, it may be troubling.

One thing I found interesting was the fear the German people had of the millions of "foreign workers" (slave laborers) living in Germany. It was resonant with the fear the Confederate states had of enslaved people, mentioned often in Erik Larson's The Demon of Unrest.

You'd think that fear or anxiety might have been a clue.

Netflix has a new series on Nazi Germany, Hitler and the Nazis: Evil on Trial. I've watched the first two episodes. It's pretty well done, with some actual audio from the Nuremberg trials. It's also written pretty on the nose with regard to current events. There's historical footage mixed with reenactments. Six episodes. I'm looking forward to the rest of it.

I'm afraid of what might happen in November. My "best case scenario" is a resounding electoral defeat of Trump, and the repudiation of Trumpism. Ideally, Republicans would then clean house and we'd see the last of the likes of Lindsey Graham and Rick Scott and all the other sycophantic toadies who groveled and licked the boots the failed gameshow host who somehow managed to hoodwink his way into the presidency.

But that's the "best case," and I'm not very optimistic we'll see it. I'm afraid of a low turnout election.

History doesn't repeat, "but it often rhymes."

✍️ Reply by email

Originally posted at Nice Marmot 06:56 Friday, 7 June 2024

Tom Hanks

Great interview with Tom Hanks by Christian Amanpour.

✍️ Reply by email

Originally posted at Nice Marmot 17:38 Thursday, 6 June 2024

Shoveling Taxpayer Money Into the Sea

Florida is a joke, and it's on Floridians. They keep electing "leaders" who view reality through an ideological lens that focuses exclusively on zero-sum, partisan politics.

Meanwhile, sea level rises, hurricanes get stronger, and Florida passes legislation that removes the words "climate change" from the state's vocabulary.

This report is hysterical. I actually love it. Rich people with private property built too close to the ocean are refusing to sign easements that the Army Corps of Engineers requires in order to shovel taxpayer money into the sea to temporarily protect their expensive homes.

Hey, more power to 'em! I love it. It's a waste of money that creates a moral hazard, forestalling the actual action necessary to deal with the reality that is before us. I'll shed no tears if their houses get washed away.

✍️ Reply by email

Originally posted at Nice Marmot 10:08 Thursday, 6 June 2024

Closer Than You Think

Although it can be a bit of a downer, Tom Murphy's Do The Math blog is thoughtful and interesting. I'm going to link to his most recent post as it appears in resilience, because it's easier for old guys like me to read; and I suspect that most of my readers are old guys like me.

Tom has taken a critical look at UN population models and has some thoughts. I find his analysis credible, acknowledging all the caveats he includes.

✍️ Reply by email

Originally posted at Nice Marmot 10:26 Wednesday, 5 June 2024

Rising Tides

I don't know if we're all just boiled frogs or what, but I feel like we all ought to be running around with our hair on fire. But, no. It's just business as usual.

Is anyone paying attention?

Not Florida's Republican government. They'd rather play games about China.

✍️ Reply by email

Originally posted at Nice Marmot 08:42 Wednesday, 5 June 2024

Transition

Another piece worth reading about the likely future.

✍️ Reply by email

Originally posted at Nice Marmot 09:47 Monday, 3 June 2024

Shade

Heather Cox Richardson seems to have some thoughts for Susan Collins.

I'm sure this made the rounds in "social media," but I'm a blogger, which may be thought of as "slow social media."

✍️ Reply by email

Originally posted at Nice Marmot 08:11 Monday, 3 June 2024