As a follower of and contributor to the Time Zone mailing list, I have some understanding of how time zones work. I also understand how the official Time Zone Database (TZDB) works, and how changes to the list propagate out to things like, say, your cell phone. Most mobile phone operators need at least a few weeks, preferably a few months, to ensure that changes to the TZDB get tested and pushed out to everyone's phones.
If only the government of Samoa knew anything at all about this process:
The sudden dumping of Daylight Savings Time by the Government last week left much of the nation waking up in confusion on Sunday as their phones and other devices automatically updated to show the wrong time.
At the time of writing mobile phones and other cellular-enabled devices and computers were displaying the time as 10 am when, in fact, under the new policy it was 9 am.
Many Samoans who rely upon their phones as alarm clocks were awoken or arrived at church early because of the automatic update to their mobile devices.
The decision taken by the Cabinet to not activate daylight savings time this year was apparently made earlier this month.
The coordinators of the TZDB hold their collective breaths each year while waiting for certain religious authorities to decide when to change the clocks in about a dozen populous countries in the Middle East and Africa. But those countries know about the tight timing and work with IANA and their mobile providers to prevent exactly what happened today in Samoa.
It turns out, no one even bothered to tell us that Samoa had cancelled daylight saving time until yesterday, and no one in Samoa's government ever sent us the official notice from 10 days ago.
Nice work, guys.
Nobody ever listens to poor Zathras.
My apartment has 30 windows, and at the moment all 28 of the ones I can reach are open. But the temperature keeps ticking up. Right now my office is a comfortable 25°C with a gentle breeze passing through. The Nest sensor in my bedroom reads 23°C, also a lovely temperature for the end of September.
Tonight, however, I would like to sleep, and at 23°C I feel too warm to sleep well. I prefer it around, oh, 17-18°C. I can do all right at 21°C.
So: do I wait for the temperature to fall naturally after the sun goes down in a bit less than three hours? Or do I hit the A/C? The NWS says it'll be 21°C by 11pm and 17°C right before sunrise.
See? My ancestors didn't have to think about this when they wandered the savannahs of Africa 100,000 years ago. They just had to worry about lions.
I've opened nearly every window in my house to let in the 15°C breeze and really experience the first real fall morning in a while. Chicago will get above-normal temperatures for the next 10 days or so, but in the beginning of October that means highs in the mid-20s and lows in the mid-teens. Even Cassie likes the change.
Since I plan to spend nearly every moment of daylight outside for the rest of this weekend, I want to note a few things to read this evening when I come back inside:
Finally, if you really want to dig into some cool stuff in C# 10, Scott Hanselman explains implicit namespace support.
James Fallows destroys any idea you may have that "reasonable people on both sides" have a disagreement about raising the Federal debt ceiling:
In reality, as nearly everyone reporting on this issue understands, this is not a “showdown.” It is not even a “disagreement.” Those terms might apply to questions like the size of the infrastructure-spending bill, or prospective judicial nominees, or what to do about Haitian refugees.
Instead, this is a naked threat. It has exactly zero legitimacy as a “policy” for either party to espouse. I’ll explain why in a moment—in the course of arguing that reporting that fails to convey the fraudulence of the issue, is diminishing rather than increasing our awareness of the truth.
- The annual U.S. government deficit, and the cumulative U.S. debt, are the results of decisions Congress and an Administration make, not independent variables.Congress votes to authorize spending, and to raise or reduce taxes. The debt and deficit reflect these decisions, rather than controlling them, or being subject to outside dictates about their size.The check you get at the end of a restaurant meal reflects what you have ordered and eaten. The number you see on a bathroom scale reflects calories in, versus energy out. The reading on a thermometer reflects outside heat.In just the same way, the annual deficit-and-debt totals indicate what Congress has already decided on. They’re a measure, not a control. Putting limits on them is like limiting what the bathroom scale can show.
- [S]tarting in the 1990s, then-Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich began “weaponizing” the debt limit as a political tool. He recognized that there was no “rational” reason to refuse to raise the limit, for spending Congress had already approved. But the threat of doing so would be a serious problem for whatever president was in power—because in practice it would mean that for some time the Treasury would have to stop issuing bonds and notes, which are the backbone of international finance.
- Final point: Why is a refusal to raise the debt limit a problem? It is not because anyone thinks the U.S. will ultimately default on its Treasury bonds, bills, and notes. It is because, as a technical matter, the Treasury would have to suspend issuing these financial instruments—which are a backbone of international finance.
In short, no one can make a rational policy argument about failing to raise the debt limit. And yet, here we are, with one party trying to govern and the other trying not to.
And the band played on...
According to the Washington Post's Robert Kagan, the end has already begun:
The United States is heading into its greatest political and constitutional crisis since the Civil War, with a reasonable chance over the next three to four years of incidents of mass violence, a breakdown of federal authority, and the division of the country into warring red and blue enclaves. The warning signs may be obscured by the distractions of politics, the pandemic, the economy and global crises, and by wishful thinking and denial.
The stage is thus being set for chaos. Imagine weeks of competing mass protests across multiple states as lawmakers from both parties claim victory and charge the other with unconstitutional efforts to take power. Partisans on both sides are likely to be better armed and more willing to inflict harm than they were in 2020. Would governors call out the National Guard? Would President Biden nationalize the Guard and place it under his control, invoke the Insurrection Act, and send troops into Pennsylvania or Texas or Wisconsin to quell violent protests? Deploying federal power in the states would be decried as tyranny. Biden would find himself where other presidents have been — where Andrew Jackson was during the nullification crisis, or where Abraham Lincoln was after the South seceded — navigating without rules or precedents, making his own judgments about what constitutional powers he does and doesn’t have.
Most Americans — and all but a handful of politicians — have refused to take this possibility seriously enough to try to prevent it. As has so often been the case in other countries where fascist leaders arise, their would-be opponents are paralyzed in confusion and amazement at this charismatic authoritarian. They have followed the standard model of appeasement, which always begins with underestimation. The political and intellectual establishments in both parties have been underestimating Trump since he emerged on the scene in 2015. They underestimated the extent of his popularity and the strength of his hold on his followers; they underestimated his ability to take control of the Republican Party; and then they underestimated how far he was willing to go to retain power. The fact that he failed to overturn the 2020 election has reassured many that the American system remains secure, though it easily could have gone the other way — if Biden had not been safely ahead in all four states where the vote was close; if Trump had been more competent and more in control of the decision-makers in his administration, Congress and the states. As it was, Trump came close to bringing off a coup earlier this year. All that prevented it was a handful of state officials with notable courage and integrity, and the reluctance of two attorneys general and a vice president to obey orders they deemed inappropriate.
So, is the Republican Party a modern-day Catilinarian conspiracy? I guess we'll find out in the next few years. Should be exciting.
Excuse me while I Google a few things...
After years of legal marijuana sales at the state level, the House of Representatives has finally proposed a solution to the problem of what to do with the money:
So these things happened:
And finally, break out the Glühwein: Chicago's Christkindlmarket will return to Daley Plaza and Wrigleyville this winter.
While I wait for a continuous-integration pipeline to finish (with success, I hasten to add), working a bit later into the evening than usual, I have these articles to read later:
- Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau (Lib-Papineau) called a snap election to boost his party, but pissed off enough people that almost nothing at all changed.
- Margaret Talbot calls out the State of Mississippi on the "errors of fact and judgment" in its brief to the Supreme Court about its draconian abortion law.
- Julia Ioffe expresses no surprise that the press and the progressives have come to grief with each other over President Biden.
- Josh Marshal examines the "crumbling firmament" signified by France's indignation at our deal to supply nuclear submarines to the Australian Navy.
- New regulations allowing hunters to kill wolves in the northern Rocky Mountain states may have the unintended result of putting the animals back on the endangered-species list.
And I am sad to report, Cassie will not get to the dog beach tomorrow, what with the 4-meter waves and all.
I have a Roomba. I have a dog. When these two things live in the same house, every dog-and-Roomba owner has the same anxiety: will they interact in such a way that will require a messy cleanup? iRobot, who manufacture Roombas, have a new model advertised (only $850!) to reduce this anxiety considerably.
I do not have this new model. I have an older model. And yesterday, anxiety turned to horror.
Fortunately (depending on how you look at it), Cassie's accident must have happened at least 12 hours before the Roomba found it, so the offending matter had dried up. Unfortunately, the Roomba hit it early in its run. Fortunately, the damage didn't look as bad from out here. And fortunately, I keep a set of Roomba parts on hand just in case.
When I got home last night, Cassie wagged and wiggled exactly to the point of me entering the room where she'd left her present for the robot. Even before I had noticed the mess she tucked tail and ran back to the living room.
Maybe I should buy the $850 model that can avoid small objects on the floor?
Yes, that Guinness. They've found a derelict railway building in the Fulton Market area and plan to open a new stop on the Brews & Choos Project: