Once again, I have too much to read:
Finally, it was 20 years ago tonight that Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley had city workers vandalize Meigs Field so that he could sell the land to his pals. The Tribune has a photo history.
At my day job, I go into our downtown office at least once a week, which turns out to be about once a week longer than almost everyone else. I like the change of scene, and Cassie gets to spend those days at day camp, so it's a win for everyone.
The 90%-or-so remote work that people have elected also means we have tons of empty offices while our multi-year leases run their courses. So, after waiting almost a year for the furniture upgrade that never came, the office manager today said "just go take the office next door to yours." Cool. Better furniture, a (very slightly) different view, and...that's about it.
While I move my stuff 4 meters to the west, you can read these:
Finally, in keeping with me schlepping my books and laptop next door, Salesforce and Meta have put 22,000 m² of downtown Chicago office space on the secondary market, terrifying commercial real estate owners everywhere.
After having the 4th-mildest winter in 70 years, the weather hasn't really changed. Abnormally-warm February temperatures have hung around to become abnormally-cool March temperatures. I'm ready for real spring, thank you.
- ProPublica reports on the bafflement inside the New York City Council about how to stop paying multi-million-dollar settlements when the NYPD violates people's civil rights—a problem we have in Chicago, for identical reasons—but haven't figured out that police oversight might help. (One Daily Parker reader suggested taking the money out of the police pension fund.)
- A bill moving through Florida's legislature would address suburban sprawl by redefining it. (Want to bet a real-estate developer lobbied for this one?)
- A ransomware attack a few weeks ago has affected up to 130 organizations, according to researchers and online boasts from the attackers.
- United Airlines wants to start air-taxi service between the Loop and O'Hare by 2025, using electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) airplanes.
Finally, I laughed out loud at the YouGov survey that found 46% of American men who have never flown an airplane think they could land an air transport with only some help from Air Traffic Control. I laughed because I do know how to fly a plane, and I don't think I could land a 787 well enough to use the plane again under any circumstances without a few dozen simulator hours. In fact, I would probably spend several crucial minutes trying to figure out how to change the radio to 121.5 and the transponder to 7700. But hey, the United States put Dunning and Kruger on the map, so this seems about right to me.
Chicago mayoral candidate and Fraternal Order of Police endorsee Paul Vallas blames "hackers" for his own choices to use a weak password and not to use multi-factor authentication on his Twitter account:
Mayoral candidate Paul Vallas on Friday blamed unnamed hackers for his Twitter account liking offensive tweets over the past several years as he faced criticism from rival candidates over the social media posts.
The comments came after a Tribune review this week found that Vallas’ Twitter account, @paulvallas, had liked a series of tweets that used racist language, supported controversial police tactics like “stop-and-frisk” or insulted Mayor Lori Lightfoot in personal terms.
Vallas earlier this week disavowed the tweets as “abhorrent” and said his campaign was investigating. But in an interview with CBS-2 Chicago on Friday, Vallas said it was “obvious we got hacked,” and in a statement a campaign spokesperson late Friday said there was “unusual activity on the account as recently as last night.”
“The campaign is working to identify who is responsible for ‘liking’ these tweets,” the statement said. “Because the account pre-dates and was re-purposed for the current campaign, numerous volunteers have had access to the account in recent years, including some who are not currently associated with Paul or the 2023 campaign. The scope of the challenge was reflected in the fact that we have seen unusual activity on the account as recently as last night even after an initial round of curative steps including changing passwords for security purposes. As a result, the campaign is investigating a possible breach of the account as well.”
I'm so tired of people blaming "hackers" for crap like this. If you can't keep your Twitter account secure, either through choosing appropriate security measures or trusting the right people to manage it, how can anyone trust you with a city of 3 million citizens?
Current mayor Lori Lightfoot thinks the real culprit might not be a "hacker" after all: “Every single time he gets caught … he says, ‘What? Oh not me. This time, it was somebody else. Not my fault,’” Lightfoot said. “Well, at some point, you’ve gotta say, ‘Come on, Paul. Come clean. Tell the truth about who you are.’”
I spent way more time than I should have this morning trying to set up an API key for the Associated Press data tools. Their online form to sign up created a general customer-service ticket, which promptly got closed with an instruction to...go to the online sign-up form. They also had a phone number, which turned out to have nothing to do with sales. And I've now sent two emails a week apart to their "digital sales" office, with crickets in response.
The New York Times had an online setup that took about five minutes, and I'm already getting stuff using Postman. Nice.
Finally, I've got a note on my calendar to check out the Karen's Diner pop-up in Wrigleyville next month. Because who doesn't want to be abused by servers?
Let's start with combat-actor Jill Bearup explaining how the Netflix-ITV-BBC ban on corsets solves entirely the wrong problems:
Meanwhile, in the modern world:
- The National Transportation Safety Board reported that an axle on the 23rd car of the train that derailed in East Palesine, Ohio, had a bearing temperature 140°C over normal—which is 30°C over "critical." The crew were trying to stop the train when the bearing failed. Perhaps if the train had fewer cars, or more crew, or the proper braking system...if only.
- New York Magazine reports on the 20-something scammers who brought down Three Arrows Capital, and the people who should have known better before loaning them over $3 billion.
- Twitter has decided to shut off SMS-based multifactor authentication for most accounts, and most people don't understand that this is exactly the right thing to do. Use an authenticator app, people!
- I completely agree with Helen Lewis that the entire point of Roald Dahl's novels is his nastiness.
- Food manufacturers, including Kraft and Heinz, have started to squawk that the proposed (and I sincerely hope soon-halted) Kroger-Albertsons merger will lower their margins, which is what happens when monopolies are permitted. (Never mind what it will do to consumer prices.)
- I might have to miss the craft beer festival taking place less than 2 km from my house this weekend. Dang.
Finally, I missed an anniversary yesterday. On 22 February 2003, Saturday Night Live aired this bit of Tina Fey's genius:
I spent the morning going over an API for standards and style, which will result in an uncomfortably large commit before I leave the office today. I prefer smaller, more focused commits, but this kind of polishing task makes small code changes all over the place, and touches lots of files.
So while I have my (late) lunch, I'm taking a break to read some news:
Finally, the Securities and Exchange Commission has fined the Mormon Church $5m for failing to disclose its holdings as required by law. As the Church has some $32 billion in holdings worldwide, that $5m fine will sure sting.
I released 13 stories to production this afternoon, all of them around the app's security and customer onboarding, so all of them things that the non-technical members of the team (read: upper management) can see and understand. That leaves me free to tidy up some of the bits we don't need anymore, which I also enjoy doing.
While I'm running multiple rounds of unit and integration tests, I've got all of this to keep me company:
- US Senator Diane Feinstein (D-CA), who even people who love her wonder if she knows where she is half the time, announced she's finally retiring from the Senate at the end of this Congress.
- Both Paul Krugman and Josh Marshall call bullshit on the GOP's (latest) plans to steal my social security contributions. (Note to the masses: the only way Social Security could be in trouble is if the United States somehow lost its taxing authority.)
- Air India has ordered 220 airplanes from Boeing and 250 from Airbus, including 70 long-haul A350s and 777s.
- Cranky Flier chides United Airlines for publishing a flight schedule they have no intention of flying over the summer.
- In other "fictional schedule" news, the CTA hasn't fixed its own frequency and reliability problems even after six months of trying.
- Rick Steves recommends traveling to Europe's second cities, like Manchester, Lyon, and Hamburg.
- Timothy Noah draws a straight line from railroad cost-cutting through crew size reductions and the massive derailment in East Palestine, Ohio, last week.
- Corrupt former Chicago police sergeant Ronald Watts, whose misconduct has led prosecutors to throw out more than 200 felony convictions and will probably cost the city half a billion dollars in settlements, blamed his downfall on "anti-police atmosphere" without the self-awareness required to see his part in that.
- Bruce Schneier bemoans the lack of urgency in Washington (and other capitals) to regulate cybersecurity.
Finally, you may not want to know what the CBP beagle squad has found in baggage at O'Hare.
I've got an open research problem that's a bit hard to define, so I'm exploring a few different avenues of it. I hope reading these count:
Since none of these has anything at all to do with my research project, I should get back to work.
My burn-up chart for the current sprint has a "completed" line that nicely intersects the sprint guideline, so I can take a moment this Monday morning to eat lunch and read some news stories:
And closer to home—like, less than a kilometer away—the City of Chicago has made some recommendations to improve a stretch of Clark Street that could be a model for other streets in the city.