Heat

I remember watching the Denver area weather forecast on the evening news each night, and in the summer months they would track how many days of 90 degrees F or more were had over the season. They don’t do that anymore, it’s not news-worthy anymore.

I found some data to support my memory, at least a bit.

Mean number of days with 90 or more high temperature per year, by decade:

  • 1950s : 32
  • 1960s : 33
  • 1970s : 35
  • 1980s : 35
  • 1990s : 33*
  • 2000s : 46
  • 2010s : 52*

With 2019 still going, that 2010s number isn’t based on complete data, but you get the idea.

Footnotes:

  • 1994 : first year with 60 days of 90+ temps
  • 2012 : epic year of hell on earth, with 73 days of 90+ and 13 days of 100+ temps

It’s getting hotter. I don’t like it. If anyone is hiring for remote work, and I can get good bandwidth in someplace cooler, I’ll be looking to move soon.

The Data

The Enemy Within

Does anyone born before 1989 remember the “red scare”? The good folks of this nation, many of whom lived through World War II, were gravely concern about Communism and the tyranny it represents spreading around the world. We went to war on numerous occasions in (thankfully) far-away lands to keep that kind of oppression from subjugating any more innocent people anywhere on earth. We didn’t always succeed, yet the infection slowed considerably.
 
Yet we’ve allowed it to come from within. This virus started by attacking our children in school and people who were dancing or listening to music, to instill fear. Then next vector was the media turning that fear into anger at inanimate objects and at each other. Now it has spread to the government and metastasized into an agency given the power to ban things and a president to endorse it, a state pushing for the repeal of the 2nd Amendment, and actors and spies with no real qualifications instilled in Congress to continue feeding this infection. It’s now a cancer running at full throttle.
 
Make no mistake, forcing victimhood on, or criminalizing, the otherwise responsible and law-abiding free people of America only serves to open the flood gates for censorship, loss of due process, and oppression and tyranny through military force. The 2nd amendment upholds all the others. Censorship is already starting. We will cease to be a free people, and we will invite tyranny and oppression amongst us, if we continue down this path. Some will fight to retain their freedom.
 
I weep at the thought of needing to defend my family and my freedom against the same country which fought to suppress tyranny around the world earlier in my lifetime. Please God don’t let this corruption turn brother against brother, again.

A “Good” Programmer

What is a “good” programmer? How does one judge themselves, or more importantly, portray themselves in interviews?

So many interviewers are looking for “rock stars” but they don’t really understand programming. Rock star programmers do exist, but searching for them is like waiting to live your life until you win the lottery.

I read this on the C2 wiki (the original wiki) and it really resonates with me:

It is like the definition of a good pilot: one who uses his/her superior judgement to stay out of situations in which he will need his/her superior skill.

You might be asked how to reverse a string in Java without using StringBuffer#reverse() or similar functions. Why? Why is it not good judgement to use proven code? Cleverness for cleverness sake is just stupid and dangerous. And re-engineering solved problems is usually a waste of time. It reminds me of the all-too-common thinking that using well-known and proven cryptographic functions is somehow dangerous so “I’ll just write my own”. Ugh. I shudder to think how many security breaches have been caused by that line of thought.

So, “good” requires skill but also good judgement. I like it. But also:

…programming is an attempt to compensate for the strictly limited size of our skulls. The people who are best at programming are the people who realize how small their brains are. They are humble.

from Edsger Dijkstra

Honestly, I feel I suffer in interviews far too often as I realize I’m still working toward that “good pilot” definition and try to stay humble about it, while interviewers are looking for (over?) confident “rock star” programmers.

I mean, I wrote a distributed caching system that ran in production for 6+ years with zero bugs, so …

Oh yeah, humble … right. Still working on that part, too, I guess.

It’s A Mystery

https://www.alamogordonews.com/story/news/local/2018/09/07/sunspot-observatory-south-cloudcroft-closed-due-security-issue/1227788002/

The FBI show up with a Blackhawk helecopter and the people working at the observatory were immediately evacuated. Local law enforcement were asked to help but were told nothing about what was going on.

In all likelihood there’s a reasonable and boring explanation. However. A mountaintop observatory in New Mexico doesn’t seem like a strategic target that would need protection from a terrorist threat, or anything like that, nor would there be risk of hazardous or toxic materials to protect the public from. So to evacuate the people in a hush-hush tactical operation sure does make the imagination wander.

How fascinating would it be if ….

Ridiculous Real Estate

http://www.businessinsider.com/sun-microsystems-cofounder-scott-mcnealy-asking-100-million-palo-alto-home-2018-6

The world’s biggest man cave includes:

  • A spa
  • 7,300 sq. ft. indoor hockey arena
  • Indoor sports court with massive sound system
  • Pizza room with wood fire pizza oven
  • Ugly back yard

Or, how about this gem in the first photo here:

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/families-earning-117000-now-qualify-as-low-income-in-californias-bay-area/

Looks like a disaster area, but sold for $1.23 Million.

Git Masters

… some of the weirdest things in the Linux kernel’s git history. There are 1,549 octopus merges, one of which has 66 parents. The most heavily diverged merge has 22,445,760 lines of diff, though it’s a bit of a technicality because it shares no history with the rest of the repo. The kernel has four separate “initial” commits, one of which was a mistake.

This stuff goes to the point I usually make where if you think you’re an expert at something because you’ve worked with it for a decade, you might be surprised that you’re not.