Tuesday, July 26th, 2022

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Tweaking the Newsletter

Spent a little bit this morning tweaking the newsletter code. I cut out some empty space to make it look better.

Also, I've decided to invert the order of posts. It has been publishing posts newest to oldest for the newsletter, I've decided to invert it, so the emails will now read chronological through the day. It hasn't happened since I started the newletter, but there are some days where I do multiple entries on a developing news story. And I think for the purposes of the newsletter, this makes more sense.

I'm still trying to figure out why some UTF8 characters don't encode right for it. Not sure where it's getting mucked up.

And, sort of invisible to you, I'm changing the creation process for the newsletter. Up to now, the email sending has been a quasi-automatic process. The system would automatically generate it via a cron job. But then the newsletter tool still requires me to manually approve it. So, depending on how late I stay up it might go the same night or first then in the morning when I wake up or, honestly, it sometimes goes out when the dogs wake me up to go outside in the middle of the night.

In any case, I've now made it so that it will be a fully manual process. The intent being when I've made my last post for the night, I can click a link to initiate the process. I dislike the fact that more often than not the newsletter for yesterday is arriving at 9am Eastern for most people. There is of course the chance that this new process is simply not going to work and I'll keep forgetting to send it. I have an idea for a more elaborate system which has the safety catch of sending it each night if I haven't manually done so, but I don't know if that system is needed yet. We'll see.

7/26/2022 6:54 am | |
Tags: glowbug, programming, email, newsletter

"Russia to drop out of International Space Station after 2024" ( 🗝️)

I can't say that is surprising. It's been a nice surprise that we've had international cooperation on it for so long. MIR2 incoming.

7/26/2022 7:04 am | |
Tags: space, cosmonaut, russia, nasa

The Seattle Heat wave has arrived. Katie and I spent some time last night prepping for it. We don't (yet) have AC in the house, so we make use of portable AC units. We set one up in the bedroom for sleeping, and the other goes into the office. Since they are right across from each other, we hang a blanket in the hall to create a faux door, and we leave the two rooms connected.

We lose a bit of the air but it allows us to be connected at home, and lets the dogs have a bit more space to roam rather than being locked in the bedroom.

I do hate the portable AC units and every year we swear it's the year we get central AC. Then something else comes up (it was the garage roof this year.) We'll see if next year is the year (spoilers: it will be.)

7/26/2022 7:07 am | |
Tags: heat wave, seattle, climate change, weather

"Is the Bottom Quartile Already in Recession?" (

I heard on a radio interview that spending by the bottom quartile is way down in 2022, while it is holding up merrily for the upper two quartiles. My mind jumped to the thesis:

“Hmm, the bottom quartile probably (proportionately) felt the benefit of the three COVID stimulus packages more, plus they would have benefited more, proportionately, from the enhanced 2020-2021 unemployment benefits, which (I gathered from anecdotal observations) often paid them more for staying home than they used to receive for working. But…by 2022, all that extra money may be running out.”

The data is far from conclusive. But it might be time to re-think the economy as a monolith in my humble and non-economicist opinion.

7/26/2022 7:17 am | |
Tags: economy, recession, covid 19

Wonderful wonderful art (

Just watch. It reminds me of a wonderful tech demo years ago about the possibilities for digital publications, the idea that you could have a page of a newspaper then zoom in on an ad for a car and then that ad gives much more data, specs, graphics, etc, to zoom in and engage with.

7/26/2022 8:24 am | |
Tags: art, technology

How Howard Hughes used Beach Balls in the Spruce Goose (aka the H4 Hercules) (

A fascinating tidbit of history of one of the most well known planes of American history.

7/26/2022 8:57 am | |
Tags: aviation, engineering, howard hughes

"First 100,000 KG Removed From the Great Pacific Garbage Patch" (

A fantastic bit of news from The Ocean Cleanup project.

7/26/2022 9:08 am | |
Tags: ocean, ecology

Pointless idea of the day, a weight sensor in my desk chair which detects when I'm sitting and turns on the mini desk fan for me. So if I get up and go to another room it turns off.

After a busy and meeting filled day at work, where I ended it with almost 2 hours of Excel-combat I came home and have been spending this evening watching The Gray Man on Netflix, and hammering on some Javascript. Playing with a new idea. We'll see what comes of it, whether I share it or not.

7/26/2022 10:26 pm | |
Tags: javascript, programming

"New studies bolster theory coronavirus emerged from the wild" ( 🗝️)

The research, published online Tuesday by the journal Science, shows that the Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market was likely the early epicenter of the scourge that has now killed nearly 6.4 million people around the world. Scientists conclude that the virus that causes COVID-19, SARS-CoV-2, likely spilled from animals into people two separate times.

“All this evidence tells us the same thing: It points right to this particular market in the middle of Wuhan,” said Kristian Andersen a professor in the Department of Immunology and Microbiology at Scripps Research and coauthor of one of the studies. “I was quite convinced of the lab leak myself until we dove into this very carefully and looked at it much closer.”

7/26/2022 10:29 pm | |
Tags: covid 19, pandemic, science

While the US economy might be about to enter a recession, the rest of the world is struggling too, making the US Dollar the strongest it's been in decades - and why that's bad for corporations (

I'm not sharing this as bemoaning the suffering of corporations, but rather as I found it enlightening as something I don't normally think about in my day to day life.

The value of the U.S. dollar is the strongest it’s been in a generation, which means Americans planning vacations to Europe or wiring cash to family in Latin America are not upset. However, if you happen to be a U.S. company that earns a decent percentage of your profits abroad, this climb to unseen heights unfortunately isn’t great news for your bottom line.

The dollar is having a record run for 2022. It’s up roughly 15% against the euro (hitting 1-to-1 parity for the first time since 2002), 15% against the Japanese yen, 10% against the British pound, and 5% against the Chinese renminbi. The Economist‘s annual Big Mac Index just dropped last week, and this year the magazine noted, “Nearly all currencies are undervalued against the dollar.”

7/26/2022 10:36 pm | |
Tags: economics

"Trump conduct, conversations part of Justice Dept. investigation" ( 🗝️)

As soon as I send the evening's newsletter I see this headline. Oh boy, that's some spice. We'll see if anything comes of it.

7/26/2022 10:45 pm | |
Tags: us politics, department of justice, criminal investigation

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