Merck/J&J deal may help US get enough vaccine for all adults by end of May →

I don’t usually get too excited about the news these days, but this is the most promising and exciting news I’ve read in months. Sure there are going to be challenges related to getting the vaccine in arms, but the end of worrying, restrictions, etc. is months away. Do you remember what you did for Thanksgiving in November? That long away.

The Democratic Party Has a Fatal Misunderstanding of the QAnon Phenomenon | The New Republic →

Democrats should try campaigning on the truth: The Republican Party is controlled by intelligent, college-educated, and affluent elites who concoct dangerous nonsense to paper over a bigoted, plutocratic agenda and to justify attacks on the democratic process.

Democrats should present voters with a material choice between a party that has nothing to offer the majority of Americans but abuse and conspiratorial flimflam and a party committed to building a democracy and an economy that work for all.

Amanda Gorman – The Hill We Climb

I know this has been shared a lot in the last 24 hours, but The Hill We Climb by Amanda Gorman really is worth sharing and watching again. The whole poem is beautiful and the message and her performance were perfect.

Some of my favorite excerpts from the poem that should resonate with every American:

“Somehow we’ve weathered and witnessed
a nation that isn’t broken
but simply unfinished”

“And yes we are far from polished
far from pristine
but that doesn’t mean we are
striving to form a union that is perfect
We are striving to forge a union with purpose
To compose a country committed to all cultures, colors, characters and
conditions of man
And so we lift our gazes not to what stands between us
but what stands before us
We close the divide because we know, to put our future first,
we must first put our differences aside
We lay down our arms
so we can reach out our arms
to one another
We seek harm to none and harmony for all”

“It’s because being American is more than a pride we inherit,
it’s the past we step into
and how we repair it”

“We’ve seen a force that would shatter our nation
rather than share it
Would destroy our country if it meant delaying democracy
And this effort very nearly succeeded
But while democracy can be periodically delayed
it can never be permanently defeated”

“But one thing is certain:
If we merge mercy with might,
and might with right,
then love becomes our legacy
and change our children’s birthright”

“We will rebuild, reconcile and recover
and every known nook of our nation and
every corner called our country,
our people diverse and beautiful will emerge,
battered and beautiful
When day comes we step out of the shade,
aflame and unafraid
The new dawn blooms as we free it
For there is always light,
if only we’re brave enough to see it
If only we’re brave enough to be it”

A new President, our first female Vice-President who is also African and Asian American, an administration that will listen to scientists, widespread distribution of the vaccine, Top Gun: Maverick–there’s a lot to be hopeful for in 2021.

Trump Leaves As a Broken President →

At noon on January 20, Trump will be in desperate shape. His business is floundering, his partners are fleeing, his loans are delinquent, prosecutors will be coming after him, and the legal impunity he enjoyed through his office will be gone. He will be walking naked into a cold and friendless world. What appeared to be a brilliant strategy for escaping consequences was merely a tactic for putting them off. The bill is coming due.

Good fucking riddance.

2020 Pocket Year in Review

I typically save all of my longform articles to Pocket, although in reviewing the list of articles I read in 2020, many of the articles were only between 5 and 15 minute articles–not necessarily long. I know for certain that reading was way up this year. With my desire to stay informed and know exactly what was going on locally, in the country, and around the world with COVID-19, I probably read more articles in the moment rather than saving them to Pocket to read later.

In reviewing my list of read articles this year, there were no surprises that much of what I read this year was related to COVID-19. I also read a lot about racial, social, and health inequity in the U.S. But surprisingly, there were a lot of articles on other topics not related to COVID, inequities, justice, etc. Here are some of my favorite articles from 2020 (in chronological order):

How Koenigsegg’s 2.0-liter no-camshaft engine makes 600 horsepower
What I learned when my husband got sick with coronavirus – New York Times
The man feeding a remote Alaska town with a Costco card and a ship
COVID Underdogs: Mongolia
The Incredible Story of the US Army’s Earth-Shaking, Off-Road Land Trains
She Protested in Seattle, Then Spent 2 Terrifying Days in Jail
A White Woman, Racism and a Poodle
Tulsa Race Massacre: This is what happened in Tulsa in 1921
My Eulogy for Congressman John Lewis
Unfit for Office – The Atlantic
I worked for Alex Jones. I regret it. – New York Times
The Cold War Bunker That Became Home to a Dark-Web Empire – New Yorker
At 88, he is a historical rarity – the living son of a slave – Washington Post
How the Pandemic Defeated America – The Atlantic
The harrowing story of the Nagasaki bombing mission
The Case of the Top Secret iPod
The desperate fight to save his family ends in tragedy
We view Nikola’s response as a tacit admission of securities fraud
How big oil misled the public into believing plastic would be recycled – NPR
The Store That Called the Cops on George Floyd – Slate
What it’s like to get locked out of Google indefinitely – Business Insider
America’s Next Authoritarian Will Be Much More Competent – The Atlantic
JFK in Trauma Room One
The Mandalorian: Rosario Dawson Tells All About Ahsoka Tano – Vanity Fair
We had the vaccine the whole time – New York Magazine
Here’s why 2021 is going to be a great year – Business Insider

See also: 2017 Pocket Year in Review

2020 Spotify Year in Review

COVID-19 had a big impact on my Spotify listening in 2020. During pre-COVID times, I’d listen to Spotify, or music on my phone, while working out at the gym, commuting, completing menial work tasks, working around the house, etc. But when gyms closed in early March and when we were ordered to work from home, my Spotify and music intake nearly stopped. At the same time, my podcast queue was beginning to backup since I wasn’t commuting or leaving the house, so I started listening to podcasts during my home workouts, on my walks and bike rides, while completing chores around the house, etc. If there was a year to pause my Spotify subscription, this would have been it.

Compared to 2019, I listened to half the music (7,354 vs. 14,422 minutes).

No surprises with the genres I listened to. The “show tunes” was the Hamilton soundtrack–probably listened to after July 3 when “Hamilton” was released on Disney+.

In January and February, I was really hot on Ben Kenney’s new album, “Must Be Nice,” released on Christmas Day 2019.

I did manage to listen to 478 different artists this year?!?

But here are my top artists:

If I didn’t listen to “Stamped From the Beginning,” I’d guess that Run the Jewels or Night Flight were in my top five artists.

See also: 2019 and 2018 Spotify Year in Review

The way this year’s Seahawks are built, it’s Super Bowl or bust →

As a Seahawk’s fan, this season has been a wild ride, as wild a ride as any of the last 11 seasons with Coach Pete Carroll at the helm. This season we’ve had only a few decisive victories, baffling losses, and most games were nail-biters, determined in the final minutes of the game. That’s Pete Carroll-Seahawks football.

Based on the roster alone, this year’s Seahawks team is the best starting line-up since the 2013-14 teams that went to the Super Bowl(s). I would argue that this year’s offensive unit is better than those 2013-14 teams–better WR’s in Metcalf, Lockett, Moore; better RB’s in Carson, Hyde, and Penny (he just returned from injury); and a better QB in Wilson with the experience that he’s gained from the last 9 seasons. The defense is mostly solid, but not as good as the 2013-14 teams–the D line is strong; so is the LB unit although there isn’t much depth, Wagner and Wright are getting older and are slower and can’t keep up with younger, faster players; and the secondary is strong with Adams, Diggs, and Griffin.

Based on the roster, our record should reflect better than our current 10-4 record. We should be a 12-13 win team. The losses to the Giants, Rams, and Cardinals were bad, inexcusable losses. Even the loss to the Bills was bad, but the Bills just executed and played better than the Hawks.

The Seahawks are a great football team with no identity. They’re no longer the run-heavy, dominant defense that took them to back-to-back Super Bowls. As much spotlight as Wilson and D.K. Metcalf have received this year (and Wilson-Lockett in previous years), they’re not really a pass-heavy team. And as soft as the defense has been this season, and they’re still improving, even with a healthy roster they were able to let the Giants, with a backup QB, beat them at home and just last week let the Washington Football Team put up 15 points in the second half of last week’s game. It’s anyone’s guess as to which Seahawks team is going to show up next week, let alone in the playoffs.

From the article, Matt Calkins:

The Seahawks have had a fine year, but only a Super Bowl would make it a success.

How far we’ve come as Seahawks fans where a 10+ win season, a trip to the playoffs, and potentially clinching the division is not a success.

Bring Ted Lasso Energy Into Your Life! →

One great thing to come out of 2020 is Ted Lasso. I thoroughly enjoyed this show. In fact, I’ve watched it two times now since I originally saw it in September and it was better with a second viewing. There are so many good things about the show and this article does a great job encapsulating what made the show such a treat.

I also saw this Twitter thread by Trung Phan that breaks down the first three minutes of the pilot/first episode. There’s just so many great scenes and callbacks throughout the season. It’s really well done.

Apple Silicon M1: Black. Magic. Fuckery. →

I’ve been thinking a lot about the Apple M1 system on a chip (SoC) since its announcement a couple of weeks ago. More than any normal person should think about a SoC. As a hobbyist PC builder who has custom built many PC’s over the last 23 years and has kept a pulse on the latest CPU technologies and advances, I can’t recall a time where a new CPU or technology has made such an enormous leap over everything else on the market. Not the switch from 386 to 486, not the advancement from Pentium to Pentium II/III/Dual Core/i-series/etc., not the transition from AMD K5 to K6/Athlon/XP/64/x2/etc. The CPU performance leap that Apple has achieved with the M1 is monumental. Not only does it have faster single core and multi-core performance than all current mid-range CPU’s on the market, it’s trading punches with AMD and Intel’s higher-end processors. And it’s doing all of this at a fraction of the voltage (wattage) and being passively cooled (no heatsinks or fans). Apple’s M1 emulates x86 performance better and more efficiently than true x86 processors! All of this with a first generation chip! It’s impressive what they’ve accomplished. This is another 2007 iPhone announcement and product release-type moment and it’s hardly being noticed.

Just wait until someone figures out a way to emulate or virtual machine Windows 10 with the M1 and shows that it performs on-par or better than Windows 10 running natively on any AMD or Intel-based machine. Then people might start to notice…

An advantage that the M1 SoC has is good integrated graphics. Current benchmarks of the M1’s GPU put it on-par with a NVIDIA GTX 1050ti, a 2+ year-old graphics card by today’s standards. Today, that performance is more than adequate for desktop applications (web, Office, etc.), most photo and video editing, and for some 1080p gaming. Intel Iris and AMD Vega are getting much better than the old days of integrated graphics, but neither are offering a SoC. Given Apple’s year-over-year incremental improvements to its A-series processors in its phones and tablets, I’d wager a bet that by the 2nd or 3rd generation of the M-series chip that the graphics performance will catch-up to whatever is the standard at the time of its release.

Another consideration is that the M1 chip is what Apple is showing us is powering their entry-level products: the Mac Mini, the MacBook Air, and the MacBook Pro (13″). What they haven’t mentioned is what’s in store for its iMac, iMac Pro, Mac Pro, and MacBook Pro (16″) lineups. These machines have typically been powered by Intel’s mid to higher-end CPU’s (more cores and threads, higher voltage), have been spec’d out with higher amounts of RAM, and with higher-end GPU’s. I’m sure whatever Apple has planned for these machines is going to be a leap beyond what they have shown us with the M1.

This tweet from DHH,

I pray that Intel, AMD, and Qualcomm is letting the M1 give them ideas, take them in new directions. Because this level of sorcery is too damn powerful to be held by a single company. Especially a monopolizing conglomerate like Apple. But fucking kudos to those chip wizards 👏

AMD, Qualcomm, and certainly not Intel have a standalone CPU in their pipeline to compete with the performance of Apple’s M1. None have a SoC that competes with the package that Apple is offering with the M1. I do hope that they are paying attention and can innovate and compete. I can still see a future where hobbyists custom build their own PC’s, but at the price, performance, packaging, and value that Apple is proposing, it may upend that hobby and market.

[update 11/27/2020] Developer successfully virtualizes Windows for ARM on Apple M1

[updated 11/30/2020] I edited my original post after reading Erik Engheim’s article “Why is Apple’s M1 Chip So Fast?” because where I meant “CPU” I actually meant “SoC.”

[updated 12/3/2020] Benchmarks show that the ARM version of Windows 10 running on the Apple M1 destroys the ARM version of Windows 10 running on the Microsoft Surface Pro X. From the article:

Windows on an M1 got a single-core score of 1,288 and multi-core score of 5,685 whereas the Surface Pro X’s scores were roughly 800 and 3,000 in those respective benchmarks.

That’s 1.5x the single-core performance and almost 2x the multi-core performance. The Ryzen 3 system I built just three months ago is starting to seem like a relic from year’s past.

[updated 12/7/2020] Rumor: Apple working on a 32-core processor for high-end Macs.

Opinion | Why Michigan’s Top Legislators Should Cancel that Meeting with Trump – POLITICO →

The Trump administration is nearing its end. Any other president who got these results on Election Day would have conceded gracefully and now be cooperating in a peaceful transfer of power—giving his successor’s team the information it needed so that from the stroke of noon on January 20, it could begin protecting American national security, fighting the Covid pandemic, and so forth. Trump is choosing to block all of that constructive work so that he can avoid admitting that the other guy won. He is doing a fair amount of damage on his way out. That damage is hurting the country in general, and it will also hurt specific people.

He has never cared about this country, only profiting from it.