In Houston, Most Companies Are Back in the Office but Floors Are Half Empty - WSJ

The remote-work trend poses a larger threat to office-space usage than gas prices. Some employers have insisted that workers return to offices five days a week. But many have found remote work hasn’t impaired efficiency, and others worry that if they don’t accede to employee requests for more flexibility, top performers might go to the companies that offer remote opportunities.

Shocking 😱 hasn’t impaired efficiency!

S09E06 Modern Web Podcast- Managing a Developer Team with Jem Young from Netflix

In this episode of the Modern Web Podcast, Jem Young, Engineering Manager at Netflix, shares his perspective on engineering team leadership. He talks about his experience going from an individual contributor to leading an engineering team, including some of the roadblocks and challenges new managers often encounter. Jem also describes some of the perspectives on team leadership he’s developed by working with and watching other leaders at Netflix. Finally, they talk about the changes in the career trajectories of individual contributors, and how ICs can grow in their careers whether they choose to take the management path or not.

Had an absolute fantastic time talking with Jem.

Latest Russia-Ukraine war news: Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant taken over, Chernihiv destroyed - The Washington Post

A Russian projectile hit the Zaporizhzhia plant in southeastern Ukraine overnight, igniting a fire that caused widespread alarm but triggered no release of radioactive material. Rafael Mariano Grossi, head of the International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna, warned of the “risks that we may all incur” if fighting around nuclear sites rages on. The U.S. Embassy in Kyiv tweeted: “It is a war crime to attack a nuclear power plant,” and President Volodymyr Zelensky accused Moscow of “nuclear terror.”

03/04/2022 at 11:12 a.m. EST

I fear things getting a lot worse before they get any better. 😞

A change to America’s tax code could fix the housing crisis - Vox

Under a land value tax system, proponents say property owners would be clamoring to be allowed to develop their land more intensely — leading to more homes being built.

Here’s the theory: Taxing land reduces the profit that comes from just owning a piece of property. Instead, you are incentivized to put that land to work. Let’s take a plot of land near Times Square. That land is so valuable, basically anything you do with it will turn a massive profit so no need to develop it for its most valuable use.

However, if a land tax were to be levied, the owner of that land would need to make sure that the property on that land was actually profitable since the government is taxing away some or all of the land rents that could be charged.

In a 2015 Slate article, Henry Grabar illustrated this point well, pointing to the case of a parking lot charging drivers $40 per day for parking and accruing under $10,000 in property taxes. That parking lot, Grabar writes, sits next to a seven-story building that requires more than a quarter of a million in taxes annually.

This is an interesting idea for trying to help with the current and ongoing housing crisis across America. As a homeowner, I believe the constant push back on building multi tent homes in local areas needs to be stopped. It is far outside the bounds for me to condemn or veto housing options in my neighborhood simply because I don’t like it, or it will “devalue my own property” 🙄, and the most offensive “because we don’t want ‘those’ type of people here”.

Towards a Unified Theory of Web Performance - Infrequently Noted

I propose four key ingredients:

Definition: What is “performance” beyond page speed? What, in particular, is “web performance”? Purpose: What is web performance trying to accomplish as a discipline? What are its goals? Principles: What fundamental truths are guiding the discipline and moving it forward? Practice: What does it look like to work on web performance? How do we do it?

Worth a read for sure.

Missouri governor rebuffed: Journalist won’t be prosecuted for viewing HTML

Post-Dispatch reporter Josh Renaud had been facing the threat of prosecution since his discovery that the state website’s HTML source code exposed the full Social Security numbers of teachers and other school employees in unencrypted form. Renaud merely viewed the website’s HTML and converted the Social Security numbers into plain text, and he gave the state time to close the gaping security hole before publishing his findings. Despite Renaud helping the state improve its security, Parson called the journalist a “hacker,” sought criminal charges, and threatened a civil suit.

One would hope that the behavior of an elected official such as this would be grounds for immediate dismissal by their constituents as “unfit for office”

Kansas medical board faces threats from lawmakers for probing ivermectin use | Ars Technica

That seems like a really odd and specific action by the state legislature.

Rep. Susan Humphries, a Republican from Wichita and the chair of the budget committee, defended the committee’s move to strip the medical board of funding, calling the board’s medical investigations “political,” the Capital-Journal reported. “If it has become a political issue in this board, do we need a political answer to that,” Humphries said.

Oh. Now that makes sense.

New Jobs for Burned-Out Teachers Mean Learning the Rules of the Corporate World - WSJ

Ms. Wilson, 30 years old, is among the more than 900,000 people who quit jobs in state and local education last year, according to federal data. Resignations from private education, meanwhile, neared 600,000. According to LinkedIn, the share of K-12 teachers on the site who quit to start nonteaching roles climbed 66% from November 2020 to November 2021, as the pandemic turned in-school education upside down.

That we have not treated this profession with more respect and such poor pay for so long is absolutely disgusting.

New York Times Confronts Labor Strife as Tech Workers Push to Organize - WSJ

“The success of digital product development relies on collaboration, speed and constant experimentation, all of which a collective bargaining arrangement could stifle,” Ms. Rhoades Ha said in a statement.

Anytime a business is against something (like unions), it’s not out of kindness or empathy. It is a calculated decision based solely profit.

‘Maus’ Tops Bestseller Lists After TN School District Yanks It

Award-winning graphic novel “Maus” by Art Spiegelman, which depicts the atrocities experienced by Jews imprisoned in Nazi concentration camps, topped Amazon’s best-seller list over the weekend in the aftermath of a Tennessee school district’s unanimous vote to remove it from middle school curricula.

As of Monday morning, “The Complete Maus” held the No. 2 spot among Amazon’s best sellers in books. “Maus I,” an earlier published book that is the first part of “The Complete Maus,” was also the No. 3 best-selling book on Amazon.

When they want to keep you from reading something in school because they don’t like it? Get your own copy and decide for yourself. 💥

U.S. Companies Down to Five-Day Supply of Key Chips, Report Says - WSJ

Commerce Department survey shows companies typically had 40-day supply in 2019

That’s pretty bad.

Chip Storage According to the Whitehouse

FCC chair plans to block exclusive deals that limit ISP choice in apartments

“With more than one-third of the US population living in apartments, mobile home parks, condominiums, and public housing, it’s time to crack down on practices that lock out broadband competition and consumer choice,” Rosenworcel said. “Consumers deserve access to a choice of providers in their buildings. I look forward to having my colleagues join me in lifting the obstacles to competitive choice for broadband for the millions of tenants across the nation.”

I am sure ISP’s will let you regulation like this will kill their ability to “invest” in broadband in your area.

PG&E’s criminal probation is ending, but the company remains a ‘menace to California’ - The Verge

“In these five years, PG&E has gone on a crime spree and will emerge from probation as a continuing menace to California,” US District Judge William Alsup wrote in a scathing report released days ahead of the probationary period that lifts at midnight.

Court Report I encourage you to skim through the judges report. “Scathing” is putting it mildly. 😳

AT&T announces multi-gigabit fiber: $110 a month for 2Gbps, $180 for 5Gbps | Ars Technica

AT&T has unfortunately left tens of millions of households in its 21-state wireline territory without fiber-to-the-home access. The company also stopped offering its oldest DSL product to new customers—even in areas that it hasn’t upgraded. That means new customers can only sign up for AT&T wired Internet in places that have either fiber-to-the-home or fiber-to-the-node access.

That is the sound of the digital divide growing before your very eyes.

One man holds up anything better

It contained a measure extending the expanded child tax credit Democrats passed in response to the pandemic. That credit sent monthly payments to nearly all US parents, and cut child poverty substantially in its first year of existence, but its last payment went out Wednesday, and the program will now lapse. If extended by the Build Back Better Act, it could reduce poverty by 40 percent going forward, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. Additionally, as Vox’s Rebecca Leber pointed out, the end of the Build Back Better Act could be the end of a once-in-a-decade chance to fight climate change.

chiding Manchin for refusing to pass the legislation, which would also lower prescription drug costs, expand Medicaid, and provide funding for increased home health care.

Agree if the bill would succeed or not. These were it’s intended goals. And now thanks to Manchin the chance of these things succeeding is absolutely zero.

Apple promises third-party payment options in iOS for South Korean users - The Verge

Apple says it will introduce third-party payment options for the first time ever in iOS apps, following South Korean legislation designed to open up the perceived monopolies of Google and Apple’s app stores. The alternative payments will only be available in South Korea and follows the announcement of similar changes by Google last November.

I’ll believe it when I see it.

The Supreme Court appears more afraid of Joe Biden than it is of Covid-19

The bottom line remains that Congress wrote expansive language when it passed the OSH Act, and OSHA relied on its expertise when it handed down a broad vaccination-or-test rule.

But neither the will of Congress nor the considered judgment of an expert agency appear to matter when five justices oppose a rule


Big ISPs fight to save exclusive wiring deals that limit choice in apartments | Ars Technica

The new public notice seeks to “refresh the record” in an FCC proceeding on competition in multi-unit buildings that began in 2019 under then-Chairman Ajit Pai. Several groups told the Pai-led FCC that exclusive wiring deals are used as an end run around the prohibition on exclusive service deals. But cable companies that benefit from the deals urged the FCC to reject calls to regulate or ban them and are continuing that argument with the Biden-era FCC.

Comcast, Charter, Cox, and NCTA–The Internet & Television Association (the cable industry’s primary lobbying group) met with FCC staff to discuss the topic on September 2, according to an ex parte filing submitted last week by NCTA. During the meeting, NCTA “described the benefits of continuing to allow providers to enter into exclusive wiring agreements with MTE owners. Exclusive wiring agreements do not deny new entrants access to MTEs. Rather, exclusive wiring agreements are pro-competitive and help ensure that state-of-the-art wiring will be deployed in MTEs to the benefit of consumers,” the filing said.

It’s no wonder broadband in America, especially in rural part, is inadequate.

How Republicans and gas lobby block city climate solutions using preemption

While many answers to climate change require national and even international action, cities often have the unilateral power to craft local rules like building codes. But before the city of Tucson could even look at possible building reforms, the Republican-led state legislature took away its power to do so — by passing a state law that natural gas utilities are “not subject to further regulation by a municipality.”

Supporters of the Republican bill were trying to beat climate advocates to the punch and “preempt” restrictions on fossil fuels. “We wanted to get ahead of what we viewed as an economically damaging trend, and stop it before it could gain a foothold here,” says Garrick Taylor, a spokesperson for the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry, one of the lobbying groups that supported the bill.

With those few lines of text, Arizona blocked a path for cleaning up a significant source of Tucson’s climate pollution — even as nations around the world are racing to transition to cleaner energy and slow disastrous climate change.

Tobacco, NRA, ISPs, oil and gas conglomerates. This is not a group you really want to be associated with.

Omicron is not mild and is crushing health care systems worldwide, WHO warns | Ars Technica

Of particular concern are the rising hospitalizations among children. More than 4,000 children are currently in the hospital with COVID-19, an all-time high in the pandemic, according to tracking by The Washington Post. The current number of hospitalized children is nearly double that from two weeks ago, when fewer than 2,000 were hospitalized. Several doctors and health experts have anecdotally reported seeing higher levels of COVID-related croup and bronchiolitis in children.

I continue to be emotionally drained and if I’m honest really numb to it.

Supreme Court to Weigh Vaccine Requirements for the Workplace - WSJ

1905 case, Jacobson v. Massachusetts, the justices upheld the state’s authority to require that individuals vaccinate against smallpox. “The liberty secured by the Constitution…does not import an absolute right in each person to be, at all times and in all circumstances, wholly freed from restraint,” Justice John Marshall Harlan wrote for the court.

Pretty clear and precise.

Supreme Court: The stakes in the Covid-19 vaccine cases are bigger than they seem

I don’t want to minimize the significance of the policies at issue in Missouri and NFIB. In creating these policies, the Biden administration determined that its fundamental duty to preserve human life overrides many individuals’ interest in refusing medical treatment. This is a weighty decision, placing the collective health of the nation before the individual liberties of many of its citizens.

You may not like it. You don’t have to. But that is functioning democracy, the elected decision to preserve human life for the public good, over the individuals' interest.

PG&E found responsible for yet another devastating fire

The Dixie Fire raged for more than three months last year, burning over 1,300 structures and killing one person. In perhaps its most traumatic episode, the blaze tore through the town of Greenville one August evening — growing explosively overnight. By morning, it had decimated most of the historic Gold Rush town. “We lost Greenville tonight,” local Rep. Doug LaMalfa (R-CA) said as he held back tears in a video posted to Facebook on August 5th.

The scenes were reminiscent of the most destructive blaze the state has seen to date, the Camp Fire in 2018. Investigators pointed to PG&E power lines as the cause of that disaster as well. Camp Fire nearly wiped out the town of Paradise and nearby communities, killing 85 people and scorching more than 18,800 structures. In a case brought against it by Butte County, PG&E ultimately pleaded guilty to 84 felony counts of involuntary manslaughter and another felony count of unlawfully causing a fire.

I really struggle to understand how, after causing the state’s 2 largest fires in history in a 3 year span, burying 10% of lines and rolling blackouts are an adequate plan to prevent it from happening again.

ISPs spent $235 million on lobbying and donations, “more than $320,000 a day”

ISPs also focused heavily on the Accessible, Affordable Internet for All Act, which would have spent $80 billion to deploy future-proof broadband infrastructure nationwide, directed the FCC to collect and publicize data on broadband prices, and eliminated state laws that prevent the growth of municipal broadband, among other things. The bill prioritized fiber by requiring federally funded ISPs to provide low latency and speeds of at least 100Mbps for both downloads and uploads and by defining “unserved” areas as those lacking access to 25Mbps speeds on both the download and upload side.

Six of the 15 ISPs and trade groups reported lobbying on the bill, including AT&T, Charter, NCTA, T-Mobile, USTelecom, and Verizon, Common Cause wrote, adding:

The Accessible, Affordable Internet for All Act seeks to address the digital divide, and ISPs want to define both the divide and its solutions to their benefit. Industry lobbyists have persistently disseminated talking points at the federal and state levels advocating for lower speed requirements and “technology neutrality,” both of which aim to limit the preference given to fiber-optic broadband in publicly funded deployment, despite the clear superiority of that technology. ISPs have also been incredibly effective over the years, lobbying at the state level to prohibit municipal broadband and cooperatives from serving communities that have been abandoned by existing providers. Further, the industry has resisted calls for price transparency… and in part owing to the successful efforts of ISP lobbyists, the Accessible, Affordable Internet for All Act did not even receive a vote in the House or Senate during the 116th Congress.

In the United States we do not have fast, reliable, competitively priced broadband because current providers have a vested financial interest in the status quo.

Podcasters are letting software pick their ads — it’s already going awry - The Verge

Last year, an ad for the TV show The Sex Lives of College Girls popped up on an American Public Media (APM) podcast it shouldn’t have been approved for: a children’s show,

While I’m not a fan of dynamic ad insertion, I do think dynamic pre-roll or post-roll has benefits, this is just irresponsible.