Wednesday, December 26

notes from lincoln nebraska in the rain on december the 26th

I’m waiting for the train. It’s raining out, it’s been raining all day. You can’t of course definitively say this is because the planet is warmer, just like you couldn’t definitively say that global warming is a big fakeout if it happened to be a world-beating apocalyptic blizzard outside. But it’s raining on December the 26th, and it’s doing the same thing 120 odd miles north of here where I grew up, and you can have thoughts. Much like you could have thoughts a couple of years back when it was 70° on Christmas Day and there were severe thunderstorm warnings. How many points on the graph define a trend? What the fuck happened to winter?

I talked with an older relative a couple of days ago. He brought it up; he always brings it up. He wants to talk about it: Nothing is wrong, the Ogallala aquifer is recharging naturally, it doesn’t really matter if some little stickleback minnow goes extinct, ecological concerns are a pure scam, these environmentalists are just lining their pockets by colluding with malevolent bureaucrats, etc.

This is precisely why we’re fucked. For him, it’s not an unfortunate side effect that humans are killing everything so much as it’s the entire point and purpose of human life. It’s not generally put so nakedly, but the killing is how you’re supposed to live and anyone who stands in your way is deluded at best and probably a kind of criminal. The failure to destroy everything you can is the purest folly imaginable; the idea that anyone might know a better way is pure hubris.

Of course in this view the world is made for human use, and is in some important sense illimitable. It doesn’t matter that in practice the world has limits. The understanding won’t change. No new data will affect the model. He loves his grandkids and would go to nearly any length to ensure their happiness, but nothing that happens in his remaining years will ever make him grasp that we’re all burning the world they’re going to inhabit.

I’m drinking a Pabst Blue Ribbon. “16 FLUID OUNCES”. The 16oz tallboy is, let’s be clear about this, a bad idea. Beer of this quality and temperament is meant to be consumed cold, and cannot possibly stay cold at this rate of consumption (the rate dictated by “I’m nursing this series of shitty beers so I have something better to do than sit around the train station”) for more than 7 or 8 of the 16 available ounces.

I used to work in one of the buildings around here. Back in the before time, when it still snowed in the winter. Since then I have moved to another state and the baleful gaze of the serious development money has fallen on this section of town. It was, as per usual, better as a half-developed post-industrial former warehouse zone with much of the real estate barely occupied at all. Not that it was good, exactly, just that it was less of a glaring polished nullity full of gastropubs.

Sunday, December 16

notes from the air

I’m transiting between an edge-condition town that used to be nowhere at all and a rural interior that still is. This leg of the trip is a flight between Denver International Airport and Omaha. Beneath the plane the pivot irrigation circles stretch out in either direction, growing more snow-dusted as we leave the immediate shadow of the Rockies. Soon we’ll cut across the sandhills, these latter looking, as we approach, like a dark inversion of the feathered crystals of ice growing across the surface of a pond.

friday, december 7

i should still be at my desk, but instead
i'm out in the yard in work boots, sweatpants,
and a chore coat, fucking with the christmas lights
while there's still enough daylight left to see

i've got a strand across the top of the house
one on the bushes out front
one in the apple tree

there's a snow-melt haze over the foothills
as the sun reaches that boundary zone
between clouds and horizon

breathing the cold air, moving around on grass
and gravel, fighting with the trees
i'm aware again that i waste
the better part of my time

Monday, December 3

platform detection with linux on single-board computers

I’m extracting some Python code for detecting the current hardware from Adafruit_Blinka and Adafruit_Python_GPIO. This is a quick and dirty linkdump on ways to figure out what board you’re running on.

Python’s sys.platform:

This string contains a platform identifier that can be used to append platform-specific components to sys.path, for instance.

Python’s platform - yields some architecture / OS / processor / Python interpreter data.

If it exists, /proc/device-tree/model may give you a human-readable string (no trailing newline):

pi@raspberrypi:~ $ cat /proc/device-tree/model
Raspberry Pi 3 Model B Plus Rev 1.3

/proc/cpuinfo will have various useful things. On the Pi, it’ll include lines like so, which are useful:

Hardware        : BCM2835
Revision        : a020d3
Serial          : 000000007cd89b23

The Pi foundation has a list of the revision codes.

An issue on Ev3dev, “an operating system that runs on the LEGO MINDSTORMS EV3 and other platforms with compatible motor/sensor hardware.”: Relying on /proc/cpuinfo and /proc/device-tree/model is not good enough.