Tomorrow

Remember today, since we may spend the rest of our lives getting back to this point.

I hope to remember tomorrow as the first of many days where the American people said “fuck you” to the new President.

The Difference in the Vote

Had Hillary Clinton won Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania — states that normally go blue — she would have won an Electoral College majority and she would be President-elect.

She didn’t — despite winning the popular vote by nearly 3 million votes — and Donald Trump is President-elect.

Russia worked to influence the election. Did they succeed? Did their efforts matter?

I don’t know how you’d gauge that. But it’s interesting to note just how close it was.

Wisconsin: 1,405,284 - 1,382,536 = 22,748

Michigan: 2,279,543 - 2,268,839 = 10,704

Pennsylvania: 2,970,733 - 2,926,441 = 44,292

That adds up to Trump winning those states by 77,744 votes.

That’s a small number of votes. That’s 0.06% of the total votes cast (128,824,833) — or 0.82% in Wisconsin, 0.24% in Michigan, and 0.75% in Pennsylvania. Not even 1% in any one of those states.

If you grant that Russia’s efforts had a small effect — well, there’s the difference.

You may think otherwise: you may think their efforts had an even greater effect, or none at all, and I suspect what you think depends on which candidate you backed.

For me: I believe that everything mattered. Russia’s attack on our democracy isn’t the only issue of consequence. But, still, take away just this one thing, and I strongly suspect Clinton would have won.

PS In contrast, Clinton won the popular vote by 2,865,075 votes, which is 2.2% of the popular vote.

The Declassified Report

From the Office of the Director of National Intelligence:

We assess with high confidence that Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered an influence campaign in 2016 aimed at the US presidential election, the consistent goals of which were to undermine public faith in the US democratic process, denigrate Secretary Clinton, and harm her electability and potential presidency. We further assess Putin and the Russian Government developed a clear preference for President-elect Trump.

(Via Talking Points Memo.)

Manton’s Thing

Manton’s doing important work, and you should back it.

Microblogging on the open web could be — should be — the next thing. Manton’s building it. With your help.

OPML File Type on Macs

I was fixing a bug in OmniOutliner where it wouldn’t open a file with an uppercase .OPML suffix. I did some digging, and the fix was to register the app as handling the com.apple.news.opml file type.

Which upset me. I’ll explain.

OPML — Outline Processor Markup Language — was invented in 2000 by Dave Winer at UserLand Software. It’s not Apple’s format, and the correct file type is org.opml.opml.

I was working for Dave at the time. Some time after Dave wrote the first OPML reading and writing code, I ported it to C. Later, when I was working on NetNewsWire, in 2002, I wrote what may have been the first Objective-C code for reading and writing OPML. And today I work on OmniOutliner, which supports OPML, and I’ve published an open source OPML parser.

So I know OPML. After Dave, I may have worked with this format more than anyone else in the world.

This file type redefinition not only created a bug that I had to figure out and fix, it also demonstrated disrespect. I suspect it was entirely thoughtless — but, well, that’s still bad.

Radar forthcoming.

Update: Bug filed: rdar://29888756.

‘The Devastation Is Very Important to Me’

During the Cold War, I was a kid, and then a teenager, and I often thought about the end of human life. Maybe an all-out nuclear war followed by nuclear winter would not have killed everybody, but maybe it would have.

I imagined a billion people vaporized. Then I imagined just one person vaporized a billion times.

I imagined one person dying in flames a billion times. I imagined one person coughing and sick and dying of radiation poisoning a billion times. I imagined one child dying of hunger, in the dark, a billion times.

Every single good thing a human hand ever did is wiped away. Every argument made meaningless. Spoken and written words all vanish — the very idea of words is gone.

The legs of every single table break, and not a single table stands to hold a vase of flowers. No windows hang on anywhere. Buildings subside, dams allow the water through, and airplanes sink into the ground.

Dogs, if they live, reshape back into wolves, over generations, and cats forget our warmth. Animals know things, but they don’t know they know things. If they feel love, they can’t name it.

The wind rushes over the poisoned ground, touching no one forever, and the sun shines for billions more years but never again on human consciousness. The sun illuminates no human grace or tenderness or mercy, because we are gone, and, in this terrible end, it would have been better had we never lived.

Nobody knows the nothingness or calls it nothingness.

* * *

So fuck anybody who says that more countries should have nuclear weapons, or that we should have more bombs, or that an arms race would be just fine.

Fuck fucking off.

Lindy West on Leaving Twitter

She writes:

On 29 December, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey tweeted: “What’s the most important thing you want to see Twitter improve or create in 2017?” One user responded: “Comprehensive plan for getting rid of the Nazis.”

“We’ve been working on our policies and controls,” Dorsey replied. “What’s the next most critical thing?” Oh, what’s our second-highest priority after Nazis? I’d say No 2 is also Nazis. And No 3. In fact, you can just go ahead and slide “Nazis” into the top 100 spots. Get back to me when your website isn’t a roiling rat-king of Nazis. Nazis are bad, you see?

Style Guide Update: Agent of Russia

As we were updating the inessential.com style guide for the new year, we came across an interesting question: do we refer to Donald Trump as:

  • President-elect Donald Trump, or
  • President-elect and Russian agent Donald Trump, or
  • President-elect and agent of Russia Donald Trump.

(Obviously, “President-elect” changes to “President” on January 20, unless God graces us with a stroke of luck.)

The first option was discarded as a disservice to our readers. So it really came down to this wording: “Russian agent” or “agent of Russia.”

The committee was divided, and arguments were intense and lengthy. But we finally decided that “Russian agent” could imply that he is on the books and takes direct orders from Russia, which we can’t prove right now.

However, “agent of Russia” simply says that he is working to effect change benefiting the interests of Russia before our own. Which is obvious, and objectionable only in the sense that we regret that it’s true.

So there you have it. Until something changes, we will refer to him as President-elect and agent of Russia Donald Trump.

Why I Prefer Protocol-Oriented-Programming in Objective-C to Swift

I first learned protocol-oriented-programming with Objective-C, and I was very pleased to see the Swift team emphasize this style.

But, at least at this writing at the end of 2016, I still run into problems when I use this style of programming in Swift.

Here’s the problem I’m trying to solve:

Variant Value

I’m working on a schema-less hierarchical database. Tables can contain tables, and they can contain values such as strings, numbers, booleans, dates, arrays, and so on.

To represent these values, I’d rather use a Value protocol rather than a Value class. If it’s a protocol, then I can have completely separate implementations: BoolValue and DateValue and ArrayValue and so on would conform to Value, but otherwise would have different implementations.

But here’s the thing: ArrayValue needs to have an actual Swift array of type [Value].

So let’s say you want to add something to that Swift array, where arrayValue is of [Value] type. Let’s say you’ve created trueValue, which is a BoolValue, and BoolValue conforms to the Value protocol.

arrayValue += [trueValue]

You can’t. Because even though BoolValue conforms to the Value protocol, this isn’t handled automatically. The compiler knows all the types involved, but it still won’t let you do this unless you explicitly cast. The following works:

arrayValue += [trueValue as Value]

In Objective-C, no casting is required:

[arrayValue addObject:trueValue];

This may seem like nitpicking on my part, but that added bit of housekeeping makes protocol-oriented-programming in Swift feel a little bit unnatural.

A natural form of protocol-oriented-programming might start with this premise: any time the protocol type is called-for, you can use an object that conforms to that protocol.

More complexity, to push the point

Let’s say you have two arrays:

let array1 = [trueValue as Value]
let array2 = [trueValue]

You and I both know that those arrays contain just one object, and it’s an identical object. Those two arrays are absolutely equal.

But you can’t compare them:

array1 == array2 will not compile, because array1 is of type [Value] and array2 is of type [BoolValue]. Even though BoolValue conforms to Value, this won’t work.

In Objective-C, you’d just use isEqual:, and it would work as expected.

But it gets worse:

let array1 = [trueValue as Value]
let array2 = [trueValue as Value]

Okay: now you know those two arrays couldn’t possibly be more equal.

But array1 == array2 still won’t compile, and you’ll get the following error:

binary operator '==' cannot be applied to two '[Value]' operands

In Objective-C, you’d write:

NSArray *array1 = @[trueValue];
NSArray *array2 = @[trueValue];

And [array1 isEqual:array2] will return YES.

(You could type those arrays using lightweight generics, and the outcome is the same: it works.)

So: a second premise for natural protocol-oriented-programming might be: a protocol-conforming object should have the same features as other objects — for instance, you should be able to make it Equatable (the equivalent of, in Objective-C, responding to isEqual:).

Two TV Shows

Orange leader. Dominance and narcissism and corruption and bullshit and lies. Families breaking up. The claim of making the world great masking a business empire.

See Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath. It’s riveting.

And I can’t help but feel like, in a way, all of America just joined Scientology. (Not literally, of course.)

* * *

The Man in the High Castle has long been my favorite Philip K. Dick novel, and one of my favorite novels ever.

(My Mom pushed it on me when I was a teenager. I’ve been a Dickhead ever since.)

In it, the Germans and Japanese won the second World War (or did they?) and America is split up and occupied — by the Japanese empire on the west and the Reich to the east.

I’m five episodes into the TV show. It doesn’t faithfully track the novel — it’s much more of a thriller than I remember from the book. Which is fine: the novel is a novel, and the TV show is a TV show.

And I can hardly pull myself away, not least because it also speaks to the current moment.

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