Tuesday, September 14, 2021

Java marches forward

Java 17 is now generally available.

For someone like me, for whom Java is a daily programming language, but only part of my overall technology stack, keeping up with Java nowadays is an exhausting proposition.

Look at the major changes that are included in Java 17!

Look at the release notes for Java 17!

But really, for someone like me, Java 17 is just part of that picture. I'm still generally using Java 8 in my day-to-day work, with small occasions when I use Java 9 or Java 11.

So it's not just Java 17 that I'm out of date on, it's also Java 12, Java 13, Java 14, Java 15, Java 16.

Luckily, the good folks at Oracle have this covered:

JDK 17 will be a long-term-support (LTS) release from most vendors, including Oracle. If you’re upgrading from the previous LTS release, JDK 11, then you have many more JEPs to look forward to, summarized here: https://openjdk.java.net/projects/jdk/17/jeps-since-jdk-11

And boy, that's a big list.

As the Red Queen said, though, these are just the facts of life:

"Well, in our country," said Alice, still panting a little, "you'd generally get to somewhere else—if you run very fast for a long time, as we've been doing."

"A slow sort of country!" said the Queen. "Now, here, you see, it takes all the running you can do, to keep in the same place. If you want to get somewhere else, you must run at least twice as fast as that!"

For now, I'll keep on doing all the running I can do.

Saturday, September 11, 2021

Simu Liu is having his moment

I've been a huge fan of Kim's Convenience for several years, it's one of the best "unknown" shows on TV.

It has great writing, and also a wonderful cast.

So I was thrilled when Simu Liu got a huge break as the star of the new Marvel Shang-Chi movie.

Anyway, Simu Liu is definitely having his moment.

Sorry for all the pop-ups and ads; the Huffington Post website has become a real cesspool.

Anyway, I hope he goes on to have more fine chances, he's a great actor.

Thursday, September 2, 2021

Hard, hard work on the front (fire) lines

It's hard to even begin to comprehend the blood, sweat, and tears in this terse and rather bureaucratic description of the fight to save the homes of twenty five thousand people in the greater South Lake Tahoe area:

Yesterday hand crews assessed opportunities to build direct line along the fire perimeter from California State Route 89 west toward Scout Peak to reduce threats to structures in Christmas Valley. At Echo Lake firefighters were shuttled across by boat to work on structure preparations and hand crews assessed opportunities to build direct line along the fire perimeter from U.S. Highway 50 west toward Echo Lake. Near Pioneer Trail in South Lake Tahoe, dozers continued to build mechanical line along the bottom edge of the slope to keep the fire south of these communities. Engines patrolled and prepared structures that remained threatened. During night operations, specialized night flying helicopters were used to drop retardant from a mobile retardant plant to slow fire progression near Christmas Valley and hot shot crews built direct line along the fire perimeter on the northeast edge of the fire from Trout Creek toward Trimmer Peak.

Today hand crews will build direct line along the fires edge from Christmas Valley west toward Nebelhorn and from U.S. Highway 50 west toward Echo Lake and hot shot crews will continue hand line construction near Trimmer Peak at the northeastern most edge of the fire. In the community of South Lake Tahoe, dozers and hand crews will continue mechanical line preparations near Pioneer Trail and begin improving old road systems in the Cold Creek drainage. Air resources will assist firefighters on the ground with retardant and water drops to slow fire movement and cool hot spots along the fire perimeter as conditions allow.

Be safe. Be careful. We appreciate all you do.

Slow vaccine progress

As of September 1, 2021, the CA State Dashboard is now reporting that 47 million vaccine doses have been administered.

Broken down slightly more, the CA State Vaccine Dashboard is now reporting that 66.8% of the 12-and-older population is fully vaccinated, while another 10.2 percent are partially vaccinated, totaling to 77% of the 12-and-older population with some protection.

Unfortunately, the state is still recording 10 thousand new cases a day.

Given that there are approximately 34 million people ages 12-and-over in California, the 23 percent of those who are not vaccinated comprise some 7,800,000 people in California with no vaccine protection.

23 percent of a big number is a big number.

I fear we may see 10 thousand new cases a day for a long, long time.

Monday, August 30, 2021

The west is on fire

They just announced the complete evacuation of the South Lake Tahoe area.

I can't remember this ever happening before.

This is a big deal.

I hope those fire crews can catch a break soon.

Saturday, August 28, 2021

Up, up, and away

Uh oh, this is not good:

  • Millennium Tower Sank More Even After Partial Work Stoppage, Documents Show
    on July 30, the homeowners association board agreed to put a two-to-four-week hold on shaft drilling work, documents show.

    But by that time, 39 shafts had already been installed. Soon, crews refocused on sinking 24-inch diameter piles along Fremont Street.

    But by mid-August, it was apparent from the data that the problem was more complex than fix engineers had hoped. Despite the pause, the building had settled another half inch – possibly due to soil being displaced during installation of the 24-inch piles. That prompted the board to put all pile installation on hold as of Monday.

    Data released by the city on Monday shows the tower is currently leaning 22 inches towards Fremont Street – compared to 17 inches when work began.
  • Millennium Tower's Accelerated Sinking Halts $100 Million Effort to Stop It
    an outside expert, Oakland-based structural engineer David Williams, tells NBC Bay Area that the new data on accelerating sinking is not nothing.

    "The trend is the thing that’s very disturbing, the fact that they have reactivated settlement,” he tells the station, adding that the speed of the new sinking is of special concern."
  • Repairs of Leaning San Francisco Skyscraper on Hold; Engineering Expert Blasts Plan
    Karp says each new piling being driven is causing more issues.

    “You never place piles or piers closer than three pier diameters apart. These are 36 feet [sic; I think the piles are 36 *inches* in diameter] so they should be nine feet apart and they’re, what? — five feet or something. As you do one, you’re disturbing the ground, then you go to the next one you’re disturbing the ground there and you go to the next one until you have a whole zone of disturbance that can’t be fixed,” Karp explained.
  • San Francisco's Millennium Tower fix halted after further sinking observed
    The fix has been likened to putting a bumper jack next to a flat tire, and involves the installation of piles 250 feet deep along the north and west sides of the tower, to be tied beneath the sidewalk to the original foundation.

From last summer, here's a picture and an article with more details on the repair that is being attempted:

  • Reviewers OK Fix for San Francisco's Leaning Millennium Tower
    The structural upgrade is designed to meet the requirements of the voluntary seismic improvements section of the San Francisco Existing Building Code.

    SGH’s Hamburger says his team selected the voluntary seismic upgrade route because it offered the easiest path through the permitting process. “The building code has provisions to allow VSUs without having to bring the building into conformance with the current code,” he says. The primary intent is to arrest settlement, but the 52 piles also will improve seismic performance, he adds.


    The existing mat is supported by 950 14-in.-square precast concrete piles. The aim is to remove 20% of the building weight from the underlying clay strata.

    The load reduction represents “what I could comfortably transfer from the new piles to the existing mat without major modification of the existing mat,” says Hamburger, whose client is Paul Hastings LLP, a lawyer retained by the tower’s developer, Mission Street Development. MSD is part of Millennium Partners.

    The system relies on loading each pile with 400 tons using a permanent hydraulic jack that reacts against a new mat extension. The jacks would be housed in a maintenance access vault above the mat. The scheme calls for a so-called indicator test pile, which is installed to scale.

    The weight loss would result in an almost immediate rebound of about 1 in. of the tower’s north and west sides. That would remove about 25% of the tilt, predicts Hamburger. “Over time, we expect another 25% to 50% of the tilt to come out through continued settlement of the south and east sides,” he says.

    Under the plan, piles would be drilled 4 ft, 9 in. on center under sidewalks—200 ft on the west side and 100 ft on the north side, just outside the tower footprint. The team has applied for an easement to work under the sidewalks, which meet at the block’s northwest corner.

    Piles would extend up through an 8-ft-wide extension of the tower’s 10-ft-thick reinforced concrete mat—4 ft from the old mat. New and old mats would be connected by chipping into the side of the old mat and coupling new and old reinforcing steel.

The plan was to install 52 new piles, and they've drilled the shafts for 39 of them, so they're about 75% done with drilling the shafts.

This troubled construction project is even more troubled now.

Friday, August 13, 2021

Backpacking 2021: Leavitt Meadows Trailhead, Hoover Wilderness

We missed our backpacking trip in 2020, but by Spring of 2021 we were all able to get our vaccinations, and we were raring to go!

Unfortunately, the horrible Dixie Fire had other plans for us, rendering our first planned destination unreachable, unbreathable, and wholly out of consideration for this year's trip. With a week to go before our planned departure, we switched to a second backup plan in Siskiyou county, but the Cronan and River Complex fires had eliminated that possibility as well.

With barely 72 hours left, we frantically searched for an alternate plan, but finding a place free of smoke and yet with permits available for last minute hikers such as ourselves was quite challenging. Finally, just as we were ready to give up, we came across a viable possibility, which was to hike up into the upper Walker River watershed in the Hoover Wilderness. Permits were available, and although there was considerable smoke in the area from the Tiltill fire, the forecast was for the winds to shift and blow the smoke elsewhere.

It was time to go, so we got up and went.

Leavitt Meadows is an enormous High Sierra meadow, stretching for several miles along the upper reaches of the Walker River. The Walker River, in turn, is one of the great rivers of the Eastern Sierras, and is well-known as one of the great fishing rivers of the Western United States.

We weren't planning on doing any fishing, but it's always a joy to hike along and camp near the great rivers of the Sierra Nevada, and the approach via Leavitt Meadows was particularly appealing as you can get several miles away from any roads or buildings just by walking the trail along the meadow. This is a very pleasant experience as you can put a lot of distance behind you with relatively little elevation gain.

Above the river we stopped for lunch at lovely Lane Lake, small but ever so picturesque.

About 1.5 miles beyond Lane Lake, we were able to make our way off the main trail and found a lovely campsite near a beautiful forty foot waterfall on Walker River. Although this has been an extremely dry year, and the river was very low, the falls were still running and very wonderful to view.

I had recently invested in a Supai backpacker's boat, and Lane Lake proved to be the perfect venue for an afternoon of High Sierra boating.

The Walker River watershed in this area is dotted with many other lakes, as well as various tributaries of the river, which has its headwaters near Forsyth Peak in Yosemite National Park. Trips both short and long are easy to fashion in this area, and we certainly enjoyed ourselves.

Because this area is so accessible and quite popular, we saw a lot of other hikers (and not a lot of other wildlife), but the watershed is large and there are plenty of secluded areas where peaceful and quiet campsites can be found.

Given the way the trip had nearly ended before it even began, we all agreed that the trip wildly exceeded our expectations, and it was certainly great to be able to go back into the wilderness again with old friends.