Tuesday, July 25, 2023

Some interesting things happening in Major League Baseball this year...


I don't follow professional baseball very much, but I am paying attention to at least two things. The first one is much more interesting than the second, but I find them both interesting.

Firstly, Shohei Ohtani !! He was great last year, but this year he is somehow beyond great.

Secondly, we are now 100 games through the 2023 season, and all five teams in the American League East are above .500.

Enjoy the pennant race, everyone!

Yes, yes, the one thing we can be certain of is that the Oakland Athletics will not be in the playoffs this year.

Monday, July 17, 2023

Whiskey Flat is gone again

The Lake Isabella region is changing again.

For centuries, probably for millenia, the mid-mountain valley that drains the Kern River was settled by various peoples.

This dramatically changed with the discovery of gold in the early part of the 19th century and then again after the Civil War, when refugees from the war's devastation drifted westward to the open land in the west, leading to conflict in this (relatively) peaceful area.

Around 75 years ago, this part of California was changed again by the construction of the Isabella Dam, built to control the raging Kern River which had flooded Bakersfield many times.

I used to travel this area fairly frequently, when some of my family lived in the high desert area near Ridgecrest, and they would tell me about this history of the dam and the valley and how it had many stories.

More recently, the dam became damaged, and a 15-year reconstruction project required that the lake level be dramatically lowered.

Still more recently, a series of drought years lowered the lake level still further, to the point that the lake contained only a mere eight percent of its storage capacity, with the result that previously-submerged towns underneath the lake began to become visible again.

Knowing how to find these locations is a bit of an art:

"You can easily locate it by finding the foundation of the old church and a cistern that was on the hill above Brown's stable," Anderson said. "Old Kernville is between New Kernville and Wofford Heights."

Anyway, these parts of central California had been very popular from the late 19th centry through the middle of the 20th century, as you can see in the wonderful pictures in this SFGate article. There were farms and ranches, towns with markets, churches, government buildings, and so forth. And the area was well-known for making "western" movies celebrating the (mostly fictional) cowboys-and-indians stories that were very popular and built the careers of actors like John Wayne and Clint Eastwood.

Damming the river and filling Lake Isabella mostly ended this era of the region's history, although people still gather yearly for a celebration of "Whiskey Flat Days".

But last winter, as everyone knows, the rains and snows came in tremendous volume! Happily, the restoration project has finished, and the Isabella Dam is back to its intended role.

And Whiskey Flat has sunk back below the lake's surface.

Which is good, because the snow is still melting!

Mulkay, who acts as the liaison between water rights holders downstream and the Corps of Engineers, said returning full storage capacity to the reservoir will give water managers more flexibility in their water management strategies.

Considering this year's massive snowpack and huge river flows, many had predicted Isabella would be filled by mid- to late June. But a mild late spring and the Corps' decision to push larger-than-normal releases from the dam gave water managers more breathing room.

"There is still a lot of water in the snowpack," Mulkay said, "and a very conservative estimate of runoff for July and August is in the range of 350,000 acre-feet and 110,000 acre-feet, respectively.

Not sure when I'll make it back through this area again, as my family has moved and it's no longer an area I visit regularly.

Still, it's good to know that the dam is safely repaired, as I've still got family in Bakersfield!

Friday, July 7, 2023

The more you learn about Rust, the more you find to learn

Over the last several months, I've been continuing to study Rust, the programming language that is taking over the (systems) programming world.

I probably shouldn't put that word "systems" in parentheses, however. I'm not sure if it's just a reflection of my interests (I've pretty much only ever been a systems programmer), or if it says something a bit deeper about Rust, but most of the interesting material I find about Rust is very much oriented to systems programmers.

Anyway, here are a few references since the last time I wrote.

I'm learning so many things about Rust by trying to learn Rust.

But the marvelous thing is to be simultaneously learning so many other great ways of looking at how to write great systems software.

Which is a topic that never gets old.

Wednesday, July 5, 2023

Dead and Company Boulder Colorado 2023

Man I had a nice summer trip to Colorado!

My favorite part was the Mickey "rap" on night 2. My second favorite part was Dave Matthews on the last night joining for the final 4 songs. My third favorite part was the Dear Mr Fantasy/Hey Jude segment on night 1. My fourth favorite part was The Eleven, which is a very weird song but since you almost never hear it played live that's a special treat. My fifth favorite was another glorious version of Morning Dew, which has grown on me over the decades to become one of my all-time favorite songs, tragic and depressing though it may be.

But it was all wonderful!

I'm still quite sleep-deprived and foggy-eyed, but these nice reviews captured the scene very well: