@mgrass@mstdn.social
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mgrass

@mgrass@mstdn.social

Former D.C. news guy in WA (Bellingham & Seattle) | @uwcip assistant director for comms | Transit rider, walker, and swimmer.

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mgrass, to pnw
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Good evening, Bellingham.

#BellinghamWA #PNW #Sunset

mgrass, to Seattle
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At 9 p.m. (Pacific), here's what Aurora looks like in Seattle. (Via a Seattle DOT camera.)

#Seattle #Aurora

mgrass,
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Meanwhile in Bellingham, around 11 p.m. (Pacific).

mgrass, to aitools
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What's an online ad you see so often that you naturally distrust the advertiser because their repetitive ads are so annoying?

For me, it's Grammarly. Or maybe Temu.

#Advertising

mgrass, to random
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I received an annoying jargon-y email pitch at 8:01 a.m. (Pacific) from an Atlanta-based vendor selling software solutions in search of problems to solve saying that they had just tried calling me at my office.

I rarely respond to vendor cold calls. But if I did, trying to track me down at the office before 8 a.m. is unlikely to be an effective marketing and sales strategy.

mgrass, to random
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It's the morning rush hour in Downtown Bellingham and, clearly, the newly installed bike lane on Holly Street is leading to hell-in-a-handbasket traffic conditions for area motorists who are now denied one of three travel lanes!

Quelle horreur!

alan, to washington
@alan@subdued.social avatar

Hey people in Washington State, have you written to WSDOT to ask them to revise their Amtrak Cascades long term plans to include faster travel times? Comments close on April 18, so please write now!

https://secure.everyaction.com/HVT8mYmSxkyyMnV37gAQbQ2

#AmtrakCascades #WSDOT #Washington #WashingtonState #Cascadia #Amtrak #CascadiaRail #PNW

mgrass,
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@alan I wrote and just submitted an approximately 1,700-word assessment of the Amtrak Cascades Service Development Plan Preliminary Alternatives, specifically on Bellingham and Whatcom County impacts.

#BellinghamWA #AmtrakCascades

mgrass,
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@alan Lolz. ... Beyond the medicore top speeds others have been stressing, for Bellingham and Whatcom County, I worry that a lack of rail corridor improvements in British Columbia will continue to hamper the reliability of southbound trains south of the U.S.-Canada border, despite the increased number of roundtrips and limited track improvements at Custer, Ferndale, South Bellingham and the BNSF Delta Yard in Everett. ...

#AmtrakCascades #BellinghamWA

mgrass,
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@alan While I realize expanding rail capacity between Ballard and Everett and Bellingham and Blanchard is challenging due to topography, the lack of track improvements across the Skagit Valley, where trains could hit top allowable speeds, is disappointing. That means Bellingham gets stuck with sluggish service on slow tracks.

#AmtrakCascades #BellinghamWA

mgrass,
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@alan Also, the Seattle-Vancouver, B.C. corridor is hamstrung by the slow, frustrating single-track chokepoint crossing the Snohomish River Delta near Everett, but the WSDOT Amtrak Cascades Service Development Plan doesn't address that.

mgrass,
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@alan For Bellingham and Whatcom County, Preliminary Alternative A is mediocre with 2 train roundtrips replacing the 2 existing bus connections. The trip frequency to/from Bellingham and Seattle is, essentially, a wash.

Alternative B is a bit better with 5 roundtrips serving Bellingham-Seattle. Alternatives C & D are a bit better with 6 roundtrips serving Bellingham-Seattle.

mgrass,
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@alan And for Bellingham, Alternative E isn't much of an improvement on Alternatives C & D. Instead of all trains starting/ending in Vancouver, B.C. as envisioned with Alternative E, I think it's in Bellingham's interest to have a few train trips start/end here, so they avoid some of the previously mentioned rail corridor issues in Canada, particularly at the Fraser River Bridge. We need more reliable southbound trains!

I think that summarizes my main points!

#BellinghamWA #AmtrakCascades

mgrass, to Seattle
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Reading this Cascadia Daily News article about the general lack of tech startup infrastructure in and around Bellingham makes me think: If Cascadia High Speed Rail were already developed (or in the very least, better Amtrak Cascades service between Seattle and Vancouver, B.C. existed), Bellingham would be especially well connected to those nearby tech orbits.

https://www.cascadiadaily.com/2024/mar/31/northwest-washington-state-dead-zone-for-tech-startups/

#BellinghamWA #Seattle #HighSpeedRail #AmtrakCascades

mgrass, to Electricvehicles
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MTR Western, which operates the Amtrak Cascades bus connection between Bellingham and Seattle, will soon be adding a 2nd all-electric battery bus to the route (according to the bus operator doing his intro remarks for the trip south). The first such bus was introduced last year: https://mtrwestern.com/sustainability/mtrwestern-launches-first-intercity-electric-bus/

While more Amtrak Cascades rail service to/from Bellingham would be nice, these all-electric buses are pretty great.

#BellinghamWA #AmtrakCascades #ElectricVehicles

mgrass, to journalism
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It's tough to watch parts of the internet fade away and die incrementally, especially when it involves something where you invested a lot of your time, energy, and creativity.

WAMU Public Radio announced it is shutting down D.C. area local news site @DCist, something I helped jumpstart as a volunteer-run group blog in 2004.

Some thoughts ...

https://www.washingtonian.com/2024/02/23/dcist-will-be-shut-down-again-this-time-by-wamu/

mgrass,
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I published the first DCist blog posts nearly 20 years ago that July from my basement apartment in McLean Gardens. While DCist was a rag-tag group of friends and local bloggers, it filled a need in D.C. local media and quickly became popular.

DCist was social media before there was social media.

It gained early visibility via quarter sheets dropped off at bars and happy hours we hosted around town. It was organic growth. Remember, it was 2004. There wasn't paid content distribution.

mgrass,
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In 2005, The Washington Post's VP for development, the late Chris Ma, interviewed me to launch a local blog competitor for WaPo's now-defunct Express. He was perplexed by DCist ... Paraphrasing Ma's question: "How did you build DCist's popularity so quickly with just volunteers?"

The gist of my response: "When there's a void to fill (in this case, the lamentable decline of The Post's Metro section and a lack of local news outlets in D.C.) don't be surprised when passionate amateurs step in."

mgrass,
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I left for new projects in 2005. Thanks to the dedicated editors and writers, the site evolved into a bigger enterprise and helped launch journalism careers. It did great things in recent years under WAMU, thanks to its enterprising reporters. But in my view, DCist was at its best when it was a scrappy, volunteer/semi-pro news site.

mgrass,
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Sometimes, much loved brands that grew organically early on end up being crushed by the desire to retrofit them as vehicles for revenue growth and advertising. Yes, you need sustainable models, especially in local media, but sometimes the grand visions of brand strategists and audience growth managers totally ruin the good thing that people originally came for.

mgrass,
@mgrass@mstdn.social avatar

The sad thing is, of course, the need for local news is greater than ever, especially in Washington, D.C. The death of DCist and deep cuts for WaPo's Metro section certainly don't help. Local democracy dies in the dark.

DCist died one death previously to rise again. Maybe it'll rise again.

Long live DCist!

mgrass, to Seattle
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In Seattle, there's the time-honored geographic quandary: Is it on Pike or Pine?

https://youtu.be/o78v8EE7Ano?si=UHrx7r1vNV6S4tTo

But there should be a quiz variation: In the Pike-Pine Corridor, is it at Bellevue or Belmont?

Kizuki Ramen: Pike or Pine? Bellevue or Belmont?
Fogon Cocina: Pike or Pine? Bellevue or Belmont?
Amazon Fresh: Pike or Pine? Bellevue or Belmont?
Biang Biang Noodle: Pike or Pine? Bellevue or Belmont?

mgrass, to Seattle
@mgrass@mstdn.social avatar

Our team at the @uwcip in Seattle is seeking a full-stack software engineer to support our mission and research.

Although open until filled, preferred applicant deadline is Feb. 18. Review of applicants starts on Feb. 22.

More information: https://www.cip.uw.edu/2024/02/02/cip-full-stack-software-engineer/

Full position description, salary range, and more information about duties and responsibilities, minimum requirements, and desired qualifications: https://uwhires.admin.washington.edu/ENG/Candidates/default.cfm?szCategory=jobprofile&szOrderID=230605

mgrass, to internet
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As researchers studying how rumors spread on social media face numerous challenges in 2024, including limited access to platform data, we “have to learn how to get insights from more limited sets of data,” @uwcip director and co-founder @katestarbird told Nature. “And that offers the opportunity for creativity.”

https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-024-00274-7

mgrass, to pnw
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It's a pleasant evening in Bellingham with dry conditions, 56F / 13C.

mgrass, to animals
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Rise and shine.

#CatsOfMastodon #Cats #Sunrise

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