This year, I’m especially grateful that there is no war on U.S. soil. Regardless of which side in the Hamas-Israel fight one supports, nearly everyone will agree that war is hell and those who are insulated from war are fortunate. Since 1865, Americans have enjoyed better insulation than almost any other group of people, though, of course, quite a few Americans who identified as men have been sent off to fight.
Zooming all the way to the other end of the spectrum… I’m grateful that we can eat outdoors in nice weather in Florida without being besieged by yellowjackets, the wasps that ruin what would otherwise be great experiences in the Northeast U.S. I’ve enjoyed outdoor meals on both coasts and in Orlando and never been bothered. Florida is supposedly part of this insect’s range, so I have no explanation for why yellowjackets don’t swarm around restaurants and backyard barbecues.
For something in the middle… ChatGPT, which will be one year old on November 30, especially its ability to liberate programmers from the tedium of having to search for libraries and API calls (admittedly a tedium created by other programmers, drunk on the near-infinite memory capacity of modern computer systems). ChatGPT and similar have the potential to make programming an interesting job once again (see Is “data scientist” the new “programmer”?).
Readers: What are you grateful for this year?