A need for speed

Monday morning. Today’s word is Longanimity. (It should be the word of the year.)

One day until September and the US has hit 6 million cases.

With the 5G rollout you should expect faster mobile connection speeds. Or at least slightly faster. In Canada speeds average 90Mbps. Here in the US it’s only 33.4Mbps. Internationally we’re not even in the top ten for speed. But we are in the top five for coverage, which is something.

No more snow days? I guess they don’t make sense with remote learning. Unless, of course, the power goes out.

David Able writes about a benefit of the decline of cranberry farming in the area: returning the bogs to their natural state. I haven’t been to Tidemarsh in Plymouth but there are a number of former cranberry bogs turned into conservation land around the south shore that I like to visit. Great for an afternoon walk. Lots of birds.

And, it’s been taken down now, but Herman Cain, who died from Covid-19 in July, tweeted yesterday that the virus was not as deadly as everyone thought. Weird. Of course the Internet reacted.

Smoke on the water

Sunday, August 30. Thurgood Marshall began his Supreme Court tenure on this date.

It’s a buyer’s market for apartments this fall.

A marijuana store may be coming to Quincy Market. Out of staters, 21 and over, are allowed to purchase cannabis in Massachusetts, so I’m curious if this store will focus on the tourist trade with overpriced, Boston themed offerings like Hub Haze, Paul Revere Pre-rolls and Beantown Buzz. Pick up a Harvard sweatshirt while you’re there.

The tide went out and the MBTA was swimming naked, financially speaking. Spencer Buell revisits the radical idea of eliminating fares and treating transit as a public good rather than an always-struggling commercial endeavor.

Speaking of radical ideas, let’s just eliminate the spring and fall time changes and stay with daylight savings all year long. It’s 2020. We can handle it.

And another Legal Sea Foods bites the dust. This time in Park Square.

A forest over the river

Saturday morning. Clouds and rain this weekend as the remnants of Laura come through. Good. We need the rain.

The Keep America Great website isn’t what you think. Here’s why.

There may be big changes afoot for the Brooklyn Bridge. Cyclists have always had a hard time moving through the tourists on the upper deck who are constantly wandering into the bike lane. One part of the new plan, selected after a competition, would move bikes into dedicated lanes on the lower deck. Other changes include a new central plaza on the bridge and much more greenery. It worked for the High Line so why not the Brooklyn Bridge.

The FDA is a hot political mess. Just what we need.

In the Scottish Highlands several years ago, I watched a man stacking rocks along the side of the road near a scenic viewpoint. A tour bus stopped and the guide got out and starting kicking the cairns over, sparking an argument leading to a near fistfight. The man stacking rocks explained that he stops here every year and the stacks are his memorials to a dead family member. The guide insisted that the cairns were creating a breeding ground for mosquitos. To make a long story short, it turns out that they were both right.

And if you’re looking forward to the new iPhones with 5G coming this fall, you might find that they won’t access the faster service without an upgrade to your plan. I guess someone had to pay for that build-out.

Ball of confusion

Friday time. Happy birthday to Miss Jane.

Massport is in a fight with city hall. Adam Gaffin reports on a local/state transportation squabble in the Seaport.

OK. Here we are, six months into the pandemic in the US, and testing is still a work in progress. The White House just announced a deal to provide 150 million quick-result antigen tests. At the same time, following guidance from the White House, the CDC is changing course and recommending less testing for asymptomatic people. (This was the change made while Fauci was knocked out.) Those new antigen tests, while returning results quickly, also have higher rate of false negative results, which will require retesting. Some states are just throwing up their hands and going their own way, ignoring the new CDC guidelines. Chaos, I tell you.

Weekend reading: In an article in Nautilus, Daniel Sudarsky considers the black hole information paradox in light of the measurement problem.

While commercial airlines have been hard hit this year, startups trying to disrupt the air-travel business are still in the game. Boston-based Transcend is focusing on a VTOL approach that will get you from Boston to New York in less than 40 minutes. Uber is in the game with a plan for ride-share air taxis. And Otto Aviation is close to market with a highly efficient, windowless bullet plane for private flights priced competitively with commercial flights. Exciting stuff.

And you can add dumbbells to the list of things that are in short supply in 2020. Ironically.

Mirror, mirror on the wall

It’s Thursday, August 27th, and the Internet has gone mad.

Coleman Herman asked T employees why they weren’t wearing their masks. Judging by the answers it doesn’t appear that a culture of customer service has been instilled in the workforce.

The most popular Republican governor in the country wasn’t even invited to the Republican National Convention. In normal times that would seem strange. At the convention, the Vice President bemoaned the violence now going on in Kenosha but warned that you won’t be safe in Joe Biden’s America. The fact is, the federal government has very little to do with protests and violence in the streets, except for creating the larger conditions that could lead to them. And that is clearly what’s happening today in Donald Trump’s America.

Tom Cruise went to the movies to see Tenet. Thumbs up, apparently.

We’re getting a peek at what the new normal will look like. Boston area businesses were surveyed and the consensus is that remote work is here to stay, even after coronavirus concerns have passed. Gartner found the same thing on a larger scale.

And remember those mysterious seeds that people were receiving? Turns out it was probably just brushing, in which online sellers send random people free things to boost their own presence in the marketplace by then writing glowing reviews for themselves that appear to come from verified buyers. Seeds are lightweight and cheap, and perfect for this scam.

Wicked supa spreda

It’s a chill Wednesday. A cold front came through overnight.

Would you let Elon Musk into your brain? Thanks, but no thanks.

The Globe reports that a July bachelorette party in RI, attended by people from MA, is responsible for a coronavirus cluster in the region. And that Biogen conference back in February? That one is now credited with 20,000 cases.

Interesting numbers from Gallup on how people of different races feel about a police presence in their neighborhoods. When it comes to police/citizen interactions, the survey found that it’s the quality and respectfulness of those interactions that makes the difference in community support. But police in Boston already knew that.

The National Enquirer has a reputation problem. There’s some karma for you.

And as I was thinking about the coming new year, Dave Barry’s annual ‘Year in Review‘ column came to mind. 2020 will not yield easily to satire but Barry is already hard at work. “It’s always a chore to write, but this year it’s going to be a monster. I have already started drinking.”

Skin in the game

Tuesday, I think. Right?

He was a nice guy that we all knew from TV.

There was shock and outrage from the defense bar after prosecutors asked for a higher bail for a homeless man accused of robbery when it became clear that the Massachusetts Bail Fund would pay his way. But I’m with the DA on this one. Bail is a surety to insure that the defendant will appear at trial. Why would an indigent person show up for a trial that could end up with them being convicted and incarcerated when they had nothing to lose by avoiding it?

The MBTA is scrambling to find money to keep the lights on. It looks like a little bit of creative bookkeeping may be involved.

The NYT reports that Irish government officials are dropping like flies in the wake of GolfGate. Who thought that a large private dinner gala for senior officials at a hotel in Clifden in the middle of a pandemic was a good idea? “This was in the context of people having been very compliant here with the coronavirus regulations, rather more so than in many other countries,” a professor at Trinity College told the Times. “Some people didn’t even go to parents’ or grandparents’ funerals.” So yes, I can see why people are upset.

And some putz on LinkedIn wrote that New York City was dead forever. “Are .. You .. Kidding .. Me?!”

Measure twice, cut once

It’s Monday, Waffle Day. (Not to be confused with Swedish Waffle Day.)

Time machine tip: If you bought a thousand dollars worth of Apple stock at its IPO in 1980, it would be worth over $1.2 million today. Jean-Louis Gassée takes us through the numbers.

In The Guardian, Hallie Golden explores what defunding the police actually means when it’s driven by short-term political expediency. Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither will police reform be accomplished by rushed, poorly considered budget cuts.

Tom Petty died in 2017. If you miss that Petty sound, there’s a new home-recorded version of the song Wildflowers on YouTube. In October, a nine box set of songs and videos will be released. And if that’s not enough, Mike Campbell’s band, The Dirty Knobs, has its debut release in November. The title song has a familiar ring to it. This one too. Can’t quite put my finger on it.

I admit that I was one of those people who thought the blockchain would revolutionize the world. Triple entry accounting would be the next great step forward. And who knows, it still may be. But judging from all the unrealized hype in the last few years, especially in the cryptocurrency area, I’m beginning to have my doubts. Jessie Frederik, writing at The Correspondent, also has doubts.

And if you enjoy physicists singing over cheesy background tracks (and who doesn’t) you’ll enjoy Sabine Hossenfelder‘s musical version of Theories of Everything. And then there are the comments, which quickly veer into misogyny and physicists slamming each other and each others’ theories, completely validating the premise of the song. Who said science was boring.

Reckless abandon

Sunday. A quiet foggy morning on a quiet news day.

A 50 person fight and then a seven car crash. Boston is doing things big these days.

Last week, Joe Biden had a great speech at the end of the DNC. This coming week, during the RNC, Trump is going to speak every single night. And… “We’re going to have more of it live than what they did,” Mr. Trump told Fox News on Thursday. “I think it’s pretty boring when you do tapes.” This should be good.

Jessica Kiang reviewed Tenet for the New York Times. She found it entertaining.

The Cannonball Run record for driving from New York City to Los Angles has been broken again, this time with a coast-to-coast average speed of 112 MPH. That’s pretty fast.

And NASA is reporting that an astroid is heading towards the earth. It’s expected to arrive the day before the presidential election.

Sisyphus in blue

Good Saturday morning. Happy birthday to Edward Rowe Snow, Ray Bradbury and photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson.

A Wisconsin coffee shop that had declared itself a mask-free zone will be closing after battling with local authorities. They fought the law. They did not win.

The NYPD is doubling down on community engagement. But as the first two paragraphs of the story show, it’s hard going. Still, it’s the right approach. And one of the centerpieces of the Washington D.C. Metro Police’s community outreach efforts is being disbanded because of budget cuts. No more horse mounted unit.

Globe writers and contributors have compiled a list of desert island music selections and they’ve picked some good ones.

The Internet has been overflowing lately with advice and analysis for people seeking happiness. Be optimistic. That’s one way to be happy. Get old, that’s another. Be trusting and don’t get famous. Argue productively. Those are ways, too. But don’t be too happy. That can be toxic. What the Internet giveth, the Internet taketh away.

And those air conditioners that were promised by New York authorities? They’re still coming. Should be there by October. November at the latest.