Bubble, bubble, toil and trouble

Saturday. It’s Halloween and there’s already snow on the ground. Scary.

As the Washington Post points out, life can be hard this time of year for a guy named Forest Frankenstein. (It’s pronounced ‘Fronkensteen’!)

It’s a full moon tonight, something that’s pretty rare for Halloween, otherwise known as candy day – because it’s John Candy’s birthday. Yesterday was National Candy Corn Day but today, of all days, Christopher Muther disses the waxy treats. Unfortunate.

A Boston-based firm conducted a study to find a solution to transportation challenges in Maryland. And what did they come up with? Monorail. That’s right, monorail. A bonafide, electrified, six car monorail.

Restaurants are barely surviving so this news is not good.

And Belgium is going back into lockdown to prevent the health care system from collapsing. According to the Brussels Times, “Receiving visitors at home is no longer allowed, with the exception of one ‘cuddle contact’. People who live alone are allowed to have two cuddle contacts.” Cuddle contacts. Now that’s a new one.

Off the charts

It’s a gloomy Friday. But it’s also National Candy Corn Day.

Don’t hate the winter. Embrace it by going outside like the Norwegians.

Over 88 thousand cases yesterday in the US. The charts speak for themselves.

The federal government can, and does, run a deficit. But most states don’t have that luxury. And many of those states are now in a cash crunch, waiting and hoping for federal relief that hasn’t arrived.

The Strand bookstore rallied its supporters when the going got tough. Other independent bookstores also need your help.

And hospitals, already under stress, are now being attacked by hackers, mostly from Eastern Europe, in a wave of ransomware hacks. There’s a special place in hell for these folks.

Vicarious victimhood

Thursday. It’s an extramundane day.

No Boston Marathon this spring. Maybe in the fall.

If gunfire rings out in a neighborhood with no reporters, does it make a sound? In the Back Bay, shots fired, no one hit and two arrests is a major story.

Helen Branswell says that the date for a vaccine is slipping and that we should reset out expectations.

This could be a news story from our future: With zero cases reported this week, people are now free to move about. “Celebrations ensued. Bookings at low-capacity bars and restaurants quickly filled up for weeks ahead. Businesses popped bottles of champagne as shoppers flocked to stores. Some, including, Kmart, opted to remain open for 24 hours to meet demand, local media reported.” This is happening today in Melbourne, where they locked the city of 5 million down for three months. Meanwhile, in the US, we’re cancelling events 6 months out and testing less to get the numbers down.

And Dan Kennedy is optimistic about the election but not so much for the long term. Astute as ever.

If only

Good Wednesday to you. And happy birthday to Jonas Salk.

The wisdom of crowds. What could possibly go wrong? Jennifer Finney Boylan reflects on what happens when we let the Internet decide things.

According to the White House Science Office, the pandemic is over. And guess who ended it?

Earlier in the year Samsung mocked Apple for not including a charging brick with the iPhone 12. Samsung now indicates that they will not include a charging brick with their new phones. The sincerest form of flattery. (The same thing happened when Apple removed the headphone jack.)

The Trump campaign website has been hacked. Nobody has the kind of security they have. The best.

And here’s an entertaining webcam from Alaska. Brown bears at a waterfall trying to catch fish swimming upstream. You can root for the fish or you can root for the bears.

Wishful thinking

Tuesday morning. Counting down one week until the election.

The work laptop is for work. The non-work laptop is for everything else. And never the twain shall meet.

New case numbers continue to rise in Massachusetts. Yesterday’s number was 1216. Back in the first week of October things were looking good. Numbers were even trending down. In the last week of the month we’re heading in the opposite direction. I don’t think we’ve turned the corner.

Massachusetts New Daily Coronavirus Cases for October

And nationally, with the exception of Mississippi, every state is now in the red. (Again, go through the buttons from ‘3 Months Ago’ and then forward in time to see how dramatically things have changed since August.) Hospitalizations are increasing, an election is looming and market-watchers are concerned. Buckle up, here we go.

Taylor Swift‘s career, it appears, is pandemic proof.

London-based financial writer Stephen Clapham says that, despite cash infusions from the parent company, Trump’s UK resorts are in trouble.

And there’s water on the moon. Moon water. Sounds like an Elon Musk/Poland Springs collaboration.

Plan your work, work your plan

It’s Monday morning. The last week of October starts now.

Sharon Brody considers the cider doughnut.

Does the administration have a covid plan? Joe Biden says they don’t but apparently they do – or did. It had something to do with Santa Claus. But that plan has been scrapped and it seems like they’ve just given up.

It was not a good day for Cam Newton. As the Post puts it, Patriots struggle, Brady soars. And that about says it.

I think the ratings for last night’s 60 Minutes episode were probably higher than they would have been if someone hadn’t brought all that attention to it. The Streisand Effect in action.

And we probably can forget flying cars. But walking cars? I guess it’s better than nothing.

First, do no harm

Sunday, October 25th. The anniversary of the Battle of Agincourt.

The Union Leader endorses a Democrat for president!?! Stop the presses.

Belgium may turn out to be the new northern Italy, with cases rising faster than hospitals can handle them. Daily coronavirus cases in Massachusetts are back to being up over 1000. There were 1128 new cases yesterday. The numbers had been in the two hundreds just a few weeks ago and Governor Baker is expected to make adjustments to the state plan. Nationally, numbers are surging as well, with new cases up almost 36%. The Vice President‘s staff is infected. It doesn’t look to me like we’ve rounded any corner. And it’s unfortunate that politicians aren’t bound by the Hippocratic oath.

Don’t let this be you: How a crypto expert got hacked.

How are the fires affecting the wine industry in California? Actually, the industry is expanding, with new wineries being established in record numbers. But some say that in the face of climate change, that approach has to be reconsidered.

And it’s what we’ve all been waiting for… the drop test of the new iPhones 12. Crash! And if that’s not enough, how about scratching and puncturing the screen. Ouch!

The blank page

Today is Saturday. Happy birthday to Sonny Terry, Drake and The Big Bopper.

A sweet Dunkins love story from Oklahoma. Awww.

Joe Biden claimed that Donald Trump didn’t have a plan to tackle Covid. Trump said he had a tremendous plan. You can look up trumpcovidplan.com to see who’s right. Very clever.

Adam Vaccaro reports that Keolis, the company that runs the MBTA commuter rail, has been hacked. It’s described as a ransomware attack but it also looks like quite a bit of data was accessed.

Mina Tavakoli reviews the new Springsteen album. I don’t think she likes it but even after deploying many, many words (penance, panegyrics) she doesn’t actually come out and say it. But I did like it, especially the playing of the E Street Band. This was recorded in 5 days after a long band hiatus and they sound tight. You can’t beat that rhythm section.

And Austin Mann has been known to get amazing photos out of smartphone cameras. Here’s his review of the new iPhone 12 cameras. More incredible photos, of course.

Do as I say

Happy Friday. It’s Mole Day.

Fungie the dolphin, who entertained visitors to Dingle Bay for many years, is missing.

Freedom of Information requests are a huge pain for people who work in government. They’re labor intensive and expensive, taking staff time from other tasks when there’s more to do and less time to do it. But that’s the deal, right? That’s the price of transparency in government. At least it is in some parts of the government.

And speaking of special treatment; no overseas traveling for you. But for people like Brad Pitt and Kylie Jenner it’s easy to skip to the head of the quarantine line.

A Dutch hacker thought he had guessed @realdonaldtrump’s Twitter password: maga2020!. Maybe he did but there’s some skepticism about how much access he got to the account.

And this is how we treated a cold back in 1955. We’ve come a long way since then. (We have iPhones and AirPods now, instead of books and bedside radios.)

Looking for higher ground

October 22nd is on a Thursday this year. What do you know?

RIP to the Amazing Randi. His superpower was skeptical common sense.

Chris Christie should have worn a mask. He says so himself. Nationally, the retransmission index is almost all red. Most states are above R1. To see how this has changed over time click on the ‘3 Months Ago’ button and then work back to the present. This is what a building wave looks like.

Garrett Graff lists 12 things that could go wrong if hackers try to disrupt the election.

Pat Robertson says God told him that Trump will win and then an asteroid will hit the earth. Not sure which is worse but stay tuned.

And a Banksy painting just sold for almost $9 million dollars at auction. And it didn’t self destruct!