Hand wringing

Thursday. Today is Cow Milked While Flying in an Airplane Day. Uh-huh.

In what may be the final chapter of the Bulger saga, after almost 19 years in custody, John Connolly is set to be freed from prison on a medical release.

Just because something works in Boston doesn’t mean it will work across the river in Cambridge. Licensing authorities in the people’s republic kiboshed a proposal for live acoustic music that would have bolstered local bars and restaurants because of the potential for noise complaints. Now, about those leaf blowers.

Crowded House have a new song ahead of a new album coming in June. That’s good news.

Later today the Perseverance Mars Rover will land on the red planet. NASA is live-streaming just after noon. You can watch a behind-the-scenes video from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory while you wait. Or you can go out to Crispy Creme and get yourself a mars doughnut.

And another transit system goes for easy, contactless payments. Hint: it’s not ours.

Vaccine glass half full

Wednesday: The hump of the week. Sunny and cold today.

French workers can now eat lunch at their desks without fear of prosecution.

Apparently everyone is unhappy with Governor Baker’s handling of vaccine distribution. It hasn’t been perfect by any stretch of the imagination, and the website was a disaster, but people are getting vaccinated and soon everyone in the state have access to a shot. Not next year or the year after, but in the coming few months. So things aren’t all that bad. In fact, our vaccination rollout here in the US is going better than anywhere else in the world.

What’s going on with the power grid in Texas? Ars Technica and The Times take a look under the hood. On the ground, people are cold and frustrated.

Amazon Web Services is a huge part of what makes the Internet the Internet. That might make it too big to fail but it’s not too big to be made fun of.

And do we really need some of these new emoji? Face in the clouds? What the hell is that for, sending texts in a steam bath?

Patience is a virtue

Happy Tuesday. Today’s word is underwhelm.

Social media and virtual politics almost wrecked the country. Get ready for the virtual economy.

Boomers in Massachusetts, who are over 65 but under 75, are waiting impatiently for their vaccinations. You might say they’re restless, brash and demanding, as the Globe does, especially as some younger people cut ahead of them by driving frail folks to get their shot. It’s kind of a negative generalization, but then again, the comment section for the story underscores the writer’s point and illustrates the overlap between Boomers and the Globe’s readership.

Bitcoin is still sailing, hitting $50,000 for the first time this week.

Is this the time for a third major political party? A lot of people are starting to think so. It’s tempting, but I think two are plenty?

And the Conway family just needs to go away. Really. Just go away.

Heading in the right direction

Monday is back again. It’s a birthday for Matt Groening, Chris Farley and Ernest Shackleton.

Go east, old man. The Globe looks at the future of aging. And that future is in Boston.

Daily coronavirus case numbers are dropping. That’s good but not a reliable indicator that we’re out of the woods. “We’ve had three surges,” said former CDC director Tom Frieden. “Whether or not we have a fourth surge is up to us.” But the trend is good and maybe by Labor Day we will be out of the woods. Maybe… maybe.

If there’s one thing that Conrad Akunga has learned, it’s that people don’t read instructions. Remember this article the next time you click OK to accept those cookies.

When traveling, and in a taxi, I always enjoy listening to local radio to get a sense of the place I’m in. Here’s a way to do do that without the travel part.

And Twitter is turning neighbor against neighbor. It’s not over politics this time. This time it’s over birds.


It’s Valentines Day Sunday. And we’re halfway to March.

The Globe takes us inside the process of appointing a new police commissioner.

Frank Wilczek has a new book out, Ten Keys to Reality. Here’s the Times review. Wilczek also recently appeared on Sean Carroll’s podcast to talk about topics in the book and the current state of physics. I’ve noticed that there have been plenty of other physics-related stories floating around recently. Here’s Sabine Hossenfelder on panpsychism, Alan Lightman on infinity, Dennis Overbye on luminance and Miguel F. Morales on particle interaction. There have also been recent stories about news in quantum chaos and dark energy. And finally, Conan O’Brien and Jim Carry discuss the stochastic phase switching of a parametrically driven electron in a penning trap. That happened.

Derek Thompson believes that we can get past the pandemic by the summer if we get smart and busy with vaccine distribution.

A 30 year practical joke involving George Harrison, Phil Collins and Jackie Stewart. “Don’t worry, it was a piss-take.”

And the acquittal wasn’t unexpected but it was a disappointment. Sad.

Too much, too little, too late

It’s Saturday, Galentine’s Day.

A high-speed rail link between Boston and New York that tunnels under Long Island Sound and makes the trip in an hour and a half? Sounds like a good idea but I doubt it could be done in my lifetime.

A couple of years ago Bloomberg published a story on a massive hardware hack involving Super Micro Computer servers and China. Then the story died with lots of conflicting information and denials floating in the wind. There’s been nothing on it since then, even though, as one of the authors points out, there should be plenty of evidence out in the world to confirm the allegations. Now Bloomberg has an update that, as Nick Heer notes, doesn’t do much to clear up the mystery but does quote many more un-named sources. If I were to guess, I’d say an ongoing successful counter-intelligence op was at play here.

So here’s the plan: we’ll start with the oldest part of the population and then require them to set up their vaccine appointments over the internet. I can’t imagine why this wouldn’t work well.

Ever search for a recipe only to be assaulted with pop-up ads and messages begging you to subscribe to something you have no interest in, and then scrolling and scrolling and scrolling to find the actual recipe, which often requires going to another page to see the final steps, where you then may have to endure another set of pop-ups, etc.? This is where you begin to lose faith in what the Internet has become. But then something like this comes along and your faith is restored.

And the album Tapestry is fifty years old this week. The Guardian assembled a group of fellow singer-songwriters, including James Taylor, Ricky Lee Jones and Danielle Haim, to reflect on the album. So far away.

Supply and demand

Friday. Happy New Year. Goodby to the Rat. Hello to the Ox.

Bill Walczak looks at The Globe, then and now.

Even with prioritization, there aren’t enough doses available for everyone who wants the vaccine. States are trying to master just-in-time supply chain dynamics and it isn’t going well in many places, including Massachusetts. The feds have ordered another 200 million doses, which is a good thing because soon everyone will be lined up for a shot.

There will be a new postage stamp for US physicist Chien-Shiung Wu, who was recognized for her work on charge parity violation (which sounds boring but is actually a big deal.)

Boston 25 News reports that Maura Healy’s office has cleared Rachel Rollins of criminal liability for her incident with a motorist last December. The case is now going to the state ethics commission for review.

And there’s only one K-Mart left in Massachusetts and now it’s closing. Where will I get my suits?

Moving pieces on the board

Today is Thursday. Gateway to Friday.

We’ve gone backwards on a lot of things in the past year but the speed of vaccine development and their ultimate effectiveness was something we got right. And it’s only going to get better.

Marty Walsh is going to Washington, we know that. Kim Janey will be acting mayor. But there are a lot of details about when and how that are still up in the air. Bill Forry takes us through the timeline.

Pablo Escobar’s old estate is now a theme park and the hungry hippos are running amok.

Why isn’t Massachusetts using one of the contract tracing apps? It’s a real shame that we’re in the ranks with Mississippi, Louisiana, West Virginia and Texas on this.

And the FBI is warning us about Valentine’s Day scams. Love hurts.

Virtual fire alarm

Wednesday. We’re over the Hump. Happy birthday to Lon Chaney Jr., Vince Gilligan and Laura Dern.

I’m not a cat,” … said the cat.

Hiawatha Bray takes us through what high school technology staff are dealing with these days. The odd ransomware attack, sure, but with the prevalence of remote learning it also looks like kids are DDoS’ing their own schools just to get out of class.

Police in California are apparently playing copyrighted music from their own phones when being videoed by activists. Instagram and other platforms use aggressive algorithms to remove videos with any copywriter material so the videos would be quickly removed if posted. Disingenuously clever, if true.

Lisa Weidenfeld makes an argument for space savers. It’s not much of an argument, but at least she’s honest about it.

And some BU students are facing a tough career choice this year; law, medicine, biotech or driving a giant peanut across the country?

Technocratic breakdown

Good morning. It’s Tuesday. That is all.

The MBTA Advisory Board is not happy with the Globe editorial board. The rest of us are just bored.

It’s clear that Massachusetts has had a tough time with its vaccine rollout. The state’s website is difficult to use to make reservations. People are frustrated and disappointed in Charlie Baker, who was supposed to be good at these kinds of things. But I think Baker is as frustrated as the rest of us and maybe his hands are tied since he’s reliant on sub-par government technology to solve this problem. But it is solvable, as these non-government programmers easily demonstrated.

France is worried about the influence of crazy ideas coming from the US, particularly from our universities. Now that is saying something.

I haven’t heard much about the guy that ran onto the field during the Superbowl. CBS quickly cut away and mostly ignored it, other than to use the time to show more commercials. But radio covered it the way it should have been covered.

And if you’re stuck in an assisted living facility during a pandemic, you might as well make the best of it. Cheers!