A question of balance

It’s Monday, Memorial Day. Enjoy the long weekend.

When the cure is worse than the disease: Cookie consent pop-ups are destroying the Internet.

In the 50 cities with the best work/life balance, Boston comes in at #31. Not too bad. (But that’s down from #22 the previous year.) Helsinki has the best ranking. Hong Kong the worst. Among cities in the US, Boston comes in at #5, just after Seattle.

Web design, dark patterns and the New York Times. Nir Eyal has some thoughts.

Kroger is offering people the chance to win a million dollars and free groceries if they come in to get vaccinated. They also give their employees a $100 dollar bonus to get the shot. That’s in contrast to some local grocery chains that won’t even give their workers time off to get vaccinated (I’m looking at you, Stop and Shop.)

And a rap-war shooting at a concert in Miami left 2 dead and 20 wounded. That’s a problem.

Frenemies forever

Sunday morning. Happy anniversary to Henry and Jane.

You think I’m funny? Funny like a clown? Apparently Russians don’t like oversmilers.

The Globe runs a Sunday edition story about a falling out between the former Mayor and the former Police Commissioner. Old news. Nothing to see here. Move along.

For photojournalists it’s pretty clear: It’s not acceptable to change the content of an image. But for landscape photographers there seems to be more leeway on things like replacing the sky in an image. Is that ethical? I don’t think so. A photograph should represent a thing in the world. Otherwise it’s not a photograph. It’s a photo-illustration.

Forget the locked window dimmers. Boing has stopped delivering their 787 Dreamliner pending an FAA review of a fix for imperfections in the carbon fiber fuselage. It’s not considered a flight safety issue according to the FAA – but it’s something that would make me a little nervous.

And Marques Brownlee tells us why the new, electric Ford F150 Lightning is a really big deal. And a pretty good one, too.

Dust settling

Friday, May is winding down. RIP Harambe.

Amusement parks are opening tomorrow. Hold on to your hat.

Boris Johnson’s former top aide, Dominic Cummings, doesn’t paint a very complementary picture of his boss. He botched the initial response to Covid, among other things, said Cummings, who described Johnson’s governing style as a shopping cart “smashing from one side of the aisle to the other.” And Vanessa Barbara, who covers politics in Brazil, portrays that country’s response to the virus as “nefarious and absurd, deadly and appalling.” We also know what happened here in the US, with the bleach injections and all. Generally we get the leaders we deserve but nobody deserved all this.

The state budget has passed the Senate, 40-0. Now to the House.

If you happen to be in Atlanta, the High Museum is running an exhibition of women photographers titled Underexposed. Even if you’re not in Atlanta, you can see some of the images here.

And remember those pre-election economic stimulus tax deferments? It’s now time to pay up.

Let the sunshine in

Today is Thursday. And it’s National Grape Popsicle Day, to boot.

Adam Vinatieri is retiring. Good luck to him. He came through in the clutch for us many times.

There were 382 new Covid cases in Massachusetts yesterday, mostly among people between 20 and 40 years old. The numbers are low and dropping. The mask mandate ends this week. Events are being scheduled for the summer. The Marshfield Fair is on. Optimism abounds.

Russia claims its government agencies are undergoing an unprecedented hack.

More back and forth on the Massachusetts film tax credit. Keep it, dump it, tighten it up. Legislators are all over the map. Maybe they should invite Jackie Rohr in to make a speech on the topic. He seems like a pretty persuasive guy.

And who wants to go on a cruise? Are we ready, really?

Out on the street

Wednesday. Top of the week to you.

Robert Marchand has died. He was 109. Marchand was a cyclist who set records well after hitting 100 years old. Inspirational.

So a judge has ruled that the acting mayor can fire the police commissioner. That makes sense, of course. But now what happens to Dennis White? Even if a mayor should be able to dismiss a police commissioner as a department head, under civil service rules firing a police officer requires due cause and lots of process. Can White return to his civil service rank or did he relinquish that when he took the commissioner’s job?

Scott Johnson explains everything you need to know about battery tech and how it’s getting better by the day.

As far as reform efforts in the Boston Police Department go, an update has been posted to the BPDNews website. People like to say that nothing is being done or that the department is dragging its feet but in actuality it looks like they’re doing a lot.

And the first rule of Bite Club is you have to talk about Bite Club.

Thank you for taking my call

Today is Tuesday. Groovy Tuesday.

Where do you stand? This better than average website will let you know.

While listening to the calm, reassuringly euradite voices on public radio you might imagine a relaxed professional environment happening behind the microphones. Not so, as the disputes at WNYC demonstrate. That shouldn’t surprise long time listeners of one of our own local NPR stations.

The grounding of the Ryanair flight in Belarus highlights the limits of groups like the U.N.’s International Civil Aviation Organization. The grounding was a pretty clear treaty violation but there doesn’t seem to be much anyone can do about it.

Jason Torchinsky wants to know why new Ford pickups, right off the assembly line, in 2021, still have old fashioned radio antennas on their hoods. Turns out those types of antennas are best for AM radio and people who drive pickups like to listen to AM radio.

And here’s one more thing to worry about.

Forward looking

Monday. It’s Bob Dylan‘s birthday. Also, Queen Victoria‘s.

Much of the country will see a blood red full moon later this week. Unfortunately, here in the northeast we won’t experience the full eclipse. But here’s where it will be visible.

I doubt that the feeding frenzy of negative stories in the Globe about the BPD is over, but today the paper has three surprisingly nuanced, multi-sided pieces about the department’s problems, including thoughts on how to move forward from here. Rachael Rollins sticks up for Acting Commissioner Greg Long, Adrian Walker suggests that the search for a new commissioner should be more thoughtful, and less parochial, and Chuck Wexler looks at how a past leader in the department changed the culture. Meanwhile… not a word.

Crypto took a nosedive over the weekend. Short-term volatility is just part of the deal in this space. Now some coins seem to be recovering.

A tragedy in northern Italy. I’ve always felt confident riding in cable cars in that part of the world but now I’ll think twice. 14 dead. The car usually holds 35 but the capacity was reduced because of Covid restrictions.

And a UK drug dealer‘s love of Stilton cheese led to his demise. It’s a very English situation.

Billion here, billion there

Happy Sunday. It’s World Turtle Day.

A NYT article on future population projections: “Imagine entire regions where everyone is 70 or older.” The future sounds like a nightmare. Hopefully I’ll be part of it.

There’s quite a bit of money coming into the state from the American Rescue Plan. How to spend it is the question. There are a few things that it can’t be spent on but otherwise there’s a lot of flexibility. Budget watchers stress transparency and close coordination between the governor and legislature to avoid a pork barrel feeding frenzy. Shira Schoenberg breaks it all down.

Apple is revising its position on whether HomePods will be able to play lossless music. The company says that with a future software update they will – I think. It’s all very complicated and, if you’re not a super audiophile, probably not worth worrying about.

Back in the day 911 centers were funded from a surcharge on landline phone bills. When people started dropping landlines for cellphones the money dried up and new laws had to be passed to shift the surcharges to mobile accounts. Now, as we transition from gas to electric vehicles, we may be facing a similar situation with the gasoline tax used to fund road maintenance.

And it’s not a flying car exactly, but if you have a million and a half burning a hole in your pocket you can pick up one of these sleek little private jets. Zoom zoom.

Doomed to repeat

Saturday morning. Clouds giving way to sun. A heliacal day.

San Francisco has taken a laissez faire attitude towards shoplifting, both legally and socially. Can you guess how that might be working out?

Today is the anniversary of a “breakdown of reasoned discourse” that left a Massachusetts Senator on death’s door and accelerated the polarization of the country leading into civil war. Imagine politicians acting in such a way.

Stephen Diehl believes that cryptocurrency is to blame for the ransomware wave because it can be untraceable. I think that was supposed to be a feature, not a bug.

Jellyfish in Walden Pond? Thoreau would have been grossed-out.

And Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk are racing each other to become the biggest, best billionaire space baron that money can buy. Just like Cosmo Spacely and W.C. Cogswell. Life imitates cartoons.