License renewal

It’s Friday. I’ll take it. Happy birthday to Andrei Sakharov.

A guy who talks on the radio (apparently that’s still a thing) got in trouble for making fun of a singer whose music I had never heard. Irrelevance squared. But some people are all worked up.

Government licensing can help to drive up wages for blue collar professionals and help insure that the public isn’t subjected to fly by night practitioners. But some economists also think it can thwart competition in the marketplace and perpetuate inequities. There are sound arguments on both sides but I tend to favor the regulators on this one. Governor Baker’s latest overhaul of the state’s licensing operations makes sense.

Yesterday was World Bee Day. In that spirit, here’s Angelina Jolie with bees crawling on her face. Also, a story about honey bees in Rhode Island.

Big news in the world of virtual bicycle training. Zwift has introduced a whole new world! They say the new Makuri Islands world will rival Watopia at some point. Looks great. Can’t wait to try it.

And it may not be summer yet officially, but it might as well be. The Trillium Beer Garden is now open for the season.

The whole truth

Thursday. Almost there. Today is National Rescue Dog Day.

Animals laugh. Even killer whales. I did not know that.

The American Press Institute tells us that journalism is distinct and more valuable than most of the information we’re inundated with these days. “That value flows from its purpose, to provide people with verified information they can use to make better decisions, and its practices, the most important of which is a systematic process – a discipline of verification – that journalists use to find not just the facts, but also the “truth about the facts.”” Then there’s this unfortunate Globe story and headline. It’s not journalism by that definition. It’s more rumor mongering and conspiracy theorizing, like something you would get from Infowars or the Daily Caller. What’s happening at the Globe these days?

Photojournalism is hard enough even with a good camera. But try using a Soviet-era manual focus Zenit. This guy did and was still able to produce many publishable photos.

Bitcoin or Ethereum? Neither is doing so well these days, but over the long term, which crypto will be the better store of value? Michael McGuinness has some thoughts.

And remember those computer renders of a proposed park floating in the Hudson River? The park is now open. It’s called Little Island and although the real park doesn’t quite match up to the renders (they never do), it is still pretty impressive. All paid for by Barry Diller.

HORN BROKEN: Watch for finger

Wednesday of the week. It was a dark day for Massachusetts in 1780.

The Moderna and Pfizer mRNA vaccines are even more effective than previously thought. A single shot is 84% effective. Two shots gets you to 94%. Amazing.

A Boston Magazine reader asks Matthew Baker how Massachusetts can improve its image and be more friendly to outsiders. Wait, who says we’re not friendly? Anyway, Baker ponders the question before doubling down on the status quo. Good man.

Charles Grodin has died. Here he is on Letterman. His appearances were always fun to watch.

The Times editorial board takes a dim view of the New York Pride organizers’ decision to bar police officers from participating in their events this year. I agree.

And Obama, who was presumably read in on everything the government knows about UFOs, was asked by James Corden what he thought. “We can’t explain how they move, their trajectory,” the former president said. “They did not have an easily explainable pattern. And so I think that people still take seriously, trying to investigate and figure out what that is.” Imagine what he knows and can’t say.

Damned if you do/don’t

Tuesday. Today’s word is peruse.

On May 29th, Governor Baker will end Covid Restrictions in Massachusetts, months earlier than expected. Only two weeks left for wearing masks in Boston. I’m not going to miss the fogged glasses and constantly tripping over my feet.

For good or bad, not much goes on at higher levels of the Boston Police Department without City Hall having a guiding hand in it, especially on legal and labor issues. It hasn’t always been that way but that’s the way it’s been for the last half dozen years. And here we are. Now, the one guy holding things together operationally at the BPD, a very capable person who probably doesn’t want the top job anyway, is getting blamed for doing what the team at City Hall told him to do. That doesn’t seem fair. And meanwhile, back at the ranch.

Initially a skeptic, NYT health writer Donald McNeil is giving the China lab-leak theory another, deeper look on his personal blog.

Apple is promoting it’s new lossless music service as a big improvement is the quality of the sound. But it can’t be that big a deal if the company’s own listening devices (Airpods, headphones, Homepods, etc.) won’t be able to use it. Huh?

And UFOs are in the news again thanks to 60 Minutes and a congressional report due next month. Can’t wait.

Five year plan

It’s a Monday and it’s beginning to feel like summer.

A remake of A Christmas Carol set in the Braintree Mall? Bah, humbug.

Adrian Walker writes that the crisis in the Boston Police Department reflects terribly on Walsh and his closest aids. He also takes Kim Janey to task. But I would cut Janey some slack. She was handed a mess and too-quick decision making can have huge legal and financial implications. I think she’s correct in her measured approach. Her next big decision is who to appoint as commissioner. Will it be an insider or someone from the outside? I hope she’s thinking strategically rather than going for the quick fix.

Gene Weingarten is a kluger. I can relate.

The Washington Post ran a long article on the recent wave of ransomware attacks. Takeway: “Many [companies] are failing to deploy even basic best practices, such as requiring multifactor authentication for employees logging onto systems, patching vulnerabilities promptly, segmenting networks, keeping backups off line and testing them periodically to ensure they work.” This is one of those rare instances where it is appropriate to blame the victims.

And another modern myth is shattered. The man who invented Flamin’ Hot Cheetos maybe really didn’t. The”facts do not support the urban legend,” say people involved. Devastating.

Seeking equilibrium

Sunday morning. It’s a birthday for Studs Terkel, Danny Trejo and Liberace.

In a Globe Ideas piece, Michael Fortner sees rising crime rates as a threat to progress on police reform, which kind of gets to the heart of the dilemma.

Covid disrupted the status quo for lower-wage service workers. When their jobs disappeared those workers found other ways to survive and now they’re in no hurry to return. Many have found a different type of work and others are just waiting it out. If these workers are not rushing back, maybe it’s a sign that their services were undervalued in the marketplace. Something like this has happened before, you know.

Skylarking, by XTC, is one of my favorite albums. It’s a “summer’s day cooked into one cake.” The story of how it got made is also one of the great tales of rock music.

Michael Jonas wonders about the scattered decision making by Marty Walsh‘s aides in the the appointment, and then suspension, of Dennis White. It was quite a cluster.

And would you vote for this man? I probably would, but not everyone agrees. He did chop down that cherry tree, after all.

Gone dark

A Saturday in the month of May. A violent wind will blow the wires away.

What a disaster,” indeed.

There has been a strange, but welcome, development regarding Darkside, the ransomware affiliate operation. All at once their public-facing servers and CDN’s have been been taken offline and their money has been seized. By whom, we don’t know but apparently the hackers went a little too far in recent days. The group is now saying that it will be closing down operations but more likely they’ll just retreat to a more low-profile mode of doing business.

A fan of the Dead Kennedys growing up, Boston-based Sister Aletheia now promotes death awareness. “Every face becomes a skull,” she reminds us. Cheery thought.

Marc Hurwitz reports on a new Vietnamese restaurant opening on Adams Street in Dorchester, near Park Street, quoting the owner, “You hungry, but can’t pay? Come and eat, and bring the money tomorrow…I have a warm heart, I like to share with friends. It’s how I was raised.” Sounds like a place I’d like to try.

And this makes perfect sense, right?

Let’s get normal for a change

Today is Friday, May 14th. The first vaccine was administered on this day in 1796.

Live Boston rounds up gunplay across the city over the last few days. But check out the photography. There are some amazing shots photos included.

There’s new guidance from the CDC. It’s all good news. We’re still masked in Massachusetts but we’ve taken one huge step in returning to normal: The aisles at Roche Brothers are back to two-way traffic. No more arrows on the floor. Hallelujah!

Another big ransomware attack, this time on the Irish Health Service. Not good.

Some members of Congress are trying to get more money for NASA‘s moon mission. There’s only one problem. NASA says it doesn’t need it.

And a Dogecoin millionaire believes in memes as money. “Memes are the language of the millennials,” he says. As someone a bit older, I’m fascinated by this and by NFT’s, and curious to see how it all plays out in the next several years.

Pass the mustard, please

Happy Thursday. Plenty of spring sunshine and, for me, a flaky Internet connection.

What happens when a meteorologist takes acid? You get a far out forecast.

Restaurant update: you can now have a reusable menu on the table, along with condiments. Small steps in the right direction.

Get vaccinated and you may be eligible for a million dollar prize! …If you live in Ohio. There’s always a catch.

How a Facebook content checker described her job: Every day was a nightmare.

And Motorola is working on over-the-air charging for your phone battery. But we may not need that. Oh, well.

Switching to plan b

It’s Wednesday. Exile on Main Street is 49 years old today.

Where is Q? Two data science researchers did a forensic analysis that put him somewhere on the west coast and occasionally in China and Thailand.

I think Kim Janey is taking a common sense approach to getting people out to Long Island: ferry now, bridge later. Smart.

Most of the people who haven’t yet been vaccinated are not opposed to a shot. They’re more just disorganized, or lazy. But the anti-vax folks are still a factor. Mack Lamoureux reports on the goings on in crazytown.

In the wake of the Colonial pipeline attack, Brian Krebs takes a detailed look at how the DarkSide ransomware gang does business. It’s quite an operation. And DC Police data is still being held for ransom by a different group, Babuk, which had previously wanted to get out of the business but apparently haven’t done so.

And, speaking of the Colonial attack, gasoline anxiety is starting to kick in just as people begin making plans for Memorial Day travel. That’s unfortunate.