Do your job

A crisp Thursday to close out September.

Facebook parsed and annotated the language in its own internal reports to make itself look less horrible than it really is. The company is scheduled for testimony before a Senate subcommittee next week.

New Hampshire Senator Maggie Hassan and James Lankford, from Oklahoma, have submitted legislation to require lawmakers to remain in Washington until the government is funded. Members would need to show up everyday for roll call, weekends included, until they fulfill their most basic responsibility of funding the government. Hmmm. I wonder if lawmakers will ever make this a law.

The Washington Post reports that if a government shutdown does occur, pandemic response measures should be protected. Crucial offices will still be open and treatment reviews will continue. Government health service workers, “overworked and exhausted after more than a year and a half of trying to contain the nation’s worse public health crisis in a century,” will show up for work but they won’t get paid. That’s the thanks they get.

Jennifer Szalai doesn’t like Steven Pinker’s new book, Rationality. She doesn’t like his words, she doesn’t like his logic, she doesn’t like his examples, she doesn’t like him. It seems almost… irrational.

And speaking of new books, this one on Kraft, Belichick and Brady should be a doozy. Just the excerpts are eye opening.

Can’t get there from here

Mid week. Wednesday. Coffee Day.

What a way to win a marathon. When the frontrunners took a wrong turn, the guy trailing them stayed true to course – and won the medal.

The MBTA is getting dangerous. Crashes, derailments, bloody escalator incidents. And that’s just this week! There seems to be something systemically wrong. Filling the vacancies on the Board of Directors would help, as would better day-to-day management and financial control. The mayoral candidates also chimed in on the apparent chaos, according the the Globe, calling for more investment. Which might be hard to do if you’re also calling for cutting revenue. Every dollar counts.

The critics seem to like the new Bond movie. But he really should get a better phone from Q.

Why are supply chain bottlenecks so persistent? It’s complicated but Michael Cembalest of J.P. Morgan breaks it down to supply, demand and shipping costs. Apparently it’s more profitable for Chinese shipping companies to return containers empty than it is for them to refill them with all the stuff on the dock waiting to be exported.

And I always enjoy reading those clickbaity science headlines. Something ‘is happening and experts don’t know why.’ Sounds mysterious and a little scary. In this case, it turns out that the reason we don’t know why is because we don’t have any data to compare against. No mystery after all. But they did get me to read the article.

Performative politics

Good morning. It’s Tuesday! And the word is parlay.

A man walks into an AT&T store

The big question for the mayoral election is who is going to get the Black vote and will the turnout be large enough to be decisive. Joan Vennochi looks at the PACs, personalities and pitfalls involved. Meg Irons and Andrew Ryan went out into the neighborhoods to find out what people were thinking and see what kind of impact the candidates are making. One description stood out: “Wu made a less-than-impressive appearance at [a] Baker House meeting last Wednesday. The candidate arrived halfway through the hour-long morning event, gave a brief statement, and then seemed to be caught off guard by a series of questions from people in attendance, according to eight people who were at the meeting.” Yup. That sounds like the Michelle Wu I’ve seen over the years on the Council.

Art Acevedo has always been outspoken. But he also didn’t just fall off the turnip truck. He’s a very politically savvy police chief, both internally and externally. His troubles in Miami say more about Miami than they do about him.

Charlie Warzel talks to Shoshana Wodinksy about the technology behind online advertising. Eye opening and a little scary.

And the State Police union says that dozens of troopers are ready to resign over the vaccine mandate. Well, maybe not dozens, but at least, possibly, one. Maybe. We think.

Coming full circle

A sunny, crisp Monday morning.

Keep an eye out for Teslas driving erratically this week. (And don’t get behind a Mini.)

With crime on the rise, German Lopez wrote an article in Vox on policing in the defund-the-police era. Basically, he suggests that law enforcement find out what approaches work and do more of that. In other words, go back to doing what you were doing.

This is a crazy story. A new media firm courting investment from Goldman Sachs set up a conference call with a YouTube executive. Things did not go as planned.

The Apple watch app that used to tell you to breath (I already was) has been replaced by one focused on mindfulness. But it turns out that mindlessness might actually be better for you. If it all this seems too complicated and stressful, you can just go back to breathing. If you have the time.

And according to the Washington Post, “The United States now has more legal cannabis workers than dentists, paramedics or electrical engineers.” High times.

Burying the hatchet

Another beautiful rainy Sunday morning.

In case you were wondering, Bruce Schneier is not Satoshi Nakamoto.

Kim Janey is backing Michelle Wu. Things got a little contentious between the two in the preliminary election but apparently, now, all is forgiven. This is more of the pragmatism that I liked in Janey as acting mayor. I suspect her days of having influence in the city are not over.

Akela Lacy writes in The Intercept about how moderate Democrats derailed police reform. It’s an odd story of strange political bedfellows.

When Christopher Muther isn’t travelling, he’s writing well-researched articles on airport security.

And in London, Phil McCann is reporting on the fuel shortage. Who but?

Public enemy #1

Happy Saturday.

Calibrating all those app settings to protect your privacy can seem daunting. This WaPo guide would be a good place to start.

According to the Officer Down Memorial Page, Covid-19 is the leading cause of death for law enforcement officers in the U.S.

Astronauts and engineers are becoming concerned about seemingly small problems popping up on the ISS.

That Arizona audit that was going to prove that the election was stolen has released its findings. Surprisingly, it found that the election was not stolen. In fact, despite its questionable methodology and a pro-Trump bias, the audit showed that the Biden over Trump gap was even bigger than we thought.

And if you like amazing vocal performances, check out Geoff Castellucci’s version of Blackbird. That last note! Here he explains how he gets so low.

Avoiding roadblocks

Friday. On this date in 1906, Devil’s Tower * became the nation’s first national monument.

Rachael Rollins must have pissed someone off. Her nomination for a US Attorney position is being held up by a Republican senator from Arkansas.

The State Police union’s request for an injunction on enforcement of the governor’s vaccine mandate for executive branch members is not playing well. The courts didn’t think it was a great idea either. That should be a signal to other public sector unions. Over on the legislative side, lawmakers were worked up over their own vaccine mandate. Lots of debate and a party line vote, in favor ultimately. Why we’re still arguing about this is beyond me.

Matthew Yglesias has a post-it note for Democrats: The median voter is a 50-something white person who didn’t go to college. (Eeeuuuwww, gross!)

When Apple switched from its original 30 pin connector for charging iPhones to the current Lightning cable, a lot of people accused them of grabbing for money because now they had to replace all their perfectly fine charging cables. I think that’s a big reason Apple hasn’t switched to USB C. They didn’t want to recreate that angry situation with customers. But the EU may force the issue. Apple may publicly object to the externally forced mandate but they also might be relieved to have someone else to blame for a disruptive switchover this time around.

And LA Raiders kicker Daniel Carlson bet against himself and won. And also lost. But somehow still won.

Your winnings, ma’am

Wednesday. It’s the autumnal equinox. Fall has arrived.

Sean Murphy has another tale of dysfunction at the DOT. Looks like they badly need training on ownership, problem solving and customer service.

Annissa Essaibi George is shocked, shocked to find that super PACs are supporting her in the election.

Reviews of the iPhone 13 are coming in. Raymond Wong tried out the phone, and especially the camera. He was impressed with the technical capability of the camera systems but found one big problem that Apple needs to fix.

A regional solution to the chaos at Mass and Cass doesn’t seem to be very popular in the region. We already knew where Quincy stood. Danny McDonald reports that now we’ve alienated Revere too. Whoever ends up being the next mayor will have to tackle this disaster. Despite all the campaign promises, there’s no easy fix.

And Bryan Lunduke recalls BYTE magazine cover artwork by Robert Tinney – the “Norman Rockwell of computer magazines.”

As transparent as one way glass

A tremulous Tuesday.

Apple’s newest operating system, iOS 15, is available for download to your iPhone or iPad. Chaim Gartenberg has an overview of its new features. And Federico Viticci has his usual comprehensive deep dive. 23 pages worth!

The Globe recently covered a labor dispute at local hotels from the point of view of the workers. Hotel management had no comment. The Globe did not cover the labor dispute at the Globe from any point of view (Universal Hub did, though.) The Globe CEO had no comment.

So much for remote work. Google is paying $2.1 billion dollars for office space in Manhattan.

The stock market is on edge over a company from China that I’d never heard of, Evergrande. It could be their version of Lehman Brothers. Even crypto is taking a hit. Some experts are predicting a bounce today but possibly more dark clouds ahead as the debt ceiling debacle approaches.

And Sam Adams‘ newest beer, Utopias, is strong stuff. 28% alcohol. So strong it’s actually illegal in some states.