Cannon fodder

Good morning. Thursday, March 31. Out like a lamb.

Shocker: the latest North Korean missile test might have been a fake.

Tomorrow is conscript day in Russia. Unwelcome news for many families. Over a hundred thousand young people will be inducted into the Russian military whether they like it or not. It also marks the end of the term for existing conscripts but it’s unclear if they will be released as fighting continues.

As someone who is retired, coffee is no longer just a work drug for me. It’s something to savor and enjoy. Tim Carman is encouraging everyone to approach coffee that way.

Tunisia‘s constitution is only a few years old but the country is slipping back into autocracy. The president dissolved parliament and has called for a new(er) constitution.

And there’s an updated message going out from Earth to the aliens, wherever they are. And no, it’s not asking them to dig up dirt on Biden.

Contingency planning

Today is Wednesday, March 30th; the anniversary of Steward’s Folly.

Dan Primack at Axios scooped the John Henry-owned Globe on a story about Fenway going carbon neutral. How did that happen?

Finland and Taiwan are taking their lessons from Ukraine.

It’s always helpful to consider the contrarian view. In this case, Bret Stephens entertains that Putin may be miscalculating like a fox.

As you might recall, Trump launched his social media site in February. But he still hasn’t yet made a post on it. It’s looking more and more like this whole thing was a scam from the get go.

And American astronaut Mark Vande Hei has landed safely, coming down in Kazakhstan after hitching a ride on a Russian spacecraft. It’s a crazy world.

A cat and mouse game

Tuesday. Pushing through the week.

You can’t get there from here. Adam Gaffin provides directions on the T.

It’s always been a little fuzzy to me how the coronavirus can persist and adapt in the face of antibodies and widespread vaccination. This article was helpful. Apparently the virus mutates in two dimensions, transmissibility and immunity evasion. The former can reach an equilibrium but the latter goes on and on, as it does with the flu. So we should get used to the idea of ongoing, updated inoculations.

A seven hour gap? Seems weird. A mere eighteen and a half minute gap brought down a president once, a long time ago.

The power of the Internet in the Ukraine war has been pretty apparent. The fact that it’s still up and running in that country is both a surprise and a testament to telecom workers in the war zone.

And now you, too, can slap the shit out of Chris Rock. (Note: no actors were harmed in the development of this simulation.)

No comment

Monday. It’s a birthday for Maxim Gorky, Dan Dennett and Lady Gaga.

The big news at the Oscars was a slap.

Coleman Herman reports on a story about local scientists who felt they were misled by the Globe on their participation in a sponsored story paid for by tobacco company Phillip Morris. Sophisticated readers can easily spot these ads masquerading as legitimate reporting but you would have to assume that people fall for the trap, otherwise why are companies paying for them. Herman adds that the Globe did not respond to requests for comments.

More peace talks are scheduled for this week. There’s already an argument about what day they will start. Next they’ll have to agree to the shape of the table.

President Biden wants to distance himself from those who want to defund the police. His 2023 budget plan is a good start in that direction.

And Ted Widmer profiles Stu Sutcliffe, the Beatle that never got to Get Back.

Undone on a coin-flip

Today is Sunday, World Paella Day!

Here’s a primer on the Oscars (something I would need) from Australia.

The Times has a long but insightful story on the evolution of Putin. Worth the read. Also, David Remnick dissects Putin’s obsession with Russian national identity.

The Globe’s Danny McDonald talks to City Council President Ed Flynn. Flynn is a genuinely nice guy and more importantly for the city, a heads-down, low key, hard working, dedicated public servant with a humility rare in public figures.

Farah Stockman looks at the human side of the war, with a connection to Massachusetts. The Grid provides some recent photos from Ukraine.

And how deep is the ocean… how high is the sky?

Franchised fiasco

Saturday. It was worth the wait for the weekend.

In today’s Boston ‘Metro’ news, a musician from Los Angles died— in South America. I don’t know why the Globe even bothers to organize their news by sections.

The Washington Post covers the de-globalization of Russia as Western brands flee the country. There’s a new codicil to the Thomas Friedman rule that countries with McDonalds don’t attack each other: When they do, the McDonalds’ have to close. As far as coffee goes, Starbucks has suspended all operations in Russia. But as of today, Dunkin’s is still serving up Moscow mocha-chinos.

Mike Evans writes about the appeal of the Leica M9, one of my all time favorite cameras.

During the Iraq war priceless antiquities were lost. In Ukraine a different set of cultural artifacts were destroyed. A smaller tragedy maybe, but still a tragedy.

And here’s William Shatner‘s all time favorite album playlist. It’s a trip down memory lane.

The biggest loser

Friday. This is good.

The Massachusetts Senate has rejected suspending the gas tax. Neighboring Connecticut, on the other hand, suspended its gas tax from April 1st to June 30, as well as fares on public buses statewide.

Boston is shrinking or, more accurately, Suffolk County is getting smaller. People are moving out of the city to places like the Cape, although Massachusetts as a whole lost population. Counties in New York and Los Angles also shrank during the pandemic. Where did everybody go? Looks like they’ve all gone to The Villages. Here’s a map.

Here’s how to outsmart your smartphone’s smart camera.

People think Biden isn’t being tough enough on Russia. For what it’s worth, I think he’s doing exactly the right things given the circumstances. As Lawrence Freedman writes, “students of international relations, especially those who adopt a ‘realist’ approach, warn that the understandable desire to see Ukraine win, and moral outrage over Putin’s actions, might interfere with the cool judgements necessary when faced with such a deadly conflict, one with potential repercussions that go well beyond the belligerents.”

And this kid can spell better than you (or me.) Voilià.

Who, what, where, when and why

It’s Thursday, a stormy late-March day.

I guess Arnold must have hit a nerve.

A Globe story highlights the fallout after removing police from Boston schools. The author’s take is that evidence suggests removing city police from the schools was a mistake. Strangely conspicuous by its absence in the story was any mention of the Mayor’s longstanding position on the subject.

As Putin is backed into a corner, Peter Rosen, a professor of national security and military affairs at Harvard, plays out a few nuclear scenarios. Terrifying stuff.

Doom-scrolling is a hard habit to break. But at least there are rest stops along the way.

And rich people are getting worried about the economy. Good. Maybe now something will be done about it.

Law and order

Wednesday, the peak of the week.

War is over, if you want it, circa 2022. Imagine that.

Spring is here. And you know what that means? Shootings. Lots of shootings. And they’re not happening where you might think they’re happening.

In another hit to the Russian economy, Maersk is shutting down its shipping operations. And here’s another take on the potential nationalization of foreign-owned commercial airliners and how that may play out in the future for the Russian aviation sector.

Can a guy from Boston fix the New York City transit system? I guess we’re going to find out.

And the relationship between NATO and the US was pretty low at points in the recent past, and for good reason. But it’s getting better. They seem to really love us in Albania.

Escalate to deescalate

Merry Tuesday. I think.

Here we go again with Parcel P3. Someday. Someday.

After Hiroshima, nuclear weapons became bigger and much more destructive. Then they started getting smaller and more tactical. Will Russia consider using a small tactical nuke in the Ukraine standoff? Ulrich Kühn is a nuclear expert at the University of Hamburg. “It feels horrible to talk about these things,” he told the Times. “But we have to consider that this is becoming a possibility.”

There’s an interesting back story to the two-hour warning we had of that small asteroid strike off Greenland earlier this month—with implications for detecting future ones.

Reports are that Russia is preparing a wider cyber attack. US companies have been put on alert.

And if you were in DC yesterday, you got to see peak cherry blossoms. If you had planned to go next week when they were supposed to be at their height, sorry, you missed the boat.