Pay as you go

Happy birthday, on this Wednesday, to Ernest Hemingway, Marshall Mcluhan and Don Knotts.

Crime is down in Boston, especially in Dorchester, Roxbury and Mattapan. At the same time firearm arrests are way up. So much for the narrative that cops are pulling back.

First the Legislature hoarded all the stimulus money, giving only about 5% to the Governor to spend on pressing issues. Now, adding insult to injury, Senate Ways and Means chair Michael Rodrigues is trying to box Baker in on how he can spend the reduced amount of money he was allocated. It all seems a little childish.

The Wirecutter has some recommendations for fast and reliable wireless routers. If you can dump your ISP’s router and avoid paying monthly fees, even better.

A designer bike lock sounds pretty cool. Probably expensive, too. And it only took a minute to pick. (Via BoingBoing.)

And Tom Brady is dissing Donald Trump. Some win, some lose.

Calm before the storm

Tuesday. It’s the anniversary of Apollo 11 landing in the Sea of Tranquility.

Say you’re in an airliner flying at 30,000 feet and realize that everyone on the plane has been incapacitated, including the pilots. (Maybe they all had the fish). Can you land the plane? Actually, it’s doable.

Shirley Leung reports that the MBTA has restored service to pre-pandemic levels. But despite an expensive marketing campaign, riders haven’t returned. Come fall, when more workers return to the office, this could be a problem, traffic-wise.

Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin flight into ‘space’ this morning was a success. After reaching apogee, the passenger module floated back to earth on parachutes at about 15 mph, until just inches above the ground, when a blast of air, like an airbag deployment, cushioned its touchdown. The rocket booster had previously separated and returned to earth, landing just like a rocket in a 1950’s sci-fi illustration. It was quite an impressive technological accomplishment.

After 50 people were shot over the weekend, Chicago police are trying something they say is “new and unique.” They’re going to tackle illegal gun trafficking. Imagine that.

And there are thick burgers and there are thin burgers. Thick burgers are juicy and tasty, but a disaster when you try to eat them. Thin burgers fit well in the bun but are too easy to overcook. What if science could help us to have the best of both worlds? Count me in!

A living wage

Monday, Monday. That day you can’t trust.

Planet Money tackles inflation.

A Globe story on government benefits for workers during the pandemic has a point of view. In the print version it concludes right at the beginning that there’s “Little evidence extra cash is keeping most recipients from returning to work.” This, of course, is in opposition to a GOP narrative. I happen to agree with the Globe’s POV in general terms. People in low paying service jobs need to be paid a sustainable wage. And in the meantime, it’s appropriate that the government help fill the gap. But despite the many anecdotes provided by the Globe, the underlying data contained in the story suggests that for many, the extra cash is keeping them from returning to work. So what? This doesn’t mean that the Republicans win. It means that the system is screwed up. We shouldn’t feel that we we need to stretch the truth merely to defend partisan talking points.

In 1972, researchers at MIT predicted that society would collapse sometime this century. Looks like we’re right on schedule.

Saudi Arabia is asserting itself in Tunisia by providing funding for vaccines. There’s a modern commercial neighborhood in Tunis that was developed by the Saudis. The deal was that in that neighborhood, no alcohol could be served. I don’t know if there’s are any such restriction attached to the vaccines but I do know that despite the prohibitions, you could still easily get a drink in Berges du Lac.

And apparently, an “awkward get-together” occured between Aerosmith and Donald Trump detailed in this very awkward article. Steve Tyler was Trump’s personal guest. Joe Perry muscled in and ended up being offended by Trump’s crudeness. Throw in a threat of lawsuits over using the group’s songs. It’s all just very bizarre.

Don’t Fauci my Florida

A quiet, peaceful Sunday morning.

Exchange programs usually bring students together from far flung, exotic places. You know, like Texas, Louisiana and Massachusetts. But apparently not Russia.

Florida is now leading the nation on Covid infections, with an average of 6,500 new cases a day. Are we surprised? Arkansas is giving Florida a run for its money. Across the country, but particularly in places resistant to taking reasonable health precautions, cases are up almost 70%. The head of the CDC calls it “a pandemic of the unvaccinated.” Darwin is just shaking his head.

The Phoblographer features 6 really good street photographers. Check out Ale Ruaro, especially.

Google Maps is recalculating the route to the summit of Ben Nevis in Scotland, to avoid sending people over a cliff.

And youse guys will be happy to know that there are over 300 new words added at Dictonary.com. You-uns and y’all will be pleased as well.

The money go round

Saturday. It’s July 17th, which, of course, makes it Yellow Pig Day.

Rachael Cohen harkens back to the good old days of… Scott Brown? That’s how out of the mainstream the current Massachusetts GOP has become.

The state budget has been signed into law, two weeks after it went into effect. Governor Baker made some changes to what had been sent to him, but a veto is unlikely. And, finally, the film tax credit was settled. It’s now a permanent thing.

Ben and Jerry were unabashed social justice warriors. But the company they founded seems to be having an uncharacteristic crisis of conscience over an Israeli franchise.

A cache of ancient bitcoin” has been discovered moving around in the ledger. No, it’s not from an archeological dig, it’s from a wallet that’s been dormant since 2011, which in bitcoin terms is ancient. The interesting part of all this is that it could be part of the fortune owned by the mysterious Satoshi Nakamoto, an indication that he might still be out and about somewhere.

And forget the iPhone. Now there’s the Freedom Phone. Such a deal.