Belt and suspenders

Another Monday. It’s a birthday for both G. Gordon Liddy and Abbie Hoffman.

Ireland has become an importer of potatoes, getting the majority of its supply from the UK. New Brexit restrictions may threaten that supply. But today it’s less about subsistence and more about tasty fries.

Moderna will apply for emergency use of its vaccine today, just behind Pfizer, who applied about a week ago. People in the highest risk categories could have their first shots before Christmas.

The Baltimore County school system went completely to remote learning. Now they’re completely shut down because of a ransomware attack.

The oldest houses in Washington DC were built in the 1700’s. But they weren’t built in Washington. Both originally came from Massachusetts (one from Waltham and the other from Ipswich.)

And 71 year old Manson cult member Leslie Van Houten’s parole request was denied by California Governor Gavin Newson, who reversed a board decision that would have freed her. So, no Dancing with the Stars for her, I guess.

Everything you know is wrong

Sunday. It’s the 30th anniversary of the start of the Belgian UFO wave.

First it was here, and now it’s gone. The mystery of the monolith continues.

Here are a few articles for Sunday morning on our vulnerability to misinformation. In the first, Scientific American explores the “New World Disorder.” The Guardian looks at how to spot logical holes in a conspiracy theory. And David Brooks channels Jonathan Rauch on Republican distrust of traditional sources of information.

It’s everything you wanted to know about the McRib sandwich, including how work at Natick Labs contributed to its success and how its availability rises and falls with the price of pork.

Matt Patricia is out. Fired, along with Lions general manager Bob Quinn, who hired him.

And you may want to stay away from World’s End in Hingham in early December (unless you’re outfitted in bright orange.)

Suspending disbelief

Saturday morning. Today’s word is capitulate.

Winter is still about three weeks away. After December 21st, which is the shortest day of the year, the days will begin to get longer. But between now and then we’ll lose another 19 minutes of sunlight.

This is a great opening paragraph, by Toluse Olorunnipa writing in the Washington Post.

President-elect Joe Biden, a state-college graduate who was once the poorest man in the U.S. Senate, is facing accusations of elitism from Republicans after defeating a billionaire incumbent with an Ivy League degree — a sign of how the politics of populism have been upended and redefined by President Trump.

Up is down. Down is up. Everyday is opposite day in this political environment.

Google seems to be slowly moving towards a subscription services model, and potentially away from advertising. We may look back on the last couple of decades as that weird time when stuff like email and search used to be free.

The Trump campaign paid $3 million for a partial recount in Milwaukee County and ended up losing votes. File under: Be careful what you ask for.

And scientists are proposing a neural network-based system that will produce “extreme summarization” of scientific papers. It’s called TLDR generation and it’s summarized in a 14 page paper.

Glass half full

It’s Black Friday. Sorry, no deals here today.

As the pandemic spreads, there has also been more ransomware attacks on US health care care by Russian hackers. So it probably wasn’t a great time to fire the head of the national Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency for the flimsiest of political reasons.

Maybe it’s the tryptophan talking, but things actually do seem to be looking up. Biden is already pissing people off – on the right and on the left – which is a sign that he’s finding his groove in the middle. Trump has agreed to leave the White House without us having to call security. Vaccines are coming. And there will be turkey sandwiches this weekend.

On the other hand, traffic back-ups are expected to make a comeback next year. (Hopefully not quite as bad as this one, though.)

HistoryHit TV promotes cultural and historic sites from around the world and they’ve also produced a photo contest featuring images of some sites. Here are this year’s winners. Some are overly stylized for my taste, but all are great images.

And charging phones (and watches and laptops…) overnight can be a chore, but also a requirement. It stinks when you forget and then and realize that your battery is at zero going into the next day. Cars are going to be an even worse version of this problem.

Frictionless charity

It’s Thanksgiving. Pass the gravy.

Pardon me? It started with a turkey and went downhill from there.

The Globe reports that Salvation Army bell ringers may not be out at the usual locations this year due to covid restrictions. But the big news is that if you do find one, they will now take donations via Apple Pay. No more, ‘I don’t carry cash’ excuses.

Do as I say, not as I do. When it comes to holiday travel this mayor sets a very bad example.

Is Matt Drudge still running the Drudge Report? Drudgeoligists want to know.

And Spencer Buelle, writing in Boston Magazine, is thankful for Boston’s Bawston-ness. You’re welcome.