Civics 101

Today is Wednesday. It’s the 19th of February. No snow in the forecast, at least until March. Famous last words considering we’re in New England.

Trillium and Treehouse, two Massachusetts breweries, were at the top of a list of the 100 best breweries in the world. It seems like New England is now the Tuscany of beer.

The president runs the executive branch and the DOJ is under that branch so, yes, technically he is the chief law enforcement officer. But NASA is also in the executive branch so would the president also be the chief astronaut? There’s a difference between having a title and the responsibility of office and assuming an actual expertise in an area.

Rachael Rollins reflects on her first year in office for Commonwealth Magazine.

New license plates in Ontario have a unique property. The numbers disappear when lit by headlights. (It’s a bug, not a feature.)

And Christopher Muther says it’s time to do away with reclining seats on planes. I agree. The costs outweigh the benefits.

Mad as a hatter

Today is Tuesday. Happy birthday to Cybill Shepherd, Milos Forman, Yoko Ono and Irma Thomas.

Dogs are the new reality TV stars. They don’t care. They have no idea.

The Boston-based saga of John Wilkes Booth and the man who killed him, a hat maker named Boston Corbett, is recounted by Adam Gaffin. A great read and well researched. I didn’t know any of this.

Science journalism has become pretty bad. It’s filled with clickbait and sensational headlines announcing new life-changing technologies and miracle cures. It’s hard to distinguish the real from the hype sometimes. That said, I hope this is real. It could be a game changer.

Both versions of True Grit were good movies but the book was better. The author, Charles Portis died this week at 86. I also liked his novels, Dog of the South and Norwood. If you’re looking for something to read you should check him out. He’s been called America’s least-known great writer.

And there are 10 websites that website designers think need to be updated. Stop right there. Please don’t touch Craigslist or Wikipedia or Hacker News. They’re just fine. But please do fix IMDB. It’s painful. The rest? Who cares.

All politics is local

Monday. President’s Day. A good day to buy a mattress.

It pays to read the fine print. Usually nobody does. That’s what they were counting on.

The Globe highlights City Councillor Frank Baker. I think they get it mostly right. He’s a traditionalist. Baker and I have had our run-ins but he’s a straight shooter and an advocate for his constituents. If I lived in District 3, I’d vote for him.

No coronavirus update today. But here’s a reminder on how to wash your hands.

As Bloomberg becomes more viable, opposition research is ramping up. The hits will likely come fast and furious and from all directions. What would you expect for a lifelong Democrat who jumped over the aisle to become a Republican, then an independent, and is now running as a centrist Democrat indifferent to party control. That’s a lot of jilting. Attacks might not come from the other candidates directly because they fear Bloomberg’s spending power. But leaks to journalists and proxy attacks will certainly begin to increase.

The NYT health columnist looks at the benefits of intermittent fasting.

And if you happen to be near Yosemite this week, Saturday will be the best day for taking a firefall photo at Horsetail Falls. If you can get a spot. And, if there’s any water in the falls. (Some Examples from Flickr.)

That ship has sailed

It’s Sunday. A sunny day. The Kyoto Protocol was ratified on this day in 2005. Also, in 1978, the first computer bulletin board came on line.

Birds have figured out how to reduce fake news via retweeting.

The passengers on the coronavirus cruise ship are all getting iPhones. A different cruise ship, docked in Cambodia, is now finding cases of coronavirus among its passengers. Many of them are in the wind, heading back to their home countries. In the US, more testing is being planned. In the UK, a contingency plan is in the works.

I remember couple of years ago when HQ Trivia was the next big thing. Not so much now.

Getty Images is being sued by a photographer who alleges they appropriated her images and then tried to charge her for her own use of them. The photographer had actually donated the photographs to the Library of Congress to provide complete free public access. She is suing for a billion, but that’s because Getty allegedly has a history of doing this sort of thing.

And, applications are being accepted at NASA for the next generation of astronauts. Unfortunately, I think I missed the boat.

Gondola encore

Saturday. A cold one. RIP, Richard Feynman, McLean Stevenson and Wally Cox.

John Ellement provides us with a nice Valentine first date story.

Boston area Gondola advocates are going to keep throwing proposals against the wall until one of them sticks. And here’s one that might: as a way to get from the Orange Line to the casino. Picture yourself floating peacefully over a moonlight dappled Mystic after a night of burning money in Everett.

A billion dollar wall vs. a five dollar ladder.

It’s been a rough year for local newspapers around the country. Margaret Sullivan writes about the overall problem and Nicholas Lemann goes deeper into how we got here and what could be next.

And if you’re worried about smart devices listening to everything you say, there’s a jamming device that you can wear as a bracelet. And it’s so sleek and fashionable.