License and registration

Thursday morning. Today’s word is catastrophe. (Hopefully not a prophetic choice.)

Is Madonna still an influencer? I really hope not.

The city of Cambridge is considering allowing unarmed city employees to conduct vehicle stops. I don’t think it’s the presence of a gun on the person conducting the traffic stop that raises tensions in the situation as much as it is the potential for ticket or fine, but otherwise this might be an interesting experiment.

Mark Zuckerberg didn’t look especially comfortable in his suit, but overall the tech titans held up under the pressure of being grilled by Congress yesterday. Although both republicans and democrats came at them hard, at the end of the day there are partisan differences on how to reign the big tech companies in. So don’t expect much to come of it. One Florida congressman had his own “series of tubes” moment, when he questioned the CEO of Google about how to use Gmail.

When Zoom was in heavy use, early in the pandemic, it was pretty easy to hack through a password vulnerability that has now been closed. The vulnerability was discovered by Tom Anthony after Boris Johnson tweeted a screenshot from a Zoom virtual cabinet meeting.

And this could have been a story from The Onion. But sometimes the truth is more entertaining than comedy.

Ready, fire, aim

Wednesday, the apex of the week. It’s the anniversary of Son of Sam’s first murder.

There’s lots of hype around GPT-3. Here’s how it works.

Rhetoric met reality yesterday in a Boston City Council hearing on police overtime; the reality being that most police overtime is non-discretionary. It might have been better if councillors understood that before publicly pledging significant cuts. Cutting can still be done, of course. There’s always room in the margins for reductions. But it won’t be anything close to the $20 million they had hoped for without cutting back on coverage for 911 response.

So, here’s a cheery headline: “Theoretical Physicists Say 90% Chance of Societal Collapse Within Several Decades.” But, no, theoretical physicists in general do not say this. Only two. And the cause is deforestation over the next several hundred years not a black hole swallowing the earth. In any case, I think we have other more pressing real-world problems to worry about in the short term.

Intel is way behind on their roadmap for new chips. The company’s 7-nanometer process has been pushed back again. All these delays have prompted Apple to announce that they’re moving away from ‘Intel Inside’ and putting ARM chips in their Mac computers. As a result, now the chief engineer at Intel is out of a job.

And if you absolutely feel the need to leave the earth, at least you can do it in style in Virgin Galactic’s new spacecraft on your way to Mars. No middle seats!

The yanks are coming

Tuesday. Hot enough for ya?

Nice free commercial for Smashburger in the Globe today.

When the coronavirus hit, the people of Ireland locked down and made sacrifices for the national good. They listened to their medical experts. Vacations were forgone. Parades were cancelled. Pubs were closed. Even the Irish president, a medical doctor, kicked in and made sacrifices. As a result, the country is currently in good shape and things are beginning to relax. But seeing what’s happening over here, the Irish are not overly enthusiastic about the arrival of American tourists who may or may not take quarantine precautions seriously. Even ex-pat Americans who have been living in the country are suspect because of their accents, as Tim Kirk reports.

The RealFeel temperature hit 100° on the southern coast of Massachusetts yesterday. (Actual temp was 98.6°.) That’s pretty hot for these parts.

Adam Gaffin alerts us to a local story about a “very good dog” and his naked human dog walkers, who tussled with the police when questioned about their bare state. At least the officers didn’t have to worry about a concealed weapon.

And if you can’t avoid the virus, at least you can trim down to make yourself less susceptible to its effects. Wisdom from Boris Johnson, who spent some time in the Covid-19 ICU earlier in the year.

Failure is not an option

It’s Monday. Hot hot hot. Today’s word is Anomaly.

The Washing Post factiously asked, “If a Taylor Swift album drops in a pandemic, does it make a sound?” Here’s the answer.

Six months out and testing for Covid-19 is still a work in progress. They say you can’t manage what you can’t measure and since testing is how we measure the coronavirus spread it should come as no surprise that we’re having a problem with managing outbreaks. This is problem solving 101. The federal government gets a D-minus on this simple, solvable problem. Didn’t we go to the moon once?

Speaking of going to the moon, the Times maps out all the things of earthly origin that are making their way through space.

Stevie Nicks, who was in a very different Fleetwood Mac than the one Peter Green played in, paid tribute to the deceased guitarist on Twitter. “My biggest regret is that I never got to share the stage with him. I always hoped in my heart of hearts that it would happen,” she tweeted. Here’s one of Green’s songs performed by Haim. Turn it up!

Scientists still don’t know why we dream. But they’re working on it. Here’s a new theory that swings for the fences but ends up grounding out.

It’s a cook book!

A sultry mid-summer Sunday morning. Another 90 degree-plus stretch begins.

The great Peter Green is dead. The person who wrote his obituary is also dead.

There are three missions to Mars planned for this year, one each by the US, China and the United Arab Emirates. But that’s nothing compared to what Elon Musk has in store. He plans to send a million people to the red planet, three ships leaving each day. Jobs for everyone. Sign me up. I’ll open a cocktail lounge up there. It’ll be a Mars Bar.

Here are today’s coronavirus numbers. As Helen Branswell notes, they’re heading in the wrong direction.

With a drastic reduction in tourists and school groups, Boston’s historical sites are struggling to remain solvent. And the people that are coming tend to be from states with high infection rates, which isn’t exactly the best situation.

And Midtown Manhattan is a ghost town this summer and not just because everyone went to Nantucket.