Today is Wednesday. It’s National Popcorn Day.

If Bono is embarrassed, imagine how the fans must feel.

The 5G upgrade that Verizon and AT&T want to introduce—and that the airlines desperately want to stop—is a head scratcher. Do the FCC and FAA even talk to each other? How is it that a long planned rollout of technology in two highly regulated industries is now a crisis that no one saw coming? Randall Bloomquist has his suspicions.

The government of Ireland is going to be a patron of the arts. Great idea.

Universal Hub covers the fallout in the neighborhood from the disruptive protests outside the mayor’s house in Roslindale.

And Ian McEwan has a big new book coming in the fall. Something to look forward to.

Move fast and break things

Who doesn’t love a rainy Tuesday?

David Leonhardt reports that Covid cases are dropping in the US and worldwide. It could be the end of a peak in the mysterious two-month cycle. Or it could be something more promising. Fingers crossed.

Facebook went down yesterday. Then it came back up. It wasn’t a big deal for me, although I did get one annoying SERVFAIL before moving on. Cloudflare engineers watched in real time how the outage affected the Internet. In the real world, for a few hours there was less partisan cocooning and fewer cute dog videos. And we all survived.

Jonathan Franzen has a new book. It’s the first of a trilogy.

Andrew Yang has changed his party affiliation from Democrat to Independent. But don’t try this at home, kids, he says.

And John Kraus too some photos of the night sky with his iPhone 13 Pro Max. Pretty impressive.

Do your job

A crisp Thursday to close out September.

Facebook parsed and annotated the language in its own internal reports to make itself look less horrible than it really is. The company is scheduled for testimony before a Senate subcommittee next week.

New Hampshire Senator Maggie Hassan and James Lankford, from Oklahoma, have submitted legislation to require lawmakers to remain in Washington until the government is funded. Members would need to show up everyday for roll call, weekends included, until they fulfill their most basic responsibility of funding the government. Hmmm. I wonder if lawmakers will ever make this a law.

The Washington Post reports that if a government shutdown does occur, pandemic response measures should be protected. Crucial offices will still be open and treatment reviews will continue. Government health service workers, “overworked and exhausted after more than a year and a half of trying to contain the nation’s worse public health crisis in a century,” will show up for work but they won’t get paid. That’s the thanks they get.

Jennifer Szalai doesn’t like Steven Pinker’s new book, Rationality. She doesn’t like his words, she doesn’t like his logic, she doesn’t like his examples, she doesn’t like him. It seems almost… irrational.

And speaking of new books, this one on Kraft, Belichick and Brady should be a doozy. Just the excerpts are eye opening.

A strong foundation

Good Saturday morning. It’s Isaac Asimov‘s birthday.

Drive-through weddings are still happening in Vegas. A welcome sign of strange normality.

The Walsh team, like the Menino team before them, is pretty good at managing the city budget. Boston closed the year with a budget surplus, marking the 35th year the city has done so. Meg McIntyre reports that while many other cities are laying off workers and cutting services as a result of the pandemic, Boston has actually added jobs.

Just in time for the new year, Kafka’s The Trial has entered public domain. Here are some other works opened up this year.

Mitt Romney‘s claim to fame was rising to the logistics challenge of the 2002 Winter Olympics. (There’s also the Big Dig, but we won’t dwell too much on that.) These days he’s watching the logistic challenge of vaccine distribution play out and he has some concerns.

And this is something I hadn’t previously considered: If you’re an astronaut on the International Space Station and you turn your smartphone sideways, it won’t go into landscape mode because there’s no gravity. Also GPS and time zones would be a mess. Hey Siri, what’s the weather at my current location? …Siri?

Let no crisis go to waste

Monday. Big week.

Usually a computer comes with a keyboard. This keyboard comes with a computer.

Restaurant investors are continuing to buy up local chains under stress in the pandemic. First Dunkins, then Legal and now Friendly’s.

The International Space Station is 20 years old today. It was launched in a spirt of international scientific cooperation that hasn’t lasted nearly as long.

If you’re buying books, check out It’s a way to support local bookstores. It’s not quite as comprehensive or full featured as Amazon but it’s getting there. And, I think it’s worth the small extra effort to support a good cause.

And taking a dog for a walk when you’re in a hurry can be frustrating. They have to stop to smell every inch of the path. But, says Ellen Furlong, be patient. It’s what dogs love to do.

Off the charts

It’s a gloomy Friday. But it’s also National Candy Corn Day.

Don’t hate the winter. Embrace it by going outside like the Norwegians.

Over 88 thousand cases yesterday in the US. The charts speak for themselves.

The federal government can, and does, run a deficit. But most states don’t have that luxury. And many of those states are now in a cash crunch, waiting and hoping for federal relief that hasn’t arrived.

The Strand bookstore rallied its supporters when the going got tough. Other independent bookstores also need your help.

And hospitals, already under stress, are now being attacked by hackers, mostly from Eastern Europe, in a wave of ransomware hacks. There’s a special place in hell for these folks.

Doubling time

Happy Sunday. We lost an hour. Don’t forget to set your clocks.

Sleeping as entertainment. It’s the Truman Show. Once again life imitates art.

In Massachusetts, health insurance will now cover the full costs of testing and treatment of coronavirus per instructions from the state Division of Insurance. Handshakes and hugs are on hold. A Malaysian news site reported that the Vatican confirmed Pope Francis had tested positive. Not true. But the numbers continue to grow in Italy as the entire region of Lombardy is going into lockdown. How effective it will be is yet to be seen. In MA there are now 13 cases of over 400 confirmed in the US. To project into the future Liz Specht ran the numbers, which are doubling every 6-10 days or so -and it looks pretty grim. This is especially true for hospitals, as this leaked slide shows.

Last week South Carolina was make-or-break for Joe Biden. This week Michigan is that for Sanders.

Those liberals and their fancy coffee. Ben Adler reviews a book by Kristin B. Tate that has a weird premise. Tate, he says, believes people are fleeing thriving blue cities like Boston and New York because of failed liberal policies. And, she complains, they’re moving to less-desirable red cities and bringing their wacky liberal ways with them, making those cites less less-desirable. Huh? I know correlation doesn’t always equal causation but the pattern of ‘thriving blue cities’ and ‘less desirable red cities’ is what stands out for me.

And the Globe ran a story about a fatal crash in Wales MA. Had to look it up. As a lifelong resident of the state I had never heard of the town of Wales. I guess it must be a nice quiet place.