The long (and short) arm of the law

Good Tuesday. National Night Out, which would have been tonight, is postponed until October 6.

Is Congress broken? There doesn’t seem to be any political reward for consensus and compromise. And it’s showing.

Homicides are up significantly in many big cities, according to the Wall Street Journal. Boston isn’t mentioned in the story but we’re up as well. Are the spikes related to the pandemic and protests or is it just the normal socioeconomic factors that tend to drive crime? That’s the question. In Minneapolis, residents are finding they can’t live with the police and they can’t live without them. That’s also the case in Springfield. The Massachusetts police reform bill is in a conference committee on Beacon Hill. Those are always slow going but in this case that’s sensible. And Chuck Lovell, the police chief in Portland, speaks out about what his department has had to deal with during the protests. It wasn’t pretty. Nor was it productive.

The still-closed MFA is laying off workers. 100 jobs have been cut so far.

Update your priors! This is a great article on the basics of Bayesian analysis from Siobhan Roberts. It’s useful for assessing coronavirus models but also for everyday life.

And it’s official: we boomers are idiots.

Echos in the canyon

Monday. Another hot humid day is forecast. Bring it on.

John Hume has died.

In Boston, nightlife seems to be active in some parts of the city but when the sun comes up there’s a sense of emptiness in business district. I wonder how much remote working will end up being the new normal.

The Space X astronauts splashed down safety yesterday. The way this year was going I was prepared for the worst.

Apple is now the world’s most valuable company. And there’s a stock split coming at the end of the month.

And all he wanted to do was turn off his windshield wipers but this Tesla driver ended up having his license suspended for using a computer screen while driving. That’s not how it was supposed to work.

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.

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.