Contingency planning

Today is Wednesday, March 30th; the anniversary of Steward’s Folly.

Dan Primack at Axios scooped the John Henry-owned Globe on a story about Fenway going carbon neutral. How did that happen?

Finland and Taiwan are taking their lessons from Ukraine.

It’s always helpful to consider the contrarian view. In this case, Bret Stephens entertains that Putin may be miscalculating like a fox.

As you might recall, Trump launched his social media site in February. But he still hasn’t yet made a post on it. It’s looking more and more like this whole thing was a scam from the get go.

And American astronaut Mark Vande Hei has landed safely, coming down in Kazakhstan after hitching a ride on a Russian spacecraft. It’s a crazy world.

A cat and mouse game

Tuesday. Pushing through the week.

You can’t get there from here. Adam Gaffin provides directions on the T.

It’s always been a little fuzzy to me how the coronavirus can persist and adapt in the face of antibodies and widespread vaccination. This article was helpful. Apparently the virus mutates in two dimensions, transmissibility and immunity evasion. The former can reach an equilibrium but the latter goes on and on, as it does with the flu. So we should get used to the idea of ongoing, updated inoculations.

A seven hour gap? Seems weird. A mere eighteen and a half minute gap brought down a president once, a long time ago.

The power of the Internet in the Ukraine war has been pretty apparent. The fact that it’s still up and running in that country is both a surprise and a testament to telecom workers in the war zone.

And now you, too, can slap the shit out of Chris Rock. (Note: no actors were harmed in the development of this simulation.)

Undone on a coin-flip

Today is Sunday, World Paella Day!

Here’s a primer on the Oscars (something I would need) from Australia.

The Times has a long but insightful story on the evolution of Putin. Worth the read. Also, David Remnick dissects Putin’s obsession with Russian national identity.

The Globe’s Danny McDonald talks to City Council President Ed Flynn. Flynn is a genuinely nice guy and more importantly for the city, a heads-down, low key, hard working, dedicated public servant with a humility rare in public figures.

Farah Stockman looks at the human side of the war, with a connection to Massachusetts. The Grid provides some recent photos from Ukraine.

And how deep is the ocean… how high is the sky?

Franchised fiasco

Saturday. It was worth the wait for the weekend.

In today’s Boston ‘Metro’ news, a musician from Los Angles died— in South America. I don’t know why the Globe even bothers to organize their news by sections.

The Washington Post covers the de-globalization of Russia as Western brands flee the country. There’s a new codicil to the Thomas Friedman rule that countries with McDonalds don’t attack each other: When they do, the McDonalds’ have to close. As far as coffee goes, Starbucks has suspended all operations in Russia. But as of today, Dunkin’s is still serving up Moscow mocha-chinos.

Mike Evans writes about the appeal of the Leica M9, one of my all time favorite cameras.

During the Iraq war priceless antiquities were lost. In Ukraine a different set of cultural artifacts were destroyed. A smaller tragedy maybe, but still a tragedy.

And here’s William Shatner‘s all time favorite album playlist. It’s a trip down memory lane.

The biggest loser

Friday. This is good.

The Massachusetts Senate has rejected suspending the gas tax. Neighboring Connecticut, on the other hand, suspended its gas tax from April 1st to June 30, as well as fares on public buses statewide.

Boston is shrinking or, more accurately, Suffolk County is getting smaller. People are moving out of the city to places like the Cape, although Massachusetts as a whole lost population. Counties in New York and Los Angles also shrank during the pandemic. Where did everybody go? Looks like they’ve all gone to The Villages. Here’s a map.

Here’s how to outsmart your smartphone’s smart camera.

People think Biden isn’t being tough enough on Russia. For what it’s worth, I think he’s doing exactly the right things given the circumstances. As Lawrence Freedman writes, “students of international relations, especially those who adopt a ‘realist’ approach, warn that the understandable desire to see Ukraine win, and moral outrage over Putin’s actions, might interfere with the cool judgements necessary when faced with such a deadly conflict, one with potential repercussions that go well beyond the belligerents.”

And this kid can spell better than you (or me.) Voilià.

Who, what, where, when and why

It’s Thursday, a stormy late-March day.

I guess Arnold must have hit a nerve.

A Globe story highlights the fallout after removing police from Boston schools. The author’s take is that evidence suggests removing city police from the schools was a mistake. Strangely conspicuous by its absence in the story was any mention of the Mayor’s longstanding position on the subject.

As Putin is backed into a corner, Peter Rosen, a professor of national security and military affairs at Harvard, plays out a few nuclear scenarios. Terrifying stuff.

Doom-scrolling is a hard habit to break. But at least there are rest stops along the way.

And rich people are getting worried about the economy. Good. Maybe now something will be done about it.

Escalate to deescalate

Merry Tuesday. I think.

Here we go again with Parcel P3. Someday. Someday.

After Hiroshima, nuclear weapons became bigger and much more destructive. Then they started getting smaller and more tactical. Will Russia consider using a small tactical nuke in the Ukraine standoff? Ulrich Kühn is a nuclear expert at the University of Hamburg. “It feels horrible to talk about these things,” he told the Times. “But we have to consider that this is becoming a possibility.”

There’s an interesting back story to the two-hour warning we had of that small asteroid strike off Greenland earlier this month—with implications for detecting future ones.

Reports are that Russia is preparing a wider cyber attack. US companies have been put on alert.

And if you were in DC yesterday, you got to see peak cherry blossoms. If you had planned to go next week when they were supposed to be at their height, sorry, you missed the boat.

From comedy to tragedy

Sunday, Sunday. Let’s have a parade.

The St. Patrick’s Day breakfast can be streamed here this morning.

In the TV show Servant of the People, a hapless history teacher stumbles into the presidency of Ukraine. The teacher is played by none other than Volodymyr Zelenskyy, who himself later in real life stumbled into the presidency of the Ukraine. It’s available on Netflix with subtitles and it’s worth watching if only to see how beautiful and vibrant Ukrainian society was before the war. The whole thing is really very weird but it puts images and stories like this and this into perspective, making them much more relatable and tragic.

Conti, Cozy Bear and the FSB, a nest of vipers.

Today’s assessment from the Institute for the Study of War is kind of a stunner: “Ukrainian forces have defeated the initial Russian campaign of this war. That campaign aimed to conduct airborne and mechanized operations to seize Kyiv, Kharkiv, Odesa, and other major Ukrainian cities to force a change of government in Ukraine. That campaign has culminated. Russian forces continue to make limited advances in some parts of the theater but are very unlikely to be able to seize their objectives in this way.” … They go on to say that Russia will need to pause and regroup with new forces and supplies to win this war, but they don’t seem to be doing that.

And the reviews are in for Apple’s Universal Control. I’ve tried it with two Macs and it does ‘just work.’

A halfhearted effort

Thursday, March 17. Éirinn go Brách.

The battle of Voznesensk. An amazing story. It reads like a WW2 movie.

This war is really not going according to Russia’s plan. In Voznesensk, hungry Russian soldiers went into resident’s homes searching for food before retreating under assault from volunteer Ukrainian forces that had out maneuvered them. The Russians fled so quickly that they left behind equipment and ammunition that could be later used against them. Poor logistics, bad tactics and failing morale were all on display. There are equipment shortages and manpower shortages on the Russian side. Many of the Russian soldiers are conscripts. (Conscription Day is April 1st in Russia, which will be a sad occasion for many families.) Body counts are rising. Four Russian Generals have been killed. None of this was in the plan.

The Webb Telescope continues to exceed expectations.

Daylight Savings Time all year long or the status quo, springing forward and falling back? Actually there’s another option. Standard Time all year long. Sleep experts are in favor of this option. But it’s a dark future.

And a short parade is better than no parade at all. Farragut Road works for me.

We have our own problems

Tuesday. The Ides of March.

Finders keepers. All $10 billion worth.

The headline begins, ‘Brutal.’ ‘Awful.’ ‘Purgatory.’ Is it a story about people living in Kiev as Russian rockets hit the city? No, it’s about people trying to find a reasonably priced apartment in the Boston neighborhood of their choice. File under: Tone deaf. Update: It appears that the Globe has changed the headline.

Robots are the latest hires at White Castle. Flippy, I assume, will be working the grill.

The woman who held a “stop war” sign on a Russian newscast has disappeared after she was charged and detained. Here’s hoping that she somehow got out of the country—but Russia’s history in dealing with dissidents argues against that outcome. Update: She’s been found.

And it’s that time of year again: time for spring cleaningyour brain.