An impolitic discourse

It’s Wednesday. Cinco de Mayo. Squeeze that lime.

Ireland is opening up for tourism next month. And, conveniently, Air Lingus is running a flash sale on upcoming flights.

The BPPA are often their own worst enemy and are always a reliable villain in any discussion of policing in Boston. And while I have a lot of respect for Andrea Campbell and think she would make a good mayor, the fact remains that she threw the first punch in this Twitter fight.

In elections later this week, Boris Johnson may win the battle over ethical accusations but lose the war on keeping the UK a united kingdom.

Scripps Healthcare was reportedly hacked over the weekend. Medical providers and patients lost access to systems used to schedule visits or view test results. Not a lot of details were forthcoming but the recent trends by ransomware groups to steal data in addition to seeking money raised new concerns about patient information being exposed.

And the country of France lost a little ground in a recent land war with a farmer from Belgium. Call in the cartographers.

No sticker, no problem

Today is Saturday, April 3rd. It’s a birthday for the Osborne 1 and the iPad.

Just in time for Easter, British chocolate makers are having “teething problems” with Brexit export regulations.

Vehicle inspections are offline in Massachusetts, Connecticut and 6 other states. The systems went down last week and are expected to be down into next week and beyond. The company that runs the inspection system, Applus Technologies, says it was the victim of a malware attack. In other words, they were hacked. Something doesn’t seem right with the explanations of the delay in getting back online. A registry spokesperson said the company is “just trying to assess and understand the situation, and the options and the time it is going to take.” Either there’s no sense of urgency in fixing this, which would be weird, or it’s much worse than they’re saying. My guess is that it was a ransomware attack, everything is encrypted, and the ransom is very, very high. Meanwhile, no stickers.

Everyone loves a good mystery. So who’s piloting a 787 around the world, pushing the range limits on fuel by flying huge distances crisscrossing the globe? Indications are it’s Enrique Piñeyro, an Argentine actor and pilot who has been called the Michael Moore of Argentina. If he’s making a movie about all this, I hope it does well. Those flights are expensive.

Don Chiofaro has been trying to build his waterfront tower for over a decade. Things were looking up but a judge, and a flawed environmental review process, have dealt the project another setback.

And one more April fool’s joke gone bad. What were they thinking?


Another quiet Sunday morning. It’s a birthday for Jim Croce, Donald Fagan and Ronnie Hawkins.

2020 was the 50th anniversary of the founding of one of the newspapers on Nantucket called Yesterday’s Island. They’re collecting stories of life on the island in 1970. Here’s one that brought back some memories for me.

From the New York Times, writing about the death of Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick at the hands of rioters incited by the president: “Mr. Trump has not reached out to Mr. Sicknick’s family, although Vice President Mike Pence called to offer condolences, an aide to Mr. Pence said.” And the flags at the White House are not at half-mast.

Checking in on Fox News this morning I heard very little about the most important events of the last few days like, you know, the deadly attack on America. But there was plenty of talk about the backlash. I heard outrage over shutting down social media accounts and the potential for impeachment. Essentially they were painting President Trump and people on the right as victims of everything that happened this week. Shameful spin.

Car makers are shutting down over a lack of semiconductors. Cars are computers. So it makes sense for Apple to get into the game.

And Brexit trade is getting off to a shaky start. Companies working across the borders are seeing some “grit in the mechanism.”

Free movement

Today is Tuesday. Jon Voight‘s birthday. Happy birthday.

2020 may be remembered as the year of the great bucatini shortage. Rachel Handler tells us more than we wanted to know about the mighty pasta industrial complex.

William Booth has a Q&A on what BREXIT means for the average Briton. No more pet passports, for one thing.

NBC 10 has posted 41 of Mark Garfinkel‘s best photos from the year. Some serious technical chops at work there.

Everyone from podcasters to vloggers to journalists are moving to a monthly subscription model. Even Dan Kennedy is trying out a $5 a month model. Good luck to him.

And Air travel is up as covid is spreading. On top of that, the 737 Max is back in the air, taking passengers between Miami and LaGuardia. What could possibly go wrong?

London calling

Today is Saturday, December 26th. Boxing Day.

We’ve been deprecated! Boston is no longer in the top ten largest metro areas.

The BREXIT trade deal is (almost) done. It could have gone much worse for the UK, which didn’t hold many cards. The agreement gives Britain special status as a trade partner with the EU, which will benefit both sides. Northern Ireland will be considered part of the EU customs area so there will be no hard border reinstated. But fishing could be an issue as quotas are still being worked out “fish by fish”.

Maybe we have the Neanderthals to blame for Covid.

It’s still up in the air whether the president will sign the stimulus relief bill. Here’s what happens if he doesn’t. Not a good situation.

And if you’re looking for a new podcast, The Guardian rates twenty good ones from 2020.

Blood in the water

Sat. 10-17-20. The anniversary of the London Beer Flood.

Dr. Fauci and other health experts talk turkey.

The Atlantic White Shark Conservancy shared a video of a great white hunting just feet from the beach in Provincetown. It didn’t turn out well for the seal, who apparently didn’t know that it was Sharktober. (The Globe reposted the video on its site but added a pre-roll ad to it. I wonder how that works.)

There’s something fishy about the latest deadlock in the ongoing Brexit saga.

These are just some of the scientific journals that have found it necessary to get into politics in this age of science skepticism: The Lancet, Science Magazine, Scientific American, The New England Journal of Medicine and Nature. Carl Sagan saw it coming. I can almost hear his voice reading the passage.

And if you have a melody stuck in your head, Google might be able to help with its new Hum to Search feature. I will be testing this.

The biggest mask wins

Friday. It’s a state of mind. Happy birthday to Gandhi, Groucho and Greene.

Imagine living upstairs at Doyles? That’s the plan submitted by a developer. Condos upstairs, pints downstairs. A person could get into a rut.

The President and First Lady have tested positive for coronavirus.

Forget facial recognition. In these days of Zoom, the real invasive technology is AI-based facial analysis. This demonstration provided by the EU shows how your PC camera picks up all of your tells.

Brexit update: Things are stalled. Boris Johnson’s October 15 deadline is in flux now.

And Subway sandwiches has run afoul of the Irish Supreme Court. The court ruled that the bread in their sandwiches wasn’t actually bread because of the amount of sugar it contained. It would be more accurately classified as a confectionary. Something like a donut sandwich. Can you imagine?

Strange bedfellows

Thursday, August 20th, 2020. Darwin published his theory on this date in 1858.

No mopeds for a while on Block Island.

A Republican PAC is supporting a candidate in the Democratic primary for Massachusetts Governor’s Council. Bruce Mohl follows the money to the usual suspects.

A new poll in Scotland is showing unprecedented support for independence. How it will play out in practice is unclear at this point but, as one person put it, the writing is on the wall for Scotland and Great Britain.

Megan McArdle watched the videos from Portland and saw anti-police activists calling the police, and protester ‘security’ brutalizing a man in their custody. It’s a “complicated relationship,” she concludes.

BU students are wondering exactly what happens if they test positive for Covid-19. Here’s the low down.

And to reduce the population of buzzing bloodsuckers, Florida officials are releasing 750 million genetically engineered mosquitoes. File under: ‘What could possibly go wrong?’.

No flight plan

Tuesday. It’s the last day of June and the anniversary of the Tunguska explosion.

Jim McBride reviews the recent history around the Cam Newton trade. It’s a calculated gamble for the Patriots, but I’m looking forward to the season – barring any early injuries. Adam Kilgore considers the Belichick/Newton combo and likes what he sees. Excitement is in the air once again for Pats fans.

Just in time for a potential coronavirus vaccine, here comes a new virus from China. More here. (Maybe that mid-2020 Mayan ‘end of the world‘ thing was spot on.) Also, James Fallows does an NTSB style investigation into how the US government handled the Covid outbreak and determines the cause to be pilot error. It’s a long article but worth the time to read. And many good links are provided.

CNN looks at the rise and fall of the British cheddar cheese empire. (Make mine Vermont cheddar, please)

Did we really need a mathematical model of political hyper-polarization? I’ll go out on a limb and say no.

And 57% of British people polled recently want to rejoin the European Union. Only 35% still support Brexit. What a surprise.

Addition by subtraction

Saturday, the first of February. Happy birthday to Don Everly, Boris Yeltsin and Lisa Marie Presley.

The European Union is a little bit smaller this morning. While you were sleeping, BREXIT happened. A ‘Brexodus‘ is underway in Brussels. And things in Northern Ireland are… complicated. But otherwise the breakup is going according to plan. (Don’t forget to update your euros.) I think Brexit was a horrible idea. But this type of bureaucratic overreach by the EU reminds me why it got started in the first place.

There will soon be 400 less parking spaces at the already-at-capacity Braintree MBTA station. You can’t argue with the need for maintenance but, from the South Shore commuter’s point of view, it takes using the T off the table. So much for less cars on the road.

Speaking of disruptive construction at a transportation hub, here are the South Station tower project phases laid out in a video. Get ready.

And is the coronavirus a bioweapon? This guy thinks so. UPDATE: looks like this conspiracy theory is circulating in the usual places.