Belt and suspenders

Monday morning. On this day in 1994, IBM debuted the first smartphone.

Los Angles is having a bad year, crime-wise. 300 fatal shootings so far. The most since 2009.

And now there’s three. AstraZeneca and the team at Oxford have announced that their vaccine is up to 90% effective. Although slightly less effective than the Pfizer and Moderna versions, it tends to be easier to store and distribute. It’s amazing that this was all accomplished in less than a year. Go science!

It’s eerily quiet at the White House. It’s either a winding down or the calm before the storm.

Online security is often an act of faith in the companies that you entrust your information to. In this case that faith was misplaced. Along the same line, many banks are using computer code more than 20 years old that nobody on staff understands. They’re at the mercy of the high priests of COBOL.

And what’s old is new again. In this case, anti-maskers.

…Especially about the future

Sunday morning, The 22nd of November. Just 29 days left until winter begins.

What’s going on with bitcoin these days? The folks at Forbes say it’s going to hit and break through an all time high. Crypto is slowly gaining traction and reach as it becomes more secure and scaleable. Some of that is due to companies like Chainalysis, which will in turn prosper.

Anthony Fauci talks common sense to Elisabeth Rosenthal. He thinks we’ll be back to normal by this time next year thanks to the vaccines announced last week. Here’s what that twelve months might look like. It will be nice to get out of this year of uncertainty. But in the meantime, continue to wear your mask.

It’s been a tough year for police departments. And for victims of rising violence.

“No pictures! Silencio.” It’s true that a Japanese company bought the exclusive photo and video rights to the art in the Sistine Chapel. But don’t blame them for the surly security guards that won’t let you take a pictures. That deal never included tourist photos. And that exclusive deal expired years ago anyway. These days the Vatican just chooses to restrict picture taking, which is a shame.

And it’s no wonder that we’re all losing our grip on objective reality. It’s not just fake news, it’s fake everything!

Lining up the shot

Friday. It’s a birthday for Joe Biden, Robert Kennedy and James Michael Curley.

Flash was everywhere on the internet at one point but soon it will be history. Which is why the Internet Archive has decided to turn it on. (h/t Rob Beschizza.)

Pfizer plans to submit its vaccine for approval today. Moderna won’t be far behind. And people in high-risk groups could be receiving it within weeks. That’s big news. Here are some details about the process.

Spencer Buell reports on a brouhaha at an exclusive golf club in Mashpee where rumors are circulating that the club may be sold and turned into a dog park – or worse… a yoga retreat.

Apple is moving forward with App Tracking Transparency, despite some companies objections. The public will benefit when advertisers can’t track you across devices, but apps like Facebook, that profit by collecting your data, are against it. Which is why I’m for it.

And researchers are exploring the smells of history. Apparently Napoleon never went into battle without splashing on his favorite cologne.

Troubled waters

Thursday. It’s World Philosophy Day and World Toilet Day.

Here we go again. The psychology of empty shelves.

Emily Sweeney provides an interesting story to take our minds off everything else: Is this lighthouse, which falls well within US boundaries, a part of Hull, or any other town? If it isn’t, is it part of Massachusetts? And if it is part of the state, should it be incorporated as it’s own municipality? (Also, whoever is running the website should get a prize for the over-the-top graphics.)

If you visit Google today, don’t swat at the screen.

Reviews are coming in for the iPhone Pro Max camera system. The best one is from the folks that make the camera app Halide. Other reviewers have focused on the size of the phone. How big is it? When I put it on the passenger seat while driving, the seat belt alarm goes off. True story.

And Jonah Goldberg says (in a paywalled article, but you get the gist) that people on the left should read more people on the right and vise versa. That’s certainly sound advice at any time, but these days it could induce psychological whiplash.

Stuck in the middle

It’s Wednesday, Nov 18. The day, in 1978, when the Kool-Aid came out.

It’s that time again. Here are the worst popular passwords of 2020.

The landlord at Quincy Market, Ashkenazy, was over two million dollars behind in payments to the city and had been given notice to pack up and leave. Coleman Herman reports that they’ve paid up and the city is dialing back the threat. But the landlord is still not collecting rent from hard-hit merchants and hasn’t done so since April when the pandemic hit. So something still has to give.

It really is disappointing that free or low-cost testing is not more readily available in Massachusetts at this point. The Governor blames federal constraints but this is a failure all around.

Ryan Bray writes about Roxbury’s own Apache Studios, a hole in the wall on Norfolk Street that helped define the sound of 1980’s.

And speaking of the 80’s, remember this classic update to Who’s On First courtesy of Frank Drebin? “Who fired twice? Once.”