Halloween masks

Good Tuesday morning!! It’s the first day of fall. (That seemed quick.)

Leaves will soon be turning color and falling to the ground. Here’s the how and why.

What does the fall and winter look like as far as the virus goes? Andrew Joseph, writing in STAT, takes a long view into a number of possible futures. There are a lot of variables. But we should continue to wear a mask, wash our hands, and also, now, it might be beneficial to wear glasses.

Add Marco Rubio to the list of senators on the record opposed to pre-election court appointments. Not that it matters, apparently.

If you’re concerned about being tracked by advertisers, you may want to think about using a browser that blocks cookies and tracking pixels by default. Some sites are really egregious in what information they collect about you.

And, it appears that the government lost track of a 250 ton Chinese transformer. Meanwhile, this poor guy can’t get rid of a 700 pound safe.

Floating variables

A cool quiet Sunday morning. Only 2 days of summer left.

Yesterday we linked to a story about Madaket Millie, a Nantucket woman who broke the mold. Today it’s Stagecoach Mary, a “hard-drinking, quick-shooting mail carrier.”

Andrea Campbell, the strongest of potential challengers to Marty Walsh, will announce her intentions on running for Mayor sometime this week. It’s a hard decision with a presidential election close by and Walsh’s name floated to leave his post to move to a cabinet position with Biden if he wins. My two cents? I think she would make a great mayor.

Thirty five years ago, Frank Zappa teamed up with John Denver and Dee Snider to defend musical expression.

The US death toll from coronavirus is nearing 200,000. Meanwhile, pandemic fatigue has settled in. But as Helen Branswell reminds us, we may be tired of the virus, but it’s not tired of us.

And using Apple Music on the iPhone can be a frustrating experience. Inscrutable. But a handfull of new features in iOS 14, detailed by Apple Insider, makes it slightly less horrible. Keep em coming.

Generally displeased

Happy Friday. Rosh Hashanah begins tonight.

School custodians will be working their butts off this fall. Once the students return, high-touch areas in schools will need to be cleaned multiple times over the course of the day. And for school nurses, life is about to become much more complicated.

After the 2016 election, many people were concerned. Would Trump become more presidential? Was there anything to this Russian business? What was fake and what was real? There were no clear answers at that time but it did occur to me then that there was a good ‘canary in the coal mine’ to watch for: the Generals. Mostly Republican but usually non-partisan, they have to navigate through a changing political landscape over long careers, so they value discretion. They also tend to be principled and patriotic with a strong sense of what it takes to be a good leader. So, watch the Generals, I thought. It might be instructive. And here we are.

The New York Times is reporting that Iranian hackers have found a way to defeat app-based encryption on Android phones, giving them the ability to view information in Telegram and WeChat. Apparently malware, disguised as an Android app, was used to gain the access.

iOS 14 became available for download this week. If your iPhone is set for automatic updates you probably already have it installed. Here are the big new features and here are some smaller, more hidden improvements. And if privacy is important to you, this update sets new marks in protecting your data. Even in Iran.

And speaking of WeChat, it, and TikTok are banned in the US starting Sunday. There will be tears.

Chained to a tree

A hazy Wednesday. Happy birthday to Peter Falk and Lauren Bacall.

Scott Kearnan is prepared to bundle up and eat outside all winter to keep the local restaurant scene afloat. The Boston Licensing Board is onboard as well, at least through December.

Melnea Cass is a cut-through for cars, and for that it works well. Maybe too well. People drive way too fast through the neighborhood going from the Southeast Expressway to the medical area, Northeastern, and points west. For pedestrians and cyclists in the neighborhood, it’s no bargain. Besides the speedy traffic, the walking/biking paths are rutted and cracked because of tree roots and snow removal is difficult for the same reason. A complete redesign is needed. Alternatively, the city could just leave things the way they are. That would be bad for the neighborhood but good for commuters. I can’t imagine how the narrative on this got flipped. Now city councillors are calling for a hearing on environmental racism and lawyers in the AG’s office are lecturing the city on the benefit of trees. I guess no good deed goes unpunished.

It’s iPhone software update day. iOS 14 should be ready for download at about 1 this afternoon on the east coast.

Health care spending is down and profits are up. But that hasn’t stopped health insurance providers from pushing for higher premiums in the next year. Get ready for an 8% increase. Ouch.

And with more new options for going into space opening up, NASA needs a method to choose which astronauts get to go. Did I hear someone say ‘reality show!’?

An unforeseen benefit

Today is Monday. Windows ME is almost old enough to vote.

Last week was a bad week in Baltimore.

Seasonal illnesses seem to be down this year. There’s an assumption that it’s because people are avoiding going to the doctor or to the ER because of coronavirus fears. People may be sick but they’re just not seeking treatment. But maybe masks and distancing are actually reducing the transmission of non-covid diseases too. That would be a nice side effect.

The New York Times resorted to side scrolling in a story about waiting in line. Very annoying.

In the wake of Tom Brady‘s losing debut as a Buccaneer, Jerry Brewer writes about how teams should best use aging superstar quarterbacks. “To maximize what they have left, the solution is to create a philosophy and system that allows them to be a part of the offense, not the entire show. Instead of depending on transcendent play from the quarterbacks, it’s most prudent to put them in positions in which they can reflect the talent you’ve put around them, distribute the ball with good efficiency and save their remaining gas for the game’s most important moments.” Makes sense to me but doesn’t account for egos.

And, no Peeps this year. That’s how bad things are.