Green money

Sunday. The end of the week-end.

Kevin Roose writes about Helium, the crypto network that’s also a wireless network.

Should the US move to a digital currency? The Federal Reserve is thinking about what that would look like and the Boston Fed is working with MIT to hammer out details. There are many good reasons to do so. But it would also eventually lead to the abolition of non-identifiable transactions. No more cash deals. Everything would be on the books. We’re pretty close to that point now but formalizing it, and the privacy implications that would bring, might be too much for some people.

Speaking of the Fed, there could be hard times ahead for tech companies if interest rates are hiked. Facebook’s recent devaluation could just be the beginning of a larger trend.

Thom Dunn reports that, thanks to NFT‘s, you can now buy and own a color. Then if anyone uses that color they’ll have to pay you. St. Patrick’s Day is coming. I’m going to clean up on #4CBB17.

And meanwhile in the Metaverse, the “Bored Ape Yacht Club has amassed over $1 billion in total volume and announced a mobile play-and-earn game, while fellow primate projects, CyberKongz and SmolBrains continue to announce and integrate new gamification features to their collections.” You know you’re old when the real world becomes indistinguishable from poorly-written dystopian fiction.

Cold shoulder

A chilly Monday. Low single-digit chilly.

Today is the anniversary of the Mooninite terror scare of 2007. 15 years!

A basement performance space at the Cantab Lounge is at the heart of an ugly dispute between two long-time local music scene partners. Cambridge Day reports that Joe Viglione (he’ll always be The Count to me) and Mickey Bliss have parted ways over how the basement club should be promoted.

Megan McArdle wondered what all the hubbub was about with cryptocurrencies. She couldn’t figure out why anyone would be attracted to something so volatile?

Devin Coldewey writes about how all new cars seem to be like low budget smart phones. He does have a point.

And what if the earth was made of blueberries? No, really. What if the earth was made of blueberries?

Ganging up

Monday. Time to get cracking.

The new, new thing is getting a little old. Cace Metz writes about the long wait for the next tech breakthrough.

A Globe editorial takes aim at the Boston Police gang database, suggesting that it needs to be reformed. The implication is that it isn’t effective. Crime stats make the opposite case. In most US cities crime is rising, especially homicide—and many homicides are gang related. Boston is an outlier. Murders are down to historic lows here. Why? Fair and effective policing might have something to do with it. Tracking gang membership needs to be done carefully and consistently to avoid abuse and I think the BPD are already committed to doing that. Outside scrutiny is important. But it’s also important for the Globe to give credit where credit is due.

This week the Fed might get more hawkish on inflation and raise interest rates. Also, John Cassidy reminds us about the doomish, bubble-bursting projections of Jeremy Grantham. Anything can happen and probably will. Stay tuned.

Should you buy crypto now that prices are down? Maybe. But I wouldn’t bet the retirement account unless you have a strong stomach for uncertainty and wild swings.

And when Roger Ebert wrote a bad review it was a work of art. My favorite line from his 1995 takedown of the kid-facing Power Rangers film: “The movie is like a little unkindness done to its victims.” Ouch.

The final frontier

Today is Sunday. Not much happening.

Eric Adams had promised to take his first three paychecks in Bitcoin. Not great timing on his part.

The Webb Telescope continues to self assemble according to plan as it heads to its destination at L2. Mirrors are now fully deployed. (What’s L2, you ask? It’s a Lagrange Point. William Neff explains.)

The Russians are coming, the Russians are comingupdated for 2022… Irish version.

Speaking of Russia, Joshua Keating tells us what to look for in the Ukraine situation as things get twitchy in Europe. Once again, it comes down to oil supply.

And the LHC usually gets all the attention, but a new particle accelerator coming on line at Michigan State might shed light on what comes after the Standard Model.

The price of admission

Monday, March 17th. MLK Day.

Imagine People of Walmart in a virtual environment. It could be the killer app for the Metaverse.

The recent court decision on public safety unions and vaccination mandates underscores a reality that many people, including Michelle Wu on the campaign trail, didn’t seem to understand. In city government, you can’t just do things from a management position (like all those police reform promises) without hard and often costly negotiations. Every… little… thing… has to be negotiated. Wu got a pass on implementation of the mandate from the court because of a public health emergency—but not on negotiations. Now comes the part where the city has to pay.

The trend line at Gallup does not look good for the Biden Administration and the Democratic Party.

In a sad story, Jeffery Parker, a former manager of the T’s subway systems and current leader of the Atlanta transit system committed suicide by stepping in front of a train.

And if you thought cable prices were bad, welcome to streaming.

Right down the line

It’s a sanguine Sunday.

Dismantling. That’s a good word to describe what happened to the Pats last night.

Where does crypto currency fit in politically? Republicans love it and Democrats hate it. Also, Democrats love it and Republicans hate it. Sounds about right.

Google search trends during the pandemic tell us that the new normal involves roller skates and even more tequila.

Boris Johnson has not had a good week. Time for a ‘good news drop for damage control (although it might not be such good news for the BBC).

And The Onion could not have done better than this real-life scenario. It’s fascinating to imagine what’s going on in some of these people’s brains

Subtraction by addition

Monday. Back to work.

Brian Eno likes the idea of NFTs.

Is Google search getting worse? Michael Seibel thinks so. I tend to agree. Results are less straightforward and more often than not lead to clickbait sites rather than helpful information. He suggests a paid version of Google that would eliminate paid rankings. I’d sign up for that – but only if it had privacy features built in. In the meantime, there’s Duck Duck Go.

Not everyone is thrilled to have another news outlet in town. But the more the merrier, I say.

Finland and Sweden are watching the Ukraine situation very closely. Things could go sideways in the north in response to Russian aggression in the south.

And last week I linked to a tweet about an iPhone’s computational photography algorithm replacing a woman’s face with leaves. Turns out that the tweet was wrong about what happened. It wasn’t the iPhone. It was actual leaves.

Line in the sand

Good morning. It’s Sunday.

A study out of Oregon Health and Science University suggests that if you are fully vaccinated and have a mild breakthrough infection soon after, then you’ve hit the jackpot. You could have super immunity, with antibodies 1000% more effective than vaccination.

Live Boston is reporting that the Wu administration has changed its vaccine mandate to eliminate the testing option, reversing a policy that had been negotiated with some of the public safety unions. This could be the first of many battles between Wu and the unions and it could set the tone for upcoming contract negotiations.

Noam Chomsky and Steven Pinker (who don’t agree on much) are not bullish on artificial intelligence. But new developments might cause them to reassess.

Apple intends to release a completely rewritten version of the old and slow Music App (formally iTunes) on the Mac. You would think this would be welcome news but I’m nervous. Some of us have years of music organization invested in iTunes and although the current version is a lumbering beast, it provides a lot of features that we’ve come to rely on. Here’s hoping that Apple doesn’t dumb it down too much.

And Radio Shack is getting into crypto. But of course, you have to give them your phone number email to get onboard.

The new, new, new, new thing

Hey, It’s Friday!

In New York City, rats are getting a last meal of Oreo cookies before summary execution.

Chris Dixon on why Web3 matters. Kara Swisher is both excited and dubious about it. She advises caution though, writing, “before you start imagining some digital utopia, many (with some justification) think the Web3 movement is also rife with hype, windbags and more than a little grift.” Nicholas Weaver takes it a step further. He thinks it’s an outright fraud.

The Massachusetts rainy day fund is overbrimming. That’s good. We’ll need it when we become our own country.

Some people can’t correct when they’ve taken a wrong stance, so I give credit to San Francisco Mayor Breed for her newfound support for traditional policing. Marc Thiessen takes a more cynical view.

And Tatum Hunter, writing in the Washington Post, provides a guide to secure passwords. But it’s not just a guide. It’s the Ultimate Guide.

Whack a mole

Sunday, Dec 5th. Today is the anniversary of the end of Prohibition.

Some people will do will do anything to avoid getting a shot.

The first case of Omicron in the US was in a person who was fully vaccinated. Another man who seems to have picked up a case of the variant at a convention in New York (and then spread it to others) was also fully vaccinated—and had a booster shot. So are those of us who got all of our shots and boosters now back to square one? What about reinfections? Well, there’s good news and bad news. The bad news is that Omicron spreads faster than Covid and is three times more likely to lead to reinfections. The good news is that, according to early data, those infections are less severe. (The guy from the New York convention had symptoms for only two days.) But wait, there’s more (good news)… David Leonhardt has the scoop on some game-changing treatments on the way.

Are decentralized autonomous organizations the key to the future? I have no idea but some folks seem to think they are.

Before Charlie Baker announced he wouldn’t run again for governor, the Massachusetts Republican party was in a superposition of being both anti-Trump and pro-Trump. That waveform is about to collapse.

And life is complicated for people named Alexa. For one thing, they’re expected to know everything.