Calm before the storm

Tuesday. It’s the anniversary of Apollo 11 landing in the Sea of Tranquility.

Say you’re in an airliner flying at 30,000 feet and realize that everyone on the plane has been incapacitated, including the pilots. (Maybe they all had the fish). Can you land the plane? Actually, it’s doable.

Shirley Leung reports that the MBTA has restored service to pre-pandemic levels. But despite an expensive marketing campaign, riders haven’t returned. Come fall, when more workers return to the office, this could be a problem, traffic-wise.

Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin flight into ‘space’ this morning was a success. After reaching apogee, the passenger module floated back to earth on parachutes at about 15 mph, until just inches above the ground, when a blast of air, like an airbag deployment, cushioned its touchdown. The rocket booster had previously separated and returned to earth, landing just like a rocket in a 1950’s sci-fi illustration. It was quite an impressive technological accomplishment.

After 50 people were shot over the weekend, Chicago police are trying something they say is “new and unique.” They’re going to tackle illegal gun trafficking. Imagine that.

And there are thick burgers and there are thin burgers. Thick burgers are juicy and tasty, but a disaster when you try to eat them. Thin burgers fit well in the bun but are too easy to overcook. What if science could help us to have the best of both worlds? Count me in!

The shortest distance

It’s a Tuesday. We’re hooked on aphelion.

The workplace has changed significantly in the last year or so. Tech companies serving that sector have had to be very adaptable to survive.

As some people using public transportation begin to come back into the office, they’re finding their Charlie Cards expired. Why do Charlie Cards expire? Why do we need cards at all? It doesn’t sound very efficient. You should be able to use your phone or watch to pay. I know… it’s in the works. The T says next year for some stations. By 2024 the entire system will be up and running. But sooner would be better.

There’s one company holding all the chips. It’s not who you think.

150 people were shot over the holiday weekend. 95 of those were in Chicago, which actually saw a reduction in firearm violence from last year.

And why do ransomware gangs keep hitting us? For the same reason Willie Sutton robbed banks.

A question of balance

It’s Monday, Memorial Day. Enjoy the long weekend.

When the cure is worse than the disease: Cookie consent pop-ups are destroying the Internet.

In the 50 cities with the best work/life balance, Boston comes in at #31. Not too bad. (But that’s down from #22 the previous year.) Helsinki has the best ranking. Hong Kong the worst. Among cities in the US, Boston comes in at #5, just after Seattle.

Web design, dark patterns and the New York Times. Nir Eyal has some thoughts.

Kroger is offering people the chance to win a million dollars and free groceries if they come in to get vaccinated. They also give their employees a $100 dollar bonus to get the shot. That’s in contrast to some local grocery chains that won’t even give their workers time off to get vaccinated (I’m looking at you, Stop and Shop.)

And a rap-war shooting at a concert in Miami left 2 dead and 20 wounded. That’s a problem.

A solid foundation

It’s Tuesday. Almost Wednesday.

A Christmas wish come true. With a little marketing help.

The city of Boston is doing well. A building boom started by Tom Menino and continued by Marty Walsh has given Boston a very solid tax base. The obvious danger is in what happened to places like San Francisco, where all but the most affluent were priced out. Kudos to Walsh for integrating affordable housing efforts with new building initiatives.

If you thought your smart TV was collecting a lot of data about you, wait until you see what your car is doing. (You even need to be careful gassing up!)

It’s Edaville Railroad time again.

Government funding for gun-violence research was terminated in 1996. Fortunately it’s being renewed, with $25 million dollars in new funding for firearms safety studies. Unfortunately that won’t be enough.

And if your package from Amazon came on schedule today, you can thank ‘The Sniper‘.