The real world

Today is Thursday. April 15th.

Substack local. I’m very interested is seeing how this turns out.

Kim Janey is in charge now and the annual budget that she’s presenting to her former colleagues in the City Council reflects the realities of being mayor and running a city. That sets up a conflict with some members of the council who take a more rhetorical or aspirational approach to how they see government working. It doesn’t help that some are campaigning in place for her job. I give Janey credit for standing up to unrealistic expectations.

A Dixie cup is something you drink water out of. A Hoodsie cup is ice cream. Why is this even a question?

Defund the police or defang the gangs?” Commonwealth Magazine has a brief discussion of the complicated issue of police reform in today’s highly charged political environment. But the bottom line is that defunding the police is like throwing away the baby with the bathwater. Here’s a key takeaway: “Asked whether regular police patrols in their community would make them feel more safe or less safe, 65 percent of black respondents said more safe, while only 22 percent said less safe. There was a bigger gap among white respondents, with 81 percent saying regular patrols would make them feel more safe and only 10 percent saying less safe. But the broad message seemed to be that Americans want better policing aimed at real public safety dangers in their community.”

And the FBI is reaching into privately owned Exchange servers around the country to remove malicious code. They have court approval to do so but it’s still kind of a big deal.

Work away from work

Today is Wednesday, National Grammar Day.

Dr. Seuss has decided on its own that it will remove a few archaic books from its catalog. Hilarity ensues.

When the pandemic is over will workplaces go back to what they were before, or has remote work settled in for good? I’m skeptical of any long term change but state leaders in Massachusetts are doubling down on telework. Picture a future Herald expose about a Department of Revenue employee working from Hawaii in February while the rest of us are digging out from a blizzard. Cue the public outrage and backlash. Just saying.

When I was in my twenties, I spent a couple of winters on Nantucket. I was too busy working to do anything of these things.

A Japanese billionaire is funding a SpaceX mission to the moon and he’s looking for company. It’s a three-day trip to the moon and then, after one orbit, three days back. The cost is on him. You can apply here if you’re interested.

And Dunkin’s is shooting for the millennial market with a new offering, avocado toast. You can have a nice hot Dunkin’ espresso with it. Then, maybe some Spaghetti-o’s for dinner.

Human on the loop

Saturday. Freezing outside. Today’s word is retrocede.

Terrence Doyle alerts us that a new Bahn Mi shop is opening in Boston in the little spot on Washington Street where the New Saigon sandwich shop used to be.

Artificial Intelligence is the next frontier in war. The big ethical question is whether we should allow non-human technology to make lethal decisions on the battlefield. Experts say it’s not a question of if, but when. Humans are just not fast enough to handle the wars of the future. “If we slow the AI to human speed …we’re going to lose.”

A couple of years ago a woman bought her eight-year-old son a present of 10 shares of GameStop. It cost her $60 bucks. He just cashed them in for over $3 grand.

A tale of two kinds of politician: One waves her hands and says we must do this and we must do that. The others develop strategies to actually do some of those things.

And Sony has released a new high-end camera, the Alpha 1. Remember that time when Homer Simpson designed a car

Data desert

Tuesday. It’s a birthday for Douglas McArthur, Angela Davis and Wayne Gretzky.

Twitter has put a pillow over Mike Lindell’s head.

With some exceptions, larger police departments in Massachusetts do a pretty good job with data collection. The courts, corrections and prosecutors – not so much. Shira Schoenberg explores the morass of incompatible and non-existent systems in the criminal justice system.

Acting, schmacting. The Mayor is the Mayor. The Boston city charter gives plenty of wiggle room for any decisions that Kim Janey might need to make.

Conventional wisdom was that more money wouldn’t buy more happiness, at least if you had an income of about $75k or so. A new study says that’s BS. Even more money brings even more happiness. In fact, with enough money your happiness level could be out of this world.

And Pizza Hut is branching out. After receiving requests from their customers they are now offering Detroit-style pizza. That checks out. Only people who like not-pizza pizza would request such a thing.

Jumping the turnstile

Today is Monday, Opposite Day.

It’s not exactly The Villages but I guess it’s the same basic idea. Who doesn’t love a parade on Opposite Day.

One of the big reasons that Uber and Lyft took off is because they were low friction. No cash, no special cards to carry. No long-term commitment. You use it when you need it and you know what it costs. Compare that to the MBTA, where you have to get a Charlie Card, put some arbitrary amount of money on it, even for a single ride, and then worry about the balance for the next ride. So it’s welcome news that the MBTA is at least in the very early stages of switching over to a contactless payment system. Just like in London and Chicago, two efficient systems I’m familiar with. And New York, where the payment system upgrade is also well underway. Mass transit should be cheap and easy to use – and pay for. This is a step in the right direction.

Superbowl teams have been warned to stay away from Tampa. One team might have a problem with that.

Some say that Elon Musk’s Starlink system is going to be a game changer. Others (especially in the Telecom sector) say it’s just hype. I don’t care either way. As long as it’s sustainable it will be another choice for getting connected, especially in remote settings.

And if you mix this hot sauce with mayo, you can make yourself a “thermonuclear bologna sandwich.” It looks like the guy that killed Bin Laden is trying to kill the rest of us.