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.

A long hot summer

Today is Saturday. Memorial Day weekend. It’s OK to wear those white pants.

Anthony Fauci made a virtual visit to the Kennedy School this week to brief mayors about what the summer has in store for their cities.

In Boston, the start of the season has been a violent one. A “ticking time bomb,” is how the DA describes the situation.

George Will is giving Joe Biden advice on who he should pick for a running mate. Gina Raimondo is actually not a bad choice. Unlikely, but not bad.

European football shows us what American football might look like this year. No crowds. No noise. Less contact between players. (Not sure how they’ll pull that last one off.)

And Siri, as a smart assistant, is not very smart.

The new, new normal

Today is Tuesday, May 12th. The great Exile on Main St. was released on this date a mere 48 years ago.

Football could still happen in the fall, without the fans, according to Fauci.

Massachusetts will get back to normal in four phases based on a plan announced by Governor Baker yesterday. The phases are: Start; Cautious; Vigilant; and The New Normal. Forget essential vs. non-essential. Instead, this plan is based on the ability of businesses to conduct safe interactions in the workplace and with customers. Makes sense. A more detailed description of what’s opening, and when, will be released on Monday.

Sometimes, as Marc Hurwitz puts it, you need to GTFO. Outside, that is. Places where you can stretch and get some fresh air. He provides a good list of destinations.

According to Bruce Mohl, MBTA ridership, although way down from pre-Covid levels, has been inching up recently, and apparently there’s nothing in place for handling distancing. It really doesn’t matter if people are separated by six feet in the office if they’re crammed into a sardine can on the way there.

And in New Orleans, you can get a mask with a hole in it. You know, so you can sip an adult beverage through a straw while social distancing.

$tarter homes

It’s a post-Superbowl Monday morning. AM traffic is always light on this day.

In addition to the game there were the commercials. Some decent ones this year. I kind of liked the bizarre Pringles ad.

Families are struggling to find affordable housing around Boston. According to a study to be released today, too many existing units are being occupied by empty-nesters or groups of roommates. The challenge seems to be incentivizing those folks to move to more appropriate sized homes, freeing up the multi-bedrooms for families.

Another day, another weird academic paper.

Google Maps is usually pretty good at knowing when traffic backs up. Then it uses that knowledge to route you around the bottlenecks when you ask it for directions. Google knows about traffic because our cell phones tell Google where we are and how fast we’re going. It assumes we’re in a car. So a guy put a hundred cellphones in a red wagon and pulled it slowly along a city street to try to trick Google into thinking there was a traffic jam. It worked. Pretty clever way to open a road up. But not reassuring that Google Maps was hacked this easily.

And as the coronavirus spreads around the world, so does misinformation about it.

Coming and going

It’s Sunday, 02/02-2020, a rare palindromic day.

Punxsutawney Phil says it will be an early spring. But we already knew that.

Television viewing habits have changed over the years. Streaming has replaced broadcast TV for most people. But as far as ad pricing goes, today’s Superbowl is still overwhelmingly a broadcast event. As for the game itself? Gronk predicts a zero to zero tie score going into overtime.

Stephen King is quitting Facebook. Good for him.

Here’s an example of operant conditioning developed by the Mumbai Traffic Police. It’s unclear how effective it is for reducing noise but I’m guessing it would wreak havoc on any signal coordination system.

And if Jeff Bezos, the head of one of the largest tech companies on the planet, can get his phone hacked, so can you. Here are some basic tips for prevention.