The measurement problem

On this Tuesday morning, the word of the day is Sisyphean.

Hey, big news: Michelle Wu is running for mayor. Who woulda thought?

Rachael Rollins, Byron Rushing and Juana Matias argue for better data from courts and prosecutors. You can’t fix what you can’t measure, they say. This was a problem 20 years ago. A lot of people have worked at remedying the situation over the years but were stymied by funding constraints and bureaucratic inertia. So, good for them for highlighting, and hopefully tackling, the issue.

Mike Caputo obviously needs help. Unfortunately, he’s the guy in charge of providing it.

There was an MIT angle, so I guess it was OK for the Globe to run the ‘signs of life on Venus‘ story as a Metro item. But Venus is definitely outside the increasingly expanding Boston metro area, which, as of late, includes Rhode Island.

A sharp 911 tele-communicator, and an Apple Watch teamed up to save the life of an Arizona officer.

And speaking of Apple watches, there’s an event to announce new models today. I’ll be tuned in.

Flattening the curve

Good morning. It’s Wednesday. Happy birthday to Vannevar Bush, Lawrence Welk and Shemp Howard.

How bad is traffic in the Boston area? We’re number 1!

US Coronavirus cases are up to just over 1000. That doesn’t seem like such a big deal in a country with hundreds of millions of people. But the number was 547 just four days ago, 233 two days before that and only 35 a couple of weeks ago. It is increasing exponentially and the important question is, where does it level out? The answer is, of course, complicated. This short video might help you wrap your head around it. The last slide is key.

Unfortunately we’re still not testing as much as other countries so any numbers we have aren’t as reliable as they could be. For those who compare the new virus numbers to the flu and wonder why things are being cancelled, the chart in this story might provide your answer. A bulge in cases, especially from a super-spreading event, could overwhelm the healthcare system. This has already happened in Italy where hospitals are under siege.

I referred to the virus as a black swan the other day. I’m told it is actually a gray rhino because we should have seen it coming.

This morning the Globe tells us all about – but doesn’t show or even link to – new NASA satellite photos of Cape Cod in the spring. Here are those NASA Photos.

And a court has cleared Led Zeppelin of charges that they plagiarized the opening riff of Stairway to Heaven, overturning a previous ruling that they had. The forests will echo with laughter.

Taking payment up front

Friday the 14th. Valentine’s Day. Don’t forget.

One New Yorker is happy, on balance, with Bloomberg’s legacy as mayor. I suspect this view is pretty common among people there.

It appears that the Globe is being a little aggressive in collecting subscription fees, sometime charging people earlier than they should. Lots of complaints over at the BBB. You have to love the cut-and-paste, “Hello I apologize…”, response to many of the complaints. But at least they’re replying. (Via Reddit).

It’s a vision of the future, straight from the past. This would’ve made perfect sense to a sixteenth century futurist.

The Boston to New York seaplane service received final approval from the BPDA.

And if just thinking about mechanical engineering gives you a headache, you may be pleasantly surprised by this blog post from Bartosz Ciechanowski. He makes tangential forces and angular velocity fun. Seriously.

Good government guys

Thursday. It feels like rain. Happy birthday to Peter Gabriel, Carol Lynley, Jerry Springer and Peter Tork.

Once again Globe food writer Devra First can’t seem to make it across the Neponset River, missing out on a lot of fine places to eat south of the city. (Delfino in Roslindale was a good choice, though.)

A CBO-like office for Massachusetts, to review the efficacy of proposed legislation? Sounds like a good idea, actually. And the names of the people involved should instill confidence.

Lyle Mays has died. I always loved his playing with Pat Metheny. The improvised melodies had a personality and there seemed to be a chemistry there. Some good examples: The Way Up; Speaking of Now; Imaginary Day – all great records and featured on today’s playlist.

Adam Gaffin reports on Cape Air’s quest to make a splash with a seaplane route between Long Wharf and the East River in NYC.

And the biggest industry event for mobile technology has been canceled because of the coronavirus. There won’t be a Mobile World Conference in Barcelona this year. That’s a big deal.

Cropped Tops

While looking at the Globe online this morning I noticed the unusual composition of this photo.

I can see the top of someone’s head at the bottom of the image. Maybe that person wasn’t relevant to the story and they were cropped out, resulting in the weird unbalanced framing.

But no. Below is the full image from the story. And it’s a great shot, by Jen Murphy, of the whole team! So if a horizontal crop was needed, why not something like the one outlined in yellow? It would have been perfect.

The decision to crop out the bottom two thirds of the photo doesn’t make sense. Maybe it has something to do with the CMS or deadlines, but it just seems odd to me. Are photo editors still a thing or is it all automated now?

Oh, and here’s another strange one in the Globe today…