Doctor, doctor, give me the news

Happy Thursday. It’s Fluffernutter Day.

Spencer Buell, who is currently living without an oven, writes about the home appliance shortage of 2020.

The New England Journal of Medicine has been politically non-partisan up to this point. But now they write in an editorial that, “truth is neither liberal nor conservative. When it comes to the response to the largest public health crisis of our time, our current political leaders have demonstrated that they are dangerously incompetent. We should not abet them and enable the deaths of thousands more Americans by allowing them to keep their jobs.”

Now that was a debate. Substantive issues civilly discussed by two adults running for Vice President. (Admittedly, the bar was set low and there were plenty of non-answer answers.) The next presidential debate will be virtual. But the Trump campaign doesn’t think their man will do well in that environment, mute button and all, and is threatening to pass on it. A still infected Trump told Maria Baritomo, “I’m not going to waste my time on a virtual debate. It’s not what debating is all about. … It’s ridiculous.” OK then.

Sam Curry and team spent 3 months hacking Apple‘s infrastructure, finding 55 vulnerabilities, 40 of which were critical or serious. All were fixed. And the bug bounties were, presumably, paid out. Also, a good catch by Kaspersky, which found a BIOS/UEFI exploit that persistently installs spyware even after a drive is cleaned.

And in Oakland, activists wanted to cut the police department budget by half. Crime doubled. The math checks out.

Highly leveraged

We made it to Tuesday. What will today’s number be?

The robot cameramen have taken over Fenway Park.

According to that Times report yesterday, the president has debt of at least $421 million coming due in the next several years. Forbes puts it closer to $1.13 billion. Security experts say that it’s a huge vulnerability. The Washington Post reports that the president has opened himself up “to manipulation by foreign governments aware of his predicament, and put himself in a position in which his financial interests and the nation’s priorities could be in conflict.” Who does he owe? Says Eric Trump, “Well, we don’t rely on American banks. We have all the funding we need out of Russia.”

Ransomware is still a big threat. It looks like Ryuk ransomware hit the systems at United Health Services last weekend, shutting down some operations.

This year Prime Day will be Oct. 13 and Oct. 14.

It took most of the summer for me to get a handle on how much junk I had in the basement before I could begin to clean it out. So I was very impressed that scientists have precisely measured all the matter in the universe, of which my basement is but a minute subset.

And Bill Murray and the Doobie Brothers are in a proxy war. It’s just what you would expect.

The good of the one

Good morning. It’s Monday. The week begins.

Zeninjor Enwemeka tells us everything we need to know about ventilation on MBTA buses and trains. Alexandra Ossola does the same for indoor spaces.

Well, we now know what Donald Trump paid in taxes for each of the first couple of years that he was in the White House. $750.00. Seven hundred and fifty dollars. His hairdresser bill, by comparison, was $70,000. (For those same years, the Bidens paid $3.7 million and $1.5 million respectively and gave away another $1.3 million to charity.) Trump will tell you he paid little to no taxes because he’s smart. Just like it was smart to avoid serving in the military. And smart to siphon money off supposed charitable contributions. It was also very smart to duck responsibility for that whole coronavirus thing. Very complicated. Very messy. Even now he’s smartly trying to stay in office even if he loses the election.

That TikTok ban that was supposed to be effective last week? Didn’t happen. It still might, but for now things are on hold.

Florida gone wild. Restrictions lifted. Very smart. I’m sure it will turn out well.

And this is an interesting approach to making ransomware a thing of the past; making it illegal to pay the ransom.

Halloween masks

Good Tuesday morning!! It’s the first day of fall. (That seemed quick.)

Leaves will soon be turning color and falling to the ground. Here’s the how and why.

What does the fall and winter look like as far as the virus goes? Andrew Joseph, writing in STAT, takes a long view into a number of possible futures. There are a lot of variables. But we should continue to wear a mask, wash our hands, and also, now, it might be beneficial to wear glasses.

Add Marco Rubio to the list of senators on the record opposed to pre-election court appointments. Not that it matters, apparently.

If you’re concerned about being tracked by advertisers, you may want to think about using a browser that blocks cookies and tracking pixels by default. Some sites are really egregious in what information they collect about you.

And, it appears that the government lost track of a 250 ton Chinese transformer. Meanwhile, this poor guy can’t get rid of a 700 pound safe.

Table scraps

Monday. Today is the International Day of Peace. Then tomorrow it’s back to normal.

Which books tend to sell the most copies? Bestsellers, obviously.

A new super high-end steak house is coming to Boston at a time when many smaller restaurants are closing. Salt Bae‘s Nusr-et, with locations in New York, Istanbul, Abu Dhabi, and Mykonos, among others, is opening a spot on Arlington Street. Thousand dollar steaks, anyone? Scott Kearnan thinks there’s something wrong with this picture.

Black Lives Matter and Back the Blue don’t have to be mutually exclusive. And despite all the noise, for most people they’re really not.

Adtech and real-time bidding on user profiles is what makes the internet profitable. But it’s also a potential privacy disaster. The Irish Council for Civil Liberties is pushing government watchdogs to clamp down on companies violating the rules around protected data. Which seems to be all the companies.

And starting in mid-October, tourists heading to Hawaii will get either an aloha or an aloha from officials, depending on the results of their coronavirus tests.