Swag bag

Happy Wednesday. On this day in 1911, Harry Atwood flew from Boston to DC, landing on the South Lawn to meet a waiting President Taft.

Mickey Donovan received a warm welcome from Boston Fire this week.

Jon Santiago came out of the gates strong in the mayor’s race last winter with a bunch of statewide endorsements. But his prospects and polling have faded since then and now he’s dropped out. In other election news, frontrunners Kim Janey and Michelle Wu are selling t-shirts. Annissa Essaibi-George said she’s giving hers away for free.

REvil was one of the most active ransomware gangs in operation. And, poof, now they’re gone. It’s a mystery wrapped in an riddle wrapped in an enigma.

It’s marching season in Northern Ireland. Unionists are flexing and Sinn Fein is pushing back. Same as it ever was.

And NASA is reporting that a wobbly moon might put us under water. Didn’t see that one coming, did you?

Real fake news

Today is Thursday. It’s Marty Feldman‘s birthday.

The most recent Kaseya ransomware attack was billed as the biggest ever. They all seem to be the biggest ever. Who decides what’s big and what’s not? Scott Rosenberg and Ina Fried try to sort it out.

When did the Globe get so sleazy? I know it’s hard to make money in the news business but there should be some standards. As a paid subscriber, I chafe at prominently placed ads on the website. But I get it. What’s not acceptable is the dark pattern placement of ads that purport to be news. For example, under the masthead and main menu, there was this: “Grandma attacked outside store in [insert local town name based on IP lookup]. It links to an infomercial (don’t click) for a security device. The ‘news’ part appears to be completely made up. I know it’s all done algorithmically behind the scenes but at the end of the day the Globe owns it and their aging readership deserves better.

Spencer Buell has suggestions for making the T more fun to ride. Something about Jerry Seinfeld, Easter eggs, t-shirts and free samples.

Dorchester and Mattapan have a significant Haitian population. The Dorchester Reporter staff rounds up local reaction to the assassination of president Moïse.

And not only are we getting stupider, we’re also getting less creative. -I got nothing.

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.

The privilege of incumbency

A cool, cloudy early July Saturday. Today’s word is inimical.

Is it hurricane season already? Apparently it is. Say hello to Elsa.

Acting Mayor and candidate Kim Janey is taking full advantage of the position she was put into. At least one of the other candidate isn’t very happy with that.

There’s been another supply-chain ransomware attack. This one targeted Kaseya’s VSA. Seems to be pretty widespread. Meanwhile, the US Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency has released a new ransomware assessment module for its Cyber Security Assessment Tool. Or, in federal speak, CISA has released RRA to supplement CSET to help organizations protect IT, OT, or ICS assets. I can’t imagine why people find this stuff confusing.

Shakespeare in the Park (Central) is coming back. But one of my favorite parts of the experience, getting a coffee and waiting in on line for tickets on the morning of the show, has been scrapped. That’s too bad.

And after 20 years, the US military is finally out of Afghanistan. We left a lot of stuff behind, including a bunch of abandoned Pokemon GO characters, now left to wander aimlessly around the Bagram Air Base.

Ships in the night

Good morning. It’s Thursday.

Here’s a list of Bill Gates favorite songs. Looks like Steve Jobs was right.

Scientific American is running more UFO articles. In one, John Gertz writes that the objects Navy pilots are seeing are probably robotic drones dropped off in the neighborhood by aliens to study us. In another article, Avi Loeb makes a connection between Oumuamua, the mysterious asteroid-like object that flew through the solar system in 2017, and the recent pilot sightings. Loeb believes that it’s possible that Oumuamua was a supply ship of sorts, sent to drop off the alien ships in our vicinity. These articles are much more meaty and speculative than what’s expected to be in the actual Pentagon report on military UFO sightings, due out this week.

The Steamship Authority is now stating that they did not pay the ransom on their systems. Unless they somehow obtained a decryption key, rebuilding their systems from the ground up must have been a lot of work.

A Republican investigation into election fraud in Michigan during the presidential election found no indication of fraud. “Our clear finding is that citizens should be confident the results represent the true results of the ballots cast by the people of Michigan.” And… “The committee strongly recommends citizens use a critical eye and ear toward those who have pushed demonstrably false theories for their own personal gain.” Good advice.

And a healthy breakfast should include lots of chocolate. I’m beginning to feel like Miles Monroe.