Driven by necessity

Saturday. Somewhere in wintertime.

Billy Baker takes us surfing – in New England – in February.

The pandemic forced restaurants to change their service models to focus on online ordering and delivery. Now, many mom and pop operations seem to have well designed and regularly updated online menus, and the delivery sites work even better. That’s good news for the software developers that build these things and, ultimately, for customers.

I’m not great with faces and since everyone is wearing masks these days, it’s even harder to pick people you know out of the crowd at the grocery store. (But at least now I have an excuse for not recognizing someone.)

The Guardian has the story on that guy and his company buying up all the music, including Neil Young’s catalog.

And since the new Apple M1 Macs are super powerful and efficient, they should be great for mining crypto, right? Well actually…

Tentacles of doom

It’s Saturday in a winter wonderland. Happy birthday to Charles Barkley, Patty Hearst and J. Geils.

Kim Janey is off to a good start. Chris Osgood is a ‘get things done’ type of guy who is also easy to work with. And he knows his way around city government. Great choice for chief of staff.

First there was the fail whale. Now we have the much less alliterative “four-armed octopus of doom” to alert us to the broken Massachusetts vaccinate appointment website. The state technology team and software vendor PrepMod continue to trade blame. “It wasn’t our octopus,” a PrepMod spokesperson told the Globe.

Watching the birds waiting for their turn at the feeders this morning I wondered how they keep their feet warm. Apparently it’s all in the circulation.

Here’s something new to worry about. The earth’s magnetic field is due for a shift. Way overdue, actually. Previously scientists didn’t think a pole reversal would be a big deal but a new study is starting to raise alarms. Think Texas, but worldwide and indefinite.

And it’s been 45 years since Frampton Comes Alive! came out. It’s aged like Boone’s Farm.

Hand wringing

Thursday. Today is Cow Milked While Flying in an Airplane Day. Uh-huh.

In what may be the final chapter of the Bulger saga, after almost 19 years in custody, John Connolly is set to be freed from prison on a medical release.

Just because something works in Boston doesn’t mean it will work across the river in Cambridge. Licensing authorities in the people’s republic kiboshed a proposal for live acoustic music that would have bolstered local bars and restaurants because of the potential for noise complaints. Now, about those leaf blowers.

Crowded House have a new song ahead of a new album coming in June. That’s good news.

Later today the Perseverance Mars Rover will land on the red planet. NASA is live-streaming just after noon. You can watch a behind-the-scenes video from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory while you wait. Or you can go out to Crispy Creme and get yourself a mars doughnut.

And another transit system goes for easy, contactless payments. Hint: it’s not ours.

Complementarity

It’s Valentines Day Sunday. And we’re halfway to March.

The Globe takes us inside the process of appointing a new police commissioner.

Frank Wilczek has a new book out, Ten Keys to Reality. Here’s the Times review. Wilczek also recently appeared on Sean Carroll’s podcast to talk about topics in the book and the current state of physics. I’ve noticed that there have been plenty of other physics-related stories floating around recently. Here’s Sabine Hossenfelder on panpsychism, Alan Lightman on infinity, Dennis Overbye on luminance and Miguel F. Morales on particle interaction. There have also been recent stories about news in quantum chaos and dark energy. And finally, Conan O’Brien and Jim Carry discuss the stochastic phase switching of a parametrically driven electron in a penning trap. That happened.

Derek Thompson believes that we can get past the pandemic by the summer if we get smart and busy with vaccine distribution.

A 30 year practical joke involving George Harrison, Phil Collins and Jackie Stewart. “Don’t worry, it was a piss-take.”

And the acquittal wasn’t unexpected but it was a disappointment. Sad.

Too much, too little, too late

It’s Saturday, Galentine’s Day.

A high-speed rail link between Boston and New York that tunnels under Long Island Sound and makes the trip in an hour and a half? Sounds like a good idea but I doubt it could be done in my lifetime.

A couple of years ago Bloomberg published a story on a massive hardware hack involving Super Micro Computer servers and China. Then the story died with lots of conflicting information and denials floating in the wind. There’s been nothing on it since then, even though, as one of the authors points out, there should be plenty of evidence out in the world to confirm the allegations. Now Bloomberg has an update that, as Nick Heer notes, doesn’t do much to clear up the mystery but does quote many more un-named sources. If I were to guess, I’d say an ongoing successful counter-intelligence op was at play here.

So here’s the plan: we’ll start with the oldest part of the population and then require them to set up their vaccine appointments over the internet. I can’t imagine why this wouldn’t work well.

Ever search for a recipe only to be assaulted with pop-up ads and messages begging you to subscribe to something you have no interest in, and then scrolling and scrolling and scrolling to find the actual recipe, which often requires going to another page to see the final steps, where you then may have to endure another set of pop-ups, etc.? This is where you begin to lose faith in what the Internet has become. But then something like this comes along and your faith is restored.

And the album Tapestry is fifty years old this week. The Guardian assembled a group of fellow singer-songwriters, including James Taylor, Ricky Lee Jones and Danielle Haim, to reflect on the album. So far away.