Down the rabbit hole

It’s Wednesday. Happy World Bee Day!

One stimulus check isn’t going to stretch for three months of mortgage/rent payments. The Washington Post looks at what’s in store for New England as peoples’ savings draw down.

This is why I love reading Universal Hub. A mystery photo post gives rise to a discussion thread about everything from the ice cream wars (with all the expected bad puns) to a victim of the Boston Strangler to a fight over anti-war buttons in the 60’s.

A judge is allowing a salvage company, over the objections of NOAA, to remove the Marconi set from the wreck of the Titanic. Other than describing it as a historically important artifact, it’s unclear why the company wants to bring the equipment to the surface. The entire wreck is a historically important artifact, after all.

Bob Locher writes about photography as a religion. It’s a nice essay. I’m not as spiritual about it as he is, but I do share his view that there’s something special about using a camera to capture a moment in time.

And Farhad Manjoo, who usually writes about tech, has turned pessimistic about the world. Some days I can relate but mostly I’m hopeful about the future. In any case, Manjoo wants to talk to readers on the phone about what they think. It’s an interesting approach.

Losing the testing wars

Happy Monday. No Marathon and no Sox. But it’s Patriots Day nonetheless.

Keiko Hiromi took some photos around the Boston area documenting life under lockdown.

Testing was an issue in February. It’s almost May and we’re still struggling. That may be an understatement. The Wall Street Journal says the effort is in disarray. This does not instill much confidence in our ability as a country to safely get back to normal anytime soon. Meanwhile, other countries are conducting widespread testing and tracking, allowing them to begin reopening. The president says this is a war but blames the states for the testing problems. States don’t fight wars, countries do.

For a little morning music at home, here are Lady Gaga, Lizzo and Taylor Swift for a series of serenades.

Spring is on hold while we wait just a bit longer for the swan boats.

And The Verge reviewed the new iPad keyboard. It’s good. Expensive and heavy, but good.

Social distancing

Friday, March 6th. Happy birthday to Lou Costello, Ed McMahon and Shaquille O’Neal.

The New England School of Photography is shutting down. Too bad. Lots of great photographers got their start there.

Global coronavirus infections crossed the 100,000 threshold overnight, with 233 confirmed cases in the US. I began tracking the numbers in late January when there were less than 2000 cases worldwide, almost all in China. There were fewer than 10 people thought to be infected in the US then and they were all in quarantine. Everything was “under control“. That was 6 weeks ago. It’s textbook Black Swan. So far, Russia is reporting only 4 cases. Nobody buys that. Also, we’re starting to see cases pop up in the southern hemisphere, in Africa and South America, along with outbreaks in Australia. Watching to see if warm weather south of the equator has an impact of outbreak spread.

All eyes are on the markets this morning. Airlines are being hit hard already. Planes are taking off empty. The Times notes that the broader economy would be threatened when people stop going out for fear of being infected. MIT cancelled gatherings of 150 or more and Tufts announced restrictions. Other schools are closing entirely. It’s a vicious circle. But Susan Desmond-Hellmann, who has a few credentials, says not to panic.

If this research pans out, it could be a big deal for people with food allergies.

And the MBTA is on a cleaning spree. I would have thought that this was happening all along but apparently it just got started. Better late than never.

All politics is local

Monday. President’s Day. A good day to buy a mattress.

It pays to read the fine print. Usually nobody does. That’s what they were counting on.

The Globe highlights City Councillor Frank Baker. I think they get it mostly right. He’s a traditionalist. Baker and I have had our run-ins but he’s a straight shooter and an advocate for his constituents. If I lived in District 3, I’d vote for him.

No coronavirus update today. But here’s a reminder on how to wash your hands.

As Bloomberg becomes more viable, opposition research is ramping up. The hits will likely come fast and furious and from all directions. What would you expect for a lifelong Democrat who jumped over the aisle to become a Republican, then an independent, and is now running as a centrist Democrat indifferent to party control. That’s a lot of jilting. Attacks might not come from the other candidates directly because they fear Bloomberg’s spending power. But leaks to journalists and proxy attacks will certainly begin to increase.

The NYT health columnist looks at the benefits of intermittent fasting.

And if you happen to be near Yosemite this week, Saturday will be the best day for taking a firefall photo at Horsetail Falls. If you can get a spot. And, if there’s any water in the falls. (Some Examples from Flickr.)