Move fast and break things

Who doesn’t love a rainy Tuesday?

David Leonhardt reports that Covid cases are dropping in the US and worldwide. It could be the end of a peak in the mysterious two-month cycle. Or it could be something more promising. Fingers crossed.

Facebook went down yesterday. Then it came back up. It wasn’t a big deal for me, although I did get one annoying SERVFAIL before moving on. Cloudflare engineers watched in real time how the outage affected the Internet. In the real world, for a few hours there was less partisan cocooning and fewer cute dog videos. And we all survived.

Jonathan Franzen has a new book. It’s the first of a trilogy.

Andrew Yang has changed his party affiliation from Democrat to Independent. But don’t try this at home, kids, he says.

And John Kraus too some photos of the night sky with his iPhone 13 Pro Max. Pretty impressive.

Gamifying the election

Good morning. It’s Saturday. Up and at ’em.

The Washington Post’s KK Ottesen interviews Marty Walsh.

Who should you vote for in the Boston mayoral election? You could acquaint yourself with the positions staked out by each of the candidates. Or, if that’s too involved, you could just take this pop quiz. Done. Back to Netflix.

The Biden administration wants to launch a massive effort to build up the country’s pandemic preparedness. You know, for the next pandemic. I’m not sure if the scale of this is a good idea or if it’s just the war on terrorism, part 2. Maybe we just need to do what we should have been doing in the first place.

IP-based 911 networks are the best, most modern communications technology for public safety call centers. Unfortunately, in many cases these systems are not ready for prime time. In New Orleans, they weren’t ready – period. AT&T should be accountable for this failure.

And when it comes to camera bags women photographers get no respect. Hillary Grigonis wants that to change.

Turbulent times

Happy Tuesday! Enjoy summer while it lasts.

Michael Keaton seems like an interesting guy. All over the map, but interesting.

Reports that ‘the Kennedy family’ were in favor of parole for Sirhan Sirhan might have been a little premature. I suspect the lawyers advocating for his release were pushing the narrative. Apart from the devastating impact the assassination had on the family at the time, the murder of RFK was also a big deal for the country. James Aloisi considers what could have been.

Jeff Bezos owns the Washington Post, which features a story about how his ex-wife MacKenzie Scott is giving away billions of dollars from her divorce settlement from Bezos, mostly to struggling art organizations. I’d love to have been a fly on the wall during the pitch, approval and editing process for this story.

Ben Marks reviews Good Pictures: A History of Popular Photography by Kim Beil (Amazon link.) Sounds like an interesting read. It covers the gamut, from daguerreotypes to Brownies to smartphones.

And is Facebook the new AOL? Closed garden, lots of older users, etc. Sure looks that way. Now we need something new to come along to disrupt it, just like the web did to AOL back in the day.

Shuffling the deck

Sunday. Today is the 55th anniversary of the last show of the Beatles final tour.

It’s still August but the Farmer’s Almanac is forecasting a snowy January and a “winter whopper” in late February. Now there’s something to look forward to.

A new poll in the mayor’s race shakes things up a bit. But most people are still undecided.

From today’s Globe: “Police investigating two homicides; city shuts down nightclub from shooting.” Usually when The Boston Globe publishes a headline reading that way, the city it would be referring to would be Boston, right? This one is about Providence, a city in an entirely different state. Baffelling. But that’s OK. The Dorchester Reporter has the Boston news covered.

Kathy Ryan took black and white photos of the covid-abandoned New York Times offices. Beautiful work.

And MSG has gotten a bad rap. It’s a good source of umami and is perfectly safe. Actually it can have health benefits, as it allows you to cut down on salt. I’m in.

Ups and downs

Saturday. The weekend, part 1.

After more than two decades, Beat the Press has been cancelled. Regular participant Dan Kennedy provides an update.

The Globe’s story on what the 2021 census numbers mean for Boston offers lots of anecdotes, off the cuff speculation and extrapolation but not much valid insight. You would be better served with this (albeit not fully updated) dataset. Or this from the Washington Post. Just type in Boston, MA.

Anticipation is a fun. The Dutch know it. They have a word for it: voorpret. Amazon knows it too. That’s why they have the Track Package button.

Everyone is familiar with GPS, the US government system of satellites for location and navigation. Most people don’t know that there are other systems. The EU has Galileo. China has BeiDou. Japan has QZSS and Russia has GLONASS. Which one is better? Who cares. You can use them all at the same time, as Nikon is doing with its new cameras set to use GNSS, the Global Navigation Satellite System. Maybe others will follow suit.

And we have a new Pope. Two, actually.

Ordering of the list

Happy Saturday! Today’s word is lexical.

Paul DeBole, for one, thinks the two month tax holiday is a great idea.

There was a drawing yesterday to determine the order that candidates will appear on the ballot for city elections in September. Gintautas Dumcius reports that the list for mayor will read, Essaibi George, then Spagnuolo, Campbell, Janey, Wu, Santiago, Cappucci and finally, Barros. Sometimes these small things can make a difference.

Chris Krewson writes about the future of local journalism. It has very little to do with newspapers.

A guy who shoots Canon believes he’s found the best prime lens ever. Surprise: it’s a Canon lens. He’s right about 50mm, though. That would be the place to start. But I would have ended up with this, the actual best prime lens ever made. (Or its smaller and even more expensive manual-focus cousin.)

And if you suspect that your phone has been infected with Pegasus spyware, there’s a way to check it out. Mitchell Clark explains the process.

Don’t Fauci my Florida

A quiet, peaceful Sunday morning.

Exchange programs usually bring students together from far flung, exotic places. You know, like Texas, Louisiana and Massachusetts. But apparently not Russia.

Florida is now leading the nation on Covid infections, with an average of 6,500 new cases a day. Are we surprised? Arkansas is giving Florida a run for its money. Across the country, but particularly in places resistant to taking reasonable health precautions, cases are up almost 70%. The head of the CDC calls it “a pandemic of the unvaccinated.” Darwin is just shaking his head.

The Phoblographer features 6 really good street photographers. Check out Ale Ruaro, especially.

Google Maps is recalculating the route to the summit of Ben Nevis in Scotland, to avoid sending people over a cliff.

And youse guys will be happy to know that there are over 300 new words added at Dictonary.com. You-uns and y’all will be pleased as well.

Pixel imperfect

A lazy start to Saturday.

Worcester is the new Hollywood.

When it came to Nikon vs. Canon, I was always a Nikon guy. A lot has changed in the camera world since those days. Sony, Fujifilm, Panasonic and even Leica are competing with the big brands. Nikon has struggled to stay relevant. Their recent product roadmap probably won’t help.

Bitcoin mining tended to be done in places where there were weird rules around electric use, often in third world countries. Texas now joins that list.

Tree House beer is legendary. It’s a destination beverage. They’re now the largest brewery in the state, outside of Boston. Previously you had to drive all the way to Charlton to sample one of their brews but now you can pick up some cans at their soon to open taproom in Sandwich.

And if you insist on arguing about politics on social media, do it on something like WhatsApp. You’ll never win on Facebook.

Vox populi

Thursday, July 1st. It must be summer.

The City Council finally passed the budgetyesterday afternoon. It takes effect today. That was close. Lydia Edwards had the best line going into the process. “I think this budget will pass—like a kidney stone.”

Joan Vennochi looked a little deeper at that Globe/Suffolk poll. The Globe has been pillorying the police department and Marty Walsh but voters still like Walsh and approve of the job police are doing. That’s not to say that there wasn’t a mishandling of the commissioner transition or that there weren’t serious incidents of corruption in the department over the last decade. But as voters seem to understand, it’s a matter of proportion. Of all the issues on voters minds, the poll shows that police reform is at the very bottom. As Vennochi puts it, “These poll results […] may also say something about the media not seeing the political forest for the scandalous trees.”

After an international manhunt they finally nabbed the Tour de France sign holder. They should give her a very stern talking to.

There were some crazy clouds last evening as the heat wave broke. Of course John Tlumacki captured an amazing image. Speaking of Tlumacki and heat waves, check this great image from 1985 with a recounting of how he caught it.

And Fortune favors the online fortune tellers. I have to assume that they saw this coming.