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.
Sunday. Enjoy the sunshine.
Apple has begun to move its Mac computers away from industry standard ‘Intel Inside’ chips to its own custom processors. These new systems show impressive increases in speed and efficiency over Intel systems. It’s a big deal. You would expect PC makers to follow suit by designing similar chips but engineer Erik Engheim explains why that might be impossible and, if true, this move by Apple could shake up the personal computer industry.
But some use cases are problematic for current Macs. And God help you if you forget your iCloud password.
It’s not just the MBTA having financial troubles. The New York Times looks at the wavering state of mass transit nationwide in the wake of the pandemic.
Geoff Edgers talked to Elvis Costello about the Quisling Clinic and making another album with Nick Lowe.
And I noticed a few interesting physics articles recently. The first is by Anil Ananthaswamy, revisiting Bell’s Inequality –with a twist. The second is an optimistic take on the whole ‘end of physics’ thing, by Robbert Dijkgraaf. And in the WSG, Frank Wilczek writes about the reliable unreliability of the universe.
Today is Tuesday. The most random day.
A bonkers millionaire who ran for president has been arrested for tax evasion.
With a budget shortfall looming, service cuts are coming to the MBTA, especially ferry lines and the commuter rail. And when those cuts come, they’re likely here to stay.
“Don’t be afraid of Covid. Don’t let it dominate your life.” An odd thing to say under the circumstances. Maybe replace the ‘dominate your life’ with ‘threaten my reelection’ and it starts to make a little more sense. But still, weird.
Three scientists, including Andrea Ghez from MIT, won the Nobel Prize this week for work on black holes. And Sir Roger Penrose, the Isaac Newton of our time, was one of the three.
And speaking of black holes, the trade deficit (as opposed to the budget deficit, which is $3 trillion dollars) is at $67.1 billion, up 5.9% in August. Good times.
Monday morning. Let’s get to it.
If you’ve always wanted to be in the movies, there’s a casting call for a film shooting on the South Shore this fall. Maybe you’ll qualify for a pay bump.
The Herald reports that FinCon flagged a $40 million dollar city fund for a lack of ongoing audits. But the fund, attached to the Guaranteed Streets program, seems to be doing what it was designed to do and, apart from the lack of audits, appears to be well managed. So audits will be forthcoming now and everyone is happy. Nice to see routine checks and balances are working at the city level.
So this looks like another one of those ‘what did he know and when did he know it‘ deals.
An article in Discover magazine tells us that the quantum internet will transmit information faster than the speed of light. That would be a nice trick if it were true. But it’s not.
And how about Tampa’s second half comeback from behind to win the game? I always thought it was Belichick’s halftime pep talks that turned things around. But maybe it was Brady all along.
Friday time. Happy birthday to Miss Jane.
Massport is in a fight with city hall. Adam Gaffin reports on a local/state transportation squabble in the Seaport.
OK. Here we are, six months into the pandemic in the US, and testing is still a work in progress. The White House just announced a deal to provide 150 million quick-result antigen tests. At the same time, following guidance from the White House, the CDC is changing course and recommending less testing for asymptomatic people. (This was the change made while Fauci was knocked out.) Those new antigen tests, while returning results quickly, also have higher rate of false negative results, which will require retesting. Some states are just throwing up their hands and going their own way, ignoring the new CDC guidelines. Chaos, I tell you.
Weekend reading: In an article in Nautilus, Daniel Sudarsky considers the black hole information paradox in light of the measurement problem.
While commercial airlines have been hard hit this year, startups trying to disrupt the air-travel business are still in the game. Boston-based Transcend is focusing on a VTOL approach that will get you from Boston to New York in less than 40 minutes. Uber is in the game with a plan for ride-share air taxis. And Otto Aviation is close to market with a highly efficient, windowless bullet plane for private flights priced competitively with commercial flights. Exciting stuff.
And you can add dumbbells to the list of things that are in short supply in 2020. Ironically.