Out in the cold on a hot day

Sunday. The first anti-matter particle, the positron, originally theorized by Paul Dirac, was discovered on this day in 1932 by Carl Anderson, who won a Noble Prize for it.

Did photographer David Ryan get into the dryer to take this photo? Is the woman loading the dryer so caught up in her work that she doesn’t notice a camera inside pointing at her? So many questions.

Retail, car rental, airlines, restaurants and communications are some of the major sectors that have been hit by bankruptcies due to the pandemic. The employees affected have been surviving economically through a federal unemployment supplement, which ended this week. Now Congress is bickering about what to do next. When our representatives deliver results, we like them. These days we don’t like them very much. I suppose that’s especially true if you’re out of a job.

Red Auerbach’s record of all-time wins has been eclipsed by Doc Rivers, another one-time Celtics coach, now with the Clippers. “Any time your name is with Red, you feel very fortunate,” he told ESPN.

There’s more drama around TikTok. Apparently the Microsoft deal is being reviewed by the White House pending any action on a potential US ban. Tic. Toc.

And at least Americans aren’t the only idiots in the world. The AP reports crowds marching in Berlin without masks demanding an end to the pandemic.

Blowing in the wind

Wednesday. It’s National Frog Jumping Day. Cancelled.

The Guardian has a profile of Ian Dury, the “Count Dracula of vernacular.”

What are the pandemic dangers going forward? This is one of the clearest and most informative articles by an expert that I’ve read so far on where and how the virus spreads and what you can do to avoid it. The author, Erin Bromage, is an immunologist at UMass Dartmouth. Here’s another article by Bromage on the importance of testing in reducing infection rates.

Grounded airliners are screwing up weather forecasting.

People are understandably tired of staying home and are beginning to move around more. Here’s a map that shows where it’s happening. This could explain why the Michigan governor has been so strict. In any case what happens today will impact the infection rate three to five weeks from now. So we’ll see what happens then.

Everything is made of fermions and bosons. At least that’s what we thought. Physicists are now exploring the existence of a whole new family of particles, anyons. Who ordered that?

And 2020 graduates are having a tough year. But there’s doughnuts!

On the high plateau

Friday, the 8th of May. Thomas Pynchon’s 83rd birthday.

Expect long lines at George Wright golf course tomorrow.

It’s not over until it’s over. And it’s not over. Before we begin to worry about a second wave we have to finish with the first wave. And that hasn’t yet happened. We’re getting there, but we’re not there yet.

Many people are certain that they had “the ‘rona” before it was even a thing. This phenomenon even has a name, thinkihadititis. Some people report being affected as early as November of last year. Not likely, say scientists. But you never know. There’s still a lot we don’t know about the spread of this virus.

Want to spice up your Zoom calls with a new interesting background? The BBC has you covered.

And Stephen Wolfram is at it again. His last book, A New Kind of Science, was released almost twenty years ago. It was an attempt to explain the complexity of the universe using a handful of very simple computational rules, ala cellular automaton. An interesting approach but it didn’t really revolutionize science as he had hoped it would. His latest challenge to the status quo is just as ambitious, a new, fully formed theory of fundamental physics. Reviews are mixed you could say.

Hidden spaces

It’s always a little disorienting on the first post-NFL Sunday of the season. At least back on this Sunday in 1964 people had the Beatles to watch.

Two pals crossing the road. A cartoon come to life.

Aline Kaplan has a guide to the Boston POPS. That’s the Privately Owned Public Spaces in the city. Some are pretty hard to find without help.

The latest Democratic Debate was the cold open on SNL. Larry David returned as Bernie. And Pete Davidson’s tie was a nice detail.

Exit polls are indicating a shift to the left in Ireland as Sinn Fein had a strong showing in the national elections

And even physics experts aren’t above the occasional Twitter rant. Philip Ball throws down the gauntlet on the foundations of quantum mechanics.

The big enchilada

It’s Monday. A cool dark Monday. Johnny Cash recorded live From Folsom Prison on this day in 1968.

An old beat up Mustang just sold for $3.7 million dollars. Of course there’s some history involved.

Taco Bell will begin paying managers $100,000 salaries. This makes perfect sense to me. Managers are key to how restaurants like these operate and it only takes one trip to a dysfunctional fast food place to write it off for good. Next step: think about paying reasonable wages to the rest of the staff.

In this month of Drynuary, the Times looks into changing attitudes about alcohol.

Sabine Hossenfelder continues to advocate for change in how physicists approach their work.

And if you thought the vinyl resurgence wasn’t just an exercise in nostalgia you’ll be disappointed to learn that, of the top ten records sold in the 2010’s, only one of those albums was recorded in that decade. The rest were all very old (number one was Abby Road).