Let the grey come through

It’s Tuesday. Cool and cloudy. March is going out like a damp surly lamb.

Government budgets, which need to be submitted by July, are being worked out now. It may be a tough year for the state of Massachusetts, which could see a $3 billion dollar shortfall.

Barber shops and salons are closed. We’re all going to look a bit shaggy when this is over. Maybe I’ll go for the Moe Howard home special.

Boston Police are counting nearly 20 officers now testing positive.

The question of whether to mask or not to mask is still unresolved but the needle is moving in the direction of making and wearing masks. The stats on fatalities in New York are showing some unexpected (and unwelcome) trends. But social distancing seems to be working, at least according to those smart thermometers. And not only for coronavirus but for the regular flu too.

Vince Cerf has tested positive.

And some good news: A guy provided free grocery delivery to help homebound older folks. Wuhan is preparing to reopen. Kids in Brooklyn and around the world are painting rainbows and placing them in windows to cheer us up. And John Krasinski has a whole channel devoted to good news.

End of the week roundup

Good Sunday morning. A rainy day. It’s Eric Idle’s birthday.

The turkeys are taking over the city we left behind.

Coronavirus in Italy becomes a case study for the Harvard Business School.

If you’re looking for something constructive to do this week, The Red Cross needs blood. Find a nearby location, fill out the RapidPass information, and donate.

This is as good a time as any to learn about The Science of Well Being. It’s one of Yale’s most popular courses and it’s available now online, for free. Enrollment starts today.

Shift4 Payments handles financial transactions for the hospitality industry. What they’re seeing play out is not pretty.

An NYPD detective has died from coronavirus. He is the third employee of the department to die from the virus. 700 New Jersey officers are also positive.

Former City Councillor Tito Jackson has tested positive for covid-19.

And if you can’t find hand sanitizer or Clorox wipes, here are some alternative cleaning solutions that are just as effective against the coronavirus.

Car 54 Where Are You

Good morning. It’s Sunday. There’s not a lot of cheerful news.

Another astronaut offers tips on living in isolation.

The NYPD is reporting that 50 officers have tested positive for coronavirus. And others are banging in sick at increasing rates, so much so that it’s “forcing the NYPD to call the Movie and Television Unit to fill in.” I’m picturing the actors from Brooklyn Nine-Nine patrolling the streets.

There are lessons for the US in how other countries have handled the outbreak. South Korea acted early and its response was generally successful. Japan is still a bit of a mystery. Although their cases began before Italy’s, and their social distancing efforts have been pretty halfhearted, they haven’t seen much of a spike. It may still be coming. So what caused Italy’s situation to be so bad? They closed off travel to China before the US, then closed down the entire country, and still they ended up with a disaster. Maybe it was the hemming and hawing and denials by political leaders in the crucial early stages of the crisis.

Clayton Dalton reports from the emergency department at Mass General. It’s quiet before a storm that they hope doesn’t come. And don’t read this doctor’s account of treading Covid-19 patients unless you want to be up all night worrying.

Readers complained to Mike Allen that coverage of the pandemic has been “overly dramatic.” The reality, he says, is that they have been dialing it back to mostly best case scenarios, which are still pretty bad. I don’t think we want to talk about the worst case possibilities. Or the even worse ones.

And a photographer walked ten blocks in New York to capture the signs posted by closed businesses. An interesting snapshot of the time.

A million dollar ticket

It’s Friday, February 28. Pope Benedict put his papers in on this day in 2013, passing the hat to Francis. And in 1983 we all watched the final episode of M.A.S.H..

Bacon on the go. It’s genius.

Councillor Julia Mejia wants to charge for parking tickets based on income. (Hello Jeff Bezos.) An interesting idea but it doesn’t seem very popular. It also might be time to update the ParkBoston app. A Reddit user took a screenshot of all the permissions the Android version requests. Seems a bit extreme but it could be just old code. The IOS version is better, but not by much.

The St. Patrick’s Day breakfast is moving back to the convention center this year. It should be an interesting season for speeches. We’ll see if anyone hires Bloomberg’s comedy writer.

This is a long but interesting article about coronavirus, including how it spreads, what it does and how this one compares to other outbreaks. Lots of good information packed in here.

At one point, a month or so ago, it appeared that Betelgeuse was on the verge of going supernova since scientists saw that it was dimming, a precursor to a stellar explosion. Because it’s what they do, other scientists double-checked the first scientists observations and found that the dimming was more likely due to atmospheric effects. So no dramatic supernova. But a win for science.

And here’s some body camera footage of an officer in California kicking in a door and dragging a man out of a burning house. Nice work.


Thursday morning. Happy birthday to Jony Ive, John Steinbeck, Alan Guth, and the Labor Party.

Don’t stop with just booze or chocolate. The Pope wants you give up trolling for lent.

The Arizona Republic is no longer endorsing candidates. Why? Basically it boils down to the fact that no one really cares about newspaper endorsements anymore. (As opposed to the Globe which had a teaser campaign for their presidential endorsement. Really? Mark your calendar?)

Google is investing $10 billion in a number of states, including Massachusetts, to expand data centers and office space.

Clearview, the facial recognition company profiled by the Times several weeks ago as a threat to privacy has been hacked. Buzzfeed reports that its client list of law enforcement customers was stolen in a data breach.

And here’s a bit of practical advice for avoiding the coronavirus, or any virus for that matter: keep your distance from people with symptoms. 6 feet or greater is good. And if you’re wondering if you need a mask, watch this video from the WHO.