Light at the end of the tunnel

Monday. This week is in like a lion.

One company, in Taiwan, produces most of the microchips needed to build all of the cars in America. What could possibly go wrong?

Massachusetts is moving into a new phase of reopenings today. Restaurant owners are happy but the governor seems to be at odds with some healthcare leaders interviewed by the Globe, who argue for a slower approach. Other experts interviewed by the New York Times were more optimistic about the coming months.

Universal Hub reports that someone who lives in the Seaport complained to the City of Boston about a loud and obnoxious Lamborghini driver in the neighborhood, asking them to send police to enforce the speeding and noise rules. But there’s only one problem: Boston Police don’t have jurisdiction in that part of Boston. Weird, I know.

First Parler was ‘hacked’ and now Gab has had a huge breach. Tens of gigabytes of user data and private posts have been uploaded to DDoSecrets. Who’s running these sites?

And you may have heard of the Manhattan Beach in California, but in 2023 there will be a beach in Manhattan.


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.

Virtual fire alarm

Wednesday. We’re over the Hump. Happy birthday to Lon Chaney Jr., Vince Gilligan and Laura Dern.

I’m not a cat,” … said the cat.

Hiawatha Bray takes us through what high school technology staff are dealing with these days. The odd ransomware attack, sure, but with the prevalence of remote learning it also looks like kids are DDoS’ing their own schools just to get out of class.

Police in California are apparently playing copyrighted music from their own phones when being videoed by activists. Instagram and other platforms use aggressive algorithms to remove videos with any copywriter material so the videos would be quickly removed if posted. Disingenuously clever, if true.

Lisa Weidenfeld makes an argument for space savers. It’s not much of an argument, but at least she’s honest about it.

And some BU students are facing a tough career choice this year; law, medicine, biotech or driving a giant peanut across the country?

Their hands are tied

Today is Saturday. It’s OK to have ice cream for breakfast today.

How the hell do you swallow an AirPod while wearing them in your ears? Some guy in Worcester managed to do it.

Shirley Leung writes about the low numbers of city contracts awarded to minority businesses in Boston. She compares our record to other big cities across the country, which isn’t quite fair because Boston is required to follow Massachusetts laws on government procurement. Those laws are pretty specific in defining the process of awarding contracts. There’s just not a lot of discretion allowed in choosing contractors under the law.

John Fogerty sent a bunch of guitars to the nurses at Boston Medical Center. Nice.

Woman shot in downtown hotel‘. Not a headline you like to see but great work by the officers from District 1 who quickly arrested a suspect several blocks away and recovered a potential murder weapon.

And today I learned a new word. Disinfomercial. A gift from Mike Lindell.

Out of the blue

It’s a chilly Friday and the birthday of the great Anton Chekhov.

Wall Street is rolling out new rules in the wake of the GameStop kerfuffle. Matt Taibbi also weighs in.

Willie Gross usually does things big. His retirement announcement came as a surprise and seemed uncharacteristically subdued. Nobody wants to be a lame duck so the timing, coinciding with the end of the Walsh administration, does make sense in the world of Boston politics. I’ve known Willie for many years he’s always been a man of integrity and generosity. I wish him well in his retirement.

Remember D.B. Cooper? He was the hijacker who jumped out of an airliner with a parachute and $200,000 never to be heard from again. The guy many thought was the most likely suspect just died.

What’s the difference between physics and politics? When a physicist loses a bet, even one over something as complex as the black hole information paradox, and maybe something they have staked their entire career on, they quickly pay up when presented with the evidence that they were wrong. People in politics renege and stick to their original talking points even in the face of indisputable evidence. I’m guessing nobody ever confused Harlan Hill with Stephen Hawking.

And it’s not exactly the flying car we were promised, but I’ll take it.