What the market will bear

Monday. Up and at em.

NASA is planning to blow up an asteroid next year. It’s a test of what we would do if one were headed for us. Fingers crossed.

Gas prices and politics have long been connected. Some people think the current administration is responsible for higher prices at the pump. This article implies that as economic activity and optimism rises, so do oil prices. When things look bad they go down. So maybe people just feel good about the economy. It’s actually slightly more complicated than that and there are other factors at play, but at the end of the day it’s just a supply and demand feedback loop.

A longevity bonus for an elected official? It’s kind of the opposite of term limits. “Asinine” is a good way to describe it.

Newly recovered tracking data raises fresh questions about the course of Malaysian Airlines flight MH370 as it headed out to sea. It looks like the pilot went into a 20 minute racetrack pattern just off the coast of Sumatra. This doesn’t fit the current theories of what might have happened. Interesting.

And if you need someone eliminated, well, there’s an app for that. Or at least a fake website.

The hardest words

Whew. Saturday.

Did the FBI find Jimmy Hoffa‘s body in a New Jersey landfill? I expect we’ll be hearing an announcement soon, one way or the other.

Joan Vennochi was wrong. She admits it. It’s a thoughtful and forthright column about how journalists sometimes get things wrong and why it’s important to correct the record, even if it takes 20 years.

Spencer Buell extols the power of the wood chipper for making an impact.

Lord Vinheteiro sat down to play five different pianos ranging in value from $40 dollars to over a million to see which one sounded the best. The cheapest has that Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da sound to it. The sweet spot, to my ears, is somewhere in the middle. As far as the million dollar piano goes, well, you’ll just have to watch/listen to the end.

And in a tech breakthrough, now your phone can be a remote control for your… cow.

War footing

A mid-November Friday. Better get those turkeys and pies early this year.

So much for that trip to Hallstatt.

David Brooks went to a conference to see what the future of conservatism looked like. It wasn’t pretty. Actually, it was a bit scary. According to his recounting, future (and current) leaders on the right believe that the left is such a threat to the American way of life that extraordinary measures will be required to counter it. He describes the sentiment: “The country is under assault from a Marxist oligarchy that wants to impose its own pseudo-religious doctrine. If you try to repulse that with pallid liberalism, with weak calls for free speech and tolerance, you’ll end up getting run over by those who possess fanatical zeal, economic power, and cultural might.” So, basically, the people on the right want to save America from the people on the left, and are willing to destroy American democracy to do so. I don’t like where this is going.

I suppose you could do this with any of the big camera brands, but here are a bunch of iconic photos shot with a Leica.

The usually pragmatic and clear-headed Zeynep Tufekci waxes philosophical on the future of the US in the wake of a botched response to Covid.

And first it was bikers. Then spring breakers. Now Phish Heads are being pegged as super spreaders. Surrender to the flow.

It will have to wait

Thursday. It’s a birthday for Mickey Mouse.

No cashiers in Starbucks? I know it’s hard to get help but don’t just throw in the towel and get rid of all the humans. I’m usually a fan of new, cutting edge lifestyle technology. But this seems wrong. (Also, probably, unfortunately, the future.)

Well, the legislature wouldn’t let the governor spend the $4 billion dollars in federal relief funds that the state had received. They wanted to decide for themselves how it would be spent. But now, of course, they can’t decide. And they’re going on their holiday break. Matt Murphy and Sam Doran report.

The folks at Facebook claim that mainstream news sites are the most popular source of information on its platform. Anyone who has scrolled through the viral feculence on the blue app would suspect that this just isn’t true. The Markup collected data that would confirm those suspicions.

Now, if you break your iPhone, you can order the parts from Apple and fix it yourself. It’s being billed as a breakthrough for consumer rights. Picture your beautiful smart phone laid out in many, many pieces on the kitchen table while you search for a microscopic torx screw that somehow went missing. I’m pretty sure most people are going to opt to bring the phone in to Apple and have them fix it.

And Melissa Clark has the scoop on how to make a tasty pie for Thanksgiving. But beware of ingredient shortages.

History redux

Today is Wednesday. Downhill to the weekend.

Would reducing the charging time of electric vehicles to less than 5 minutes dramatically open the market for EV’s to be competitive with gas cars? I think it would. Now would be a good time get the grid fixed.

Michelle Wu was sworn in yesterday on the Bible of the Revolution. Right out of the gate there’s much talk about her making history although, really, Kim Janey did that. But Wu could be the first to enact a progressive agenda and take a hard line on contract negotiations with the police unions. Wait, Tom Menino already did all that. Affordable housing? Marty Walsh. So what’s left? Plenty, actually. Wu can make her mark. But first we need to turn down the hype machine and let her get her feet on the ground.

Continuing on with yesterday’s theme of Democrats being in trouble for the midterms, Thomas Edsall doesn’t think the party should be worried. He believes they should be in a state of abject terror.

We were going to be back on the moon by 2024. But it turns out that that aspirational goal was just a tad bit unrealistic.

And the story of the tilting Millennium Tower in San Francisco is a fascinating cautionary tale. An engineer’s nightmare. The moral is, don’t build a skyscraper on shifting clay.