Stuck in the middle with you

De Gaulle resigned on this date in 1969. And then he went to Ireland.

In the most recent French election, despite some rotten tomatoes, the center held. Matthew Yglesias draws some parallels to what’s happening in the US.

Here in Massachusetts it looks like the center is holding as well. For now, anyway.

Great. Everything will be able to make noise now that a team at MIT found a way to create loudspeakers from anything, even a sheet of paper. One consolation is that the same technology can also provide noise cancellation.

I think, maybe, we waited just a little too long to tackle inflation after covid. In the meantime, a war popped up in Ukraine and upset the global economy. And now the cure is going to be doubly painful. I told you so.

And, I’ve been writing or posting here every day for about two and a half years. I think it’s time for a little intermittence.

Polling Americans

A sanguine Sunday.

It’s the start of Squirrel Week. Hold onto your hat.

Are Americans really worried about rising crime. Gallup says yes. Concerns about crime are at their highest level !!! (…since 2016.) In reality, their data show that crime worries are down significantly from 2001. But, you know, headlines. Also, those patterns of partisan reaction to crime are pretty interesting.

So what would happen if Russia and the US engaged in a broad nuclear exchange? The good news is, we wouldn’t have to worry about global warming anymore.

Constructor Theory. It’s a new way to think about physics and natural laws. Here’s an introduction.

And Maureen Dowd is right to be concerned. How long can our attention span on Ukraine last in the face of another Kardashian wedding?

What’s old is new again

Saturday morning music: Darlingside’s Extralife and The Best of Bread.

An uncanny valley for… benches?

Inflation prognosticator Larry Summers recalls the early 1970’s when demand outstripped supply and then, unexpectedly, OPEC tightened oil markets. As he noted in an interview with Ezra Klein, “in many ways, that’s the right analogy for now.” It does certainly does have a familiar unwelcome ring to it.

Bitcoin is so 2020. It’s over. Ethereum is what the cool kids are into.

Maybe it’s just from the perspective of a guy getting up there, but this cellular rejuvenation thing seems like kind of a big deal.

And meanwhile, in Russia

Having your cake

Welcome to Tuesday. It’s International Women’s Day.

Murder hornets are so last year. Make way for the giant, palm-sized flying spiders.

Over 70% of Americans support banning Russian oil, so that would be the politically smart thing to do. And yet

I was an early Twitter user. A big early Twitter user. In the week after the Marathon bombing, when people were looking for information about what was going on, I could reach into my pocket, take out my phone, and engage with a half million people around the world in real time, something that had been impossible to do up until that point. That was the potential of social media as a transformative tool. But transformation works both ways and in the following years Twitter became toxic, a victim of its own success as a platform. I had enough. And apparently I’m not alone.

First, the irrepressible fishermen of County Cork took on the Russian navy and now an Irish truck driver has struck a blow against the Russian embassy by knocking down the gate with his truck. “I’ve done my bit, lads,” he said as he was led away by police.

And thanks to ‘Conservapedia’ we can read about the cons and pros of E=mc². And we thought all the relativists were on the left.

Old man yells at cloud

Monday. A quiet President’s Day.

Covid protests, snowstorms, tent cities… so far Wu has survived the gauntlet. But the next big test will prove her mettle: Will her jokes make the grade at the revived, in-person St. Patrick’s Day breakfast?

What’s wrong with the Internet? I’ll tell you what’s wrong with the Internet. Poor quality, risible algorithmic stories like this one, allegedly about Boston, which rise to the top of Google results. Before you know it we’re awash in this type of crap.

I’ve been highlighting strategic dysfunction among Democrats recently so it’s nice to see that Republicans are having some of the same problems.

The state budget is in great shape. Baker is putting some of the ‘extra’ money to good use. Makes sense.

And Daniel Kolitz informs us of all the bad things that are going to happen. Happy Monday.

Highly accurate

Saturday. It’s Eat Ice Cream for Breakfast Day!

America’s bridges are falling down, falling down, falling down.

The science of stoned driving is being elevated by the folks at Mass General who have found a way to use blood oxygenation levels in the brain to determine impairment. It’s good news for science but bad news for ‘experts.’

It’s always nice to catch a robber in the act. Great work by the District 11 detectives.

People generally figure out how to manage a household budget at some point in their lives but getting an early start on financial literacy by teaching it in high school sounds like a no-brainer to me. State Senator Pat O’Connor has two bills in the works to that end.

And Benjamin Powers says the Metaverse is “everything you hate about the internet, strapped to your face.” Very enticing.

Cold shoulder

A chilly Monday. Low single-digit chilly.

Today is the anniversary of the Mooninite terror scare of 2007. 15 years!

A basement performance space at the Cantab Lounge is at the heart of an ugly dispute between two long-time local music scene partners. Cambridge Day reports that Joe Viglione (he’ll always be The Count to me) and Mickey Bliss have parted ways over how the basement club should be promoted.

Megan McArdle wondered what all the hubbub was about with cryptocurrencies. She couldn’t figure out why anyone would be attracted to something so volatile?

Devin Coldewey writes about how all new cars seem to be like low budget smart phones. He does have a point.

And what if the earth was made of blueberries? No, really. What if the earth was made of blueberries?

Out in the cold

FFFFriday. Batten down the hatches, it’s going to be windy and frigid.

Jan Ransom, previously with the Globe, pulls video of the chaos inside Rikers for this series in the Times.

Life is cheap at Mass and Cass. Live Boston reports that 2 bodies were found by the crew dismantling the encampment. Wu is right to want to get those tents taken down and to put people into proper shelters.

Unions are still a potent force in Massachusetts politics. Shira Schoenberg follows the money.

A new Leica rangefinder was announced yesterday, something that doesn’t happen very often. This one is the M11, successor to the M10, which was released in 2017. I’m a big fan of Leica cameras and lenses but I’ll probably sit this one out. The sensor tech on the M11 is certainly impressive, but so is the price, at almost $9000 for the body alone.

And are algorithms killing the scientific method? Probably not, but they are changing it.

Can’t cut loose without that juice

Thursday. Happy birthday to Rip Taylor, Sophie Tucker and Charles Nelson Reilly.

Are we getting less rational? Our words suggest we are. (It’s a supposition, not a conclusion.)

Electric power is generated by natural gas for the most part locally. But this week’s cold temperatures changed the equations, with nuclear, oil, hydro and even a little coal required for turning the turbines when demand jumped up. More pipelines would mitigate this but apparently people don’t want more pipelines.

The IRS is having a bad year. Expect backlogs and delays.

Gintautas Dumcius looks at the potential political churn in local politics in the coming year. There are a lot of moving pieces including a governors race and openings in the legislature. And in Boston there’s the first year agenda for the mayor, which includes a new police commissioner among other things. Should be quite a year.

And the mRNA technology used to develop Covid vaccines could be used to produce a vaccine for skin cancer. That would be amazing.

Line in the sand

Good morning. It’s Sunday.

A study out of Oregon Health and Science University suggests that if you are fully vaccinated and have a mild breakthrough infection soon after, then you’ve hit the jackpot. You could have super immunity, with antibodies 1000% more effective than vaccination.

Live Boston is reporting that the Wu administration has changed its vaccine mandate to eliminate the testing option, reversing a policy that had been negotiated with some of the public safety unions. This could be the first of many battles between Wu and the unions and it could set the tone for upcoming contract negotiations.

Noam Chomsky and Steven Pinker (who don’t agree on much) are not bullish on artificial intelligence. But new developments might cause them to reassess.

Apple intends to release a completely rewritten version of the old and slow Music App (formally iTunes) on the Mac. You would think this would be welcome news but I’m nervous. Some of us have years of music organization invested in iTunes and although the current version is a lumbering beast, it provides a lot of features that we’ve come to rely on. Here’s hoping that Apple doesn’t dumb it down too much.

And Radio Shack is getting into crypto. But of course, you have to give them your phone number email to get onboard.