Mission Accomplished

Friday. Birthday wishes to Morrissey, Richard Wagner and Sun Ra.

In many cities this springtime was a quiet time. The silence was interrupted only by bird songs and clapping each night at 7 PM. The Times lets us listen in and enjoy the silence.

A Globe story headline, ‘We’ve prevailed’: Trump’s claims of success against coronavirus pose political risks, seems to imply that people are actually paying attention to, and assessing for accuracy, what the president has said. Good one.

Adam Gaffin reports that the Boston Athletic Association released a statement, noting that it was indeed a statement.

In the last few days Google Trends has been blowing up with this parallel universe business. You know, the place where time runs backwards? Disregard. Science journalism is a swamp of clickbait.

And McSorley’s is reopening today. That’s some good news.

Social distancing

Friday, March 6th. Happy birthday to Lou Costello, Ed McMahon and Shaquille O’Neal.

The New England School of Photography is shutting down. Too bad. Lots of great photographers got their start there.

Global coronavirus infections crossed the 100,000 threshold overnight, with 233 confirmed cases in the US. I began tracking the numbers in late January when there were less than 2000 cases worldwide, almost all in China. There were fewer than 10 people thought to be infected in the US then and they were all in quarantine. Everything was “under control“. That was 6 weeks ago. It’s textbook Black Swan. So far, Russia is reporting only 4 cases. Nobody buys that. Also, we’re starting to see cases pop up in the southern hemisphere, in Africa and South America, along with outbreaks in Australia. Watching to see if warm weather south of the equator has an impact of outbreak spread.

All eyes are on the markets this morning. Airlines are being hit hard already. Planes are taking off empty. The Times notes that the broader economy would be threatened when people stop going out for fear of being infected. MIT cancelled gatherings of 150 or more and Tufts announced restrictions. Other schools are closing entirely. It’s a vicious circle. But Susan Desmond-Hellmann, who has a few credentials, says not to panic.

If this research pans out, it could be a big deal for people with food allergies.

And the MBTA is on a cleaning spree. I would have thought that this was happening all along but apparently it just got started. Better late than never.

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.

Mad as a hatter

Today is Tuesday. Happy birthday to Cybill Shepherd, Milos Forman, Yoko Ono and Irma Thomas.

Dogs are the new reality TV stars. They don’t care. They have no idea.

The Boston-based saga of John Wilkes Booth and the man who killed him, a hat maker named Boston Corbett, is recounted by Adam Gaffin. A great read and well researched. I didn’t know any of this.

Science journalism has become pretty bad. It’s filled with clickbait and sensational headlines announcing new life-changing technologies and miracle cures. It’s hard to distinguish the real from the hype sometimes. That said, I hope this is real. It could be a game changer.

Both versions of True Grit were good movies but the book was better. The author, Charles Portis died this week at 86. I also liked his novels, Dog of the South and Norwood. If you’re looking for something to read you should check him out. He’s been called America’s least-known great writer.

And there are 10 websites that website designers think need to be updated. Stop right there. Please don’t touch Craigslist or Wikipedia or Hacker News. They’re just fine. But please do fix IMDB. It’s painful. The rest? Who cares.

Hands on the wheel

It’s Wednesday. We’re still looking for that hydrogen bomb we lost on this day in 1958.

How do planes stay in the air? I’ve always reassured myself on rough flights that scientists completely understood the principals behind how the multi-ton piece of metal I was strapped into defied the law of gravity. So this news is a little scary.

BPDNews lays down he law on the new ‘hands-free while driving‘ rules that go into effect on Feb 23rd. Enforcement will be a challenge.

Evan Ackerman highlights a product that stood out from the trade show hype: AR glasses from Bosch that project lasers into your retina. They actually sound pretty amazing.

The Times asks whether Banksy can he be considered a serious artist if most of his work isn’t a on wall in a traditional museum. Do I sense a little art snobbery? Of course! He’s the Rembrandt of our time. And, according to the article, he has some sort of major announcement slated for March.

And one down, 49 to go, for Bloomberg.