A hard landing

Today is Sunday. Is that spring knocking on the door?

From BU, Grace Knoop has some tips for dining out on a college student’s budget. Lots of soup, salad and water. (Tip: the nearest Olive Garden is at South Bay.)

Russian airlines lease more than half of their fleet from foreign companies. Many of those companies are located in the EU. Per sanctions, those leased planes must be returned by the end of March. The remaining Russian commercial aircraft, those owned by the Russian airlines, will have trouble keeping up with regular required servicing. Aeroflot, the largest airline in Russia, has its maintenance hub in Germany, which is now out of reach. Even within Russia parts needed for servicing aircraft will be hard to obtain because of sanctions. A lot of planes will be grounded. As a result, some believe that domestic Russian aviation could pretty much shut down in the coming months. Not good for a country as large as Russia. Mentour Pilot has more here.

Ruby Cramer had to wait on a list to join the newest social media app, Truth Social. Now that she’s in she’s wondering where everyone else is. There are reports that Trump is angry that his platform is failing but why should he be? That was the plan from the outset.

Even though you’re using your bank’s app and communicating with people who appear to be from your bank, you’re not immune from being scammed. I’ve always been skeptical of the whole Zelle thing. Venmo seemed way better.

And if your GE oven needs a wifi connection to unlock some features like, you know, cooking, then you are effectively synergizing backward overflow.

Meet the new war, same as the old war

A snow-covered Saturday.

Dorothy Wickenden went to visit Wendell Berry. It’s been a while since I read Berry and I’m reminded of how much I enjoyed it. Maybe I’ll jump back into the world of Nathan Coulter and Jaber Crow this spring.

Thomas Friedman, who’s been around a few conflicts, writes about Putin’s strategy and how it may play out in a technologically and economically connected world. It’s an updated version of his globalization theory from the late 90’s. He considers a range of contingencies on how modern war is both different and the same as wars of the past. But I think Friedman’s argument that technology and social media could slow the invasion or shame Russia into retreat is overblown. Putin will just shut down the cell networks until he has full control of the message.

Sahil Bloom has a quick primer on SWIFT and the implications of cutting Russia out of it.

Sean Penn is in Ukraine filming a documentary. He’s nuts, for sure, but his life certainly is an adventure.

And the Bugs Bunny Film Festival is back at the Brattle. The Dig has some highlights.

Conflict and conquest

Super Sunday.

In Italy people are getting tired of social media—but older folks are loving their Netflix.

Thirty years of instability in the Ukraine has led us to where we are today. The Finnish President has been running interference between Europe and Russia but he’s not optimistic about avoiding a confrontation. Apparently the invasion is scheduled for Wednesday. I assume D.C. area Domino’s are busy.

Rand Paul used to be against disruptive protests. Not so much anymore.

When I think of low-alcohol beer, I think Bud Light or Ultra. They’re not the best tasting but at 4.2% alcohol content they won’t knock you out like a high powered IPA and you can have more than one. Now, tastier low-alcohol brews are arriving on the scene. Some are as low as 2% so you can have even one more.

And what’s the big secret for making money with crypto? Hint: It’s not a secret.

Working numbers

Monday morning. Back to it.

The next coronavirus threat is cute and has a fluffy tail.

Job numbers from January were much better than expected. Some economists thought we would add, at best, about 150,000 new jobs. Other thought we would lose jobs overall. But in actuality, 467,000 new jobs were created. Matthew Zeitlin runs the numbers for Grid and John Cassidy, writing in the New Yorker, considers the implications. It’s mostly good news but there’s always a downside. Neil Irwin looks at wage growth, which could be a leading indicator for inflation.

When Neil Young left Spotify he had to call in some favors from the record company so he could get out of his contract. Most artists don’t have that option. Will Butler explores how musicians are exploited by streaming services.

A study that looks at levels of citizen cooperation and engagement with police departments after high-profile use of force incidents raises some interesting questions, but also concerns about methodology.

And Facebook is threatening to pull out of Europe. Egads! What will become of Europe?

Turning the page

It’s Thursday already. Almost Friday.

North Korea hacked a hacker and so the hacker hacked back, shutting down the entire country’s Internet.

One thing the old Globe building in Dorchester had was parking. There was a huge lot behind the building. It was needed for all those trucks that transported the bundled papers—hot off the big presses—to newsstands and corner stores around New England. The good old days. Those trucks are no more and Gintautas Dumcius reports that developers want to use the big lot behind what used to be the Globe, and is now ‘The Beat‘, for a 6 story biotech facility.

Bogie and Bacall. Antony and Cleopatra. Jay and Bey. Donald and Lindsay. Margaret Hartmann writes about the strangely persistent relationship between Donald Trump and Lindsay Graham.

It’s government shutdown time again. A February 18th budget deadline looms and another temporary stopgap measure is in the works.

And Facebook is having a Myspace moment. I guess it’s all downhill from here.

Running on empty

Today is Tuesday. Give it up for Tuesday.

Founder Jack Dorsey has quit Twitter. But he’s still running Square and Tidal. And maybe for mayor of New York.

Bruce Mohl looks deeper into the curious case of the state’s unemployment insurance trust fund. It’s either well-funded or needs money, nobody seems to know. The group running it doesn’t even know how much money it has. But we do know that they own hundreds of millions to businesses because of overcharges. The governor is prepared to float bonds to keep the fund solvent, if necessary, but that could complicate governance of the fund. As Jeff Garlin would say, it’s a big bowl of dysfunction.

Who needs satellites for GPS? All the Navy needs is muons.

The city’s eviction moratorium did not stand up to a court challenge. It was originally implemented by Kim Janey but now Michelle Wu will have to deal with the fallout from housing advocates who want to see the city do more. Wu hasn’t indicated what she’ll do, other than “looking at all of our options.”

And the Swedish Prime Minister is channelling Birgitte Nyborg after all. That was a quick comeback.

The new Boston

Sunday. Fun day. Also a pretty slow news day.

Ben Sisario got a look at Peter Jackson’s Get Back, a seven-hour Beatles documentary. (It looks like I’m going to have to sign up for the Disney Channel.)

Bostonians get a lot of entertainment from reports of storrowing. Nathan Phillips wants to take that all away. And Shirley Leung would like to see the downtown become a big residential neighborhood where we can all lay down on the grass in Post Office Square after a long day of telework. I would be down with that.

So apparently it’s not the medium or the message. They’re just giving people what they want. Maybe the problem is the audience. We have met the enemy…

I guess Rivian’s IPO went well. They now have a valuation that surpasses General Motors even though they’ve only shipped 150 cars.

And here’s another video from the Facebook metaverse. Oh, wait a minute.


Saturday sunshine. Happy Sadie Hawkins Day.

It looks like Mark Zuckerberg has been reading Ray Bradbury. Spoiler: It doesn’t end well.

As large companies like GE and Johnson & Johnson grow and devour smaller companies, they can take advantage of economies of scale and become even bigger. Until, that is, that they grow so big that they become lumbering giants, threatened by smaller, more agile competitors. So then they just break up into smaller companies again. The cycle of life.

Apparently airplanes can get too big as well. The A380 – that airliner with a double decker row of windows that could accommodate 800 passengers – was a big deal when it was released. Massport even built special ramps for it. Then the pandemic hit and people stopped flying. Emirates, an early adopter of the big plane, is now decommissioning some of its A380s, stripping them down for parts. And Airbus, the manufacturer, will ship the last one this fall. That seemed quick.

The Taproot upgrade is coming to the Bitcoin network in the next 24 hours. It might be a big deal.

And Miles Monroe strikes again.

The new Boston

It’s Tuesday! Election day. Today’s word is passel.

Scientists studying body temperature say we’re getting cooler. But also lazier.

James Aloisi looks at some of Boston’s defining moments of the past and sees this election as right up there with them. Familiar face Bill Galvin doesn’t think there will be a big turn out. But the candidates spent the Friday night before the election talking to college students, so somebody thinks at least they will come out to vote. And Jack Thornton lays out the three ballot questions, two of which are big deals. Questions 1 and 3 are directly related to mayoral authority and accountability. So here we go.

Joshua Eaton at FiveThirtyEight writes about firearm trafficking and the huge gaps in data about where the guns used in crimes come from.

The pandemic is over. But it’s not over. But it is kinda. But not really. The Washington Post looks at the complexity of getting past Covid. How can we miss it if it won’t go away?

And Facebook just isn’t cool anymore. Kids don’t want to join. But there’s this new thing. It’s called the Metaverse.

The best defense

Wednesday morning. Today’s word is batten.

Live Boston had the scoop on the arrest of Clark Grant on federal fraud charges. Grant is the husband of local activist Monica Cannon Grant, who often tangles with city officials. The charges were brought by the US Department of Labor.

In the mayor’s race, the Globe has yet another hard-hitting investigative story about Essaibi George, including telling us that she had a messy car. This is the kind of political advocacy journalism that makes Trump’s insane rants against the media resonate with people. On to the debate. It was feisty. Wu was defensive on a number of topics, including on using mental health clinicians in police responses. She said she would bring this innovation to her administration but Essaibi George bristled. Police already use clinicians and are seeking to increase their use, largely due to a longtime advocacy by Essaibi George during her time on the council. And there was a reference to a Boston Herald story describing Wu’s connection to a friend’s father and campaign donor, Terry Considine, a controversial former Republican state senator from Colorado. Wu seemed surprised when it came up. I was too. I had never heard about it before then. But then again, I mostly read the Globe.

Facebook has an image problem. Time for a name change.

New cars are getting expensive. Chevy’s are up there. But a brand new Mini could be a good deal. Here’s a list of of which car brand’s prices are rising fastest and which are not, courtesy of YAA. Hint: I would stay away from buying a used Jaguar if you’re worried about resale value.

And if you haven’t had enough of mayoral debates, this one tonight should be fun to watch.