Tentacles of doom

It’s Saturday in a winter wonderland. Happy birthday to Charles Barkley, Patty Hearst and J. Geils.

Kim Janey is off to a good start. Chris Osgood is a ‘get things done’ type of guy who is also easy to work with. And he knows his way around city government. Great choice for chief of staff.

First there was the fail whale. Now we have the much less alliterative “four-armed octopus of doom” to alert us to the broken Massachusetts vaccinate appointment website. The state technology team and software vendor PrepMod continue to trade blame. “It wasn’t our octopus,” a PrepMod spokesperson told the Globe.

Watching the birds waiting for their turn at the feeders this morning I wondered how they keep their feet warm. Apparently it’s all in the circulation.

Here’s something new to worry about. The earth’s magnetic field is due for a shift. Way overdue, actually. Previously scientists didn’t think a pole reversal would be a big deal but a new study is starting to raise alarms. Think Texas, but worldwide and indefinite.

And it’s been 45 years since Frampton Comes Alive! came out. It’s aged like Boone’s Farm.

Hand wringing

Thursday. Today is Cow Milked While Flying in an Airplane Day. Uh-huh.

In what may be the final chapter of the Bulger saga, after almost 19 years in custody, John Connolly is set to be freed from prison on a medical release.

Just because something works in Boston doesn’t mean it will work across the river in Cambridge. Licensing authorities in the people’s republic kiboshed a proposal for live acoustic music that would have bolstered local bars and restaurants because of the potential for noise complaints. Now, about those leaf blowers.

Crowded House have a new song ahead of a new album coming in June. That’s good news.

Later today the Perseverance Mars Rover will land on the red planet. NASA is live-streaming just after noon. You can watch a behind-the-scenes video from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory while you wait. Or you can go out to Crispy Creme and get yourself a mars doughnut.

And another transit system goes for easy, contactless payments. Hint: it’s not ours.

Flash in the pan

A bright Sunday morning. The last day of the first month of the new year.

This meme went around in the fall when there were long lines at testing sites. It was funny because it was true and now it is true.

Michael Santoli says that the social-media-driven market activity from last week was a blip. It won’t persist and certainly won’t impact the larger stock market. Those sound like famous last words. Morgan Housel sees GameStop as the anti-Sears. Sebastian Mallaby defends the establishment. Politicians are on their soapboxes and the regulators will be coming. Just like they did for onions.

Aaron Dale and Emily Norton believe that a career as a wastewater operator is the way to go. Young man, I have one word for you: sewage.

There are too many satellites now and new ones are being launched all the time. I’m exited about the Starlink array but it’s also part of the problem. The UN is in charge of maintaining order up there, so there’s that.

And Geoff Edges talks to the other Davies brother of Kinks fame. What ever happened to that little green amp?

A strong foundation

Good Saturday morning. It’s Isaac Asimov‘s birthday.

Drive-through weddings are still happening in Vegas. A welcome sign of strange normality.

The Walsh team, like the Menino team before them, is pretty good at managing the city budget. Boston closed the year with a budget surplus, marking the 35th year the city has done so. Meg McIntyre reports that while many other cities are laying off workers and cutting services as a result of the pandemic, Boston has actually added jobs.

Just in time for the new year, Kafka’s The Trial has entered public domain. Here are some other works opened up this year.

Mitt Romney‘s claim to fame was rising to the logistics challenge of the 2002 Winter Olympics. (There’s also the Big Dig, but we won’t dwell too much on that.) These days he’s watching the logistic challenge of vaccine distribution play out and he has some concerns.

And this is something I hadn’t previously considered: If you’re an astronaut on the International Space Station and you turn your smartphone sideways, it won’t go into landscape mode because there’s no gravity. Also GPS and time zones would be a mess. Hey Siri, what’s the weather at my current location? …Siri?

Tables turned

Monday. The last one in 2020. We’re in the home stretch.

At the last minute the president signed the stimulus bill, barely averting an economic catastrophe. Guess he was just keeping us in suspense.

Portland is/was a great restaurant town. Brian McQuarrie looks at what the virus has done to it. Boston is also seeing more eateries close. And Frank Bruni mourns the loss of restaurant culture in New York.

A number of people, including Tyler Cowen, believe that the roaring twenties of technology-driven innovation is about to take off. I certainly hope so.

There’s more on the guy from the Nashville bombing. Downtown by Petula Clark was playing over the loudspeaker before the explosion. Nothing yet on motive. Already the conspiracy nuts are out and trying to connect the explosion to the election.

And Scotty was finally beamed up.