The Sheriff of Nottingham

Saturday. April showers. Today’s word is purloin.

SpaceX has a contract to go to the moon. One of these days, Elon, one of these days.

William Galvin wants to take away your Robinhood account. Apparently he doesn’t like the confetti. Galvin wants to revoke the company’s broker-dealer license in Massachusetts, citing the ease in which it allows people to trade. Robinhood shot back with a lawsuit calling Galvin an “elitist,” and saying that his actions reflect “the old way of thinking.” I’m rooting for Robinhood on this one.

A new tool in Google Earth, called Timelapse, allows you to see how the world changes over time. In their promotional video you can see how the sand banks of Chatham shift and flow with the currents.

Rumours have been circulating for the past few days that Rachael Rollins is leaving the DA’s office and that a Boston city councillor has been tapped by Charlie Baker to take over as Suffolk County District Attorney. Then there’s this strange Trump-like tweet from Rollins. Who said local politics is boring? Inscrutable, sometimes, but never boring.

And at the end of the day, there’s nothing like a nice hot cup of cocoa. Have two, or three, or five.

Sword of Damocles

A rainy Friday. Of course.

It’s a Segway that goes 93 mph. Looks pretty cool, too.

Some Massachusetts businesses worked hard to avoid laying off workers during the pandemic. But now, a much higher than expected federally mandated unemployment fee is putting some of those businesses into a situation where they may have to lay off workers just to be able to afford the unemployment fee. It’s a crazy situation. Jon Chesto reports that the Governor’s office is pushing the payment deadline back, but only by about a month.

Another day, another mass shooting. Here’s a list in case you’re counting.

Reagan National Airport was always weird but it seemed to work surprisingly well. I’m concerned that’s going to change. Previously, you could jump on the Metro downtown and be through security and at your gate within 40 minutes. (Then, once there, you had to deal with the crowds, lack of places to sit and flight delays, etc. But still.) The new layout might make things better – or worse. We shall see.

And Adrian Higgins encourages us to plant a tree, particularly an oak tree. Add water and wait.

Non-nuclear explosion

Wednesday. Today is the day Lincoln was shot.

People are flocking to that active volcano near Reykjavik, including many photographers. But lots of people are just there to watch and reflect on nature.

The attack on Iran’s nuclear enrichment plant wasn’t just planted software. It seems that actual explosives were smuggled into the facility and placed strategically. The level of infiltration was deep and now the Revolutionary Guards, who are responsible for security at the plant, are looking pretty ineffective.

Bill Forry talked to Secretary Walsh about his commute and about being the ex-mayor of Boston.

It will be at least a year before the chip shortage eases. Meanwhile, automakers and medical equipment manufactures are scrambling. Bipartisan support is growing for moving chip fabrication to the US and having the government subsidise new facilities to make chips here.

And how does Massachusetts rank in terms of general popularity among Americans? Not as good as I would have thought. People. What do they know?

Troubling developments

It’s a sunny Saturday. The word of the day is fatuous.

Condé Nast Traveler picked Sconset beach on Nantucket as one of their 25 best island beaches. I always preferred Cisco or Surfside for swimming, or Dionis for beach parties (like the one in Jaws). No one I knew went to Sconset. It was for rich people (like the guy who wrote Jaws).

Violence is spreading in Northern Ireland. Very disheartening. Brexit and coronavirus restrictions are playing a role in the escalation. CNN’s Kara Fox breaks it down. David Trimble weighs in.

Florida Texas man tries to blow up the Internet.

Physicists working with Microsoft have published an interesting paper on the ultimate operating system: the universe. The thesis, in a nutshell, is that we are living in self-learning computational environment. I don’t know. Does it seem like there’s a lot of self-learning going on around us these days?

And Covid lockdowns have brought more than Zoom meetings. UFO sightings and close encounters went up too.

Not passing inspection

Another Thursday. It should be a nice early Spring day.

Here’s some good news: Part 1 crime has dropped by 28% in parts of Dorchester and Mattapan. The bad news (and you knew it was coming) is that murder rates are up in most big cities, including Boston. In Portland, Oregon, gun violence is on the rise and some are calling out defunding efforts.

The RMV inspection saga continues. The Globe is reporting that Applus has released a software update of some kind (on a thumb drive) but their systems are still not operational or, seemingly, close to being so. Their FAQ on the hack is hosted on Squarespace now, suggesting a lack of confidence in their own IT environment. They continue to describe the hack as malware, which tends to minimize it. Malware can happen to anyone, right? But basic business diligence would have required, at the very least, privilege restrictions, frequent patching and snapshotted offline backups for critical software and data. Maybe they did all the right things and this attack was an outlier but something is telling me that this crew was in over their heads.

Spot, the robot dog, is heading to the battlefield. It’s a test of the Three Laws of Robotics, which I think includes dog robots.

I’ve been scanning the news recently about findings in particle physics that may lead to fundamental changes in our understanding of nature. There’s always plenty of hype in the science feeds about new discoveries that are going to change everything but which turn out to be nothing. This time there seems to actually be something important going on. Dennis Overbye gives a good overview.

And a dog that went missing five years ago is back at home after quite a long ordeal. It’s a survival story with a happy ending.