Echos in the canyon

Monday. Another hot humid day is forecast. Bring it on.

John Hume has died.

In Boston, nightlife seems to be active in some parts of the city but when the sun comes up there’s a sense of emptiness in business district. I wonder how much remote working will end up being the new normal.

The Space X astronauts splashed down safety yesterday. The way this year was going I was prepared for the worst.

Apple is now the world’s most valuable company. And there’s a stock split coming at the end of the month.

And all he wanted to do was turn off his windshield wipers but this Tesla driver ended up having his license suspended for using a computer screen while driving. That’s not how it was supposed to work.

Out in the cold on a hot day

Sunday. The first anti-matter particle, the positron, originally theorized by Paul Dirac, was discovered on this day in 1932 by Carl Anderson, who won a Noble Prize for it.

Did photographer David Ryan get into the dryer to take this photo? Is the woman loading the dryer so caught up in her work that she doesn’t notice a camera inside pointing at her? So many questions.

Retail, car rental, airlines, restaurants and communications are some of the major sectors that have been hit by bankruptcies due to the pandemic. The employees affected have been surviving economically through a federal unemployment supplement, which ended this week. Now Congress is bickering about what to do next. When our representatives deliver results, we like them. These days we don’t like them very much. I suppose that’s especially true if you’re out of a job.

Red Auerbach’s record of all-time wins has been eclipsed by Doc Rivers, another one-time Celtics coach, now with the Clippers. “Any time your name is with Red, you feel very fortunate,” he told ESPN.

There’s more drama around TikTok. Apparently the Microsoft deal is being reviewed by the White House pending any action on a potential US ban. Tic. Toc.

And at least Americans aren’t the only idiots in the world. The AP reports crowds marching in Berlin without masks demanding an end to the pandemic.

A question of legitimacy

It is a splendid Saturday morning. July is in the rear view mirror. And despite the heat it was the worst month yet for Covid.

Brian Krebs looks at the state of credit card fraud in 2020 and wonders why it’s still even a thing.

A group of prominent conservative and libertarian attorneys are concerned enough about the President’s tweets on delaying the election that they’ve composed a statement to encourage Americans to be prepared for trouble. And it could very well be trouble. The ‘base’ is lining up to challenge any result other than victory. How this will all play out is still unclear. But the signs of trouble are already starting to show.

On the same topic, Jonathan Turley takes a swing and a miss.

The US deficit has ballooned beyond the point of reasonableness, which is hurting the country’s credit rating, now bumped down a notch from stable to negative. To add insult to injury, Congress and the White House still could not hammer out a plan to support people unemployed by Covid.

And you may not know the name William English, but he changed the world. English invented the computer mouse. He died this week.

License and registration

Thursday morning. Today’s word is catastrophe. (Hopefully not a prophetic choice.)

Is Madonna still an influencer? I really hope not.

The city of Cambridge is considering allowing unarmed city employees to conduct vehicle stops. I don’t think it’s the presence of a gun on the person conducting the traffic stop that raises tensions in the situation as much as it is the potential for ticket or fine, but otherwise this might be an interesting experiment.

Mark Zuckerberg didn’t look especially comfortable in his suit, but overall the tech titans held up under the pressure of being grilled by Congress yesterday. Although both republicans and democrats came at them hard, at the end of the day there are partisan differences on how to reign the big tech companies in. So don’t expect much to come of it. One Florida congressman had his own “series of tubes” moment, when he questioned the CEO of Google about how to use Gmail.

When Zoom was in heavy use, early in the pandemic, it was pretty easy to hack through a password vulnerability that has now been closed. The vulnerability was discovered by Tom Anthony after Boris Johnson tweeted a screenshot from a Zoom virtual cabinet meeting.

And this could have been a story from The Onion. But sometimes the truth is more entertaining than comedy.

Ready, fire, aim

Wednesday, the apex of the week. It’s the anniversary of Son of Sam’s first murder.

There’s lots of hype around GPT-3. Here’s how it works.

Rhetoric met reality yesterday in a Boston City Council hearing on police overtime; the reality being that most police overtime is non-discretionary. It might have been better if councillors understood that before publicly pledging significant cuts. Cutting can still be done, of course. There’s always room in the margins for reductions. But it won’t be anything close to the $20 million they had hoped for without cutting back on coverage for 911 response.

So, here’s a cheery headline: “Theoretical Physicists Say 90% Chance of Societal Collapse Within Several Decades.” But, no, theoretical physicists in general do not say this. Only two. And the cause is deforestation over the next several hundred years not a black hole swallowing the earth. In any case, I think we have other more pressing real-world problems to worry about in the short term.

Intel is way behind on their roadmap for new chips. The company’s 7-nanometer process has been pushed back again. All these delays have prompted Apple to announce that they’re moving away from ‘Intel Inside’ and putting ARM chips in their Mac computers. As a result, now the chief engineer at Intel is out of a job.

And if you absolutely feel the need to leave the earth, at least you can do it in style in Virgin Galactic’s new spacecraft on your way to Mars. No middle seats!