Calm before the storm

Tuesday. It’s the anniversary of Apollo 11 landing in the Sea of Tranquility.

Say you’re in an airliner flying at 30,000 feet and realize that everyone on the plane has been incapacitated, including the pilots. (Maybe they all had the fish). Can you land the plane? Actually, it’s doable.

Shirley Leung reports that the MBTA has restored service to pre-pandemic levels. But despite an expensive marketing campaign, riders haven’t returned. Come fall, when more workers return to the office, this could be a problem, traffic-wise.

Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin flight into ‘space’ this morning was a success. After reaching apogee, the passenger module floated back to earth on parachutes at about 15 mph, until just inches above the ground, when a blast of air, like an airbag deployment, cushioned its touchdown. The rocket booster had previously separated and returned to earth, landing just like a rocket in a 1950’s sci-fi illustration. It was quite an impressive technological accomplishment.

After 50 people were shot over the weekend, Chicago police are trying something they say is “new and unique.” They’re going to tackle illegal gun trafficking. Imagine that.

And there are thick burgers and there are thin burgers. Thick burgers are juicy and tasty, but a disaster when you try to eat them. Thin burgers fit well in the bun but are too easy to overcook. What if science could help us to have the best of both worlds? Count me in!

Ten foot pole

It’s Tuesday, July 13th. Embrace your geekness.

What will happen when all the stimulus money goes away? We should know by next year. I think there’s a good plan in place. (I hope there’s a good plan in place.)

After once being a big supporter, Geoff Diehl is revising his position on Donald Trump. Apparently the Trump purity test doesn’t apply locally. Also, influential members of the Massachusetts GOP are pushing for chairman Jim Lyons to step aside to allow for a more moderate, less Trumpian leadership to guide the party ahead of the Governor’s race. As Dana Carvey’s Church Lady used to say, “how convenient.”

The Bolt Bus shut down ‘temporarily’ when riders disappeared during the pandemic. Some said the Bolt was finished for good. But apparently they’re planning to return. So that’s good.

Nice to see that Bostonians are getting back to normal, complaining about First World hardships. Beth Teitell reports that people are missing out on cannolis, tennis games, and in-ground pool installations because of all the rain. Oh, the humanity! At least somebody saw a rainbow. In New York, people are coming out of the pandemic with a slightly better attitude, noting happily how clean and uncluttered with passengers the subways are.

And Maggot Brain, one of the best albums of the 1970s, is 50 years old this month. Christopher Weingarten pays tribute.

Real fake news

Today is Thursday. It’s Marty Feldman‘s birthday.

The most recent Kaseya ransomware attack was billed as the biggest ever. They all seem to be the biggest ever. Who decides what’s big and what’s not? Scott Rosenberg and Ina Fried try to sort it out.

When did the Globe get so sleazy? I know it’s hard to make money in the news business but there should be some standards. As a paid subscriber, I chafe at prominently placed ads on the website. But I get it. What’s not acceptable is the dark pattern placement of ads that purport to be news. For example, under the masthead and main menu, there was this: “Grandma attacked outside store in [insert local town name based on IP lookup]. It links to an infomercial (don’t click) for a security device. The ‘news’ part appears to be completely made up. I know it’s all done algorithmically behind the scenes but at the end of the day the Globe owns it and their aging readership deserves better.

Spencer Buell has suggestions for making the T more fun to ride. Something about Jerry Seinfeld, Easter eggs, t-shirts and free samples.

Dorchester and Mattapan have a significant Haitian population. The Dorchester Reporter staff rounds up local reaction to the assassination of president Moïse.

And not only are we getting stupider, we’re also getting less creative. -I got nothing.

The shortest distance

It’s a Tuesday. We’re hooked on aphelion.

The workplace has changed significantly in the last year or so. Tech companies serving that sector have had to be very adaptable to survive.

As some people using public transportation begin to come back into the office, they’re finding their Charlie Cards expired. Why do Charlie Cards expire? Why do we need cards at all? It doesn’t sound very efficient. You should be able to use your phone or watch to pay. I know… it’s in the works. The T says next year for some stations. By 2024 the entire system will be up and running. But sooner would be better.

There’s one company holding all the chips. It’s not who you think.

150 people were shot over the holiday weekend. 95 of those were in Chicago, which actually saw a reduction in firearm violence from last year.

And why do ransomware gangs keep hitting us? For the same reason Willie Sutton robbed banks.

The levers of power

Thursday. Its a birthday for Saul Bellow, Howlin’ Wolf and Bill Burr.

Neither Ralph Mellish, nor any other person in the US this year, has been killed by a lightning strike. It’s like a no-hitter. (Oops.)

In the past, the Boston City Council was ornery and blustery, but mostly all talk. This group is, well… different. Kim Janey and next elected mayor will have their hands full. And on the search for a new police commissioner, Bill Forry has some thoughts on Councilwoman, and mayoral candidate, Wu’s obstructionism.

We have a new ocean. Pretty cool.

Who’s driving the train? The MBTA Fiscal and Management Control Board has been dissolved and the Governor and legislature have dueling proposals for a new oversight board.

And there’s a bear afoot on the South Shore. Last sighting was on the eastern side of Wompatuck. Better hide those pic-a-nic baskets.