Too much, too little, too late

It’s Saturday, Galentine’s Day.

A high-speed rail link between Boston and New York that tunnels under Long Island Sound and makes the trip in an hour and a half? Sounds like a good idea but I doubt it could be done in my lifetime.

A couple of years ago Bloomberg published a story on a massive hardware hack involving Super Micro Computer servers and China. Then the story died with lots of conflicting information and denials floating in the wind. There’s been nothing on it since then, even though, as one of the authors points out, there should be plenty of evidence out in the world to confirm the allegations. Now Bloomberg has an update that, as Nick Heer notes, doesn’t do much to clear up the mystery but does quote many more un-named sources. If I were to guess, I’d say an ongoing successful counter-intelligence op was at play here.

So here’s the plan: we’ll start with the oldest part of the population and then require them to set up their vaccine appointments over the internet. I can’t imagine why this wouldn’t work well.

Ever search for a recipe only to be assaulted with pop-up ads and messages begging you to subscribe to something you have no interest in, and then scrolling and scrolling and scrolling to find the actual recipe, which often requires going to another page to see the final steps, where you then may have to endure another set of pop-ups, etc.? This is where you begin to lose faith in what the Internet has become. But then something like this comes along and your faith is restored.

And the album Tapestry is fifty years old this week. The Guardian assembled a group of fellow singer-songwriters, including James Taylor, Ricky Lee Jones and Danielle Haim, to reflect on the album. So far away.

Out of the blue

It’s a chilly Friday and the birthday of the great Anton Chekhov.

Wall Street is rolling out new rules in the wake of the GameStop kerfuffle. Matt Taibbi also weighs in.

Willie Gross usually does things big. His retirement announcement came as a surprise and seemed uncharacteristically subdued. Nobody wants to be a lame duck so the timing, coinciding with the end of the Walsh administration, does make sense in the world of Boston politics. I’ve known Willie for many years he’s always been a man of integrity and generosity. I wish him well in his retirement.

Remember D.B. Cooper? He was the hijacker who jumped out of an airliner with a parachute and $200,000 never to be heard from again. The guy many thought was the most likely suspect just died.

What’s the difference between physics and politics? When a physicist loses a bet, even one over something as complex as the black hole information paradox, and maybe something they have staked their entire career on, they quickly pay up when presented with the evidence that they were wrong. People in politics renege and stick to their original talking points even in the face of indisputable evidence. I’m guessing nobody ever confused Harlan Hill with Stephen Hawking.

And it’s not exactly the flying car we were promised, but I’ll take it.

Glass half full

It’s Black Friday. Sorry, no deals here today.

As the pandemic spreads, there has also been more ransomware attacks on US health care care by Russian hackers. So it probably wasn’t a great time to fire the head of the national Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency for the flimsiest of political reasons.

Maybe it’s the tryptophan talking, but things actually do seem to be looking up. Biden is already pissing people off – on the right and on the left – which is a sign that he’s finding his groove in the middle. Trump has agreed to leave the White House without us having to call security. Vaccines are coming. And there will be turkey sandwiches this weekend.

On the other hand, traffic back-ups are expected to make a comeback next year. (Hopefully not quite as bad as this one, though.)

HistoryHit TV promotes cultural and historic sites from around the world and they’ve also produced a photo contest featuring images of some sites. Here are this year’s winners. Some are overly stylized for my taste, but all are great images.

And charging phones (and watches and laptops…) overnight can be a chore, but also a requirement. It stinks when you forget and then and realize that your battery is at zero going into the next day. Cars are going to be an even worse version of this problem.

Let the meter run

Good day, Saturday. The word of the day is grandiloquence.

If you have an Apple TV you already know how bad the remote is. It’s a disaster. Now cable companies, who are also notorious for bad remotes, are offering a slightly better one for the Apple TV. Or, you can do as I did, and just get one of these.

How much of a surcharge should the state tack onto Uber and Lift fares and who should bear the brunt, the rider or the ride-share service? Flat fee or structured? And really, is this the right time to be adding surcharges to a struggling industry? Adam Vaccaro reports that the Legislature and the Governor are all over the map on these questions.

Bus maintenance costs at the MBTA are more than double the national average. So before cutting service, the T should look hard at cutting operating costs. Charles Chieppo and Jim Stergios make the argument in Commonwealth Magazine.

Bill de Blasio’s reviews as mayor of New York are, at best, mixed. With contenders lining up to replace him, the Times notes that, “Several candidates have worked in the de Blasio administration, yet the mayor’s residual unpopularity has given rise to an unusual trend: Most mayoral hopefuls are not necessarily running to the left or right of him, but just far, far away.” Smart.

And this commercial will make you feel GREAT! Also, a little disturbed. (From Turnpike Films.)

Lights, camera… action

It’s Monday. Columbus Day.

Michael O’Sullivan thinks Robert De Niro has gone from a raging bull to an aging tool. I guess he must need the money.

Danny McDonald reviews Marty Walsh’s ‘nonrhotic‘ performance in Frederick Wiseman’s four and a half hour documentary on City Hall. Sounds like it would have made a great Netflix series if it had been broken into shorter segments. But I can’t wait to see it.

Veena Dharmaraj and Staci Rubin make the case for more public investment in electric car charging stations in Massachusetts. And speaking of electric cars, a vehicle engineering revolution is underway. Think big skateboard.

75 year old Ian Gillan, lead singer for Deep Purple, is still touring. He estimates that he’s sung ‘Smoke on the Water,’ 2500 times. That sounds low to me. I’ve probably heard it on the radio more times than that.

And a sitcom character walked into a bar. Right away they knew her name.