Saturday. A beautiful day ahead. Today’s word is impresario.
Another SpaceX launch. Watch it here.
The work being done on the Sagamore Bridge was completed more than a month early. The crew now moves over to the Bourne Bridge and the clock ticking down to Memorial Day starts all over again.
President Biden appears ready to go on record acknowledging the Armenian genocide. It’s a big deal in our relationship with Turkey.
Deep-fakes and international relations. What could possibly go wrong?
And a Florida family has been indicted for selling a miracle cure for Covid. What they were selling turned out to be “a powerful bleach typically used for industrial water treatment or bleaching textiles, pulp, and paper.” Hmmm.
Happy Tuesday. It’s a birthday for Beckett and Heaney.
Starting this week, the Sagamore Bridge will lose a lane for maintenance work. Just in time for early-spring travel to the Cape, although the plan is to finish the work before Memorial Day.
Boston needs its police department and the department needs the support of the people of the city. But today, going into the summer, the relationship is dysfunctional. As Ally Jarmanning points out, we’ve been in this situation before. We worked our way out of it. It takes time and effort to rebuild trust and there’s no time like the present to start that work.
Half of Massachusetts residents have had at least one shot. So we’re getting there.
The MBTA is pushing ahead with a one year, $2 billion dollar capital spending plan. Why one year instead of the typical 5 year plan? Mostly funding uncertainties, which doesn’t bode well for any kind of real strategic planning at the T.
And Apple, the company, is very secretive about upcoming events and products. When someone inside Apple gets caught leaking information they usually get fired. So what’s going to happen to Siri?
Happy Easter. How’s your keaster?
Food and Wine Magazine found the best 50 chocolate makers in the US. It sounds like a lot of dreary research went into putting the list together. Anyway, 4 of the best are here in Massachusetts: Goodnow Farms in Sudbury, EH Chocolatier in Cambridge, Taza in Somerville and Chequessett on the Cape.
One of the things Amtrak included in its plans for expansion under the infrastructure bill is to extend Downeaster train service to Rockland Maine, something that hasn’t been in place since 1959. It would be a nice ride up from Boston.
Facebook was hacked. Lots of personal information was compromised. (Check your email or password to see if it’s out there.)
It’s time to take St. Matthew Passion off the playlist. Michael Brodeur offers some alternatives for spring listening.
And a pioneering woman mariner from Egypt is making the best of an unfortunate case of mistaken identity. Just make sure you spell her name right.
Thursday. April 1st. No fooling. And we’ll get some rain for the flowers.
Not a fan of Brutalist buildings? Maybe you’re just looking at them wrong.
The Biden administration is proposing a massive transportation infrastructure initiative. A billion here, a billion there. We know about these things in Massachusetts. And James Aloisi, a veteran of the Big Dig, likes the Biden plan.
According to a review by Ally Jarmanning, body cameras are not catching on among police agencies in Massachusetts. Expense is a big reason. One of the original proponents of cameras for the Boston Police, Shekia Scott, is now having second thoughts, wondering whether the benefits justify the costs of the cameras.
Home and business networking equipment maker Ubiquiti announced that it had suffered a data breach. Brian Krebs now reports that a whistleblower is alleging that the breach was much worse than the company is admitting.
And forget vodka, exercise or the Mediterranean diet. The secret to a long life is baked Alaska. Also, maybe, a little champagne.
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.
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.
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.
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.)
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.
Friday time. Happy birthday to Miss Jane.
Massport is in a fight with city hall. Adam Gaffin reports on a local/state transportation squabble in the Seaport.
OK. Here we are, six months into the pandemic in the US, and testing is still a work in progress. The White House just announced a deal to provide 150 million quick-result antigen tests. At the same time, following guidance from the White House, the CDC is changing course and recommending less testing for asymptomatic people. (This was the change made while Fauci was knocked out.) Those new antigen tests, while returning results quickly, also have higher rate of false negative results, which will require retesting. Some states are just throwing up their hands and going their own way, ignoring the new CDC guidelines. Chaos, I tell you.
Weekend reading: In an article in Nautilus, Daniel Sudarsky considers the black hole information paradox in light of the measurement problem.
While commercial airlines have been hard hit this year, startups trying to disrupt the air-travel business are still in the game. Boston-based Transcend is focusing on a VTOL approach that will get you from Boston to New York in less than 40 minutes. Uber is in the game with a plan for ride-share air taxis. And Otto Aviation is close to market with a highly efficient, windowless bullet plane for private flights priced competitively with commercial flights. Exciting stuff.
And you can add dumbbells to the list of things that are in short supply in 2020. Ironically.