Whip inflation now

Springing ahead this Sunday morning. And it’s π Day. Go on, have a piece of π.

Marvelous Marvin Hagler has died. He fought some amazing fights. He was our guy in the ring.

Stimulus checks are coming and Americans are in a spending mood. The textbooks say that when there’s money to be spent and a shortage of things that people want to spend it on, you get inflation. Optimists say the textbooks are wrong or that if it does happens we can manage it. I remember how long it took and how hard it was to rein in the Great Inflation of the late seventies so I wouldn’t take the threat too lightly. Maybe we need a Paul Volcker on standby.

Rick Steves, stuck at home, is hosting weekly virtual travel video nights. He does them on Monday evenings. Tomorrow, with appropriate timing, he’ll talk us through his guide to Saint Patrick’s Ireland.

I’ve always enjoyed and admired Graham Greene‘s writing. This essay by Scott Bradfield is a reminder to pull one his novels down from the shelf to re-read this spring.

And Lou Ottens, who invented the cassette tape, died recently. Those tapes were a big thing for my generation. It was how we compiled and shared music. But I wasn’t sad to see them go. As a medium they were inconsistent and quirky. The best thing I can say about cassette tapes is that they were slightly better than 8-tracks.

Here comes the pain train

A happy, spring-like Tuesday.

We used to burn draft cards and bras, and blow up disco records. Now we burn masks.

Less riders. Less funding. The post-pandemic future will be difficult for the MBTA. Capital projects may be suspended and maintenance deferred, potentially leading to more unreliable service, leading to less riders and even less funding. A death spiral. But what if the riders miraculously reappear? Well, that might be a problem too.

It was the Day of the Triffids in northern Vermont. And in England, a rare carbonaceous chondrite meteor landed in a driveway in the town of Winchcombe not far from Stonehenge. Many a Creature Feature started out just like this.

One in ten jobs worldwide is dependent on tourism. That’s averaged out. In some places it’s much higher. These NYT charts show just how hard the pandemic has hit the people dependent on tourism.

And there’s been a report of aggressive, out of control, threatening behaviour in the White House. But this time it wasn’t a high-level official. It was just the dog.

Walk right in, sit right down

Well, it’s Friday. Today is the anniversary of the first World Trade Center bombing.

Who will be the new US Ambassador to Ireland? Some Boston names are in the mix.

Mark Sullivan covers the Senate hearing last week on the Russia-based Solar Winds hack. The bottom line: This was a new type of attack vector that we did not see coming. It was also a huge intelligence sharing and coordination failure.

If you’re a nervous flier booking a trip, you might, as this NYT article suggests, want to research what type of plane you’ll be flying on or even the model and manufacturer of the engines. Not me. In some cases ignorance is bliss. This is one of those cases.

John Adams and Alia Beard Rau explain how to build and sustain an audience for an online newspaper, in this case the Arizona Republic. First, you have to kill the zombies.

And it looks like an arms race is brewing. The new fully-automatic Hyper Mach-100 is a step up from the pump-action Hyper Siege-50, holding a hundred rounds of ammo with a super-fast reload capability. Not your father’s Nerf guns.

Heading in the right direction

Monday is back again. It’s a birthday for Matt Groening, Chris Farley and Ernest Shackleton.

Go east, old man. The Globe looks at the future of aging. And that future is in Boston.

Daily coronavirus case numbers are dropping. That’s good but not a reliable indicator that we’re out of the woods. “We’ve had three surges,” said former CDC director Tom Frieden. “Whether or not we have a fourth surge is up to us.” But the trend is good and maybe by Labor Day we will be out of the woods. Maybe… maybe.

If there’s one thing that Conrad Akunga has learned, it’s that people don’t read instructions. Remember this article the next time you click OK to accept those cookies.

When traveling, and in a taxi, I always enjoy listening to local radio to get a sense of the place I’m in. Here’s a way to do do that without the travel part.

And Twitter is turning neighbor against neighbor. It’s not over politics this time. This time it’s over birds.

Parler games

Wednesday, Jan 13th. It’s the anniversary of the Hawaii Emergency Alert scare.

That Trump tax cut that some workers received before the election was actually a deferral of taxes until after the election. Now it’s time to pay up.

Hacking Parler was not difficult because the site was not very secure. Amateurishly insecure, actually. “This is like a Computer Science 101 bad homework assignment, the kind of stuff that you would do when you’re first learning how web servers work. I wouldn’t even call it a rookie mistake because, as a professional, you would never write something like this,” Kenneth White told Wired. The exfiltrated data is already being used to identify Parler users inside the Capitol during the uprising.

The new Moynihan Train Hall at Penn Station came in under budget and ahead of schedule. The reviews are glowing. It looks beautiful in photos. And, it has become a catalyst for other improvements in the area. Nice work!

Business Insider: “The US military will have a larger footprint in the nation’s capital by this weekend than the total number of troops in Afghanistan and Iraq combined.”

And if you ever get a chance to go to Tunis, you should. The food is amazing, even the runny eggs. In the meantime there’s this.