Degrees of freedom

Friday on my mind. Beans on the plate.

Making plans for the Forth? Stay home. There’s always next year.

In Massachusetts, Phase 3 starts on Monday (in the city it will begin on July 13.) It took a relatively quick six weeks to get here from Phase 1. The governor says Phase 3 could last for quite a while though, possibly until a vaccine is available and we can move into ‘the new normal‘ of Phase 4. By most measures Massachusetts is doing well. But apparently not well enough for Maine to let us across the Piscataqua, at least not without a vacation-length quarantine. Which is crazy because they really do need the tourism.

Martha Bebinger shows us a day in the life of a contract tracer, much of which is spent trying to keep quarantined people in their homes.

Travel writer Elizabeth Heath suggests micro cruises as a safer alternative to the large overcrowded cruise lines. The only problem is that most small cruises operate somewhere in the European Union and travel restrictions exclude Americans. (I wonder why.)

And it turns out that Stephen Pinker is a pretty good photographer.

Slow motion disappearing act

It’s Thursday. Surely it could not have been 40 years since Ted Stryker landed the plane.

Here’s the inside scoop on Boston Pizza Wars.

Sarah Betancourt reports that there are 6 less staffers at the Herald this morning after another round of layoffs. One of the people leaving noted that it was “the beginning of the end for the Herald.” I used to worry about Boston not being a two-paper town, especially for local coverage. But the truth is that, for some time now, we’ve barely been a one-paper town since the Globe is regularly scooped on local news by online sites and social media.

Juneteenth is one step closer to becoming a Massachusetts state holiday.

Pfizer is seeing encouraging results from a vaccine under development, with immunity-producing antibodies similar to those seen in people who have recovered from the virus. Next, testing will determine if the cure is worse than the disease. If it turns out to be safe, pricing and distribution challenges need to be worked out. Then we’re back to normal, right?

From over-touristed to no tourists, Venice and other cities are rethinking their identities.

And Brian Chen has advice for making your tech devices last longer.

Getting from here to there

Lazy Sunday. RIP Arnie, ‘Old Aching Adenoids, Woo Woo (for you, you)’ Ginsburg.

Rounding down old age: Thanks to coronavirus, 60 is the new 65. Now about those elderly discounts.

Ed Markey and Ayanna Pressley have filed a bill to fund free transit rides to the tune of $5 billion dollars. I like the idea of making public transit cheaper and easier to use but the funds will have to come from somewhere. And now, since the administration has run up a gazillion, bazillion dollar deficit, why not get the money from the feds. Who, other than future generations, will even notice.

Less people are flying but more are complaining about the airlines. And, happily, the end may be near for in-flight food service. The food is horrible (and the servings are so small) and it’s not worth the disruption in the cabin.

The folks from the Australian Broadcasting Corporation recommend these 20 2020 albums. So far.

And last week it was pets left behind when owners contracted Covid. This week it’s the office plants. They miss their people. That’s some hard hitting journalism happening right there. What about that yogurt left in the fridge? Stay tuned.

Simple solutions

Saturday. It will be sunny for most of the day. So put on those glasses.

The Forth of July TV special from the Esplanade will be, mostly, a rerun this year.

David Scharfenberg goes beyond the slogans to examine possible solutions to the issues in policing today. “America’s policing problem is really a set of complex, interlocking problems. And they will not yield to a “defund the police” slogan or a hastily conceived 10 percent cut to the police budget,” he writes. His article starts and ends with a victim of an unsolved violent crime. Because we shouldn’t lose sight of what’s at stake.

First murder hornets and a global pandemic. Now giant stinging jellyfish are arriving under the shadow of a killer Saharan dust cloud. I can’t wait to see what the second half of 2020 has to offer.

Jason Cipriani takes us through the process of adding stacked widgets to your home screen in iOS 14, which will be available for public beta sometime in July.

And it doesn’t look like you’ll be able to take a European vacation this summer. You probably wouldn’t want to get on an airplane anyway. (But Iceland is still an option if you do.)

Hair today, gone on Monday

Is it Thursday? Yes, it’s Thursday. The day, in 2011, that nothing happened.

The Globe provides tips for taking road trips this summer. You’re going to need a big trunk for all the stuff they think you should bring. And apps to find decent bathrooms.

Spencer Buell, writing in Boston Magazine, wonders whether it’s safe to get a haircut when barber shops open on Monday. I think the real question is whether you’ll be able to get an appointment.

Antibody tests and viral tests are two different tests. In simple terms, one checks whether you have the virus, the other whether you have developed antibodies as a result of having previously had the virus. Both are important for calibrating reopening plans and we should be testing for both but, as The Atlantic reports, test numbers released by the CDC have the two all mixed up. “This is a mess,” the director of the Harvard Global Health Institute told the magazine.

There weren’t many republican lawmakers in the Massachusetts legislature and now there are even fewer.

And the Apple/Google contract tracing framework was released yesterday in a software update for your phone. Three states are already working on apps for it, Alabama, South Carolina and North Dakota.