Reinventing the wheel

A summer Saturday.

New data shows that ending jobless benefits didn’t have a big impact on unemployment. Amrheins, take note.

Nice story in the Globe about police-organized youth basketball games. Apparently, a couple of months ago a member of the State Police and someone from the Sheriff’s office came up with this idea. Strange that the story didn’t mention Boston Police Superintendent Nora Baston, who’s been doing this for years and practically invented the concept.

William Shatner, at 90, is still going strong. Two TV shows, a movie, an album and more. I’ll have what he’s having.

In 2020, 61% of Americans paid no federal income tax. It was a bad year. Experts want to get the numbers back to the pre-pandemic 44% not paying their taxes.

And even if Americans can’t agree on much, at least we can all agree on aliens.

Too much of a good thing

Saturday. The first bar-code scan happened today in 1974. Wrigley’s gum. 67 cents.

The UFO report is out. It’s a head scratcher. You can read it here.

Charlie Baker’s proposed two month tax holiday should be great for consumers and business. But some special interests and Democratic lawmakers don’t like the idea. They think the money should be applied to programs rather than returned to consumers. A classic dynamic. On top of all that, Shira Schoenberg points to experts that are questioning why Baker would do this now when there’s so much other stimulus money going around. It might be good politics, but economically it could hurt more than help.

Flight attendants are the cops of the sky. And they’re getting the same treatment from the public as their counterparts on the ground.

Lawn Starter ranked 200 cities for bike friendliness. Boston came in at number 10. Not bad. The Times excused New York’s poor 19th place ranking based on its climate, “which can get too cold (and icy) for most cyclists for months on end.” Not like Boston, right?

And a new Fox News poll shows… well, they won’t tell you what it shows.

Following the money

A sunny Friday. Today’s word is poignant.

A Google-developed AI is building its own, better, AI. And so it begins.

Acting Mayor Kim Janey is the top fundraiser in the race for the permanent position. Assibi George is next in line. I typed each into the OPCF site and added “police” to the employer field for some interesting results, especially as relates to who was not chosen as police commissioner last week.

Was half of the pandemic relief money really stolen, as Axios reports? Al Tompkins found some skeptics.

The Times tells us that bitcoin can be traced. Of course it can. The whole idea behind bitcoin is the public ledger. It’s a record of transactions for all to see. Without the public ledger the currency would have no value. And since it’s all public, the movement of money can be tracked. Who owns the bitcoin is ‘technically’ unknown, but there are plenty of tricks available to figure that out too.

And a UFO-ologist warns us not to be fooled by the upcoming Pentagon report. OK.

Paying homage

Friday on my mind.

It was only right to over-tip when restaurants were hurting. But now, as things are getting back to normal, what should the new normal be for tipping? I’d say, if you can afford it, just keep on over-tipping.

Coleman Herman delves into some legislative budget language to find an old-fashioned snub war going on between lawmakers and UMass trustees. My bet is on the guys on Beacon Hill who control the money.

A government report on UFOs is expected sometime this month. Here’s a spoiler from the New York Times: We still don’t have a clue.

F. Lee Bailey has died. He used to be a neighbor. His was the only house on the street with a helicopter garage.

And remember that long Twin Peaks scene of a man sweeping the floor? Over two minutes long. Only David Lynch could get away with that (well, maybe Tarantino). Apparently Lynch does not suffer advice gladly, on how long a scene should be.

Gravity vs comedy

Today is Tuesday, June 1st. CNN is 41 years old today.

A spirit of bipartisan cooperation is taking hold. At least when it comes to aliens.

The Mare of Easttown finale wrapped things up in a satisfying way. It was some of the best TV I’ve seen in awhile. And it nailed the accents, Rolling Rock and cheesesteaks. Philly got this amazing show and all we got was City on a Hill. Where’s the justice?

The market for cameras and lenses is changing. Since the low-end has been taken over by smartphones, manufactures are focusing on the high-end, emphasizing quality at a higher price. So the costs are rising for the people who still like to take photos with cameras, but the gear is getting better.

“Dave, I can see you’re really upset about this.”* Hiawatha Bray writes about a local firm that makes software that will allow a computer to read a person’s emotional state. No word on whether it can also read lips.

And here’s the column Bill Gates wrote describing the iPhone over ten years before his rival, Apple, introduced it. Very prescient (and a huge missed opportunity.)

HORN BROKEN: Watch for finger

Wednesday of the week. It was a dark day for Massachusetts in 1780.

The Moderna and Pfizer mRNA vaccines are even more effective than previously thought. A single shot is 84% effective. Two shots gets you to 94%. Amazing.

A Boston Magazine reader asks Matthew Baker how Massachusetts can improve its image and be more friendly to outsiders. Wait, who says we’re not friendly? Anyway, Baker ponders the question before doubling down on the status quo. Good man.

Charles Grodin has died. Here he is on Letterman. His appearances were always fun to watch.

The Times editorial board takes a dim view of the New York Pride organizers’ decision to bar police officers from participating in their events this year. I agree.

And Obama, who was presumably read in on everything the government knows about UFOs, was asked by James Corden what he thought. “We can’t explain how they move, their trajectory,” the former president said. “They did not have an easily explainable pattern. And so I think that people still take seriously, trying to investigate and figure out what that is.” Imagine what he knows and can’t say.

Breaking with convention

Friday, July 24th. It’s opening day!

If you do manage to plan a vacation, you may need to get a tested before you go. That may not be as easy as you think. Deborah Becker looks at testing turnaround times.

Well, so much for the Republican Convention in Jacksonville. Cancelled. At least one guy is happy, the local sheriff, Mike Williams, who had the impossible task of providing security for the late-scheduled event.

More than 1000 Twitter employees had access to the tools used in the big hack last week, Reuters reports. That’s not a very tight ship.

UFOs are back in the news. Multiple sources report that we’re in possession of artifacts from something that crashed at some point in time. Not very specific but fascinating, nonetheless.

And, how can you tell if the coronavirus is spreading in your area? Check to see if your local Apple store is open. (I’m guessing that the stores in Brazil are all closed.)