If turning off your computer is what you want to do, you've come to the right place

Microsoft finally makes it easier to shut down your PC in Windows 8.1 Update 1 | The Verge

I’ve always been mildly amused that in order to turn a Windows computer off you click on Start. Or did. My last experience of any depth with Windows involved Vista, so all I know about Win8 is what I see in ads. But anything that makes it easier to turn computers off is probably a good thing. Or a thing, at least.

Maybe we should have saved this for Macabre Monday

Last Words Spoken By Criminals Before Execution

"'Hurrah for anarchy! This is the happiest moment of my life.'"

Autocorrect, thy name is pizza (Wait, what?)

Drought Now Covers More Than 50% of the Country. Why It Will Make Food More Expensive | TIME.com

"So while the drought of 2012 may not have generated the iconic images of Hurricane Katrina or Haiti earthquake, remember that was is happening right now to the heartland of the U.S. truly is historic. "

From today's humor pages

White House to launch new political office - Edward-Isaac Dovere - POLITICO.com

"Repeatedly, in public and private, Obama has been calling the November elections a top priority.…Winning the House — long shot though it is — could allow him to completely transform his legacy in his final two years."

Also, and I don’t mean to be uncharitable here, I couldn’t care less about Obama’s legacy. Or anybody else’s. My understanding is that after presidents retire they get a gob of money from adoring taxpayers to build themselves a monument, and they can worry all they want about their legacy then. But when they’re still in office what I want them to do is their job.

The mind bogglz

Thug-Notes and Other Sites Translate Literature Into Rap - NYTimes.com

"Anyway, as good as Thug Notes is, we don’t want this trend to go much further than it already has, especially educationally. Apparently, almost everything in schools these days is taught in rap. ‘Civil War rap,’ ‘integer rap,’ ‘geography rap’ or any similar search gets you to someone’s classroom video. Seems harmless. But picture yourself going in for neurosurgery.


Heat wave

It’s supposed to hit 28º here today, maybe even 30º. Which is good for us. In Russia, though…

The Putin Olympics - Leon Aron - POLITICO Magazine

"In putting his Winter Olympiad near a beach resort, Putin seems to be possessed of what might be called the Peter the Great complex: emulating the tsar who built his capital, from scratch, on a swamp."

They might prefer a little cold. Sochi, the site of the upcoming Winter Olympics, is on the same latitude as the French Riviera. 

I was skiing in Steamboat Springs once when the sun was so warm people skied in shorts. It was fun. But it was hardly snow to break world records on. Putin seems to be on quite a roll these days, though. So who knows? Maybe he’s on to something.


Some days you should just stay in bed

Cyclist: Driver Didn't See Me Stuck in Windshield - Despite the fact that he actually spoke to the driver, Steven Gove says

"A Wisconsin man who became lodged in the windshield of a car that struck him said he turned to the driver and said, 'Hello, I'm the guy you hit on the bicycle.' The driver did not respond, but continued on, running a stop sign and hitting another vehicle before he arrived home, the cyclist, Steven Gove, told HTR Media about the Saturday incident."

An experience you can definitely do without

Massive pileup on I-94 kills 3, more than 20 hurt

"The massive pileup involving 46 vehicles – including two box trucks and 18 semi-trailers -- occurred in snow and whiteout conditions near Michigan City, about 60 miles from Chicago."

Driving into a lake-effect whiteout right here in Northwestern Indiana is a fearsome scary thing. Suddenly you can’t see the highway, the traffic around you, or even the front of your own car. And you’re frantically trying to remember if there’s a semi right behind you. And wishing you’d taken the Oklahoma route.

Imagine our relief

Mitt Romney: Sochi Olympics 'will be safe' despite security concerns

"Former U.S. presidential candidate Mitt Romney said Friday during an appearance on NBC's Today show he would feel comfortable sending his family to the Winter Olympics in Sochi despite security concerns that seem to be mounting by the day."

If everybody's against you you are probably doing something right

Some Predictions on How Medicare Will Release Physician Payment Data - ProPublica

"The federal government’s announcement last week that it would begin releasing data on physician payments in the Medicare program seems to have ticked off both supporters and opponents of broader transparency in medicine."

Personally, I like my morning buns the way they are

Starbucks sees early promise in croissant makeover

"It's not just the new croissants that are doing well. The company says it's also selling twice as many of its new 'morning buns' and cheese Danishes, although it didn't provide details on the performance of other new items, such as its loaves or savory croissants."

There's sin, and then there's sin with a really good meal

Putting New Spin on Sin City, Las Vegas Woos G.O.P. for 2016 Convention - NYTimes.com

"‘There’s sin everywhere — we all know that,’ the city’s mayor, Carolyn Goodman, a Republican-turned-Democrat-turned-independent, said as she sat in her vast corner office. ‘The thing is, we are in close proximity to top five-star dining…"

Woohoo! Sign us up!

Now it's getting serious

Industry Awakens to Threat of Climate Change - NYTimes.com

"Today, after a decade of increasing damage to Coke’s balance sheet as global droughts dried up the water needed to produce its soda, the company has embraced the idea of climate change as an economically disruptive force."

Forget the polar bears, save our Coke!

We had no idea

Fined Billions, JPMorgan Chase Will Give Dimon a Raise - NYTimes.com

"A year after an embarrassing trading blowup led to millions of dollars being docked from Jamie Dimon’s paycheck, the chairman and chief executive of JPMorgan Chase is getting a raise.

…The raise — the details were not made public on Thursday — follows a move by the board last year to slash Mr. Dimon’s compensation by half, to $11.5 million."

Imagine having to live on half your income for a whole year. 



Well, nobody's perfect

Wis. Gov. Walker hails sex offender in speech

"Barber was one of several people mentioned by Walker in his remarks as examples of 'people hired since I took office' and who represent 'the faces of an improving economy.'

"The Journal Sentinel reports: 'Records show that he is a registered sex offender with two felonies and three drunken-driving offenses."

None of which means he wasn’t hired. Exactly. By somebody. Right?

Real cold

17 Photos From the Frozen Ice Caves of Lake Superior - Esquire

Awww. We are sad.

Electric cars won't save the planet | The Verge

"Looking at carbon dioxide, sulphur dioxide, and nitrogen oxides, the study's authors point out that 'passenger vehicles make up a relatively small share of total emissions' — only 20 percent of all carbon dioxide — so even if we all jumped into a BMW i8, that wouldn't by itself fix the problem of air pollution."

So I guess I can stop wearing seat belts now

Independent review board says NSA phone data program is illegal and should end - The Washington Post

"‘We have not identified a single instance involving a threat to the United States in which the telephone records program made a concrete difference in the outcome of a counterterrorism investigation,’ said the report"

Because since I first started driving, more than 50 years ago, I can not identify a single instance in which a seat belt has saved me from injury. And don’t even get me started on helmets. 

I really do think talking about this whole matter of domestic surveillance is a good idea but just babbling doesn’t really accomplish much.

Nobody wants to pay

U.S. banks and retailers trade barbs over data breaches | Reuters

"(Reuters) - Community banks from across the United States and some of the country's biggest retailers are at each other's throats over whose job it is to protect consumers from the kind of cyber attacks suffered last month by Target and Neiman Marcus."

Oh, that one?

Surprise Disclosure: Another Toxic Chemical May Have Spilled Into West Virginia Water - weather.com Chemical Spills Threaten Waterways

"The company didn't disclose the chemical until Wednesday, after it was ordered to do so by the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection."

Ya think?

Security Check Firm Said to Have Defrauded U.S. - NYTimes.com

"The company that conducted a background investigation on the contractor Edward J. Snowden…"

Avoid lots and lots of work…

With these lists of "best books ever,” many of them available for free from Project Gutenberg

Best Books Ever Listings (Bookshelf) - Gutenberg


First, which sites are in the 50 percent that's worse…

White hat hacker says he found 70,000 records on Healthcare.gov through a Google search | The Verge

"The website is less secure than 50 percent of all the sites on the internet according to Security Headers, a website that tests basic configuration issues."

…and second, why should anybody have to sign up at all if the government already knows everything anyway?

It’s all so confusing.

Getting right to it

3 Ways to Be a Hermit - wikiHow

"Since you're on this page, you're either looking to lead a life entirely devoted to prayer and being spiritual or you're fed up with looking at photos of food on Facebook and watching governments self-destruct."

A rare story: Something saved

Iconic Bell Labs campus will be revived as an urban hub | The Verge

"Some 50 years ago, Bell Labs was bustling and full of life. The Eero Saarinen-designed facility was a hub for scientists who helped contribute to innovations like touch-tone dialing, the microwave, and the cellphone."

Frack the world

Powerful Photos Go Deep Inside America's Fracking Boom | Raw File | Wired.com

"Although the Marcellus Shale Documentary Project does a wonderful job documenting the lives of those living with fracking, it offer [sic] little insight into the people doing the work, and there is scant attention paid to what advocates of fracking consider its benefits — more jobs, more energy and more growth. The photographers say they reached out, individually and collectively, to the energy companies but were rebuffed."

Stuck at home with your kids?

Any frustrated parents out there stuck at home with kids for a snow day — without the snow? Email @GlobePete schworm@globe.com for a story
1/22/14, 11:31 AM


Dude, when you find yourself in a hole stop digging

Google's Eric Schmidt says he was unaware of NSA snooping | Internet & Media - CNET News

"'I have the necessary clearances to have been told, as do other executives in the company, but none of us were briefed,' Schmidt told the Guardian. 'Had we been briefed, we probably couldn't have acted on it, because we'd have known about it. I've declined briefings [from the US government] about this because I don't want to be constrained.'"

And by the way, do all these guys who protest they didn’t know the NSA was “snooping” in their networks want me to believe they would have known if it had been anybody else?


I don't know what it means but it's fun to play with (and a little scary too)

Political Nonprofits: Grants Over Time | OpenSecrets

But of course…

Snowden denies he got help swiping secret documents

"'This 'Russian spy' push is absurd,' Snowden told The New Yorker in an interview published Tuesday, adding that he 'clearly and unambiguously acted alone, with no assistance from anyone, much less a government.'"

…Snowden is clearly a guy whose word can not be trusted. So there’s that.

Not even counting Facebook

New Security Report Confirms Everyone Is Spying on Everyone - NYTimes.com

"Needless to say, this won’t be a slow year for the $67 billion cybersecurity industry."

Bad, but good

Last night was the first time since I started using it at the beginning of last winter my favorite snow-forecasting app has been wrong by more than an inch or two. It said five inches, we got 0. Nada. Zip. The snow blew south of us and east, along the coast. I haven’t seen the Boston numbers yet but New York City got about a foot.

We did get single-digit temps for today though (and maybe quite a bit longer), so winter it still seems to be—in recognition of which, here are some nifty photos from the NYTimes of a snowball fight that happened in Times Square five years ago. Duck.

Chasing Light » Blog Archive » Blizzard 2009 | Snowball fight Times Square


Just for the record…

…this day, right here, now, the 21st of the month is the very day I’ll be referring to in July, on the first day of the year that breaks 90º, when I say “This is the day I was dreaming about in January.” This very one. Today.

We may need more than one 90º day next summer, but today is for the first.

Better than a boot?

Undernews: What our soldiers died for

"'The police puncture tires as precautionary measures,' he says. "

But competition is good, right?

'123456' giving tough competition to 'password' in Worst 25 Passwords of 2013 - The Hacker News

"Even after countless warnings and advices given to the users by many security researchers, people are continuously using a weak strength of password chains."

Next, a bubble boycott?

SodaStream: Guilt-Free Seltzer or Blood Bubbles? - The Cut

"‘If you can find an alternative source for the CO2 you can decrease your guilt by about 75 percent.’"


The company behind America's biggest bike share programs just declared bankruptcy | The Verge

"Bixi, the company that supplied the bicycles and stations for lauded bike sharing services in cities like New York, Chicago, and Montreal, has filed for bankruptcy, facing almost $50 million in debt it cannot pay."

Who says bipartisanship is dead?

Winter Storm Janus: State-by-State Impacts - weather.com Winter Storm Janus Hits Millions

"Federal government closed in Washington D.C."

Also, whose idea was it to give these storms names? It’s infuriating. And how did we already get to J? The winter is only a month old, the year three weeks. What were A-I? 

Let's blame the mayor of Ft. Lee!

Christie's inauguration party canceled due to weather - NBC Politics

"An inauguration party for New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie has been canceled due to weather."

In New Jersey it’s all about revenge.  


How about, which lane is the fastest?

Christie Vows To 'Learn Things' From Bridge Scandal, But He's Not Sure What

"'I will learn things from this,' Christie said. 'I know I will. I don’t know exactly what it is yet that I’ll learn from it. But when I get the whole story and really try to understand what’s going on here, I know I’m going to learn things.'"

I'd sue

For Christie and MSNBC, a Messy Divorce Plays Out in Public View - NYTimes.com

"‘The Democrats have been making up for lost time,’ said Kevin Madden, a former campaign strategist for Mitt Romney."

Being labeled a former campaign strategist for Mitt Romney is just plain cruel.


More January

Up the street

If at first you don't succeed

Lost History – Futility Closet

"Each year on the last Saturday in April, the citizens of Ocean Shores, Washington, celebrate ‘Undiscovery Day’ to commemorate the night in 1792 when British explorer George Vancouver sailed right past their harbor without discovering it.

At midnight they gather on the shore and shout ‘Hey George — over here!’"

The takeout

The End of the Snowden Operation | The XX Committee

"I say this with regret, as someone who was calling for reforms of the Intelligence Community, especially NSA, before anybody heard of Edward Snowden. Real reform is impossible now, for at least a generation, because the Snowden Operation has so soiled the cause of real IC reform with treachery, narcissism, crankery, and Putin’s Russia."


Ingredients of All-Natural Blueberries | James' reading list

What? No Yellow?

Commentary: The Five Best Submarines of All Time | The National Interest


What is it, again, that goeth before a fall?

The World’s Worst Deliberative Body - Lawyers, Guns & Money : Lawyers, Guns & Money

"If Republican senators don’t want judges who will protect the civil rights and civil liberties of their constituents they can try winning a presidential election."

Well OK then

Cruise ship passengers sickened during Caribbean trip

"Royal Caribbean officials confirmed the illness of 68 people among 2,581 guests and 844 crew members…The company said that the passengers were responding to over-the-counter medicine."

A little snow