They have these two papers, which I refer to as USA Today for the T, called the Metro Boston and Boston Now. These little bundled men stand outside the T in the morning handing them out, saying things like "here you go sweetheart" and "smile!" When I leave after 10 AM (which is all too often) they're gone, but I can find the papers strewn about the stations and on the train. They have a nice simplistic view of the news (in today's Boston Now, they had a timeline of everything China was doing wrong, starting with the pet food incident and ending with Tibet) and for some reason they constantly seem to talk about sexual predators. Such and such sexual predator is going to jail. Groping on T is up. Some law changed with regards to sexual predators and now they can't live somewhere. etc etc etc -- either this city is sexual predator central, or these papers are obsessed.
Every morning when I grab a paper I would wonder why anyone would pay these bundled little men to hand out free papers, but then I found out they are advertising cash cows. I guess commanding every commuter's attention in the morning is highly valued.
They're building a new cancer building next to Stata, so there's a big fenced area blocking what used to be my route from the T. They have these nice big trees on the sidewalk, which now have signs posted about a town meeting where I think they're going to discuss removing them. I daydream about attending and giving an impassioned speech defending trees and green in our urban landscape -- as if the MIT campus could get any grayer.
It's a strange experience. Sometimes I don't understand what I'm doing and sometimes I feel quite inspired -- like at a talk Nikolai Zeldovich gave yesterday, on HiStar. Inspired and depressed that he seems to have solved all the problems here, leaving nothing for the rest of us -- his thinkpad is RUNNING HiStar. I'm not sure if you can appreciate the work that must have gone into making this robust enough to use. He rebooted in the middle of his presentation to show us how it checkpointed user state, and it flawlessly resumed. The audience applauded.
What a strange place I'm in.