Boston: One person dead, others injured after dozens of gas explosions and fires

At least 1 person is dead and 80 homes and businesses burned across three Boston suburbs - Lawrence, North Andover, and Andover this afternoon after a high-pressure gas main explosion rocked the area shortly after 3:00 PM EST. Read the rest

Boston Symphony Orchestra flautist files lawsuit over unequal pay

Boston Symphony Orchestra principal flutist Elizabeth Rowe is suing her employers for $200,000 in damages. The reason: her closest counterpart in the orchestra, a man, is making a shitload more money for doing almost the same damn job as she does. Rowe’s lawsuit was filed one day after the state of Massachusetts brought its equal pay law into effect. Before slamming the Boston Symphony Orchestra with her suit, Rowe attempted, on a number of occasions, to sort the issue of the pay gap out amiably and out of court. Since the Orchestra wouldn’t own up and do the right thing, I suspect they will now be skinned alive under the state’s wicked harsh new pay equality laws.

From NPR:

Rowe was hired for the Boston Symphony's top flutist job in 2004 — a high-profile and extremely competitive position at one of the world's foremost orchestras. According to her suit, she has been profiled as a soloist with the orchestra 27 times in the years since she was hired — more than any other BSO principal musician — and that the orchestra has repeatedly highlighted her in its marketing, publicity and social media materials.

Rowe says that she is currently the top-paid female principal player in the BSO, while the BSO's principal oboist, John Ferrillo, is the symphony's top-paid male principal musician. According to the BSO's 2016 IRS Form 990, Ferrillo was paid $286,621, the largest salary paid to any BSO principal musician. (Violinist Malcolm Lowe — the orchestra's concertmaster, who serves as something of a liaison between the symphony's musicians and its conductor — earned $415,402 in 2016.) The BSO's three other highest-paid musicians — its principal trumpet, principal viola and timpanist — are all male.

Read the rest

Anti-DRM artists march on the World Wide Web Consortium today

Today, activists will gather in Cambridge, Mass to march to the offices of W3C Director Tim Berners-Lee to urge him to keep DRM out of the standards for the open web. Read the rest

Boston school district switches to a more accurate world map, blows kids' minds

The Mercator projection maps we're all familiar with dates to a 16th-centry Flemish cartographer who wanted to emphasize colonial trade routes; as a result, it vastly distorts the relative sizes and positions of the world's continents, swelling Europe and North America to absurd proportions and shrinking South America and Africa. Read the rest

It's raining diseased birds in Boston

47 grackles fell from the heavens on the Dorchester neighborhood of Boston this weekend, with at least 32 dead. Two cats who ate the remains also ran out of lives.

City officials have sent the dead grackles, which are a type of songbird that travels in flocks, to Tufts University to help determine the cause of death. It is currently unclear whether the birds perished due to a virus, some sort of environmental pollution or intentional poisoning. Test results are expected next week.

“We don’t know what is going on,” John Meaney of the city of Boston’s Inspectional Services told NECN. “So we are investigating all avenues.”

Local resident Willien Pugh told the Boston Herald that his cat Sally B was found dying on the back porch as deceased birds fell from the sky.

“We took the cat from outside and we thought it was a girl so we named it Sally – then when we took it to the vet, we found out it was a boy, so we started calling her Sally B,” Pugh said. “Real good cat.”

47 Grackles is my new mid-2000s-style productivity blog-cum-punk band. [Photo: MDF] Read the rest

Out today, "Necessity," the final volume of Jo Walton's Thessaly books, sequel to "The Just City" & "Philosopher Kings"

The Just City is a gripping fantasy novel based on a thought-experiment: what if the goddess Athena transplanted all the people across time who'd ever dreamed of living in Plato's Republic to a Mediterranean island and set them loose to build that world? Read the rest

$40,000/year private school sues school for low-income kids for $2M over "Commonwealth"

The Commonwealth School is a $40,000/year private school that occupies a couple of mansions in the Back Bay of Boston, in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. The Commonwealth Academy is a pay-what-you-can school for underprivileged kids, located 90 miles away (also in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts). Read the rest

Police sergeant: 16 year old girl probably saw penises before I showed her mine, NBD

Boston Police Sergeant Edwin Guzman's lawyer says that it's not really a big deal that he sent a photo of his penis to the sixteen-year-old daughter of a friend, because "You can’t tell me someone her age has never seen a picture of a penis on the Internet." Read the rest

Gun enthusiasts show up at Pokémon finals, police catch 'em all

Kevin Norton and James Stumbo were arrested this weekend near the Pokémon World Championship after showing up with a 12-gauge shotgun and an AR-15 they boasted about on social media. Read the rest

Boston's WGBH initiates careless, groundless legal action against Fedflix project

Rogue archivist Carl Malamud writes, "I got mugged by a bunch of Boston hooligans. Readers of Boing Boing may be familiar with my FedFlix project which has resulted in 6,000 government videos getting posted to YouTube and the Internet Archive." Read the rest

The Free Software Foundation is hiring a deputy director!

If working as an EFF activist isn't your thing, perhaps helping to run the Free Software Foundation in Boston will be more to your liking? Read the rest

31 communities vow to create local gigabit broadband

Across the US, 31 communities have joined forces to make the dream of fast, affordable, and reliable gigabit-speed broadband a local reality. The Next Century Cities program, launched this week, hopes to defeat the forces holding broadband back. The 31 inaugural signatories are: Read the rest

My City Garden: Boston-area yard-sharing service for urban gardeners

Gmoke writes, "My City Gardens is up and running for the season. We're a local yard sharing website that connects gardeners, mentors, and people with access to space, to neighbors who want to roll up their sleeves and dig in. If you have extra space in your yard you'd like help cultivating, need a gardening plot this summer or are willing to lend gardening advise to your neighbors, please sign up!" Read the rest

Kickstarting Danger! Awesome, a hackerspace in Cambridge, Mass

Amanda writes, "Danger!awesome is an open-access laser cutting, laser engraving, and 3D printing workshop in the heart of Cambridge, tucked right between MIT and Harvard. Our mission is to democratize access and training to rapid prototyping resources, long reserved for academic institutions and multi-million dollar R&D labs. We want to teach anyone and everyone how to make, customize, and invent. Read the rest

Former FCC Chairman: Let's Test an Emergency Ad Hoc Network in Boston

Jonathan Zittrain writes, "Ad hoc mesh networking has been developed to enable free and censorship-resistant communications in places like Egypt and Syria. (The New America Foundation's Commotion project is an example of that kind of network.)

Less explored has been this kind of networking for public safety purposes, such during attacks or natural disasters. In this article, former FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski and I explain why it'd be a good idea to develop these kinds of networks, and sketch out how they might work."

Former FCC Chairman: Let’s Test an Emergency Ad Hoc Network in Boston Read the rest

An infographic exploring what we think we know about Boston bombing suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev

New from Chartgirl: "Tamerlan Tsarnaev: What We Think We Know About Who Knew What and When." Read the rest

Boston troopers recount aerial spotting of bombing suspect in boat

“We were there like that. We do this day in, day out. This is what we do. We went over and when I put that [infrared camera] on the boat, I was actually shocked that not only did I see there was a heat source, but I got a perfect human silhouette. That doesn’t happen that much.” Read more at the Boston Globe. Read the rest

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