Tuesday, February 25th, 2020


A Site for Sore Eyes

I never expected to be an encyclopedia salesman. But one can make the argument, as Richard Cooke has done in Wired, that Wikipedia Is the Last Best Place on the Internet. "It is the only not-for-profit site in the top 10, and one of only a handful in the top 100. It does not plaster itself with advertising, intrude on privacy, or provide a breeding ground for neo-Nazi trolling. Like Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook, it broadcasts user-generated content. Unlike them, it makes its product de-personified, collaborative, and for the general good." There are still a lot of generally good things on the internet. It's just that the really bad things seem to be a lot more popular.


Delhi Counter Programming

"The violence is connected to the ongoing protests against India's divisive citizenship law, but this was the first time that the protests have set off major bloodshed between Hindus and Muslims. It's an old and dangerous fault line, and any sign of communal violence raises alarm instantly. 'The situation is volatile and tense,' said Alok Kumar, a senior police officer. 'It's a mixed neighborhood, and in seconds you can have crowds of tens of thousands. Even a small thing can lead to violence.'" NYT: As the president tours India's capital, at least 11 people have been killed in communal clashes that have upended a working-class neighborhood.


Full Frontal Limbaughtomy

Shortly after Trump said Coronavirus was nothing to worry about and advised investors to buy on the dip (and Medal of Freedom recipient Rush Limbaugh called the virus nothing more than a common cold that's being weaponized to hurt Trump), the US government releases a very different perspective (one that's true, and therefore one that's likely to get people fired.) "'It's not so much of a question of if this will happen in this country any more but a question of when this will happen,' said Dr. Nancy Messonnier, director of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases. 'We are asking the American public to prepare for the expectation that this might be bad.'" Here's the latest from the NYT.

+ CNBC: The stock market is plunging for a second day. (Turns out the market reacts more to reality than a commander in chief-investment advisor who's a habitual liar with a history of bankruptcies and a personal stake on the line...) Think your portfolio is at risk. Imagine having invested in pandemic bonds.

+ "Xi would be far from the first authoritarian to have been blindsided. Ironically, for all the talk of the technological side of Chinese authoritarianism, China's use of technology to ratchet up surveillance and censorship may have made things worse, by making it less likely that Xi would even know what was going on in his own country." Zeynep Tufekci in The Atlantic: How the Coronavirus Revealed Authoritarianism's Fatal Flaw.

+ "Just a day earlier, Harirchi had appeared at a news conference in Tehran saying authorities would bring the virus under control and denied reports from a local lawmaker in Qom, in northern Iran, that 50 people had died in the holy city that draws millions of pilgrims every year." Buzzfeed: Iran's Deputy Health Minister Has Tested Positive For Coronavirus. And now, one of the officials who was seated next to him also has the virus. (The health minister was downplaying the threat as he sat there with visible symptoms.)

+ Meanwhile, a US drugmaker has shipped the first experimental Coronavirus vaccine for human tests.


Some of Them Want to Recuse You

"The most sinister possible explanation is that he is laying the groundwork to defy an adverse court ruling requiring him to turn over his financial information ... A far more likely explanation, however, is that Trump is merely cranky and lashing out impulsively because he is triggered by stories he sees in conservative media." NY Mag: Trump Says Sotomayor, Ginsburg Must Recuse Themselves From His Cases. "Clarence Thomas, currently has a spouse working for his administration, where she is at this moment helping lead a purge of putatively disloyal officials and attempting to replace them with a list of right-wing lunatics."


Manga > Maga?

"I just got back from my first trip to Japan, and I'm now in love with the country. The ramen, yakitori and sushi. The gorgeous volcanoes. The fascinating people and culture. But of all the things I fell in love with, there's one that I can't stop thinking about: the toilets." NPR: Why America Is Losing The Toilet Race. (Maybe we need better toilet training.)


Mountain Do

Nick Paumgarten in The New Yorker: Survivor's Guilt in the Mountains. "Mountain climbing is a modern curiosity, a bourgeois indulgence. It consists mostly of relatively well-to-do white people manufacturing danger for themselves. Having been spared war, starvation, mass violence, and oppression, its practitioners travel great distances and endure great sacrifices to test their bodies and minds, encounter beauty, and experience the precariousness of existence and the terror and whatever revelations, fleeting or otherwise, may come of it. Though the whole enterprise may seem crazy or stupid or pointless, to many people it represents a necessary extreme of human endeavor, that combination of excellence and aberrance which propels a sliver of the population to set about going to the moon or writing symphonies." (I must be an outlier. Having been spared war, starvation, mass violence, and oppression, I decided to just get high and watch Maddow every night...)


Little Squirt

"'It's just like a little squirt gun,' she told the group of children, before passing around the small plastic device for them to hold and squeeze. At the end of the session, each child received a blue zippered bag containing two doses of Narcan to take home." A sign of the times. Teaching Children How to Reverse an Overdose.


The Carb-Uretor

"'When I got here, I was just a mechanic and I didn't really know anything. But I always enjoyed eating.' He did not enjoy eating the bread at the family bakery, however. 'Maybe the worst f-cking bread I'd ever seen in my life ... Even I knew it was garbage.'" Esquire: How a Former Mechanic Became One of America's Best Bread Wizards.


Babbling Brooks

"I think sometimes the majors are the easiest ones to win. There's 156 in the field, so you figure at least 80 of them I'm just going to beat. You figure about half of them won't play well from there, so you're down to about maybe 35. And then from 35, some of them just—pressure is going to get to them. It only leaves you with a few more, and you've just got to beat those guys." Before you decide that sounds crazy, consider that the source wins a lot of majors, and looks pretty chill doing it. Brooks Koepka, the World's Best Golfer, Has Some Issues With Golf.

+ Brooks has nothing on this 84-year-old woman who pulled off a 94-foot putt to win new car.


Bottom of the News

"She achieves this effect by smushing and smooshing and spreading and stretching their faces, for upward of an hour, and then (having donned gloves) rooting around inside their mouths for several minutes." NYT: The Secret to Beauty: A Stranger's Hands Inside Your Mouth.

+ Speaking of having strangers body parts in yours, here's a photo collection that features empty p-rn sets. "Without bodies present, the images pull back the curtain of suspended disbelief, making obvious the fabricated reality of the entire p-rn experience." (You say that like it's a bad thing...)

+ Deontay Wilder blames knockout loss to Tyson Fury on heavy ring-walk costume, which seems crazy, until you see the costume.