Wednesday, March 11th, 2020


There Will Not Be a Test

A friend of mine in a large California county got really sick yesterday; coughing, high fever. He went to the hospital. After several hours, they sent him home without testing. He was told the entire county has only 30 tests and he didn't rank high enough on the protocol. So a person living in one of the richest counties in the richest state in the country that spends the most on health care gets really sick in the midst of a pandemic, but essentially has no recourse. Anyone who still thinks the media or some other mysterious force is overstating the gravity of this situation is out of their mind. The reality is at least as dire and urgent as the dire and urgent headlines. James Hamblin in The Atlantic: What Will You Do If You Start Coughing?

+ "The failure to tap into the flu study, detailed here for the first time, was just one in a series of missed chances by the federal government to ensure more widespread testing during the early days of the outbreak." ‘It's Just Everywhere Already': How Delays in Testing Set Back the U.S. Coronavirus Response.

+ Need a test? Run for Congress and align with the party in power. "The two lawmakers also said they were exhibiting no symptoms of respiratory illness, raising questions of why they were tested at all." (Be Test is the new Be Best.)

+ WaPo: "There's an old brain teaser that goes like this: You have a pond of a certain size, and upon that pond, a single lilypad. This particular species of lily pad reproduces once a day, so that on day two, you have two lily pads. On day three, you have four, and so on. Now the teaser. 'If it takes the lily pads 48 days to cover the pond completely, how long will it take for the pond to be covered halfway?' The answer is 47 days. Moreover, at day 40, you'll barely know the lily pads are there." Megan McArdle in WaPo: When a danger is growing exponentially, everything looks fine until it doesn't.

+ Very interesting NYT explainer: How Coronavirus Hijacks Your Cells.

+ The WHO just declared the coronavirus a pandemic. Here's what that means. (it means the same thing as we knew the day before they made this announcement: Cancel everything.)

+ Seattle and San Francisco are banning large gatherings including Warriors games, etc. This is how canceled events and self-quarantines save lives, in one chart.

+ "This is an unprecedented opportunity for everyone to see a show that they otherwise might not have had easy and affordable access to." The producer of some huge Broadway shows has reacted to the pandemic by ... offering discounted tickets.

+ On the plus side, there are signs when crucial steps are taken, the curve flattens. We've seen that in the several countries. And the last two of 16 temporary hospitals in the epicenter city of Wuhan have been shut down.


Spread Sheeeeeeeee-it

"As his condition worsened, then improved over the next several days, staff wore protective garb that included helmets and face masks. Few even entered the room; a robot equipped with a stethoscope took vitals and had a video screen for doctors to talk to him from afar." Seattle's Patient Zero Spread Coronavirus Despite Ebola-Style Lockdown.

+ Vice: The coronavirus cluster terrorizing a New York suburb started with one 50-year-old attorney.


Info Quarantine

"The officials said that dozens of classified discussions about such topics as the scope of infections, quarantines and travel restrictions have been held since mid-January in a high-security meeting room at the Department of Health & Human Services (HHS), a key player in the fight against the coronavirus. Staffers without security clearances, including government experts, were excluded from the interagency meetings." Reuters: White House told federal health agency to classify coronavirus deliberations.


A Grassrot Movement

"At the base, there are massive underlying conditions that are changing in the same way that the Earth's tectonic plates shift—climate, migration, globalization, tribalism—and lava flows into the base of the volcano. At the layer above, you have what I think of as accelerants, like the rise of social media—things like Russian interference—and democratic distortions—like partisan gerrymandering." Evan Osnos in The New Yorker: Why Democracy Is on the Decline in the United States. (It starts with economic inequality and bubbles over from there...)

+ Daily Beast: Putin is Now Positioned to Be President for Life.


You Say You Want an Evolution…

"Donald Trump must be defeated, and I will do everything in my power to make that happen ... On Sunday night, in the first one-on-one debate of this campaign, the American people will have the opportunity to see which candidate is best positioned to accomplish that goal." Bernie Sanders is staying in the Democratic race following a remarkable two-week run (including last night) when he went from the clear leader to a huge underdog.

+ Ron Brownstein in The Atlantic: "Tapping an enormous wave of grassroots energy in both bids for the White House, Sanders galvanized young people, transformed online fundraising, and changed the terms of debate in the Democratic Party on issues ranging from health care to college affordability. But as his defeats last night made clear yet again, his unflinching call for a 'political revolution' could not build a coalition broad enough to capture the ultimate prize."


(Mira)Max Sentence

"Weinstein also addressed the court, saying he was 'remorseful' but then went on to talk about his charitable deeds and compared the MeToo movement to the Red Scare." Pathetic til the end, Harvey Weinstein has been sentenced to 23 years in prison.


Away We Go

"Perhaps the original mistake of the DTCs (direct to consumer brands) wasn't in their vision, but in their decision to take the venture capital in the first place. Now under pressure to grow even faster and at greater scale than they otherwise would have had to naturally, they are being confronted with what happens when growth slows down, the cash starts running out, and investors are expecting their returns." Why All the Warby Parker Clones Are Now Imploding. (I've been investing in startups for a couple decades, and by far the most difficult conversations I've had are when I'm trying to tell companies they shouldn't take venture money. You're not Google. You're selling a suitcase.)


Joint Commission

"Do they want to vote? If given the right, who would they vote for? What issues do they care about most? No one's ever really asked." The Marshall Report and Slate with a first-of-its-kind political survey: What Do We Really Know About the Politics of People Behind Bars?


I’ll Stick With Channel Surfing

"He'd acknowledge that while the ocean caused incalculable damage — killing 2,000 people in Fukushima and 16,000 more elsewhere in Japan, destroying hundreds of thousands of buildings, and causing radiation to poison homes, farms, water supplies, and animals — the ocean has also helped people heal and finally feel at home again. To Murohara, the real story of Fukushima is a story of rebirth. It is a story about the weight of physical and mental trauma, of deception and unshakeable stigma, and how a destructive force can be channeled into regenerative power." SB Nation: The Fukushima surf revival. (Shit, I'm afraid to go to a Warriors game...)


Bottom of the News

"It took a lot of innovation for video conferencing tech to reach mainstream mediocrity." A topic that might come up a lot in the near future. Why Video Conference Technology Never Works.

+ A cow is on the loose and wanted by police in South Florida. (I'm not a particularly religious guy, but at times like these, thank god for Florida.)

+ And a game that has a connection to our struggles at the moment: An Oral History of Whac-a-Mole.