Monday, August 31st, 2020


The Quiet Place

Shh. Don't make a sound. Your pie hole is a die hole. Speak softly. Hold your tongue. Cut the chatter. Silence is golden. Say nothing. Pipe down. Simmer down. Keep it down. Mum's the word. Shut your trap, your face, and your mouth. Be quiet. Cut the cackle. Hush. Don't speak. Hit the mute button. Button it. Zip it. Stifle it. Put a sock in it. Put a cork in it. Shut it up, shut it down ... in short, STFU. Your talking, howling, screaming, speaking, chatting, shouting, shrieking, squawking, hollering, yelling, yowling, yelping, yawping, wailing, screeching, and over-modulating is spreading covid. So stop it. And, yes, I'm talking to you guy in restaurant pick-up line on the cell phone with your mask around your chin. Derek Thompson explains more (in writing, which doesn't make a sound): "Talking less, more quietly, or not at all limits the manufacture of both large droplets and aerosols. When you breathe or whisper, your respiratory system doesn't emit large droplets. Jimenez told me that, compared with yelling, quiet talking reduces aerosols by a factor of five; being completely silent reduces them by a factor of about 50. That means talking quietly, rather than yelling, reduces the risk of viral transmission by a degree comparable to properly wearing a mask." Mask Up and Shut Up. (Alternatively, you can try my pandemic strategy: Read the news and scream into a pillow.)


Civility War

"He may believe mouthing the words law and order makes him strong, but his failure to call on his own supporters to stop acting as an armed militia in this country shows you how weak he is." Biden hits campaign trail, blames Trump for city violence. "Biden went on to denounce rioting, looting and arson at recent protests. 'It's lawlessness, plain and simple. And those who do it should be prosecuted.'"

+ ‘Great Patriots!': Trump lavishes praise on supporters amid deadly clashes with social justice protesters.

+ "I am concerned your presence will only hinder our healing." Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers sends letter to Trump asking him to reconsider visit to Kenosha. (It's like telling a pyromaniac not to play with matches.)

+ Trump owns the faux tough guy voting block. What about actual soldiers? Joe Biden leads President Trump by a 43%-37% margin among active-duty troops.


That Sinking Feeling

"Some cities have tried to adapt — Houston, for example, with 13 feet of subsidence in some districts, has elevated its bridges and foundations and beefed up drainage. But most U.S. and global cities do not yet seem to grasp that they will probably require more dramatic action, or what in climate parlance is called 'managed retreat.'" The Radical Plan to Save the Fastest Sinking City in the World. (I don't know much about saving cities, but Managed Retreat has worked well for me as social interaction strategy.)


Monkey Wrench

"As COVID-19 vaccine development has moved forward at an unprecedented pace, though, some pharmaceutical companies have started human trials before monkey studies have concluded. And with monkeys so hard to come by, others are wondering if certain studies can be skipped altogether." The Atlantic: America Is Running Low on a Crucial Resource for COVID-19 Vaccines: The country is facing a monkey shortage. (We could always just use less evolved humans...)


El Al For One and One For All?

"The El Al airliner made the three-hour trip, carrying a delegation of Israeli and US officials. The flight was allowed to cross Saudi Arabian airspace, normally blocked to Israeli air traffic.The UAE has become only the third Arab country in the Middle East to recognise Israel since its founding in 1948." Israel and UAE in historic direct flight following peace deal.


Lens, Flare

"These are stories about how people use technology to bring awareness to their communities and reshape what it means to have justice in this country. But these are also stories of what people sacrifice to enact that change." A special report from The Verge on the technology at the center of many of the current protests and counter-protests: Capturing the Police.


Printing Pressed

"The backlog at the printers is creating havoc for authors and publishers. Reprints for books that are selling well, which normally take two weeks, are sometimes taking more than a month." Printer Jam: Serious Supply Issues Disrupt the Book Industry's Fall Season. (Add "not enough printing capacity for paper books" to the list of things you didn't see coming in 2020.)


Georgetown Haul

"'We don't expect John Thompson to work a miracle,' Frank Rienzo said in one of his first statements as the new athletic director. 'But we'll be happy if he does.'" John Thompson died at 78. ESPN looks back at his legacy: John Thompson took a chance on hapless Georgetown ... then worked a miracle.

+ Allen Iverson: "Thanks For Saving My Life, Coach."


TikTok and Awe

TikTok deal to sell U.S. business could be announced as soon as Tuesday ... but .... "even though TikTok has selected a bidder, the deal could be slowed or derailed by the Chinese government, which updated its technology export list on Friday to include artificial intelligence technology used by TikTok. TikTok's Chinese parent company, Bytedance, said over the weekend that it would need a license from the Chinese government before it can sell to a U.S. company." (By the time this deal gets done, your kids will be like, "What's Tik Tok?")


Bottom of the News

"Before proceeding any further, let's acknowledge the clear superstars of the 2020 MTV Video Music Awards: Lady Gaga's mask designers." Lady Gaga Almost Saves a Show Unsure of How to Go On in a Pandemic. Seriously, these masks. Ra-ra-ah-ah-ah, Roma-roma-ma, Gaga, ooh la-la...

+ A three year-old girl was swept into the air by a kite, and whoa, You thought your 2020 was stressful.

+ Herman Cain's twitter account suggested that the virus isn't as deadly as the media suggests. (Herman Cain died of the virus.)

+ Dave Grohl's adorable remote drum battle with a 10-year-old. Amazing.