September 16th – The Day’s Most Fascinating News

The long road ahead, herd mentality, and the Greek system forming over the Atlantic.

“Until we see convincing evidence that a vaccine has a large population-level effect, we will still need to mask and distance and restrain ourselves. Too many of us won’t. Too many will believe that the vaccine has saved them, and they will throw themselves back into more normal activities. That could lead to big outbreaks, just as winter hits at its hardest.” America has made a lot of mistakes when it comes to dealing with the virus. And, as hard as it is to accept, we probably have a long road ahead, even if a vaccine is approved sooner rather than later. Aaron E. Carroll in the NYT: Stop Expecting Life to Go Back to Normal Next Year. I don’t even remember “normal” at this point. I’d settle for a return to facts and a spirited, communal effort to make things better. Uncle Sam Wants You To Join the Norm Corps.

+ For a counterpoint, we turn to President Trump who explained during a pretty epic town hall that it will just disappear, even without a vaccine. “You’ll develop a herd mentality. It’s going to be herd development and that’s going to happen. That will all happen. But with a vaccine, I think it will go away very quickly.” (You herd it hear first.)

+ WaPo: Maine wedding ‘superspreader’ event is now linked to seven deaths. None of those people attended.


Big 10/24

“The Big Ten will kick off its football season the weekend of Oct. 24 after the league’s presidents and chancellors unanimously voted to resume competition, citing daily testing capabilities and a stronger confidence in the latest medical information.” A league at the center of a medical, ethical, and political debate reverses course and is set to kick off next month. Michigan Coach Jim Harbaugh: “Stay positive. Test negative. Let’s play football.” (Michigan fans were like, test negative, test positive, whatever, just beat Ohio State.) In the past week, my San Francisco Giants have had games postponed, first because of Covid 19, and then because of too much smoke to play a game at Seattle. All we need now are locusts and we hit the 2020 trifecta.


Greek System Forming Over Atlantic

Mustang Sally, think you better slow your mustang down. Sadly, Hurricane Sally is taking that advice. “Moving at an agonizing 3 mph, or about as fast as a person can walk, the storm made landfall at 4:45 a.m. close to Gulf Shores, Alabama, battering nearby Mobile, Alabama, and Pensacola, Florida, two cities with a combined metropolitan-area population of almost 1 million.” Hurricane Sally unleashes flooding along the Gulf Coast.

+ There’s only one name left on the 2020 list of hurricane names. Next up: The Greek alphabet. (Mother Nature is beta testing us.)


Give it Away, Give It Away, Give it Away Now

“The man who amassed a fortune selling luxury goods to tourists, and later launched private equity powerhouse General Atlantic, lives in an apartment in San Francisco that has the austerity of a freshman dorm room. When I visited a few years ago, inkjet-printed photos of friends and family hung from the walls over a plain, wooden table. On the table sat a small Lucite plaque that read:  ‘Congratulations to Chuck Feeney for $8 billion of philanthropic giving.'” Forbes: The Billionaire Who Wanted To Die Broke.


Sacha Baron Cohen of Silence

“A small — though prominent — group of public figures is taking a 24-hour break from the platforms that magnify their celebrity to protest what they see as Facebook’s failure to control disinformation and hate speech. The campaign, #StopHateForProfit, is aimed at Facebook and Instagram and has attracted such disparate individuals as Kim Kardashian West, Sacha Baron Cohen and Mark Ruffalo.” Celebrities Boycott Facebook And Instagram For A Day Over Disinformation, Hate Speech. (When the pandemic hit, I stopped paid sponsorships in NextDraft and used the space to support nonprofits. The current one is Stop Hate for Profit. I guess this means the Kardashians are keeping up with me…)


We Flattened the Learning Curve

“Something similar is going on now with many members of the press. They’re behaving like Mueller, wanting to be sure they observe proprieties that would have made sense when dealing with other figures in other eras. But now they’re dealing with Donald Trump, and he sees their behavior as a weakness he can exploit relentlessly.” James Fallows in The Atlantic: The Media Learned Nothing From 2016. (Let me quickly check my notes here, ok, uh huh … yes, that’s true.)


Model Operandi

“All these men, some of whom I knew intimately and others I’d never met, were debating who owned an image of me.” Emily Ratajkowski with a very interesting take on image and images in the age of Instagram. NY Mag: Buying Myself Back When does a model own her own image?


Black Lives Used to Matter?

The latest numbers around BLM are dropping. “As racial justice protests have intensified following the shooting of Jacob Blake, public support for the Black Lives Matter movement has declined, according to a new Pew Research Center survey. A majority of U.S. adults (55%) now express at least some support for the movement, down from 67% in June amid nationwide demonstrations sparked by the death of George Floyd. The share who say they strongly support the movement stands at 29%, down from 38% three months ago.”

+ Nearly two-thirds of US young adults unaware 6m Jews killed in the Holocaust. “23% said they believed the Holocaust was a myth, had been exaggerated or they weren’t sure.”


Six Feet Blunder

“There are only three available gravediggers at the moment, so I thought I might as well put these people to work with them. Hopefully, this can create a deterrent effect against violations.” Eight people in Indonesia refused to wear face masks. They were ordered to dig graves for COVID-19 victims as punishment.


Bottom of the News

“‘I didn’t want to continue after that. That boat was clearly unsafe,’ she said. ‘But it’s not so straightforward. It’s not like you can call an Uber.’ At the time of the second capsizing, Ditton estimated that she was 18 to 36 hours away from the nearest shipping lane, where she would need to be to get a rescue. She opted to push on toward the Hawaiian Islands.” After 86 days at sea, SF rower arrives in Hawaii. (She took one look at the news and got back in her boat.)

+ Notorious BIG’s $6 crown sells for almost $600,000 at auction. (Hey, you gotta be a smart shopper.)

+ Aerial footage shows thousands of ducks “cleaning” rice paddies in Thailand, with the flock helping to remove pests from the crop. (This is basically what it looks like when my beagles hear the word treat.)

+ And a headline that would have made no sense during the first 244 years of American history, but makes perfect sense in 2020: Maskless Man Ejected from Disney’s Hollywood Studios While Screaming Misquotes from A Bugs Life. (The man still enjoys a 90% approval rating from members of his party…)

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