BBQ Anon

The pandemic is not going to be gone by last Easter. And it's not going to be gone by this Easter either. But the administration is shooting its shots to get us back to some degree of normalcy by July 4th, if people follow the rules and continue to wear masks. "Biden said meeting a goal of small family gatherings 'will make this Independence Day truly special.' It would 'not only mark our independence as a nation, but mark our independence from this virus.'" Biden's speech made it feel like we went from the fall of the Roman Empire to the rise of the Roman Candle. (This would be a good time to let close family know you're not free on July 4th...)


Large and In Charge

This won't come as much of surprise to anyone who invested in tech stocks during the pandemic. The people who own the largest number of shares in the largest of those companies are living larger than ever. "Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, Mark Zuckerberg and six other tech titans made more than $360 billion during the pandemic." WaPo: The billionaire boom.


Weekend Whats

What to Watch: Going in, I really didn't know much about the movie White Tiger on Netflix. So I'll leave you with equally little information other than the fact that it's a really good movie. (And from what I've heard, an even better book.)

+ What to Cue: "You can only hide from your own shadow for so long. It got to the point that Efren Bata was a known commodity in billiards halls around the world. Even when he was going by, say, Caesar Morales. So he did the only thing he could do—he turned pro." The Greatest Pool Player In History Just Wanted To Hustle.

+ What to Read: Jane Mayer in The New Yorker: Can Cyrus Vance, Jr., Nail Trump? "The investigative phase of the Trump case will likely be complete before Vance's term ends, leaving to him the crucial decision of whether to bring criminal charges. But any trial would almost surely rest in the hands of his successor. Daniel R. Alonso, Vance's former top deputy, who is now a lawyer at Buckley, L.L.P., predicts that if Trump is indicted it will be nuclear war.'"


Growth Mindset

"Everything the company does and chooses not to do flows from a single motivation: Zuckerberg's relentless desire for growth. Quiñonero's AI expertise supercharged that growth. His team got pigeonholed into targeting AI bias, as I learned in my reporting, because preventing such bias helps the company avoid proposed regulation that might, if passed, hamper that growth. Facebook leadership has also repeatedly weakened or halted many initiatives meant to clean up misinformation on the platform because doing so would undermine that growth." MIT Tech Review: How Facebook got addicted to spreading misinformation.

+ Democrats and Republicans alike are talking about breaking down big tech monopolies. (When it comes to the breakup trend, Trump offered some protection for Zuckerberg. I imagine that's part of the reason right wing conspiracies spread so quickly and freely.)

+ Interesting study: Far-right news sources on Facebook more engaging.


A Harry Bigger Than Potter

"If you had a democratic constitution, the monarch would have sworn an oath to the constitution, and there would be something they would defend. But they are the constitution. All the supports were falling away from them, so they relied on the press for support. And this relationship was a crucial part of the way they existed." The New Yorker's Isaac Chotiner with an interesting look at Harry, Meghan, and the Pact Between the Royals and the Press. (Here's my take. Especially in this age of the attention economy, the Royal Family exists to create stories and give us something to talk about. Because of that, Harry and Meghan aren't hurting the monarchy. They're helping it. The whole world is talking about them.)


The Bully Pulping

"The stunning, coordinated announcements sent shockwaves through the state and could signal a turning point in two scandals that have engulfed the three-term Democratic governor." Majority of New York congressional Democrats call for Gov. Cuomo's resignation. Shit just got real.

+ "Though the multiple scandals erupting in Albany seem to toggle between sexualized harassment stories and evidence of mismanagement, what is emerging is in fact a single story: That through years of ruthless tactics, deployed both within his office and against anyone he perceived as an adversary, critic, or competitor for authority, Cuomo has fostered a culture that supported harassment, cruelty, and deception." Inside Andrew Cuomo's Toxic Workplace.


Domestic Animals

"Even more demoralizing than the atrocities is how elected officials have dismissed, apologized, or even showed support for the perpetrators." Daryl Johnson: I Spent 25 Years Monitoring Domestic Terrorism for the U.S. Government — No One Listened. (Then some of them started supporting it...)


The Mooney Shot

Scientists want to send 6.7 million sperm samples to the moon as a global insurance policy. (Sputdick?) "The ark would involve shooting the sperm and ova samples of 6.7 million species up to the moon via multiple payloads. The samples would then be stored in a vault beneath the surface of the moon, in a 'lunar pit,' where they could be kept secure." (Don't look at me. I haven't been able to shoot a payload that far for years.)


Yoga Posers

"The Alabama House of Representatives voted 73-25 to approve a bill that will authorize school systems to decide if they want yoga to be allowed in K-12 schools. The bill now moves to the Alabama Senate. Yoga done in school would be limited to poses and stretches. The bill says the use of chanting, mantras and teaching the greeting 'namaste' would be forbidden." (And I thought I was the least flexible person when it came to yoga.)


Feel Good Friday

"Boys, I want to tell you something,' he said. 'This is not a translator. I'm going to let her introduce herself to you.' Pisano slapped the table in an instance of recognition. Everybody crumpled into tears. 'I'm Desireé,' she said, her voice wavering." LA Times: As a 9-year-old, she was saved at sea. Thirty-five years later, she reunited with her rescuers. (This one is really good.)

+ You know what would make the vaccine news even better? More effective vaccines. A new one could be on the way. Novavax reported on March 11 that its COVID-19 vaccine is 96% efficacious in reducing mild, moderate or severe disease.

+ Lucha libre wrestlers enforce wearing of Covid masks at Mexican market.

+ A retired teacher tracks down dozens of students across Canada to return their childhood diaries. (If my elementary school teacher knocked on my door holding my diary, I'd probably call the cops. But these are Canadians!)

+ "Guru Harkishan Institute of Medical Sciences and Research Kidney Dialysis Hospital will offer dialysis facility to 101 patients simultaneously and it can cater to 500 patients daily, the DSGMC said in a statement. The hospital will offer its services to patients completely free of cost."

+ Grandparents are getting to hug their grandkids for the first time after getting vaccinated.

+ WaPo: A Maryland man was dying. His longtime handyman gave him a kidney. (The operation took several weeks longer than promised...)