Tuesday, March 30th, 2021



"To remember an event is to reimagine it; in the reimagining, we inadvertently introduce new information, often colored by our current emotional state. A dream, a suggestion, and even the mere passage of time can warp a memory. It is sobering to realize that three out of four prisoners who are later exonerated through DNA evidence were initially convicted on the basis of eyewitness testimony. 'You can be 100 percent confident in your vivid memory,' Genova writes, 'and still be 100 percent wrong.' Forgetfulness is our default setting,' and that's a good thing.'" The New Yorker on a Neuroscientist's Poignant Study of How We Forget Most Things in Life. (I forget everything. My wife forgets nothing. So I lose most arguments. But I quickly forget that too.)


Office Ours

"Some employees are permanently moving to remote work, and companies are puzzling over how to give them the same ability to participate as those who are physically present. There are even early discussions about using artificial intelligence to conjure up holographic representations of employees who are off site but could still take a seat at the table." NYT on the partial return to the workplace: Here Come Hot Desks and Zoom Rooms. And Holograms?

+ WaPo: The hybrid office is here to stay. The shift could be more disruptive than the move to all-remote work. (I'm a bit of a contrarian on this. I predict in a couple years we'll be seeing headlines like, How Remote Work Faded and Things Got Back to Normal in the American Office. But I may just be more anxious to get out of the house than most people...)


The Year of Living Differently

"What I'm hearing from small businesses, medium-sized businesses and large business is that wherever possible right now, they're looking for ways to use technology more than in the past to run leaner, and to be more efficient." WaPo: The soft underbelly to a looming economic boom: Millions will miss out.

+ "When MacKenzie Scott unveiled last year that she had donated $6 billion to support 500 nonprofits across the country, overwhelming applause rushed in for a billionaire who probably donated more money directly to charities in a single year than any living person ever had before. But then something weird happened. She ended the year much, much richer." For some, at least in terms of finances, 2020 was a very good year. Vox: Tech billionaires emerged from a year of hardship as more than leaders of iconic companies. They are central — almost too central — characters in American life.


Calling the Cops on the Cops

"Donald Wynn Williams II, an eyewitness at the scene of the incident, testified today that after George Floyd was put into an ambulance he called 911 because 'I believe I witnessed a murder.' ... 'I felt the need to call the police on the police,' Williams continued. Asked why he didn't speak to the officers already on the scene, Williams said, he felt they were involved in the incident." Testimony continued in the Derek Chauvin trial. (From opening statements, it sounds like the defense is going to argue that George Floyd died because of pre-existing conditions and the knee just hurried things along.)


Zip to my Lou, My Darlin’.

"Federal prosecutors have dropped a long-standing fight to keep two alleged Capitol rioters in jail, marking one of the highest-profile setbacks for the government in these cases so far." The two are Eric Munchel, the guy with the zip-ties, and his mother who was there too. (My mom never takes me anywhere.)


Flu the Coop

"The number of flu deaths among children is usually between 100 and 200 per year, but so far only one child has died from the disease in the U.S. during the 2020-2021 flu season. Adults aren't getting sick either. U.S. flu deaths this season will be measured in the hundreds instead of thousands. During the 2018-2019 flu season, which experienced a moderate level of flu activity, an estimated 34,200 Americans died." Why? Because people are social distancing, washing hands, wearing masks, and staying home (or keeping their kids home) when there's any sign of fever or illness. Should Masking Last Beyond The Pandemic? (I've been wondering about this for months. I don't think I'll wear a mask every time I go to the store. But why not wear them to crowded theaters or concerts, or just after having a lot of garlic for dinner?)


Moon Shot

"The real work could only begin once the two powerful seagoing tugs arrived ... We always thought that what happened until that point would help a bit but wouldn't be enough."
How a full moon and a ‘huge lever' helped free Ever Given from Suez canal.


Borderline Disorder

"The current fixation on whether the Biden administration will refer to what is happening at the border as a 'crisis' reflects the general lack of perspective with which migration 'surges' are generally treated. Moments at the border like this should by now be considered almost routine, but our collective short-term memory—sometimes exacerbated by media hyperbole—allows elected officials to capitalize on them for their own political gain. This misleading of the public also helps Congress dodge accountability for its role in retaining a system that has been outdated for decades." Caitlin Dickerson on America's Immigration Amnesia.


History Buffed

"As we developed tools and farming and a nomadic existence gave way to claiming territory, there were new reasons to be fit and strong, namely, kicking the shit out of the Neanderthals down the river and taking all their stuff. While a lot of ancient civilizations developed the idea of fitness and exercise, it was some time before they were used for anything other than training dudes to get strong enough to kill other dudes in battle. Being buff was a means to an end — ideally, the end of the other guy." Mike Rampton with an entertaining look at The Long, Sweaty History of Working Out. (It turns out I've been putting off exercising for about 5,000 years.)


Bottom of the News

"Though he carefully hid his face, Biart failed to disguise his distinctive body tattoos." Mafia fugitive was living a quiet island life. Then police found his YouTube cooking show. (Everyone wants to go viral.)

+ The Schitt's Creek motel is for sale.

+ "Scientists have found that this behavior is linked to encephalitis, or inflammation in the brain." Bear cubs in California are developing an unexplained illness that makes them friendly and not afraid of people.

+ "It lives in a lake which is adjacent to the property, and at this time of year, it seems to come and spend the whole of its day tapping on my front door." This British swan won't stop knocking on people's doors for hours on end. (This is what you call a neck neck joke...)