Come On Out for the Rising

"Instead of staring straight ahead at the waterfront, Nixon started smiling at people and striking up conversations. And pretty soon, more than a few early-risers began joining him on the bench, sometimes even unburdening themselves to Nixon, who was by then a familiar face. As Nixon would sit contemplatively on the bench, they would open up to him about their lives, asking him for advice about relationships, careers and personal problems. 'I was happy to listen,' Nixon said. 'I wanted them to walk away knowing they didn't have to feel alone.'" Let's get Feel Good Friday kicked off a little earlier than usual this week. Cathy Free in WaPo (gift article for ND readers): It started because he went to watch the sunrise. Now he's a trusted confidant to strangers each morning from his bench. And the whole thing runs on solar power and human decency. More of both would be great.


Fear Factor

Both-sidesism is distorting the media version of America right now. One side is stupidly, misguidedly wrong and is costing lives and preventing normalcy from returning. The other side has done the right thing and is fed up and beyond furious. And that fury is 100% justified. David A. Graham in The Atlantic: Delta Is Ruining the Summer, and It's Anti-vaxxers' Fault. (Even more so, it's the fault of their trusted leaders and pseudo-experts who have turned a human vs virus battle into a human vs human political war.) But there is some good news...

+ "The delta variant of the coronavirus appears to cause more severe illness than earlier variants and spreads as easily as chickenpox, according to an internal federal health document that argues officials must 'acknowledge the war has changed.'" (The war has changed. We're now being attacked by friendly fire.) I swear, there's a positive twist coming...

+ "Some people hospitalized with the virus still vow not to get vaccinated, and surveys suggest that the majority of unvaccinated Americans are not budging. Doctors in Covid units say some patients still refuse to believe they are infected with anything beyond the flu." Some vaccine hesitant now express regret. Wait for it...

+ Saving your life and the lives of those around you not enough motivation? Let's gamify this a bit. NYT: How Europe, After a Fumbling Start, Overtook the U.S. in Vaccination. You're getting warmer...

+ On the very positive side of things, there's this. U.S. Covid vaccination rates rise as Americans in hard-hit states rush to get shots amid delta fears.


Weekend Whats

What to Audiobook: I've been listening to and loving Peter Coyote's memoir, The Rainman's Third Cure. It's incredibly vivid, detailed, and well written. And as a bonus, you get to spend 8 hours with one of the greatest voices in narration.

+ What to Watch: HBO's The White Lotus is an entertaining, satirical look at a group of people on vacation at a Hawaiian resort. It's not perfect, but some of the characters will seem remarkably familiar.

+ What to Read: "The terrible experience of the past year and a half has also offered an opportunity to make sense of what drives gun violence, and how to deter it. The coronavirus pandemic, and the decisions that officials made in response to it, had the effect of undoing or freezing countless public and social services that are believed to have a preventative effect on violence. Removing them, almost simultaneously, created a sort of unintended stress test, revealing how essential they are to preserving social order." Alec MacGillis in ProPublica: What Philadelphia Reveals About America's Homicide Surge.


Flakes on a Plane

"A union survey supports what airlines and federal officials have been saying: there has been a surge in unruly passengers this year, who sometimes become violent. The most common trigger is passengers who refuse to follow the federal requirement that they wear face masks during flights." One in five flight attendants endured a ‘physical incident' as union demands action.


When the Levy Breaks

"The opinion is a reversal from the Office of Legal Counsel's previous position. In 2019, it concluded just the opposite, agreeing with the Trump administration that Congress lacked a legitimate legislative purpose and simply wanted to try to embarrass Trump." Trump's tax returns must be released to Congress, Justice Department says.

+ "Just say the election was corrupt and leave the rest to me and the R. Congressmen." Trump urged Justice officials to declare election corrupt. (That claim features more projection than an IMAX theater.)


Five Ring Circus

"Even though Katie Ledecky, Caeleb Dressel and every other U.S. swimmer has worn a mask while doing interviews with journalists at the Tokyo Aquatics Centre, and Tokyo is in a state of emergency due to the pandemic, the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee has decided to allow unvaccinated swimmer Michael Andrew to not wear a mask." So, smoking weed gets you banned, but endangering the lives of those around you gets a pass?

+ In one of the bigger Olympic upsets, Novak Djokovic's golden slam dreams have suffered a fatal blow. The loss also resulted in the only Olympic photo that reminds me of me.

+ Ping Pong is one of the more photogenic sports.


Black Widow in the Red?

"The first thing that anyone should understand about her suit alleging she was short-changed by the Black Widow release is that the actress (or at least her reps) wanted this dispute to go public in a big way." Scarlett Johansson's ‘Black Widow' Lawsuit Is Game-Changing, But May Be Legally Weak. (It's definitely interesting. At issue is Disney's decision to stream the movie at the same time as it was released in theaters. Scarlett gets a cut of the theater revenue, but not the streaming dough.)


Desert Storm

"Here's how it works: The drones shoot laser beams into the clouds, charging them with electricity. The charge prompts precipitation by forcing water droplets together to create bigger raindrops, essentially electrifying the air to create rain." Dubai is coping with its 125-degree heat by using laser-beam-shooting drones to shock rainwater out of clouds.


Shelf Life

"If nothing slows their momentum, Amazon will control nearly 80% of the consumer book market by the end of 2025. Every single book lover should worry. After we're done worrying, we must change the way we buy books." Andy Hunter, CEO of Bookshop dot org: Every Book Lover Should Fear This Graph.


Feel Good Friday

"French dad and robotics engineer Jean-Louis Constanza has built a robotic suit for his 16-year-old son Oscar that allows him to walk."

+ WaPo: These boys found turtles squashed on the road. Now they spend their days helping other turtles get across.

+ Six years later, missing Peabody cat found.

+ "The kindergarten teacher from northern Israel, a proud Israeli, hoped her choice would set an example of generosity in a land of perpetual conflict." A birthday gift: Israeli woman donates kidney to Gaza boy.

+ Miniature Calendar is an incredible ongoing project by Japanese artist Tatsuya Tanaka, that features beautiful miniature dioramas of everyday life using common household objects such as food, cloth, stationery, electronic devices, and even masks.

+ A human Rube Goldberg machine.