Friday, September 10th, 2021


You’re In the Army Now

At long last, the Biden administration moved towards requiring people to get vaccinated or tested. "Many of us are frustrated with the nearly 80 million Americans who are still not vaccinated ... a distinct minority of Americans, supported by a distinct minority of elected officials, are keeping us from turning the corner ... My message to unvaccinated Americans is this: What more is there to wait for? What more do you need to see? We've made vaccinations free, safe and convenient ... We've been patient, but our patience is wearing thin." Good. Your bad science can't be allowed to make our hospital workers more vulnerable. Your conspiracy theories can't be allowed to put my kids' health at risk. Your bizarrely misguided death wish can't drag the rest of us down with you. I'm not going to die because you're a fan of one of the antivax right-wing radio talk show hosts who hasn't croaked yet. We are in a war against Covid. Today, Biden implemented the draft. Roll up your sleeve and fight.

+ "As disease and death reigned around them, some Americans declared that they would never get vaccinated and raged at government efforts to compel them. Anti-vaccination groups spread propaganda about terrible side effects and corrupt doctors. State officials tried to ban mandates, and people made fake vaccination certificates to evade inoculation rules already in place. The years were 1898 to 1903, and the disease was smallpox." NYT: Vaccination Mandates Are an American Tradition. So Is the Backlash. (Gift article for ND readers.)

+ "'There are manifold restraints to which every person is necessarily subject for the common good ... On any other basis, organized society could not exist with safety to its members. Society based on the rule that each one is a law unto himself would soon be confronted with disorder and anarchy.'" The Surprisingly Strong Supreme Court Precedent Supporting Vaccine Mandates.

+CNN: Covid-19 is crushing this corner of rural America. Getting the vaccine can still feel like an act of treason. (America is being hobbled by treason against reason.)


Get Higher Baby

Thomas Jefferson was fond of the phrase, "knowledge is power." But it turns out that the two don't always go hand in hand. "When the Harvard-educated John F. Kennedy narrowly won the presidency in 1960, he won white voters without a degree but lost white college graduates by a two-to-one margin. The numbers were almost exactly reversed for Mr. Biden, who lost white voters without a degree by a two-to-one margin while winning white college graduates." NYT: How Educational Differences Are Widening America's Political Rift. (Gift article for ND readers.)


Weekend Whats: 9/11 Edition

What to Remember: Believe it or not, I was writing NextDraft during 9/11. On the morning of the attack, I wrote the following: "At least four commercial airliners were hijacked this morning. Two flew into the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center. Both Towers have completely collapsed. Another plane flew into a wall of the Pentagon and caused major damage. The fourth plane crashed in Pennsylvania. The President is currently in an undisclosed location. Federal buildings around the country have been evacuated. Many high-rises around the country have also been evacuated. All U.S. commercial flights have been cancelled. Streets in most major cities are nearly empty as the country gathers around television sets to absorb more details about a moment in U.S. history that we all knew was possible, but that that we never thought would happen. In the coming days, there will be much analysis about the performance of the U.S. Intelligence agencies, investigations into these acts and undoubtedly, severe and swift retaliations. But for now, the focus must be on downtown New York where people wait for word on what will undoubtedly be grim, horrific and historic numbers of deaths." And a couple days later: "Throughout the last few days we have heard from nearly every political pundit who has been full of commentary on the performance of President Bush. Some have even criticized his decision to delay the return to the White House. Many more have criticized his speeches and comments. We know George W. is a lousy speaker. This is not a time for political pundits (including this one) to feel we need to hear the drone of their constant flow of opinions. Cut the hogwash. Put on a pair of gloves and help dig." Our reaction to 9/11 still impacts us to this day (a point made wildly clear by recent Afghanistan headlines). But it's worth noting that, in the days and weeks following 9/11, there was a sense of national unity. I wonder if that unity would happen if the attacks took place in today's America. Our reaction to the common foe of Covid makes me think I wouldn't like the answer to that question. But for today, I'll think less about our divisions and more about the 9/11 first responders who ran toward the Twin Towers when everyone else was running away.

+ For some, 9/11 is a terrible memory. For some, it is a history lesson. For some, it is the cause of lifelong grief. Jennifer Senior in The Atlantic: What Bobby Mcilvaine Left Behind. "For years, Helen thought about that diary. Her mind snagged on it like a nail; she needled her husband for giving it away; it became the subject of endless discussion in her "limping group," as she calls it, a circle of six mothers in suburban Philadelphia who'd also lost children, though not on September 11. They became indignant on her behalf. A number proposed, only half jokingly, that they break into Jen's apartment and liberate the diary. "You don't get any more memories," one of the women told me. 'So anything written, any video, any card—you cling to that. That's all you're going to get for life.'"

+ For others, it's a physical pain they can feel to this day. WaPo: Pentagon burn survivors are thankful for life, though pain endures. "It's gotten to the point now where I can't stand for nothing to touch my skin. Twenty years is a long time to be in pain."

+ "In the picture, he departs from this earth like an arrow. Although he has not chosen his fate, he appears to have, in his last instants of life, embraced it. If he were not falling, he might very well be flying. He appears relaxed, hurtling through the air. He appears comfortable in the grip of unimaginable motion. He does not appear intimidated by gravity's divine suction or by what awaits him." Tom Junod: The Falling Man.

+ A Netflix Documentary Series: Turning Point: 9/11 and the War on Terror.


Epic Ruling Not That Epic

"In short, iOS apps must be allowed to direct users to payment options beyond those offered by Apple." Apple must allow other forms of in-app purchases, rules judge in Epic v. Apple. "The court cannot ultimately conclude that Apple is a monopolist under either federal or state antitrust laws. Nonetheless, the trial did show that Apple is engaging in anti-competitive conduct under California's competition laws."


Raducanu You Believe it?

The US Open's women's final will feature Leylah Fernandez vs Emma Raducanu. It's impossible to describe how unlikely a final this is. You've likely never heard of either player. They're both teens. They both took seemingly impossible routes to the final. Raducanu had to play a tournament just to qualify to play in the US Open. And between that tourney and the US Open itself, she has yet to lose a single set. Historic all-teen women's final will cap an Open defined by new, young star power.

+ Matthew Willis in The Raquet: The Teens.


Vaccination Building

"The White House says it is donating more doses than 'all other countries combined,' but critics inside and outside the U.S. government warn of an effort that is 'wildly insufficient.'" Vanity Fair: How Micromanagement and Distrust Hobbled Biden's Global Vaccination Push. It's the ethical thing to do. It's in our own self-interest to do it. (Variants will emerge and find their way to us.) And it's the geopolitically savvy thing to do. Saving lives is a great way to win hearts and minds. It's cheaper and more effective than bombing people.


Essay What?

"The profile pictures of writers for hire on these sites are a sea of white faces. They give the impression the piece will be written by an academic in the West.
But like a lot in this business, the pictures tend to be fake. In reality, if you order an essay online it's highly likely to be written by someone in Kenya - often by a student or graduate there." The Kenyans who are helping the world to cheat.


Plug and Played

"A recent power outage that disrupted half of New York City's subway system for several hours and stranded hundreds of passengers was likely caused by someone accidentally pressing an Emergency Power Off." (Just kidding?)


Punch Cards

"Beards aren't just cool and trendy — they might also be an evolutionary development to help protect a man's delicate facial bones from a punch to the face." Research on beards, wads of gum wins 2021 Ig Nobel prizes.


Feel Good Friday

Denmark lifts all Covid restrictions as vaccinations top 80%. (We're close. The mandates can get us there.)

+ Moderna developing single-dose booster shot for Covid and flu.

+ "Now, as the dregs of summer heat engulf our porch during the day, Dave and I have noticed a change, again, with Kevin. He comes by for lap cuddles, but not for as long, and he darts off to another neighbors' place during the day to sleep under a car. We continue to put out a bowl of water for him." Pandemic love story: The whims of Kevin, our neighbors' cat. (One of my cats went to a neighbor's house so often that she finally just moved in and now she's my neighbor's cat.)

+ Amazon to cover 100% of college tuition for U.S. hourly employees.

+ Researchers Accidentally Discover World's Northernmost Island Due to GPS Error.

+ 1,500-Year-Old Gold Treasure Trove Found by Danish Man with Metal Detector.

+ 100-year-old Tampa grandma sets Guinness World Record for weight lifting.