Friday, September 24th, 2021


Socket to Me

What if all of your mobile devices used the same size charger? What if every time you dug through a pile of cords the one you pulled out was the right one? What if your 13 year-old daughter had no more incentive to steal your laptop cord because every one of the 20 cords in a tangled pile in her bedroom doorway fit into all of the devices you never should have bought her in the first place? At least in Europe, this could soon be a reality. "The European Commission, the bloc's executive arm, proposed legislation that would mandate USB-C cables for charging, technology that many device makers have already adopted. The main holdout is Apple, which said it was concerned the new rules would limit innovation ... the EU also wants to cut down on the 11,000 metric tons of electronic waste thrown out every year by Europeans." (At least my daughter only has about 10,500 metric tons of electronic waste in her room.)

+ You can celebrate this potential reality with Aretha's Respect, the Mitch Ryder 45, the Missy Elliot hit, or this scene from Airplane.


The Booster Booster

CDC chief Rochelle Walensky overruled her agency's advice "recommending that booster shots of Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine go to Americans aged 65 and older, adults at high risk of severe disease, as well as workers at high risk." (I like the idea of protecting at-risk workers, but I wonder if the effort required to message those workers wouldn't be better spent urging more holdouts to get their first shots.)


Weekend Whats

What to Read: "The destruction of democracy might not come until November 2024, but critical steps in that direction are happening now. In a little more than a year, it may become impossible to pass legislation to protect the electoral process in 2024. Now it is impossible only because anti-Trump Republicans, and even some Democrats, refuse to tinker with the filibuster. It is impossible because, despite all that has happened, some people still wish to be good Republicans even as they oppose Trump. These decisions will not wear well as the nation tumbles into full-blown crisis." It was hard for me to choose just one quote from this must-read, dead-on piece from Robert Kagan in WaPo (Gift Article for ND Readers): Our constitutional crisis is already here. This piece contains so much of what I was trying to get across in 2020 and so much of what I've tried to warn about since. But it does it better than I have. Please read and share.

+ To hammer home some of Kagen's points, consider this: While the draft report from "Cyber Ninjas" confirmed that Biden won Arizona, Trump isn't accepting that and he's strong-armed Texas into auditing four counties' 2020 elections months after an official called the statewide process 'smooth and secure.'" People are going along with Trump's demands. It is a political emergency. This is not about the last election. It's about the next one.

+ What to Doc: Count Me In is a fun documentary on Netflix that features drummers talking about drumming and playing drums.


The Not So Great Beyond

"It mostly comes down to misinformation spread between friends and families. Many migrants say they heard through word of mouth that the U.S. border was open, and that it was relatively easy to cross into the country at Del Rio. But the reality is very different." The Haitian migrant surge, explained.

+ 'Beyond an embarrassment.' Biden promises consequences for treatment of Haitian migrants.


Missing From the Headlines

A couple days ago, I explained how the Gabby Petito case bubbled up from the internet to the mainstream press, even though it's just one of many, many such cases. Consider this: "Tens of thousands of Black girls and women go missing every year. Last year, that figure was nearly 100,000. Yet their cases hardly ever grab national headlines." A journalist in California is doing what she can to try to change that, by telling as many of their stories as she can. (And it's a one woman show.)

+ It's not just that certain stories get more coverage. That coverage leads to a lot more effort and resources directed at solving the case. "The Petito case has highlighted the disparity in police resources and media attention often focused on missing white women compared to missing people of color and generated calls for law enforcement to treat all cases similarly." All-out search, media attention for Gabby Petito reveals glaring disparity for Wyoming's Indigenous people.


Walk of Life

"Based on the size of the footprints, researchers believe that at least some were made by children and teenagers who lived during the last ice age." Oldest human footprints in North America found in New Mexico. (There were no signs of bone spurs.)


Nevermind Blowing

It's been thirty years since Nirvana released Nevermind, one of the albums that caused a seismic shift in the music business (and made my flannel shirt a stylish statement). Nevermind at 30: How the Nirvana album shook the world.

+ Michael Azerrad, who wrote the book on Nirvana, in The New Yorker: My Time with Kurt Cobain. "Befriending a rock star isn't necessarily as cool as you'd think—particularly when tragedy happens."


Fails from the Crypt

The week started with China's Evergrande hammering your stock portfolio and it ends with a Bitcoin tumble after China says all crypto transactions are illegal.


Mini Series of Unfortunate Events

"In the Mini's case, we have arrows, but arrows that are pointing THE EXACT OPPOSITE WAY that the indicated turn signal is blinking!" Congratulations, Mini, You Made The Stupidest Turn Signals Ever.


Feel Good Friday

"Steve Tomlinson takes pride in the details at Carversville Farm, the 388-acre certified-organic spread he manages here in bucolic Bucks County. There's the high-tech poultry barn, where an automated system ensures that wobbly week-old chickens get just the right amount of light, heat, ventilation and food. There's the 10-foot-long steel barrel washer, which gently buffs a pile of freshly dug Lehigh potatoes, and the acre of Bolero carrots now emerging from dark topsoil that took Mr. Tomlinson nearly half a decade to restore." NYT (Gift Article for ND Readers): Their Produce Is Pristine Enough for Picky Chefs. But They Give It Away.

+ A daily pill to treat COVID could be just months away.

+ Photo shows one house miraculously unaffected by volcano eruption in the Canary Islands.

+ Artist Thierry Mandon likes to chill on the outside of buildings.

+ Magic Mushrooms May Be the Biggest Advance in Treating Depression Since Prozac. (I think I use some for preventative measures.)