Thursday, September 22nd, 2022



Today's headline notwithstanding, it's not Friday. But it could be if four day workweek studies continue to deliver the same results. "Nearly halfway into the six-month trial, in which employees at 73 [British] companies get a paid day off weekly, 35 of the 41 companies that responded to a survey said they were 'likely' or 'extremely likely' to consider continuing the four-day workweek beyond the end of the trial in late November. All but two of the 41 companies said productivity was either the same or had improved. Remarkably, six companies said productivity had significantly improved." 4-Day Workweek Brings No Loss of Productivity, Companies in Experiment Say. The companies that reported higher output should experiment with no day work weeks. Productivity could go through the roof.


The Kremlin’s Gremlins

Anne Applebaum in The Atlantic: "If an American president announced a major speech, booked the networks for 8 p.m., and then disappeared until the following morning, the analysis would be immediate and damning: chaos, disarray, indecision. The White House must be in crisis. In the past 24 hours, this is exactly what happened in Moscow. The Russian president really did announce a major speech, alert state television, warn journalists, and then disappear without explanation. Although Vladimir Putin finally gave his speech to the nation this morning, the same conclusions have to apply: chaos, disarray, indecision. The Kremlin Must Be in Crisis."

+ "The Kremlin says reports of fighting-age men fleeing are exaggerated. But on the border with Georgia, miles-long queues of vehicles have formed including men trying to escape the war." Russians flee to border after military call-up. Whether for ethical reasons or self preservation, this is the right move.

+ Meanwhile, allies (or former allies) of the Kremlin keep suffering mysterious deaths. "The former head of a Russian aviation research institute died on Wednesday, reportedly by falling down the stairs, in the latest in a string of deaths of Russian officials."


Hijab Interview

"The scope of Iran's ongoing unrest, the worst in several years, still remains unclear as protesters in at least a dozen cities — venting anger over social repression and the country's mounting crises — continue to encounter security and paramilitary forces ... In a country where radio and television stations already are state-controlled and journalists regularly face the threat of arrest, the paramilitary Revolutionary Guard urged the judiciary on Thursday to prosecute 'anyone who spreads fake news and rumors' on social media about the unrest." (Interesting how the 'fake news' phrase has caught on, and with whom.) At least 9 killed as Iran protests over woman's death spread.

+ Iran's President abandons CNN interview after Amanpour declines head scarf demand.


Law and Order: Special Welder’s Unit

"Now on this July morning, the jury was going to meet the person responsible for catching this cop. The prosecutor stood up. "The state calls Eric Schmutte," she said.
The courtroom doors opened. But no detective walked in. Instead, there was a man in a polo shirt. His dreadlocks were tucked into a ponytail. After raising his right hand and swearing to tell the truth, Schmutte, a 35-year-old welder, began to explain why he was there." We know people like to listen to and watch crime shows. Now they're participating in them. WaPo (Gift Article): How vigilante ‘predator catchers' are infiltrating the criminal justice system.


Extra, Extra

Honey, I Shrunk the Habitable Land : "Denmark became the first central government of a developed country to propose funding devoted to 'loss and damage' – which refers to those ravages of climate-related disasters which are so extreme that no protection against them is possible." Denmark offers ‘loss and damage' funding to poorer countries for climate breakdown. And from AP: Climate Migration: Indian kids find hope in a new language. Maybe the most ominous thing in this story is the editor's note: "This story is part of an ongoing series exploring the lives of people around the world who have been forced to move because of rising seas, drought, searing temperatures and other things caused or exacerbated by climate change." That's gonna be a busy beat to cover.

+ Stupid Is As Stupid Trumps: "You might be a media-slick, Ivy-bred brainiac like Vance or Dr. Mehmet Oz, and even admit backstage that you don't really believe the asininity you're spouting. As a general rule, though, discerning swing voters tend not to differentiate between fools and those who just play them on TV." Mark Leibovich in The Atlantic: The Tipping Point of Stupid. It's stupid for sure. It's sometimes even laughable. It's also remarkably dangerous. The New Yorker's Bill McKibben on Watching Trump Embrace QAnon. "As Trump continues campaigning, those who fear what could happen in this country will need to be vigilant against all ongoing efforts to divide it ... The fact that we've survived Trumpism so far is no guarantee of anything." A-friggin-men.

+ Test of Time: The Atlantic: Why Adults Still Dream About School. "She rattled off a few common school-dream variations: The dreamer has to rush to an exam after having overslept, or they can't find their classroom, or they prepared for an exam by studying the wrong subject, or they sit down for an exam and the text is in hieroglyphics, or they show up to school nude." (I've had the fully-clothed version of the school test dream for decades. Maybe some nudity will spice it up a bit. "Mr. Pell, did you remember your number 2 pencil?")

+ Pickle Brawl: "Pickleball isn't a sport at a crossroads as much as it's a five-lane highway with everyone trying to merge while careening against the guardrails at top speed. There are three professional leagues battling for players, customers, sponsors and superiority. Communities are racing to build courts to satisfy an ever-growing appetite, and investors are finding new ways to monetize the sport. Meanwhile, the tennis community is trying to save its courts and safeguard its future." WaPo: Pickleball is exploding, and it's getting messy. (It's actually nice that there's a little sport for people without the skills to play tennis.)


Bottom of the News

Olivia Truffaut-Wong's article on Elizabeth Chambers and Armie Hammer has quite the lede. "Co-parenting two young children with a man accused of rape, sexual abuse, harrassment, and potential cannibalism cannot be easy. But according to Elizabeth Chambers, she and her estranged husband, Armie Hammer, are 'in a really great place' as they work to finalize their divorce."

+ Cyril Derreumaux did something Tuesday that no person had done before — kayak solo from California to Hawaii under his own power. In the words of every Jewish mother ever: "Cyril, don't you think you're overdoing things a little?"