Tuesday, August 8th, 2023


Can’t You Hear Me Knocking?

In 1967, the Rolling Stones changed a lyric to their song, Let's Spend the Night Together to Let's Spend Some Time Together at the request of Ed Sullivan who famously told the band, "either the song goes, or you go." More than five decades later, there are plenty of companies who are singing the same less suggestive tune to their employees, who left the office during Covid and don't really seem to want to come back. While employers are singing Miss You and asking workers to Get Off of My Cloud and return to the office, employees have no Sympathy for the Devil and are unwilling to become a Beast of Burden. So who will get Satisfaction, bosses telling staffers you're Under My Thumb or labor explaining to executives that even You Can't Always Get What You Want? After suffering their 19th Nervous Breakdown, and unwilling to make it twenty, many companies are risking being accused of having a Heart of Stone and getting out of the business of Emotional Rescue no matter who it leaves Shattered by informing those who wish to remained employed that, yes, you Doo Doo Doo Doo Doo have to return to the office. Some of this was predictable given CFOs who see a red P&L statement and want to Paint it Black, but a new sign that It's All Over Now and we've reached the point When the Whip Comes Down is that even Zoom, yes the Zoom that promises an "immersive in-office collaboration right from home," wants employees to start coming back to the office. Zoom has 'Zoom fatigue,' requires workers to return to the office.

+ Quartz: It's no surprise Zoom wants workers back in the office.

+ Cities don't have as much pull when it comes to drawing people back to their old haunts. And many are hearing locals singing the Taylor Swift refrain, We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together (Like, ever). Nowhere is that more true than in downtown San Francisco. The city's downtown pandemic recovery remains dead last among 52 select cities throughout the US.


The Energizer Money

Getting more EVs on the road is good for the environment. But that's not necessarily a sole motivator that will take the vehicles fully mainstream. What a lot of people want to know is whether driving around in an EV is ultimately cheaper than driving a gas-powered car. WaPo did the math, and the answer depends in part on where you live. Is it cheaper to refuel your EV battery or gas tank?


Out of Sight, Out of Mind

On Facebook, Jennifer Senior described her latest, very personal piece like this: "My aunt was wearing a bright red sweater…and so was my mom. My aunt was wearing a chunky necklace she'd made…and so was Mom. Because they were both now into making necklaces. It was NUTS.
This is the story of how my mother found her way back to Adele. But it is also a story about the price of institutionalization and the trauma it caused. To my mom. To her parents. And to my aunt above all, who suffered terribly and became a case study in unrealized potential. Whole generations of adults were lost to institutionalization. They were warehoused, hidden away, forgotten. So many of us colluded in their erasure.
This piece is my small attempt to un-erase one of them." The Atlantic (Gift Article): The Ones We Sent Away.


T-Square Space

Who should decide what major urban buildings look like? For the most part, these decisions are made by architects and city planning commissions. But a group called Architectural Uprising is having some success shifting the balance of power. "Founded in Sweden in 2014 as a public Facebook group, the Uprising is a collective of citizen design critics who object to what organizers call the 'continued uglification' of developments in Nordic cities, and push for a return to classically informed design." Bloomberg: A Nordic Revolt Against ‘Ugly' Modern Architecture.

+ These days, many architectural decisions are being made with something more vital than appearances in mind. FastCo: 7 ways architects are redesigning buildings for extreme heat. (We'll see if these ideas are cool enough for Architectural Uprising...)


Extra, Extra

Moving the Goalposts: "Ohioans will finish voting on Tuesday on a referendum with an ostensibly straightforward question: Should it be harder to amend the State Constitution?" But this vote has much less to do with the constitution and much more to do with abortion. So a lot of people are voting and a lot more people are watching to see what happens. NYT (Gift Article): What's at Stake in Ohio's Referendum on Amending the State Constitution.

+ Weight and See: "The weight loss drug Wegovy was shown to reduce the risk of heart attack, stroke or heart-related death by 20% in what's being called a landmark clinical trial in people with cardiovascular disease, the first to show a weight loss drug alone can have such protective effects ... A similar trial for the type 2 diabetes drug Ozempic, which uses the same ingredient, semaglutide, previously showed it could reduce cardiovascular risk by 26%."

+ Unicorn Breeding: "In 2022, the IITs accepted just 1.83% of applicants, a rate more selective than that of U.S. Ivy League universities. The struggle to get into an IIT is so dramatic, Netflix has a multi-season scripted show, Kota Factory, about the country's many prep schools that have sprung up to help coach applicants to pass the entrance exams. Becoming an IIT one-percenter is often a ticket to tech success. Many big names in India's startup scene are IIT alums. Of the country's 108 unicorns, 68 were founded by at least one IIT graduate." Rest of World: The exclusive network behind India's global tech success.

+ Snake Oil: "If you've been listening to the world's major energy companies over the past few years, you probably think the clean energy transition is well on its way. But with fossil fuel use and emissions still rising, it is not moving nearly fast enough to address the climate crisis." The excelent Jason Bordoff explains in the NYT (Gift Article): Behind All the Talk, This Is What Big Oil Is Actually Doing.

+ Bank Book: "Simon & Schuster has been sold to the private equity firm KKR, months after a federal judge blocked its purchase by rival publisher Penguin Random House because of concerns that competition would shrink the book market." And Campbell Soup buys Rao's, the beloved pasta sauce brand.

+ I Think I Canyon: "President Biden is designating a new national monument near the Grand Canyon on Tuesday. The move protects lands that are sacred to indigenous peoples and permanently bans new uranium mining claims in the area. It covers nearly 1 million acres."

+ Abuse Ring: A Global child sexual abuse probe that was launched after two FBI agents were killed leads to almost 100 arrests.

+ Bird Droppings: "The Baltimore Orioles and their regional sports network, the comprehensively sh-tty Mid-Atlantic Sports Network (MASN), apparently suspended popular television play-by-play announcer Kevin Brown for a perfectly innocuous statement of fact made during a broadcast on July 23. The suspension, which was first reported by Baltimore sports blogger and podcaster Matt Jergensen and then verified by multiple outlets, is punishment for Brown reading information from game notes provided by the team's own public relations staff expressly for the purpose of informing media coverage." It sounds bad. But really, it's much worse. Orioles Eat Mountains Of Sh-t After Suspending Broadcaster For Congratulating Improved Team.


Bottom of the News

"When Canadian dairy farmer Ben Loewith's calves are born next spring, they will be among the first in the world to be bred with a specific environmental goal: burping less methane." (If it works, they should try this on humans.)

+ 'Hank the Tank,' the bear behind 21 home invasions, has been captured near Lake Tahoe. (I hear he's asking for home confinement.)

+ On this day in 1975, the term global warming first appeared in print. (We picked the wrong reading material to leave on the nightstand unread...)