Weekend Reads: 10/16/2020

You’ll notice there is a wide mix of articles this week. It’s because I know that, by Friday, we’ve all had it with the news. We won’t stop, of course (nor should we – the world is on fire), but we all need a break. That’s why not all of these articles of the current affairs type. I’m trying something new! Some are newer and some are quite old (at least 4 years old – I am cleaning out my read later folders).

The first part will always be articles dealing with hard topics, current issues (like the election, state of the world, the pandemic, etc) and the second section will be the fun stuff, as it were. If this works or doesn’t – let me know!

Senator Gary Peters Shares His Abortion Story (Elle)

He’s the first sitting senator in history to do so.

Don’t Grieve Alone. Reach Out. (NYT – $$)

Finding emotional support during a crisis often means turning to long-established networks already built for distance.

For Refugees, Home Is a Place Called Never (Zócalo Public Square)

Having Fled Sarajevo as a Child, I Find It Hard Telling Syrians There Is No Going Back

Going Sohla (Vultre – $$)

After leaving Bon Appétit, the chef now has her own show — where she’s paid fairly for her fantastic creations.


The World’s Longest-Running Experiment Is Buried in a Secret Spot in Michigan (Atlas Obscura)

In the fall of 1879, Dr. William James Beal walked to a secret spot on Michigan State University’s campus and planted a strange crop: 20 narrow-necked glass bottles, each filled with a mixture of moist sand and seeds.

Flyting Was Medieval England’s Version of an Insult-Trading Rap Battle (Atlas Obscura)

Imagine a world that had swapped its guns for puns and its IEDs for repartees. Such a planet is possible if only those in power would manage their conflicts with flyting, the time-honored sport of verbal jousting.

The Tree That Would Not Be Broken (Narratively)

It was the last living thing rescued from the ruins of 9/11. A dozen years later, one mythical pear tree is finally home, and branching out from Ground Zero in mystical ways.

Watch the video (tw: 9/11 footage):

This Artist Sculpts Animals and Flowers From Grains of Rice (Atlas Obscura)

Guorui Chen brought a hometown tradition back from extinction.

Have a great fall weekend everyone and don’t forget to vote if you haven’t yet.

Michigan Fall - Seven Lakes State Park
Michigan Fall – Seven Lakes State Park (c) Mike

Weekend Reads – Friday, August 30 2020

This week’s post is a collection of articles that span a lot of topics. There’s no theme, except that I found all of these links interesting. If you’re looking for something a bit more pandemic related, check out my Wednesday Links post from earlier in the week – it’s all about COVID/SARS COV2.

How to Outrun a Dinosaur (Wired – $$)

If, through some scientific malfunction, you found yourself transported 70 million years into the past, you might be safer from certain hungry reptiles than you think.

The K-Pop Fans Who Tweet Fake News (Paper Magazine)

Why some K-Pop fans obsessively “clear the searches”

Black ‘The Sims 4’ Players Are Changing One of the World’s Biggest Games (Vice)

The Sims has been an industry leader in terms of diversity and inclusion, but black players have been fighting to see themselves in the game for years.

Transparent Public Toilets Unveiled In Tokyo Parks — But They Also Offer Privacy (NPR)

The project’s eye-catching toilets are part of a plan to put people at ease when visiting a public bathroom – a prospect that can trigger a number of responses, from relief to trepidation.

Note: I love these bathrooms. They are absolutely gorgeous – especially when seen at night. It makes me want to move to Japan.

Anatomy of a Photograph: Authoritarianism in America (The Atlantic – $$)

When the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff shows up at a peaceful protest in battle fatigues, it’s time to pay attention.

The Prince of Georgia Is Big on Instagram (Wired – $$)

The musician BERA is the son of the country’s former prime minister and richest man. When street protests arose in Tbilisi, I went to check on him.

Confessions of an ID Theft Kingpin: Parts One and Two (Krebs on Security)

At the height of his cybercriminal career, the hacker known as “Hieupc” was earning $125,000 a month running a bustling identity theft service that siphoned consumer dossiers from some of the world’s top data brokers. That is, until his greed and ambition played straight into an elaborate snare set by the U.S. Secret Service. Now, after more than seven years in prison Hieupc is back in his home country and hoping to convince other would-be cybercrooks to use their computer skills for good.

And finally, a cartoon that sums up a lot of how I feel. Tag yourself: I’m Too Direct

COVID Risk Comfort Zone (xkcd)

Wednesday Links: SARS-CoV-2 & COVID-19

I was going to wait for Friday to post these, but I ended up with a lot of SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19 articles, so I’m sharing them today instead.

If you only read one article, read this one (thanks to my sister for linking sharing this one with me):

COVID-19 Is Transmitted Through Aerosols. We Have Enough Evidence, Now It Is Time to Act (Time)

When it comes to COVID-19, the evidence overwhelmingly supports aerosol transmission, and there are no strong arguments against it. For example, contact tracing has found that much COVID-19 transmission occurs in close proximity, but that many people who share the same home with an infected person do not get the disease. To understand why, it is useful to use cigarette or vaping smoke (which is also an aerosol) as an analog. Imagine sharing a home with a smoker: if you stood close to the smoker while talking, you would inhale a great deal of smoke. Replace the smoke with virus-containing aerosols, which behave very similarly, and the impact is similar: the closer you are to someone releasing virus-carrying aerosols, the more likely you are to breathe in larger amounts of virus.

Why The Coronavirus Is So ‘Superspready’ (NPR)

A person with a high viral load walks into a bar.

That, according to researchers who study the novel coronavirus, is a recipe for a superspreading event — where one person or gathering leads to an unusually high number of new infections. And that kind of occurrence is increasingly considered a hallmark of the coronavirus that causes COVID-19.

A New Study Suggests a Possible Disease Vector: Germy Dust (Wired – $$)

Since the pandemic’s beginning, scientists have argued over how respiratory viruses can spread. Now an experiment with guinea pigs and influenza is adding a new wrinkle.

Note: about the above article, it’s a bit panic inducing, as one would expect, however this is from the end of the article, which should make everyone feel a tiny bit better:

“This information adds to our understanding about where virus in the air might be coming from, but it doesn’t change how we should approach it,” Marr wrote in an email to WIRED. “The same things that we’ve been doing—wearing masks, keeping our distance, avoiding crowds, and ensuring good ventilation—will also help reduce the risk of transmission from breathing in virus that gets into the air this way.” So mask up and keep on carrying on (from a distance).

I Won’t Drink Today, and I Won’t Get the Virus Today (The Atlantic – $$)

Alcoholics Anonymous prepared me for the pandemic.

You can get reinfected with Covid-19 but still have immunity. Let’s explain. (VOX)

A 33-year-old man was confirmed to be reinfected with Covid-19. This likely isn’t as bad as it sounds.

And, finally, something a bit less stressful (and a lot more enjoyable). 10/10 would recommend his vlogs – I’ve included the first one below, if you’d like to just start watching.

This COVID-19 summer’s must-watch show is… an NBA rookie’s YouTube page? (Ars Technica)

NBA player/amateur filmmaker Matisse Thybulle has created essential epidemiological viewing.

Weekend Reads

These are late, but please spend some time reading. Also, if you can’t get to a protest, Wired has a bunch of things you can do to help:

Your weekend reads are below. I ran out of time to read all of these, but I plan to before the weekends up – and you should, too.

Notes – The NY Times, Wired, and Atlantic articles may have paywalls – if you run into them, try a different browser, incognito mode, a different device, or consider a subscription (I am debating subscribing to The Atlantic).

Please stay safe, stay healthy, and defund the police.

Wednesday Links: Black Lives Matter

Support:

Watch:

Reading:

Weekend Reads

Before we get to the articles, please consider signing petitions, calling reps, and donating money to demand justice for George Floyd and Breonna Taylor’s deaths. Here are some links:

Now, onto the links.

The Public That Cannot Mourn Does Not Exist (The Convivial Society)

Yet, because so many have died in such a brief time, the tragedy takes on an undoubtedly collective and public character. It demands acknowledgement and a reckoning, not simply a tallying. As I write this, however, it begins to feel almost as if we’re prepared to move on. We were shocked on the first day that 100 died and later 1,000, but we somehow acclimated to anywhere from 1,500 to more than 2,000 deaths a day for a few weeks.

The Resillience of Marga Griesbach (The Cut)

Surviving It All: She’s 92, made it through the Holocaust, and set off for a cruise around the world in February.

Two heirs bought Midland dams as a tax shelter. Tragedy followed. (Bridge)

Eventually, a solution came to Mueller, an architect who lives in Las Vegas, and his cousin, Michel d’Avenas, a California musician who is the son of a French count and is now known as the Pebble Beach Bagpiper.

They would avoid taxes by purchasing four small hydroelectric dams in mid-Michigan near Midland, according to hundreds of pages of federal court records reviewed by Bridge.

The Bird Watcher, That Incident and His Feelings on the Woman’s Fate (New York Times – Possible Paywall)

Mr. Cooper’s love of birding began at age 10, he said, when his parents, two Long Island schoolteachers, enrolled him in a 4-H program. There, in a woodworking class, he crafted a bird feeder that he set in his lawn.

The man in the iron lung (Guardian)

When he was six, Paul Alexander contracted polio and was paralysed for life. Today he is 74, and one of the last people in the world still using an iron lung. But after surviving one deadly outbreak, he did not expect to find himself threatened by another

 

Baltimore orioles(c) pepperberryfarm: Baltimore orioles

Wednesday Links: 04/29/2020

Yes, we’re trying this again. I’m going to try something new – one or two relevant and timely links and one or two from the before time. I hope you can enjoy (?) these links.

Timely Links:

This is an excellent, thoughtful article that is also hard to read because there is so much we don’t know. I want to pull out one quote, the one that I hope you remember. It’s from the very end of the article:

And the desire to name an antagonist, be it the Chinese Communist Party or Donald Trump, disregards the many aspects of 21st-century life that made the pandemic possible: humanity’s relentless expansion into wild spaces; soaring levels of air travel; chronic underfunding of public health; a just-in-time economy that runs on fragile supply chains; health-care systems that yoke medical care to employment; social networks that rapidly spread misinformation; the devaluation of expertise; the marginalization of the elderly; and centuries of structural racism that impoverished the health of minorities and indigenous groups. It may be easier to believe that the coronavirus was deliberately unleashed than to accept the harsher truth that we built a world that was prone to it, but not ready for it.

I though this article was going to be a lot more depressing than it turned out to be. I think the US has a long way to go (and indeed, the headline on the main Buzzfeed news page reads like this: Contact Tracing Could Help Stop The Coronavirus. The US Might Blow It. There is some hope, but not enough (or a lot). Let’s just not give up and let’s keep fighting.

Links from the Before Time:

A truly excellent article from 2014 and it made a very interesting read, considering the flightless world we’re currently living in as well as our uncertain future. Spend some time remembering what it was like to fly (but never this nicely).

Your moment of calm:

Seven swans a swimming
Rachel Kramer: Seven swans a swimming

The Wednesday Four

A lot happened in Week 19. One of the things was good, the rest … well, you know. And on this line of thinking, there is so much news that a few minutes, an hour, a whole night, away from your phone (or the news in general) feels like a vacation. My dad visited me last weekend and I didn’t spend a lot of time on my phone or looking at the news, but when I did, it was like getting crushed. BuzzFeed wrote a really great article about this, which you can read:

It doesn’t necessarily offer any solutions, but it does help to know that we’re all in this together. And now onto the links.

June 15,2007

blue jay. (c) Heather Kaiser

The Wednesday Four

All of these links, aside from the one immediately under this paragraph, are from 2015. There will probably be more of these as I plow through my backlog.

Week 14 was a hot, hot mess.

Onto the links.

My birthday was Sunday and my friend and I went out for Korean BBQ. It was as delicious as it looks in the photo below.

View this post on Instagram

Birthday lunch!

A post shared by Sarah (@aclockworksub) on

The Wednesday Four

Each week  for the past 12 weeks (since the November) Amy Siskind has been making posts that talk about what has changed since Tr*mp was elected president. I’m going to try to remember to share each of these (starting with week 12) as an extra link at the beginning of this post. Please read through the link.

» Week 12: Experts in authoritarianism advise to keep a list of things subtly changing around you, so you’ll remember.

Now, onto other links, some of these will be timely, some of them will not.

  • More Than Likable Enough: I like Hillary Clinton. And I’m convinced that saying so can be a subversive act. (Slate) Note: this is old, but take a moment to think how much different (better) the state of this country would be had the election gone differently.
  • 14 Stunning Portraits Of Albania’s Few Remaining Sworn Virgins Photographer Jill Peters has dedicated her career to exploring the intersections of sexuality, gender identity, and culture — and it has taken her to some very interesting places. When she first read about a dwindling group of people in a remote part of the world who live their lives as “sworn virgins,” she pretty much knew where her next trip would be. (Refinery29)

After the Rain

After the Rain © Adrian Lim