Quick Links for October 2020

RIP Sean Connery  bbc.com
The fifteen weirdest works of classical music.  classical-music.com
A list of 53 reasons to vote this year. "46. Because many thousands of Americans have died needlessly from Covid-19." (That should actually have been #1.)  nytimes.com
I don't know who needs to hear this but... Colorado is not a rectangle. And not just because the Earth is round. Surveying errors mean that the seemingly 4-sided state actually has 697 sides.  bigthink.com
Cool experiment/quiz that demonstrates how photos affect our view of history.  pudding.cool
The Impeach Mint, a collection of commemorative coins that celebrate some of the many failures of the Trump administration.  kickstarter.com
Taiwan has gone 200 days without a single locally transmitted case of Covid-19.  theguardian.com
Vanity Fair's cover story profile of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Reading this, I really worry about how much weight we're placing onto this one person, supporters and detractors alike.  vanityfair.com
A study indicates that, alongside self-reported symptoms, "wearable devices like Fitbit are capable of identifying cases of COVID-19 by evaluating changes in heart rate, sleep and activity levels".  scripps.edu
The LIGO experiment has been incredibly successful, detecting 50 gravitational wave events in the past 5 years. "As surreal as it seems, the detection of gravitational waves has now become commonplace..."  ligo.org
Raised on 3 TV channels & the local newspaper, baby boomers are ill-equipped to navigate the digital media landscape and are being radicalized by Fox News, talk radio, and social media. "It feels like he's been indoctrinated into a cult."  huffpost.com
"The data shows that the Republican party in 2018 was far more illiberal than almost all other governing parties in democracies" akin to autocratic parties in Hungary and Turkey.  theguardian.com
A Vanderbilt University study indicates that areas in Tennessee where people don't wear masks are seeing much higher Covid-19 hospitalization rates than in areas where masks are mandated and worn.  vumc.org
On the basis of his resume, no one would hire Donald Trump to do any sort of job. So maybe don't vote for him either?  youtube.com
A 30-minute briefing with Anthony Fauci on current state of the Covid-19 pandemic conducted by JAMA editor in chief Howard Bauchner. Topics: national mask mandate, Thxgvng safety, treatment drugs, vaccines, etc.  youtube.com
Production hasn't even started on season 2, but Ted Lasso has already been renewed for a third season. I was totally charmed by this show and its titular character.  variety.com
Can lab-grown brains become conscious? And if they can, should people be allowed to grow and destroy them?  nature.com
Wallace Shawn: "Trump has liberated a lot of people from the last vestiges of the Sermon on the Mount. A lot of people turn out to have been sick and tired of pretending to be good."  nybooks.com
Bummer: Alt-weekly City Pages is closing after 41 years due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Small local businesses of all kinds are just going to disappear.  startribune.com
America Is About to Choose How Bad the Pandemic Will Get. "If Donald Trump is reelected, he will continue to downplay the threat of the coronavirus, and more Americans will fall ill." And die.  theatlantic.com
Foursquare launches a new augmented reality app for audio called MarsBot, "a lightweight virtual assistant that proactively whispers local recommendations (and other fun snippets) into your headphones as you're walking around."  enterprise.foursquare.com
Quiz: Can You Tell a 'Trump' Fridge From a 'Biden' Fridge? "The current scores suggest that as a whole, we can't distinguish people's politics from glances into their fridges much more reliably than if we just flipped a coin."  nytimes.com
Why You Shouldn't Worry About Studies Showing Waning Coronavirus Antibodies. "It's normal for levels of antibodies to drop after clearing an infection, and that they represent just one arm of the immune response against a virus."  nytimes.com
No, Skiing Isn't a Welcome Place for People of Color. "Skiing has long served as an escape for white people from multicultural politics and accusations of privilege, and that is precisely why we can't leave race out of it."  powder.com
Arctic ice is too thin to properly test out a new Russian icebreaker. On the plus side, it might not be needed if the climate keeps going like this?  thebarentsobserver.com
Casey Honniball, a postdoc at NASA, has made "the first definitive observation of molecular water on the sunlit lunar surface". "Current estimates for lunar water are on the order of several hundred parts per million."  newyorker.com
This article about the role of close friendships in a society that privileges romantic relationships is worth a read. "When we channel all our intimate needs into one person, we actually stand to make the relationship more vulnerable."  theatlantic.com
David Fincher says there probably won't be a 3rd season of the excellent Mindhunter series. The show is too expensive and viewership is not high enough to support it.  vanityfair.com
Covid-19 is so bad in the US right now that even Vermont is heading in the wrong direction (indoor wedding, hockey facility outbreak, now both spreading in schools and homes).  nytimes.com
The iconic Strand Book Store in NYC is in dire financial straits. (Many other bookstores around the country are in similar situations.)  twitter.com
The Book Makers, an hour-long documentary that "profiles an eclectic group of people who have dedicated their lives to answering the question: what should books become in the digital age?"  tpt.org
Another thing that people are doing during the pandemic is repainting their home interiors. And a quarantine palette has emerged. "What we want on our walls now are blues and greens; organic neutrals..."  artnews.com
Retriever, a short story by Stephen Kearse that imagines a world after the 2nd Amendment has been repealed and US govt agents roam the country buying back guns.  retriever.plotter.cc
Icy Bodies by Shawn Lani, a dry ice exhibit that mixes science with art. This is lovely.  thekidshouldseethis.com
Tom Vanderbilt on the benefits of playing video games with your kids. (My son read this in my copy of Wired, interrupting himself several times telling me to read it. "He makes lots of good points!")  wired.com
"For the first time since records began, the main nursery of Arctic sea ice in Siberia has yet to start freezing in late October."  theguardian.com
I don't know if a monopoly is to blame, but Google's search results for many things have been *awful* for years. SEO garbage has swamped the genuinely useful and thoughtful results.  washingtonpost.com
The Heaven's Gate cult still has a few members left who keep the website going and field inquiries from people who want to join the group.  vice.com
"A huge reason that our politics is not so extremely polarised and so far out there is because we no longer have Murdoch-owned press in New Zealand, and it's never taken a foothold."  theguardian.com
Oh goody, the new 2021 human glands have been announced. "A team of researchers...has discovered what may be a set of previously unidentified organs: a pair of large salivary glands, lurking in the nook where the nasal cavity meets the throat."  nytimes.com
A poem from Eve Ewing: "I saw Emmett Till this week at the grocery store".  poets.org
If you define "unemployed" as "a person who is looking for a full-time job that pays a living wage but who can't find one", the true US unemployment rate is 26.1%.  axios.com
I Was In Charge of the Deck Chairs On the Titanic, and They Absolutely Did Need Rearranging. "When the Titanic slid beneath the waves, taking hundreds of souls with her, she did so with the most becoming, loveliest deck amenities imaginable."  mcsweeneys.net
Kamala versus Daenerys and the difference between mispronunciation & dispronunciation. "As far as I can tell, Americans have no problem saying 'Daenerys Targaryen.' Or 'supercalifragilisticexpialidocious.' Or 'Hakeem Olajuwon.'"  the.ink
From Scientific American (for unscientific Americans): Eight Persistent COVID-19 Myths and Why People Believe Them. It wasn't lab-engineered, it's not just the flu, natural herd immunity won't work, etc.  scientificamerican.com
Succession's Logan Roy and Gerri Kellman team up to advise Wisconsin voters on how to f*cking vote early, by f*cking mail, or in f*cking person. This is canon now, right?  youtube.com
In case you missed it the first time around, the 2nd edition of @craigmod's Kissa by Kissa book (about his 1000km walk along an ancient Japanese highway) is now available to order.  shop.specialprojects.jp
Sixty-two Films That Shaped the Art of Documentary Filmmaking. This is from Richard Brody, so you know going in that it's not a list of the greatest hits (heavy hitters like The Thin Blue Line or Hoop Dreams aren't on here).  newyorker.com
A timeline map of where Covid-19 cases occurred in the US. NYC + cities at first, then the South, and more recently the Midwest/West.  reddit.com
What A Summer Of COVID-19 Taught Scientists About Indoor vs. Outdoor Transmission. "If there is one thing we can definitively state, it’s that this virus is much, much less likely to spread outdoors than in."  fivethirtyeight.com
From the NY Times, a great profile of the inspiring Angela Davis. "As a bridge between the past and present eras of protest, Davis can explain both what went right and wrong while also helping to shape the future."  nytimes.com
Due to a scheduling issue, Lupita Nyong'o had to drop out of HBO Max's adaptation of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's Americanah and now HBO just cancelled the whole thing. :(  collider.com
The Swedish COVID-19 Response Is a Disaster. It Shouldn't Be a Model for the Rest of the World. "From early on, the Swedish government seemed to treat it as a foregone conclusion that many people would die."  time.com
Coronavirus in Africa: Five reasons why Covid-19 has been less deadly than elsewhere. "The continent's strength lay in its tried and tested community health systems."  bbc.com
Which states had the best pandemic response? "If the country as a whole had the same per capita death rate as Vermont, the nationwide death toll would be 30,000 instead of more than 215,000."  politico.com
Herd immunity without a vaccine = mass murder. "The real death toll needed to reach herd immunity could far exceed one million."  nytimes.com
Inside the Fall of the CDC. "How the world's greatest public health organization was brought to its knees by a virus, the president and the capitulation of its own leaders, causing damage that could last much longer than the coronavirus."  propublica.org
Alan Taylor has been curating photos online for so long that you kinda forget how good he is at it. Each photo here is related to the previous photo either visually, thematically, or metaphorically. Fun to figure out the connections.  theatlantic.com
What I've Learned From Having A Trans Partner. "My partner doesn't want his body. But I do."  buzzfeednews.com
Pfizer has expanded their Covid-19 vaccine trials to include children 12 and older.  npr.org
A likely election outcome: Biden massively wins the popular vote and Trump narrowly wins the Electoral College because the GOP's voter suppression works well enough in key states (and we all blame something/someone else).  theatlantic.com
A new analysis published in JAMA puts the number of excess deaths in the US between March 1 and August 1 at 225,530. Only ~150K were officially attributed to Covid-19 (so the true death toll is 50% more than the "official" count).  jamanetwork.com
Was reminded of the limits of self-preservation by this Atul Gawande interview: Trump could have easily won re-election had he taken even moderately effective action against Covid-19 in March or April. It was a gimme and he just. couldn't. do it.  ft.com
A list of the 10 greatest works of journalism of the past 10 years. Writers on the list include Ta-Nehisi Coates, Isabel Wilkerson, and Michelle Alexander. The NY Times' 1619 Project is there too.  washingtonpost.com
This explains everything: "We like things because we choose them, and we dislike things that we don't choose."  hub.jhu.edu
Nature (the science journal) supports Joe Biden for US president. "We cannot stand by and let science be undermined. Joe Biden's trust in truth, evidence, science and democracy make him the only choice in the US election."  nature.com
Some examples of bitemporal charts (those that have two dimensions of time, like a graph that tracks stock or sales forecasts over time).  observablehq.com
Welcome to Fall, the Two Days Between Summer and Winter. "O.K., is that sleet? It's sleeting now. And it says that tomorrow it's supposed to be in the eighties. Then it's going to snow. How is that possible?"  newyorker.com
LeBron James continues to expand our concept of excellence. "What Americans insist on seeing as a deficit, you remind us is part and parcel of our cheat code. You are Black abundance."  theundefeated.com
"A team of physicists in New York has discovered a material that conducts electricity with perfect efficiency at room temperature — a long-sought scientific milestone."  quantamagazine.org
How a group of tenants in Minneapolis bought their buildings from the landlord who was trying to evict them.  nytimes.com
Stevie Wonder releases 2 new songs (one that he's been working on since 1968), his first new music in 15 years.  rollingstone.com
An Idaho university is telling students not to purposefully contract Covid-19 in order to sell their blood plasma: "There is never a need to resort to behavior that endangers health or safety in order to make ends meet." <-- Lol, have you met capitalism?  sltrib.com
The real end game for a conservative majority on the Supreme Court is a much more libertarian and business-friendly America, orchestrated in large measure by the Koch brothers.  nytimes.com
How a Road Trip Through America's Battlegrounds Revealed a Nation Plagued by Misinformation. "Unlogic is not ignorance or stupidity; it is reason distorted by suspicion and misinformation..."  time.com
Sean Penn & Ann Young Lee used their non-profit organization CORE to build one of the largest coronavirus testing programs in the US. Free tests for 10s of 1000s of daily patients, results back in ~48 hours.  gq.com
Aw, this sucks. Netflix announced that there will be no second season of The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance. My kids and I really loved this show – I wish more people would have watched it.  deadline.com
Now Facebook says they'll be banning anti-vaccination ads.  about.fb.com
Cristiano Ronaldo has Covid-19. It's astounding that so many of the world's best footballers have had it: Neymar, Zlatan, Mbappe, Pogba, Di Maria, Navas, Dybala. Fit or no, some are likely to have long-term health problems because of this.  africa.espn.com
Peru opened Machu Picchu for the first time in 7 months for a single Japanese tourist who got stranded in the country due to the pandemic and waited patiently for its reopening.  nytimes.com
Teens and young adults are having a hard time reasoning with QAnon-obsessed parents who have become radicalized by social media. "I love my dad, but at the same time I kind of hate him for this."  teenvogue.com
Facebook is finally updating their hate speech policy "to prohibit any content that denies or distorts the Holocaust". Tho after years of being a welcoming place for harmful misinformation, this is like using a teaspoon to bail out a cruise ship.  about.fb.com
Etsy has banned merchandise related to the death cult QAnon from their platform. A search on the site just now yielded zero results.  theverge.com
A profile of Dolly Parton in the New Yorker. "In the partisan world of country music, Parton's persona defies categorization, at once down to earth and soaring high."  newyorker.com
I don't like the language here that school reopening fears were "overblown". With high Covid rates country-wide, parents & staff were correct to be concerned. We should be happy we prepared and were wrong. I hope the success continues.  theatlantic.com
No, wearing a mask doesn't make you sicker. So why do some people say that it does?  theatlantic.com
*checks calendar* Yep: It's Decorative Gourd Season, Motherfuckers.   mcsweeneys.net
This is super interesting: Islamic scholars wrote about concepts of evolution, natural selection, and speciation hundreds of years before Darwin.  vice.com
The 100 Most Influential Sequences in Animation History, including those from Gertie the Dinosaur, Snow White, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, Jason and the Argonauts, My Neighbor Totoro, Toy Story, and Lord of the Rings.  vulture.com
"The emergency antibody that Trump received last week was developed with the use of a cell line originally derived from abortion tissue."  technologyreview.com
IBM is splitting itself into two separate companies: a high-margin AI & cloud services company that will retain the IBM name and then everything else grouped into an as-yet-unnamed company.  arstechnica.com
The FBI announced charges against six right-wing terrorists who planned on kidnapping Michigan governor Gretchen Whitmer.  nytimes.com
Kiss List: Writer/artist Galen Beebe kept track of every person she's kissed and graphed the results & attributes of those encounters in a bunch of different ways, e.g. "my enjoyment level / how long I'd known them".  beebe-west.com
This statement from the editors of the New England Journal of Medicine is lukewarm. I guess we're supposed to assume they are talking about the White House? (And Senate?) Name names, folks...don't beat around the bush.  nejm.org
"100,000 Stars is an interactive visualization of the stellar neighborhood." Super fun/informative and I love this playful warning: "Please do not use this visualization for interstellar navigation."  stars.chromeexperiments.com
Wow, the prices of fruits & vegetables at Arctic grocery stores (converted from CAD to USD): $53 for a watermelon, $10 for a head of cauliflower, 10# of potatoes for $15, almost $10 for 1.75L of OJ.  twitter.com
Since the White House isn't doing any contact tracing related to its Covid-19 superspreader outbreak, here's an excellent tracking effort from a group of concerned citizens.  public.tableau.com
A recent study shows that people adhering to an intermittent fasting diet didn't lose more weight (statistically speaking) when compared to those in a control group. "People in clinical trials [tend] to lose weight no matter what you do."  twitter.com
Everyone I know is either drinking more these days or has stopped drinking. If you're in the latter category (or would like to be), check out Good Drinks, a new book of alcohol-free cocktails recipes from Julia Bainbridge.  bookshop.org
Interesting to see the CRISPR Nobel go to Charpentier & Doudna over George Church & Feng Zhang – the two groups have been jockeying for invention credit for years. But Nobels can only be shared by a max of 3 people.  sciencemag.org
The 2020 Nobel Prize in Chemistry has been awarded to Emmanuelle Charpentier and Jennifer Doudna for their work on the CRISPR genome editing system.  nytimes.com
Facebook is banning the QAnon cult from its platforms (FB, Instagram, etc).  nbcnews.com
Urban design for post-Covid cities, including bike superhighways, garden streets, and multipurpose neighborhoods ("the 15-minute city").  theguardian.com
In the US, women (especially married women) are faring worse in the recession than men. "Married women lost almost 1 million jobs last month. (Single men gained 1.2 million.)"  twitter.com
The full list of 2020 MacArthur Fellows includes some familiar names: Tressie McMillan Cottom, N. K. Jemisin, Jacqueline Woodson.  nytimes.com
TypeLit: learn how to type by retyping entire classic books (like Little Women, The Art of War, 1984, Sense & Sensibility, and even Ulysses).  typelit.io
10 things you need to know to stop a coup. "5. Focus on widely shared democratic values, not on individuals."  wagingnonviolence.org
The trailer for Iron Mask. An action movie starring a 66-year-old Jackie Chan and a 73-year-old Arnold Schwarzenegger? Sure, why not.  youtube.com
From the University of Michigan's Penny Stamps Speaker Series, a conversation between filmmaker Ken Burns and author Isabel Wilkerson.  youtube.com
The 2020 Nobel Prize in Physics has been awarded to Roger Penrose (for showing the general theory of relativity predicts black holes) and Reinhard Genzel & Andrea Ghez (for finding evidence of the Milky Way's central black hole).  quantamagazine.org
Misters @noahkalina and @adamlisagor have started a podcast called All Consuming in which they review direct-to-consumer products advertised on Instagram. (But how are we supposed to tell their voices apart?!)  youtube.com
The CDC finally updates their Covid-19 guidelines to acknowledge airborne transmission, the importance of ventilation, and the increased risk of indoor spaces.  twitter.com
The Case for Dumping the Electoral College. "It effectively dilutes the votes of African-Americans, Latinos, and Asian-Americans, because they live disproportionately in populous states."  newyorker.com
Ikea is opening a second-hand store in Sweden later this year, "part of its effort to become a fully circular business by 2030".  thelocal.se
Early paintings made by American artist Edward Hopper in his teens were recently discovered to have been copied from other artists' works.  nytimes.com
Reddit's "Am I the Asshole?" forum reveals the casual sexism of the American male. "Sexism has fully lulled them into a sense of moral superiority that blinds them to their own explicitly terrible behavior."  gen.medium.com
"California became the first state government in the country on Wednesday to adopt a law to study and develop proposals for potential reparations to descendants of enslaved people and those impacted by slavery."  latimes.com
It's looking like Saturday's White House event introducing Amy Coney Barrett as the SCOTUS nominee was a superspreader event. At least 5 people who were there have tested positive for Covid-19. (scroll up in thread...)  twitter.com
Trailer for The Witches, an adaptation of the Roald Dahl book directed by Robert Zemeckis and starring Octavia Spencer, Anne Hathaway, Stanley Tucci, and Chris Rock. Premiering on HBO Max on Oct 22.  youtube.com
From The Hood Internet, a 40-minute chronological mix of the most memorable pop music from 1979-1989.  soundcloud.com
Biologist Linfa Wang has tracked several emerging viruses back to bats and he's leading the effort to track where SARS-CoV-2 came from and how it jumped to humans.  sciencemag.org
Irish court: Subway's bread isn't bread. It's too sugary and therefore it "should thus be classified as confectionery".  theguardian.com
Today's necessary distraction: man guesses paint colors  twitter.com
Donald and Melania Trump have tested positive for Covid-19.  nytimes.com
September 2020 Archives »