Quick Links for November 2020

Learn How to Play Chess Free Online: Tutorials for Beginners, Intermediate Players & Beyond.  openculture.com
Cloud Zoo, a virtual collection of video clips of the activities of hundreds of zoo and aquarium animals that are live streamed online every day.  pudding.cool
11 facts about coast redwoods. They drink fog, their bark is a foot thick, and some were alive during the Roman Empire. I love redwoods.  treehugger.com
"Hailed as 'the Sistine Chapel of the ancients', archaeologists have found tens of thousands of paintings of animals and humans created up to 12,500 years ago across cliff faces that stretch across nearly eight miles in Colombia."  theguardian.com
From the medical journal The Lancet, a collection of short obituaries of medical professionals from around the world who have died of Covid-19.  thelancet.com
Final "absolutely remarkable" results from Moderna's vaccine trials: 94.1% efficacy and "no one who got Moderna's vaccine in trial developed severe COVID-19".  sciencemag.org
Ava DuVernay is set to write & direct a film adaptation of Isabel Wilkerson's Caste for Netflix.  variety.com
I Spent 11 Years Working on This Line Rider Track. (Wow.)  delu.medium.com
1000s of cover videos of Billie Eilish's Bad Guy, auto-synched by AI. "Machine learning keeps all these covers on the same beat and lets you jump from video to video seamlessly."  billie.withyoutube.com
55 Ways White People Say 'White People' Without Actually Saying 'White People', including "real Americans", "soccer moms", "law-abiding citizens", "taxpayers", and "families".  verysmartbrothas.theroot.com
How to Socialize in the Cold Without Being Miserable. "It's like a chess match — you need to be thinking two or three moves ahead."  bloomberg.com
Their Patients Have COVID-19 and Still Think It's a Hoax. Said one nurse: "We never have had people who thought we were lying to them. It feels like the public doesn't trust us anymore."  thecut.com
"I Think He's Selfish": How Friendships Have Been Tested During The Pandemic.  buzzfeednews.com
Legendary football star Diego Maradona has died at the age of 60.  espn.com
Social Unrest Is the Inevitable Legacy of the Covid Pandemic. "Throughout history, plagues have caused upheaval and revolts. This pandemic will be no different."  bloomberg.com
A short history of Very Special Episodes on TV shows and the lessons about drugs, AIDS, and school shootings that have stuck with some people.  melmagazine.com
An analysis of representation in crossword puzzles. "Our finding: crossword puzzles are dominated by men of European descent, reserving little space for everyone else."  pudding.cool
Online access to the NY Times is now free for all US high school students and teachers until Sept 2021.  nytimes.com
Meghan Markle writes about the grief she felt over her miscarriage this summer and connects it to the grief we're all feeling, one way or another, because of the pandemic.  nytimes.com
How to get good at chess. "You need to be endlessly fascinated by it and see its infinite potential. Be willing to embrace the complexity; enjoy the adventure."  theguardian.com
This video introduced me to NF, a rapper who doesn't swear, doesn't beef w/ others, raps about mental illness, and wears his vulnerability on his sleeve.  youtube.com
Margaret Thatcher in a private audience with the Queen. (Literally laughed until I cried watching this...)  twitter.com
"The reconstructed infectiousness profile of a typical SARS-CoV-2 patient peaks just before symptom presentation."  science.sciencemag.org
The gadget comeback of 2020. "Did you expect to spend your summer trying to figure out if an air purifier made by a Bluetooth speaker company was going to be sufficient to clear the atmosphere in your isolation pod on an increasingly hostile planet?"  nytimes.com
We Do This 'Til We Free Us is a forthcoming collection of essays and interviews "on prison industrial complex abolition and a vision for collective liberation from organizer and educator Mariame Kaba."  bookshop.org
This could join the annals of significant accidental scientific discoveries: AstraZeneca's more effective 1/2 dose + full dose regimen for their Covid-19 vaccine was a mistake.  reuters.com
Ernest Cline's Ready Player Two is out today. "Days after winning OASIS founder James Halliday's contest, Wade Watts makes a discovery that changes everything."  bookshop.org
Helicopter pilot finds "strange" monolith in Utah wilderness. "I'm assuming it's some new wave artist or something or, you know, somebody that was a big 2001: A Space Odyssey fan."  theguardian.com
According to the TSA, pre-Thanksgiving travel is down by more than half from 2019 but is up from October numbers (though by perhaps less than one might expect?)  tsa.gov
Ken Jennings will be the first interim host on Jeopardy.  twitter.com
The Birther Myth Stuck Around For Years. The Election Fraud Myth Might Too. "A significant number of Americans currently believe the 2020 election was stolen, even though it wasn't."  fivethirtyeight.com
How to make an AC/DC song in 30 seconds. "What's that? Look out! Dog on the road!"  tiktok.com
Recommended: this You're Wrong About episode about the Electoral College w/ special guest @jbouie. I particularly enjoyed the "what if?" discussion – it's not so straightforward what the result of EC abolishment would be on national elections.  podcasts.apple.com
"Spreadable thoughts spread more"  twitter.com
Don't Eat Inside a Restaurant. "Each of us, to get through this terrible time, has clung to some coronavirus factoid or another that we believe protects us. Here's mine: The odds of catching the coronavirus are about 20 times higher indoors than outdoors."  theatlantic.com
Gavin Newsom Slammed For Eating At The French Laundry When Atelier Crenn Clearly Superior Take On Contemporary Cuisine  theonion.com
On the sanctity of American marriage. "I believe that marriage is a lasting partnership between one person without health insurance and one person who gets pretty good coverage through work."  newyorker.com
The NY Times Editorial Board: "What the public interest requires for now is a suspension of indoor dining in areas where the virus is spreading, combined with federal aid to keep restaurants in business."  nytimes.com
This saga of the Craigslist Pig Couch—which has been circulating in various listings since at least 2016—is intriguing in its own right. But what really nails the story are the dry, perfectly shaped sentences, one after another  nytimes.com
The volunteers, coders, designers, coordinators, and journalists behind The @COVID19Tracking Project are some of the genuine heroes of this year. Here’s how they came together to do a job the US federal government can’t or won’t do:  bloomberg.com
Michigan’s top GOP legislators who are meeting today with the current POTUS, presumably because he wants them to consider the perhaps-unconstitutional move of bypassing their state’s election, might be in legal jeopardy just by showing up for the meeting  politico.com
After 57 years, the Arecibo radio telescope in Puerto Rico will be shut down and dismantled.  sciencemag.org
"Scientists increasingly say that there is little to no evidence that contaminated surfaces can spread the virus" and that spreading through aerosols and droplets "is a much greater threat".  nytimes.com
Italian police used a Lamborghini "with a refrigerated frunk" to transport a kidney for a waiting patient 300 miles in just two hours.  thedrive.com
"T-shirt? Towel? Some experts say it's time to get beyond states' anything-goes approach to masks." Yes. Enough of the bandanas and single-ply gaiters.  latimes.com
Vaccine. Vaccine. Vaccine. Vaccinnnne! I'm begging of you please take it if you can.  theguardian.com
Video of an anti-vaxxer gathering in Iowa last weekend shows huge indoor gathering, chanting ("Freedom!"), no mask wearing, no distancing. Currently 51.7% of tested Iowans have Covid. Pure lunacy.  youtube.com
"The Marvel Cinematic Universe is an extraordinary achievement in military industrial complex propaganda written at a fourth grade reading level and should be laughed out of the building."  twitter.com
Modelling the risk of aerosol transmission of Covid-19 during Thanksgiving dinner. Room size matters, outdoors is very low risk, "if superspreader present, everyone will be infected", risk rises faster than group size, HEPA filters useful.  drive.google.com
Apple reduces their App Store cut to 15% for businesses making less than $1 million/yr. Why not make this automatic and more progressive though?  apple.com
More preliminary results from Pfizer's Covid-19 vaccine: 95% effective after 170 accumulated infections. Moderna reported 94.5%. This is good news.  apnews.com
Getting tested for Covid-19 on a Thursday so you can go to an unmasked party w/ friends on a Saturday is not a good idea.  latimes.com
"How long might immunity to the coronavirus last? Years, maybe even decades, according to a new study..."  nytimes.com
The COVID-19 Event Risk Assessment Planning Tool estimates how likely it is for a Covid-positive person to be at a gathering of X people. At a gathering of 15 people where I grew up in WI, there's currently an 81% chance that someone there will have it.  covid19risk.biosci.gatech.edu
Beyond parody...this is real Cosmo front page copy (about The Black Death!): "Dating Lessons from Pandemics Past – The 14th Century Called and It Wants Its Sex Spree Back"  twitter.com
Ooooh, timely new book from @nicolatwilley & @geoffmanaugh: Until Proven Safe: The History and Future of Quarantine.  bookshop.org
Report from a critical care doctor: the dissonance between the situation in ERs & hospitals (death, broken families, exhausted staff) & seeing people carelessly going about their lives as if Covid doesn't exist is devastating.  twitter.com
America's healthcare workers, already strained and exhausted from months of continuous effort, are facing a "bigger and broader" third surge. "More people than ever are hospitalized with COVID-19. Health-care workers can't go on like this."  theatlantic.com
53 Whiskey Cocktails to Get You Through Winter. Only 53?! I don't know if that's going to be enough... (Pairs well with The 4000 Best Movies You Must Watch on Netflix Tonight!!!)  epicurious.com
Using techniques borrowed from sex-ed (to e.g. encourage condom use) to talk to people about mask wearing. "It feels strange to do this even if you don't feel sick. That's actually why it matters: if we do this, we get to keep...spending time together."  twitter.com
The Republican Party is an anti-science & anti-humanist death cult.  twitter.com
A South Dakota ER nurse on her Covid-19 patients who refuse to believe Covid is real. "They call you names and ask why you have to wear all that 'stuff' because they don't have COViD because it's not real. Yes. This really happens."  twitter.com
"Sweet, fizzy Coca-Cola, notes writer Tom Standage, is practically 'capitalism in a bottle'. In societies where capitalism loses favor, the symbolic American drink is often replaced with a palatable local alternative."  atlasobscura.com
"Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure: The Guide to a Bodacious Life" is a new hardcover companion to the first two Bill & Ted movies illustrated by occasional @kottke contributor @chrispiascik.  bookshop.org
Unable to get together in person, two friends have been writing daily haikus to each other during the pandemic. Some lovely thoughts here on creativity, friendship, and happiness.  theatlantic.com
The Helsinki Foundation allows small donors fund their own tiny nature reserves around the world for as little as 30€.  helsinkifoundation.org
In August, 55 people attended a wedding reception in Maine. A single guest had Covid-19 and it eventually spread to 176 other people, 7 of whom died. "None of the victims who lost their lives had attended the party."  latimes.com
We're Past the 'Point of No Return' on Global Warming, Scientists Warn. "It simply will not stop from cutting manmade greenhouse gasses. We need to do something more in order to stop it."  futurehuman.medium.com
"Other countries have social safety nets. The U.S. has women."  annehelen.substack.com
A look at the beef between the owner and employees of NYC's iconic Strand Bookstore. "Why, they wonder, are their fellow employees still out of jobs while the owner gets a government payroll loan and has the money to invest elsewhere?"  insidehook.com
How has Uruguay done so well during the pandemic? "Only 3,620 cases and 62 deaths despite sharing borders with Brazil & Argentina, two of the world's top-10 in overall cases."  twitter.com
"The government should pay bars, many restaurants and event venues to close for some months."  nytimes.com
ProPublica experiments with ultra-accessible plain language in stories about people with disabilities  niemanlab.org
The winners of the 2020 AAAS Kavli Science Journalism Awards. Lots of meaty reading here about the pandemic, climate change, and other topics.  sjawards.aaas.org
An ad for Dunning-Kruger whiskey, "the only choice for the self-educated gentleman".  youtube.com
This is a good one sentence summary of the US public health failure during the pandemic: "Our official communicators have dropped the ball, and they have been undermined by people who don't have the public's interest at heart."  propublica.org
"Oprah Winfrey and Brad Pitt are teaming up to adapt The Water Dancer, the best-selling novel by Ta-Nehisi Coates, for MGM."  hollywoodreporter.com
Trump is attempting a coup in plain sight. "That this coup probably will not work — that it is being carried out farcically, erratically, ineffectively — does not mean it is not happening, or that it will not have consequences."  vox.com
The CDC has finally updated its guidance to say that masks protect the wearer in addition to those around them.  cnn.com
Could a Peasant Defeat a Knight in Battle? "If a knight came face-to-face with a peasant in battle, then the latter had the odds very much against them."  medievalists.net
McDonald's will be introducing a meatless burger called the McPlant next year.  eater.com
"We need to tighten up even further until the vaccine becomes available. The goal is now no longer to learn to live indefinitely with the virus. It's to get as many people through the winter as possible without getting sick."  nytimes.com
Take some time to read about the Kristallnacht (violent anti-Jewish pogroms), which took place in Germany and German-occupied areas 82 years ago yesterday & today. We need to remember well the dangers of racist, nationalist authoritarianism.  encyclopedia.ushmm.org
Holy crap, watch this video of someone exhaling in a N95 mask with a value vs. an unvalved mask. If you're still somehow wearing a valved mask thinking it will protect others from your possible infection, please find a better option.  twitter.com
New research: "Not only did Alexander Hamilton enslave people, but his involvement in the institution of slavery was essential to his identity, both personally and professionally."  nytimes.com
I missed this news last month: George Miller is directing a Mad Max prequel called Furiosa. Anya Taylor-Joy (Beth in The Queen's Gambit) will play Furiosa.  deadline.com
What if we treated the American Presidency as the civil service job that it is? "We don't think of the Presidency as a civil service position like working at the DMV or delivering the mail. But that's what it is. It's another government service job."  twitter.com
The Brooklyn Museum has an online exhibition of the fashion featured in the Netflix series The Crown and The Queen's Gambit.  thequeenandthecrown.com
"When Covid hit, I started walking 20,000 steps a day. It's changed my life."  theguardian.com
Really interesting "wind map" visualization of voting pattern changes across the US from 2016 to 2020.  washingtonpost.com
An interview with former chess champion Linda Diaz about what The Queen's Gambit got right & wrong. "She's really aggressive. And I was also an aggressive player. And so it comes off as 'you're impatient,' and really it's that you're creative..."  npr.org
This is pitch perfect: I Guess I Just Expected a Little More From This Country. "How could a people that had to be explicitly told not to eat Tide Pods be so short-sighted?"  mcsweeneys.net
"The thing about a $590 T-shirt is that, upon acquiring one, you immediately become the human assistant to a $590 T-shirt."  nytimes.com
A list of Georgia BIPOC-led voter outreach organizations  docs.google.com
A toolkit for volunteering for the Georgia US Senate runoff races supporting the Raphael Warnock & Jon Ossoff campaigns. Includes places to donate, local orgs to support, how to phonebank, etc.  docs.google.com
"Nordic countries are really good at converting their wealth into well-being. They invest in things and experiences that create good conditions for good lives."  forge.medium.com
Alex Trebek has died at the age of 80.  nytimes.com
Belgium's pandemic lockdown rules stipulate that everyone gets one "knuffelcontact" (cuddle buddy) to help maintain mental health. (Ppl living alone get two.) Back in May, Holland's lockdown rules allowed for a "seksbuddy".  vice.com
This is a nice map, but we do this every four years. Misleading area-based US election maps have been "fixed" for decades. It's just that the media won't stop using them.  fastcompany.com
From Aug '19, a profile of Stacey Abrams and her fight against voter suppression and electoral reform.  newyorker.com
An Oral History of 'Marge vs The Monorail', the Episode That Changed 'The Simpsons'. Always one of my favorites & quoted it endlessly w/ friends in college.  vice.com
Ibram X. Kendi: "From the beginning of the American project, the powerful individual has been battling for his constitutional freedom to harm, and the vulnerable community has been battling for its constitutional freedom from harm."  theatlantic.com
2020 Should Be the Last Time We Vote Like This. The US system of voting is terrible and unfair and racist.  nytimes.com
An interview with James Nestor, author of a recent book on the "lost art" of breathing. Inhaling through the nose "can trigger different hormones to flood into our bodies, how it can lower our blood pressure..."  npr.org
"Young people with COVID-19 who are asymptomatic are at risk for developing potentially dangerous inflammation around the heart." In a recent study, 1/3 of student athletes w/ Covid showed "evidence of heart abnormalities".  theconversation.com
A collection of the first words sent by various technologies (telegraph, telephone, ARPANET, YouTube).  interconnected.org
Critics look back on their reviews that they got wrong. "Daft Punk were incredibly prescient: play Discovery today and it sounds utterly contemporary. My review, on the other hand, has not aged so well."  theguardian.com
100,000 reported cases of Covid-19 in the US today. A disaster.  theatlantic.com
The Catalogue of Bias, a listing of "the different types of biases, their potential impact, and how this affects interpretation and use of evidence in healthcare decision making".  catalogofbias.org
Twitter accounts are getting TV shows now. Ava DuVernay is doing a @OnePerfectShot series for HBO Max celebrating and discussing "the best shots in film history".  indiewire.com
Ted Lasso started as a character in a 2013 NBC Sports promo for the network's Premier League coverage. I am glad the character evolved from the meaner one in this spot...  youtube.com
Today the United States became the first nation in the world to formally withdraw from the Paris climate agreement. (We can rejoin with a month's notice though.)  bbc.com
A former chess master & columnist grades The Queen's Gambit on its chess authenticity. "The series is one of the best and most successful screen adaptations of the game."  nytimes.com
Chad Scira responsibly reported a bug to Chase regarding their credit card rewards points (you could generate free points by transferring in a certain way). Chase responded by cancelling all of his credit cards and bank accounts.  chadscira.com
Tamir Rice would have been old enough to vote today. "Keep him and others without a voice in mind as we use our voices in their stead."  rollingstone.com
A visualization of the role of superspreading in the Covid-19 pandemic. In a situation like this where 10-20% of the people are responsible for 70-80% of the spread, stopping those spreading opportunities is key.  vis.sciencemag.org
An Incomplete History of White Election Violence. "No, my friends, America is not 'better than this.'"  theroot.com
An analysis of how police misconduct complaints are handled in Philadelphia. "Not only are the investigation and findings processes more dismissive toward Black complainants, they are more punitive toward Black officers."  pudding.cool
Great interview with Zeynep Tufekci about her remarkable run of articles and analysis about the pandemic (specifically about masks, aerosols/ventilation, and dispersion/k value).  medscape.com
Howard Hughes Medical Institute has paid a six-figure sum to the Henrietta Lacks Foundation intended as reparations for the continuing experimental use of cells that were taken from Lacks without her permission.  nature.com
Because people vote (not land), most election maps are very misleading. (We talk about this every four years and yet the media keeps on using these deceptive maps.)  nytimes.com
Older people and Republicans are most likely to share Covid-19 stories from fake news sites on Twitter.  niemanlab.org
Jeff Bridges updates us on his cancer diagnosis. "This cancer is making me appreciate my mortality, appreciate impermanance. I'm realizing if I have shit to share, now's the time."  jeffbridges.com
October 2020 Archives »