Quick Links for February 2021

The FDA has cleared Johnson & Johnson's Covid-19 vaccine for emergency use in the US.  nytimes.com
"Ta-Nehisi Coates is writing an upcoming Superman feature film from DC Films and Warner Bros."  shadowandact.com
A US intelligence report has found that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman approved the murder of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi.  bbc.com
New brief issue of the newsletter just out!  mailchi.mp
Need to generate some 3D blobs? Use this little web tool.  blobmixer.14islands.com
A collection of writings and thoughts about being a "good enough parent". "Every parent wants to be a good parent. And every parent, every day, fails at that because, right now, being a good parent is literally impossible."  austinkleon.com
The UX On This Small Child Is Terrible. "This Small Child won't open its mouth for a toothbrush, but won't close it during my cousin's wedding ceremony. It's as if this Small Child was not designed with accessibility in mind."  mcsweeneys.net
Museum Alive is an augmented reality app narrated by David Attenborough that puts prehistoric creatures on your literal desktop.  alchemyimmersive.com
Andy Works is making aesthetically bold iOS apps that prioritize "play, aesthetics, and quality-of-life over efficiencies". So far they're doing simple apps: timer, calculator, weather.  andy.works
Chill Room, a playlist of long, relaxing nature videos.  youtube.com
The Pudding Cup: The best visual and data-driven stories of 2020 (non-commercial projects only).  pudding.cool
Mara Gay, who has suffered long-Covid symptoms since Apr 2020, says she and others are feeling "significantly better" after the first vaccine dose.  twitter.com
Organized by The Cooper Union, a panel of graphic designers gathered together to remember design legend Milton Glaser.  youtube.com
Hiking Is an Ideal Structure for Friendship. "The whole activity of walking in the woods is very conducive to having a conversation."  theatlantic.com
Missed this when it came out last summer. "The first hopeful book about climate change, The Future Earth shows readers how to reverse the short- and long-term effects of climate change over the next three decades."  bookshop.org
Grade-school math homework asks if a presumed semi-circle has two right angles or not. The answer is not that straightforward.  twitter.com
Predatory Listening: "You're in a conversation, and it seems like the other person has been waiting for the slightest thing to jump on, to prove you wrong, preach their view, or assert a preconceived idea."  tenpercent.com
"When the conservative talk radio host Rush Limbaugh died on Wednesday of complications from cancer, he ended a decades-long career as one of the most malignant and sadistic figures on the right."  nytimes.com
Really interesting piece about the history of Black Americans' participation in beer brewing and consumption. "Beer, as it appears in American pop culture, is hilariously white."  eater.com
A new FDA analysis indicates that "the one-shot coronavirus vaccine made by Johnson & Johnson provides strong protection against severe disease and death from Covid-19". More good vaccine news.  nytimes.com
Need to generate some blobs? Use this little web tool.  blobs.app
Hear the first sounds from Mars, recorded by the microphone on the Perseverance rover.  soundcloud.com
Your Kids Aren't Too Old for Picture Books, and Neither Are You. "With remarkable economy, they excel at the twin arts of visual and textual storytelling."  nytimes.com
A look at the "Magical Negro" movie trope "in which clueless white characters depend on selfless Black helpmates", found in films like The Shining, Driving Miss Daisy, Ghost, and Soul.  theundefeated.com
A brief ode to low expectations.  theatlantic.com
Simone Ellin tracked down the now-adult kids who bullied her in school. "Being able to zoom out and get some perspective after all of these years underscored that we can never really know what's going on in other people's lives."  huffpost.com
On the toll of lockdown when you live alone. "Long-term social isolation is as bad for your health as smoking 15 cigarettes a day. What has the last year meant for those who don’t share their homes?"  theguardian.com
Andy Baio announces Skittish, "a playful virtual space for online events".  waxy.org
This is not your usual architectural criticism. "This is a love story. And, like every love story, it’s also a death story."  architectmagazine.com
Over 500,000 Americans have now died from Covid-19. "More Americans have perished from Covid-19 than on the battlefields of World War I, World War II and the Vietnam War combined."  nytimes.com
For his latest recipe, Kenji López-Alt hacks scrambled eggs. "The melted butter forms a rich sauce, and a cornstarch slurry keeps the eggs creamy."  nytimes.com
What Our Food Reporters and Editors Make When They're Too Tired to Cook. These overachieving folks have a funny definition of "too tired to cook". Risotto?? Where's the Campbell's soup, 9 pieces of string cheese, or popcorn + wine?  nytimes.com
Some initial photos taken by (and of) the Perseverance rover on Mars, including a shot of it being lowered on the sky crane and a photo taken from orbit by the Mars Reconaissance Orbiter.  twitter.com
Covid-19 preventive measures have curbed use of board games in prison, so these inmates started playing chess against each other in their heads.  thedailybeast.com
Just sent out the latest issue of the @kottke newsletter in which I talk about tags. Remember tags? Still useful!  mailchi.mp
A list of the 25 greatest art heists of all time. If you're familiar at all with the history of stolen art, the #1 and #2 heists aren't so hard to guess.  artnews.com
The Evolution from Snurfing to Snowboarding. Sherman Poppen invented snurfing in the 60s and Jake Burton's addition of bindings a decade later changed the game. The old snurfing/snowboarding footage in this is incredible.  outsideonline.com
A warning from members of Biden's transition Covid-19 advisory board that despite recent progress and coming vaccines, "the virus is not done with us" and we need to double-down on precautions to beat the variants.  nytimes.com
A look at what caused the dangerous power shortages in Texas. "The state's massive blackouts are the result of a failure to insure against extreme weather."  nytimes.com
Twitter thread of tips from a Northerner for staying warm in a house with no heat  twitter.com
73.2% of the lower 48 states is currently covered in snow, an 18-year high.  bloombergquint.com
Fascinating piece on how big hockey goalies & their protective gear have gotten and how it has stifled the pro game.  theatlantic.com
The problem with running government like a business. "In short, the govt model is 'We'll take care of you at any cost' while the corporate model is 'We'll take care of you as long as it doesn't cost us too much.'"  twitter.com
The myth of ‘good’ and ‘bad’ Covid vaccines: Why false perceptions overlook facts, and could breed resentment.  statnews.com
Beads made in Venice, Italy have been discovered at an archaeological site in Alaska – from carbon dating, they were likely brought there between 1440 and 1480 (before Columbus "discovered" the Americas).  news.uaf.edu
Some donation links to support the people of Myanmar in their struggle against the ongoing military coup. A friend w/ ties to the country and activists there vouched for this site.  isupportmyanmar.com
Something About The Way Society Was Exposed As Complete Illusion Over Past Year Really Getting Man Down Today.  local.theonion.com
Ten Years Ago – "See what the internet looked like on February 16th, 2011."  neal.fun
It's the 20th anniversary of the All Your Base Are Belong To Us meme. Back in the day, we had to share our memes by hand.  arstechnica.com
I still don't think most ppl appreciate how miraculously good & safe the Covid-19 vaccines are. 66 cases of anaphylaxis out of 18 million US vaccinations, no deaths. Will prevent hundreds of thousands of deaths.  twitter.com
Good on LastPass for charging for their excellent service. The flack they're getting for this is ridiculous – if good password management is so important to people, they can pay $3/mo. Why do we keep having this bad-faith conversation?  blog.lastpass.com
Good thread from @zeynep about blocking people on social media who generate noise so you can hear the signal of actual feedback & real criticism.  twitter.com
A history and discussion of people organizing their bookshelves by color, which people get all judgy about for some reason? I did this once and had to switch back because I could never find anything. But: "My bookshelves, my rules."  bookhistoria.com
Stacey Abrams and Lauren Groh-Wargo from Fair Fight Action on How to Turn Your Red State Blue: "Understand your weaknesses, organize with your allies, shore up your political infrastructure and focus on the long game."  nytimes.com
Cool thing from @pca2: an auto-updated YouTube playlist of videos (currently 2100+!) that are posted to @kottke. Click that "shuffle play" button, sit back, and have yourself an experience.  youtube.com
Last flu season in the US, 400,000 people were hospitalized and 22,000 died. This year so far: only 165 hospitalizations. Covid precautions, flu shots, and kids staying home all contributed to almost nonexistent flu season.  npr.org
There's a pink pineapple now because of Instagram. "'Don't Worry About a Filter,' the Pinkglow(TM) website tells us. 'We Grew It.'"  growbyginkgo.com
This recent book is right up my alley: Fred Rogers: The Last Interview: And Other Conversations.  bookshop.org
"Pfizer and Moderna are testing their vaccines on children 12 and older and hope to have results by the summer." Presumably once those trials are done & approved, a large supply of vaccine will be available immediately for them.  nytimes.com
City Guesser: try to guess the cities in which short video clips were taken. I love these types of games...I played this for way too long.  virtualvacation.us
The Saving Slave Houses project aims to document and preserve structures in the Southern US that were used to house enslaved people.  openculture.com
TIL about bisexual lighting.  en.wikipedia.org
In the past 45 years, the top 1% of Americans have taken $50 trillion from the bottom 90%.  time.com
This might not mean much to most people, but there's a new post on Snarkmarket (by @tcarmody) for the first time in 5 years. It's about Muppet music.  snarkmarket.com
Juuuust sent out the latest issue of the @kottke newsletter. (Better than anything on Substack – just saying!)  mailchi.mp
I love this little puzzle game where you make chess moves to capture the other king, both stymied and aided by gravity.  rob1221.itch.io
18th Century Book ASMR (3 minutes of someone turning pages in an old book)  youtube.com
An interview about the sociology of the elite global party circuit, where the wealthy engage in a very conspicuous "ritualized form of wealth destruction".  artreview.com
Our World in Data is tracking the effects of the aggressive Covid-19 vaccination campaign by Israel.  ourworldindata.org
With sliders for "bartender working" and "people talking", this interactive soundboard lets you simulate the aural experience of being at your favorite bar.  imissmybar.com
Same Energy is a visual search engine that finds images with the "artistic style and overall mood" (i.e. the same energy) as an initial query image.  same.energy
Live Music Jukebox algorithmically helps you find the recorded live performances from your favorite artists that "stand out the most compared to the studio version".  pudding.cool
Clips from when Philip Glass was the musical guest on Saturday Night Live (when George Wendt & Francis Ford Coppola co-hosted in March 1986, one of the show's oddest episodes).  twitter.com
To start Trump's 2nd impeachment trial, the House Impeachment Manager presented this video montage of Trump's words and the Capitol mob's deeds from Jan 6th. This is upsetting and damning to watch.  youtube.com
"Police officers in Beverly Hills have been playing music while being filmed, seemingly in an effort to trigger Instagram's copyright filters" to avoid being livestreamed.  vice.com
A team of WHO scientists visiting China say that "the coronavirus probably first spread to humans through an intermediate animal host and was 'extremely unlikely' the result of a lab accident."  nytimes.com
Carl Zimmer and Jonathan Corum are tracking Covid-19 variants and mutations at the NY Times. Good resource to get up to speed.  nytimes.com
Fascism scholar Jason Stanley decodes the 2-minute propaganda video shown at the Trump rally before the storming of the Capitol. "Fascist propaganda creates an awesome sense of loss, and a desire for revenge against those who are responsible."  justsecurity.org
Tipping Is a Legacy of Slavery by Michelle Alexander. "Abolish the racist, sexist subminimum wage now."  nytimes.com
"It's Unimpressive That I Recognized An Online Fart As I Would The Voice Of My Grandmother." I laughed until my sides ached reading this chat transcript.  defector.com
As a coup attempt continues amid anti-authoritarian protests in Myanmar, the military has severely limited internet access in the country. Activists fear the blackout is cover for a crackdown.  apnews.com
Just sent out the first @kottke newsletter in ~6 months. Trying to reboot it with a leaner/meaner format.  mailchi.mp
A short history of flight attendants. Always a tough job, but now they're dealing with anti-mask idiots. "...you have the guy eating one sunflower seed at a time so he can keep the mask off the whole flight."  theverge.com
Why You Should Take Any Vaccine by @zeynep. "Since the beginning of the trials, all trials, there has not been a single death or hospitalization among people vaccinated. Not one. Zero."  zeynep.substack.com
XOXO has announced that there will be no festival in 2021. "It’s just not clear that it will be safe for us to gather again by September." A bummer, but the right move.  twitter.com
Poet Amanda Gorman to Michelle Obama: "I'm learning that I am not lightning that strikes once. I am the hurricane that comes every single year, and you can expect to see me again soon."  time.com
Unfortunately, this sort of macho we're-gonna-kick-your-ass posturing (but "it's a joke!") is probably necessary to get Americans to take electric vehicles seriously. But hey, Awkwafina!  youtube.com
A look at how the plantation tourism industry in Charleston, SC is reckoning – slowly, finally – with the ugly reality of what actually happened in those places.  americanway.com
"That Could Have Been Me": The People Derek Chauvin Choked Before George Floyd. "They describe an officer quick to use force and callous about their pain."  themarshallproject.org
On Feb 1, Oregon decriminalized possession of small amounts of all drugs. Instead of punishing people, the state will offer "greatly increased access" to services like treatment and recovery.  drugpolicy.org
Out now: Four Hundred Souls: A Community History of African America, 1619-2019, edited by Ibram X. Kendi & Keisha N. Blain. The contributors list for this is like an all-star team.  bookshop.org
A collection of videos of people painting. "Watching others paint is relaxing, even when the painter is not the beloved Bob Ross and his happy trees and friendly squirrels."  metafilter.com
Remember this fast-talking guy?  youtube.com
Amazon watcher @tcarmody on what’s next for Bezos & Amazon. “He is not going to go away to start an apple butter farm or retire away to Xanadu like Charles Foster Kane. That’s not how this works.”  amazonchronicles.substack.com
"What I believe (the thing nobody will let me tell you) is this: I'm being censored, and you can read, hear, and see me talk more about it in the news, on the radio, and on TV."  mcsweeneys.net
Jeff Bezos will transition out of Amazon CEO role later this year.  businesswire.com
Analysis of Jan 6 terrorists. "The overwhelming reason for action, cited again and again in court documents, was that arrestees were following Trump's orders to keep Congress from certifying Joe Biden as the presidential-election winner."  theatlantic.com
Beautiful portraits of Peruvian craftspeople (weavers, guitar makers, potters, bakers, farmers, etc.)  hasselblad.com
An Israeli human-rights organization has designated Israel an apartheid regime. "The paper argues that the Israeli regime of apartheid rests on four pillars: citizenship, land, freedom of movement, and political participation."  newyorker.com
The COVID Tracking Project will stop its work in early March because the US government is finally doing this vital task. A huge HUGE thank you to the @COVID19Tracking team for their service.  covidtracking.com
A short interview with Hayao Miyazaki conducted during his daily ritual of tidying up the street outside his house. "I rarely watch other things. I don't watch TV, I don't watch movies. I'm a retired old man picking up trash."  japantoday.com
"The news about the vaccines continues to be excellent — and the public discussion of it continues to be more negative than the facts warrant. Here’s the key fact: All five vaccines with public results have eliminated Covid-19 deaths."  nytimes.com
The second volume of Jason Polan's Every Person in New York is being published soon; preorder it here. "He estimated having drawn over 50,000 people and as he stated 'I still have a bit to go.'"  dashwoodbooks.com
"These data indicate that there were 4.8 (95% CI: 2.8-6.8) undiagnosed cases for every diagnosed case of COVID-19" in the US during late spring and early summer 2020.  medrxiv.org
January 2021 Archives »