A Bull Bear Market
It always seemed borderline insane that pot purveyors chose to infuse their product into gummy bears, a candy that's popular among kids. But I'm learning that gummies, even the non-infused kind, are also quite popular among adults—and even the pure candy has a psychoactive effect. NYT (Gift Article): Sweet and Squishy as Ever, the Gummy Universe Keeps Expanding. "Sometimes the best we can do ... is to have a piece of something sweet, and revel in a moment when 'nothing else matters except the self and that joy that a sugar fix can bring.' The physical qualities of gummy candies — their tenderness and the soothing sound as they’re chewed — might serve as a cushion for the hard-edge realities of adult life.'" Maybe that explains pot gummies. As life's edge grew increasingly hard, adults needed a thicker cushion...
2. Censorship Has Sailed
For most leaders, the pandemic presented a challenge. For some, it provided an opportunity. "China provided a playbook for information repression that spread around the world alongside the virus. Citing covid, authoritarian governments in Russia, Iran, Nicaragua, and eighty other nations, according to Human Rights Watch, enacted new restrictions on free speech and political expression that were falsely described as public-health measures ... Authoritarian regimes called the censorship necessary and much of it temporary, but, in reality, the pandemic amplified or accelerated a shift toward authoritarianism that, according to the U.S.-based pro-democracy organization Freedom House, had been under way for fourteen years." The New Yorker: How China’s Response to COVID-19 Set the Stage for a Worldwide Wave of Censorship.
+ When manipulating information doesn't work, there's always the backup plan: turning it off. Rest of World: In the Dark: Seven years, 60 countries, 935 internet shutdowns: How authoritarian regimes found an off switch for dissent.
3. The Masked Springer
"Leslie Manookian, a former Wall Street analyst living in Idaho who had founded an anti-COVID-regulation nonprofit; two Florida women who said their anxiety prevented them from wearing masks and, therefore, traveling; and a Trump-appointed federal judge who the American Bar Association said was too inexperienced to be appointed to the bench." After all the hullaballoo, all the arguing, all the politically charged faux outrage, in the end, the mask mandate fizzled out due to a small group of people most had never even heard of. Who Ended the Travel Mask Mandate? A Vaccine Critic, a Florida Judge and 2 Anxious Travelers.
4. Prime Examples
"What I get from talking to Amazon workers … is that the pay is not the worst, especially for non-union workers, and the benefits are okay. But the physical demands and the surveillance are grueling and much, much worse than other employers in the same sector." The Amazonification of the American workforce. America has split into two cultures: The orderers and the fulfillers.
+ "You should feel guilty. I do, anyway. Convenience is not a good reason to participate in exploitation or waste. But guilt is a weak political emotion. In my experience, it can easily lose out to the 3 a.m. realization that Baby Two has soaked through her sleepsack and we need more Huggies Overnites ASAP. But a series of product safety cases that have been brought against Amazon over the past few years makes clear that its rewiring of retail poses risks to customers as well. Above all, the cases highlight a significant gap between how most people understand the world’s largest e-commerce company and what that company actually does." NYT: What You Don’t Know About Amazon.
5. Extra, Extra
Lie Detection: "ProPublica has obtained a trove of internal emails and other documentation that, taken together, tell the inside story of a group of people who propagated a number of the most pervasive theories about how the election was stolen, especially that voting machines were to blame, and helped move them from the far-right fringe to the center of the Republican Party ... Some members of the coalition presented this mix of unreliable witnesses, unconfirmed rumor and suspect analyses as fact in published reports, talking points and court documents. In several cases, their assertions became the basis for Trump’s claims that the election had been rigged." ProPublica: Building the Big Lie: Inside the Creation of Trump’s Stolen Election Myth. Related: DeSantis signs elections bill creating fraud squad.
+ Tanks, I Needed That: Following a meeting with representatives from 40 allied countries, Germany’s government authorized the supply of about 50 anti-aircraft tanks to Ukraine, in a major policy shift. Here's the latest from BBC.
+ Blood Drops: "If kept cool, donated blood can be stored for just a month or so, but some components that hospitals isolate for transfusions—like platelets—will spoil in days. A turbulent drive is not a perfect match for such finicky cargo." Wired: Drones Have Transformed Blood Delivery in Rwanda.
+ Rubbing Halt in the Wound: "Widespread covid outbreaks in China have bought entire cities to a standstill and hobbled manufacturing and shipping hubs throughout the country. An estimated 373 million people - or about one-quarter of China's population - have been in covid-related lockdowns in recent weeks because of what is known as the country's zero covid policy." 'Everything is halted': Shanghai shutdowns are worsening shortages.
+ Gut Reaction: "Still, Bronstein ordered an at-home colon cancer screening test just to be safe and took it in January. When the results came back positive, she anxiously texted her primary care doctor to find out the next steps. “You don’t have cancer,” he replied, adding a smiley face. He was wrong." Colorectal tumor at 48: Doctor dismissed her at-home test. It turned out to be cancer. My friend Chris Bronstein wants you to get tested and to stop avoiding the topic of butts and guts.
+ Par Excellence: "When Achatz mentioned her dual interests in golf and fashion, Smith pulled up photos on his phone, black-and-white images from the 1930s that he’d first seen in a scrapbook at his workplace: portraits of members of the Harding Park Women’s Golf Club, dressed in their Babe Didrikson Zaharias-era duds. Achatz loved the clothes. But something else was even more alluring: the idea of bringing back the club." Why this nearly century-old women’s golf club is enjoying a revival. Excellent work by my sister-in-law Lily!
+ Do No Charm: Magically suspicious: why are thousands claiming sickness after eating Lucky Charms. Reported symptoms include nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. (Seems like a small price to pay for a bowl of Lucky Charms.)
6. Bottom of the News
"While some of us smuggle home every bar we can get our hands on (a totally acceptable move, according to hoteliers), most guests leave behind sizable, half-used hunks of soap. At scale, this is a big deal." The surprising afterlife of used hotel soap.
+ WaPo: Sheep found saddled with 41 pounds of wool is shorn for adoring public.
+ A headline that defines an era: Woman rescued after falling in toilet trying to get phone.
+ And from Jack Dorsey, a key figure in getting the Twitter deal done: Twitter "wants to be a public good at a protocol level, not a company ... Solving for the problem of it being a company however, Elon is the singular solution I trust. I trust his mission to extend the light of consciousness." Phew.