Wednesday 30 June, 2021

Quote of the Day

”Everyone wants an artist on the wall or on the shelf, but nobody wants him in the house.”

  • James Baldwin

Musical alternative to the morning’s radio news

Sheryl Crow, Eric Clapton, Vince Gill, Albert Lee | Tulsa Time


Nobody sleeps at the back when this crew are in action.

Long Read of the Day

Where Did the Coronavirus Come From? What We Already Know Is Troubling.

Another unmissable piece  from Zeynep Tufecki.

Even if the coronavirus did jump from animal to human without the involvement of research activities, the groundwork for a potential disaster had been laid for years, and learning its lessons is essential to preventing others.

This is a really sobering read, which starts by chronicling the history of virological research conducted with sometimes lax attention to safety. I didn’t know, for example, that:

Nearly every SARS case since the original epidemic has been due to lab leaks — six incidents in three countries, including twice in a single month from a lab in Beijing. In one instance, the mother of a lab worker died.

Or that,

In 2007, foot-and-mouth disease, which can devastate livestock and caused a massive crisis in Britain in 2001, escaped from a drainage pipe leak at an English lab with the highest biosafety rating, BSL-4.

Or that,

the last known person who died of smallpox was someone infected because of a lab incident in Britain in 1978.

Read on.

We still don’t know — and maybe never will — how the Covid-19 virus escaped into the human population. But that’s no excuse for not tightening up security precautions — and maybe even banning some kinds of virological research.

He Thought He Could Outfox the Gig Economy. He Was Wrong

Startling story from Wired.

Jeffrey Fang, DoorDash delivery guy, knows you judge his parenting skills, and he’ll join in your condemnation in a moment. He’ll explain that bringing his kids along on his Saturday night shift “made sense, until it didn’t,” and that in hindsight, he understands that it really, really didn’t. But right now, on the night of February 6, he’s not thinking clearly, and you’ll have to excuse him as he sprints pell-mell down a promenade of swank homes after the thief who just stole his phone.

He sees the thief dive into the back seat of a silver sedan, and as the car accelerates Fang keeps running alongside and grabs the passenger door handle—less DoorDash Dad than some kind of bespectacled Jason Bourne. The phone, you see, is his “moneymaking tool”; it’s how he feeds his family. But each stride is taking him farther from his unlocked Honda Odyssey minivan, parked illegally, engine humming, in a driveway where he was making a delivery, with precious cargo in the back seat.

His kids…

Good story, well told. (And, in case you’re worried, it ends well.) But in the process, it paints a graphic picture of what working in the gig economy is like.

David Halberstam

I’d been thinking about The Best and the Brightest, David Halberstam’s great book about America’s disastrous involvement in Vietnam, and went looking for speeches by him. This YouTube video of a keynote address he gave at the JFK Presidential Library is terrific. Nearly an hour long, so make some coffee first.

Another, hopefully interesting, link

 Developing 120-Year-Old Photos found in a Time Capsule

Absolutely fascinating — at least if you’re a photographer. Link

H/T to Jason Kottke.

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