These are interesting excerpts I’ve clipped from articles online.
- 27 May 2020
The human species will likely survive in spite of itself, though in a world warped by the bitter cruelties of our ruling classes. We may in fact go on surviving quite a bit longer than some prognosticators may imagine. There will doubtless be consequences for the effects we have on the environment, but no species before us has has the ability to engineer around these consequences. No creatures but humans have ever had the resources to create a peaceful world amidst the chaos of natural history. We must rise to the occasion and build a world for the masses who live on it.
— No Apocalypse - Protean Magazine, Michael Malloy in Protean
- 27 May 2020
On Skye, Nursing Home Deaths Expose a Covid-19 Scandal
But management told workers to wear masks only around suspected coronavirus patients an approach that Ms. Harris, in her complaint, compared to closing the gate after the horse has bolted. The company told her that aides who wanted masks were provided with them starting April 9. Not until April 18, a week before the outbreak, were masks required.
Even so, managers sometimes refused to wear masks themselves, including on medicine rounds to residents’ rooms, complaining that they itched, the three workers said.
— On a Scottish Isle, Nursing Home Deaths Expose a Covid-19 Scandal, Benjamin Mueller in The New York Times
- 25 May 2020
My Ten Games of the Decade
Cities: Skylines is easily the pinnacle of the city-builder, city-sim genre, having dethroned Sim City. It has its issues, for sure. The lack of mixed-use zoning and the overreliance on car-based travel are disappointing in particular. But, working around that and with the help of a few (hundred) mods, Cities offers an unparalleled canvas for painting a city.
Moments of intense concentration, placing things just right, are interspersed with blissful periods of sitting back and just watching the city work. Immensely satisfying, gratifyingly creative and endlessly mesmerising, Cities has spent half the decade as one of my most successful tools for relaxation.
— My Ten Games of the Decade, Dom Ford
- 24 May 2020
The Coronavirus Quieted City Noise
And then there are the birds — so many birds, who all seem so much louder. In fact, it’s likely that they’re actually quieter now than before the pandemic. They no longer have to sing louder to be heard over the racket of the city, a behavior, known as the Lombard effect, that has been observed in other animals, too.
— The Coronavirus Quieted City Noise, Quoctrung Bui and Emily Badger in The New York Times
- 24 May 2020
Coronavirus is not fuel for urbanist fantasies
On Sunday, the New York Times published an op-ed series on cities and inequality pegged to the coronavirus crisis. But a piece on how to redesign urban space post-COVID-19 never once mentions race, revealing a troubling blind spot in the way urban designers talk about this crisis: The idea that safe, generous and accessible common space is fundamental to public life is an essential American ideaas old as the Boston Commonbut if our current catastrophe can help recapture this birthright, it will have served a small purpose. Colonial Massachusetts? Whose birthright are we talking about here, exactly?
— Coronavirus and cities: What urban designers don’t get about COVID-19, Alissa Walker in Curbed
- 24 May 2020
How La Haine lit a fire under French society
The outraged reaction to the film showed it had hit home. It won best director at Cannes in 1995, but the police believing it to be a polemic against them turned their backs on the team when providing a ceremonial guard at the festival. In the context of the Noisy-le-Grand riots and that summer’s strikes against prime minister Alain Jupp’s austerity measures, its anti-authoritarian swagger was a red rag. Kassovitz was accused of playing up a bad boy image, smoking dope during one TV appearance. He in turn complained about a media unable to connect with the deeper issues. He recalls making journalists from a celebrity magazine cry when he rounded on them for publishing a special booklet on how to speak in banlieue slang. The media made us stars and didn’t take care of the subject of the film, he says now. They asked me questions where I said: Don’t ask me that, go to the projects and talk to the guys there.’ But they didn’t want to talk to them.
— How La Haine lit a fire under French society, Phil Hoad in The Guardian
- 24 May 2020
The COVID-19 Recession May Change The Way Americans Spend Forever
I didn’t even realize I’d lost my desire to shop until one day, about six weeks into isolation, I absentmindedly clicked on a Madewell email offering an additional sale on a sale. I don’t even have anywhere to wear the jumpsuits I already own, let alone one that would require heels. Every work trip, every speaking gig, every quick vacation had already been canceled, even as my calendar still had reminders of the life I had planned in advance, on a different timeline, for myself. But in a matter of weeks, those, too, would be gone. I feel very lucky to spend my days walking my dog on the same loop I always take. But that walk, for the foreseeable future, requires no new purchases.
— The COVID-19 Recession May Change The Way Americans Spend Forever, Anne Helen Peterson in BuzzFeed News
- 21 May 2020
Mother Earth Mother Board
Douglas Barnes, an Oakland-based hacker and cypherpunk, looked into this issue a couple of years ago when, inspired by Bruce Sterling’s Islands in the Net, he was doing background research on a project to set up a data haven in the Caribbean. ‘I found out that the idea of the Internet as a highly distributed, redundant global communications system is a myth,’’ he discovered. ‘Virtually all communications between countries take place through a very small number of bottlenecks, and the available bandwidth simply isn’t that great.’’ And he cautions: ‘Even outfits like FLAG don’t really grok the Internet. The undersized cables they are running reflect their myopic outlook.’’
— Mother Earth Mother Board, Neal Stephenson in WIRED
- 21 May 2020
The American Room
There is an equation between calculated coyness and savage bears. But Pomplamoose has nothing on this video, where a skilled musician who works under the name Kawehi produces and mixes a cover of Heart Shaped Box. The signifiers are pure Pinterest, down to a bottle of wine and some pleasingly ratty lamps. It’s a very old house and a very old table. The camera moves and sweeps but the artist barely meets its gaze. She is lost in a rapture of real-time-audio mixing and 1990s grunge passion. We’ve lost the room and we’ve lost eye contact. The camera moves, then moves some more. At the end of a very dramatic performance she looks at the camera and smiles happily, as if to say, oh, you caught me! This is the future.
— The American Room, Paul Ford
- 21 May 2020
Why the Cessna Is Such a Badass Plane
Way back in December of 1958, pilots Robert Timm and John Cook took off in a lightly modified Cessna 172 with a bold plan: they would remain airborne in their airplane, dubbed ‘The Hacienda,’ for 50 straight days, in hopes of breaking the world record.
They added a 95-gallon fuel tank to the belly of the aircraft with an electric pump that could transfer fuel to the internal tanks in the wings. They also replaced the co-pilot’s door with a special accordion-style setup that allowed them to lower the door for better footing as they refueled and resupplied from fast moving cars that would meet the aircraft as it flew just a few feet above the tarmac.
After 50 days of sleeping in shifts and keeping the plucky 172 aloft, the record was their, but they decided to see how much further they could push it. After 64 days, 22 hours, and 19 minutes, the two men finally brought their little plane in for a landing. Their record, which stands to this day, isn’t just a testament to the reliability of the Cessna 172 Skyhaw. In a way, it also serves as a worthy metaphor for how the aircraft itself has thrived for decades.
— Why the Cessna Is Such a Badass Plane, Alex Hollings in Popular Mechanics