Tuesday, February 02, 2021

In The News (14)

Everyday Covid mistakes we are all still making  A common problem is not connecting the dots between the people you see in one context, and those you see in another. “For instance, young people often feel they can mix freely with their peers, because they know their peers are not at high risk. Then they’ll go and see their grandparents, and be more careful with them – but not as careful as they need to be, given that they’ve been mixing freely with their peers, who’ve been mixing freely with everybody” ............. Even if young people avoid their grandparents, but mix freely with their parents, their parents might then go and see the grandparents. ............ If you can smell someone’s garlic or alcohol breath, or cigarette smoke, you’re inhaling air carrying not just the smell of the garlic, alcohol or smoke, but any virus that’s leaving their nose or mouth if they’re infected .............. just as you’ll eventually detect the smell of cigarette smoke if someone lights up on the opposite side of the office, airborne viruses gradually accumulate in stuffy indoor conditions, which is why ventilation is so important. ............ People should be conscious of ventilation in the workplace, shops, or any enclosed space – including at home, which is where most transmission takes place.” .............  and the virus doesn’t smell of anything, so you don’t know  

Has the Pandemic Transformed the Office Forever? Companies are figuring out how to balance what appears to be a lasting shift toward remote work with the value of the physical workplace. .........  digital tools such as e-mail, Excel, Google Docs, video conferencing, virtual whiteboarding, and chat channels like Slack ................  Twenty-seven per cent of the American workforce will be remote in 2021 ......... About twenty million workers have moved—many of them out of major cities—or are planning to. .......... Everyone said that they missed seeing their colleagues in person, but very few workers envisaged returning to the office five days a week. One to three days was more appealing. ........... humans can maintain stable social relationships with no more than a hundred and fifty people at any one time. ..........  without the company’s New York headquarters, people who worked in other cities and countries felt much more involved. One worker wrote, “New York has stopped acting like it’s New York and everyone else.” ......... “The office can be very overwhelming and very hard to concentrate, that’s been the best part about working from home, being able to focus” ................ people working in open offices take sixty-two per cent more sick leave, according to a 2011 Danish study. ............  Creating a successful digital product such as Google’s Ad Words—an invention that helped turn the money-losing search company into an advertising-driven colossus—often involves cross-disciplinary teams of engineers, marketers, and product managers. ............. I couldn’t concentrate. I missed my colleagues. Whether walled, open, or cloud-based, an office is about the people who work there. Without the people, the office is an empty shell.

Amsterdam Is Embracing a Radical New Economic Theory to Help Save the Environment. Could It Also Replace Capitalism?   Inner Ring: Twelve essentials of life that no one in society should be deprived of; Outer Ring: Nine ecological limits of earth’s life-­supporting systems that humanity must not collectively overshoot; Sweet Spot: The space both environmentally safe and socially just where humanity can thrive ........... the goal of getting “into the doughnut” should replace governments’ and economists’ pursuit of never-ending GDP growth. ............ denim is one of the most resource-intensive fabrics in the world, with each pair of jeans requiring thousands of gallons of water and the use of polluting chemicals.  

COVID has decimated women's careers — we need a Marshall Plan for Moms, now  a Marshall Plan for Moms—one that includes a monthly, means-tested $2,400 monthly payment to the women ......... mothers’ unpaid, unseen, unappreciated labor.  

As Biden gets into gear, could a Federal Reserve interest rate rise be on the cards? The Fed’s dilemma is whether the new US president’s stimulus plan risks overheating the US, given that the economy is being swamped with liquidity from the central bank’s bond buy-back scheme

China-US tensions: meet us halfway to build trust and ease conflict, former Chinese vice-premier urges Biden Zeng Peiyan tells Hong Kong forum confrontation between the two global powers need not be inevitable Hong Kong chief executive appeals for new US administration to view the national security law ‘in a fair manner’

Helping Kids Is a Very Good Idea Republicans won’t support the Democrats’ proposal, but they should.
Capitol Riot Puts Spotlight on ‘Apocalyptically Minded’ Global Far Right Leaderless but united by racist ideology that has been supercharged by social media, extremists have built a web of real and online connections that worries officials. ........ For many, the idea of an international nationalist movement is an oxymoron. 

The Dark Reality Behind Saudi Arabia’s Utopian Dreams  the Line, a postmodern ecotopia to be built on the kingdom’s northwest coast. It will be a narrow urban strip 106 miles long with no roads, no cars and no pollution. ...........  plans to pour $500 billion into the Line and related projects .......... The hubris underlying these proposals, nourished by generations of yes men (including well-paid Western consultants), will be familiar to anyone who has spent time in Saudi Arabia. ............. What the prince doesn’t say is that there are already thousands of people living in harmony with nature in the same area: a tribal community that has been there for centuries and is now being replaced by the project. .......... Narrow-minded clerics preside over corrupt bureaucracies that are resistant to change.  

Monday, February 01, 2021

In The News (13)

The Standing 7-Minute Workout A gentler version of a popular workout keeps you moving while keeping your body off the floor.  

Powerful Snowstorm Expected to Affect Much of the East Winter storm warnings have been issued from North Carolina to New York. Hazardous travel conditions and heavy snow are expected, forecasters said. ............   most of New Jersey Transit’s bus and rail operations would be temporarily suspended on Monday because of the storm. ...........  At the Port Authority Bus Terminal in Manhattan, which describes itself as the “busiest bus terminal in the world,” all bus service in and out will be suspended on Monday.   

The Forgotten People Fighting the Forever War A devastating incident in Afghanistan shows the perils of relying on Special Operations alone to fight the nation’s battles. ...........  The Afghan army and police, plagued by corruption and poor leadership, had abandoned their posts and left the city to the Taliban with barely a fight.   

The Brazil Variant Is Exposing the World’s Vulnerability Somehow the coronavirus is rampaging through a city that was supposedly immune. ........... Even in a year of horrendous suffering, what is unfolding in Brazil stands out. In the rainforest city of Manaus, home to 2 million people, bodies are reportedly being dropped into mass graves as quickly as they can be dug. Hospitals have run out of oxygen, and people with potentially treatable cases of COVID-19 are dying of asphyxia. This nature and scale of mortality have not been seen since the first months of the pandemic. ................  Data seemed to support the idea that herd immunity in Manaus was near. ........... Although no known variants have been found to pose an immediate threat to vaccinated people, the capacity for reinfection to any significant degree would reshape the pandemic’s trajectory. .............. The new wave of COVID-19 cases in Manaus occurred about eight months after the initial wave. People might have lost some degree of immunity during that window. .............  the variant in Brazil, known as the P.1 (or B.1.1.248) lineage, has a potent combination of mutations. Not only does this variant seem to be more transmissible; its lineage carries mutations that help it escape the antibodies that we develop in response to older lineages of the coronavirus. That is, it at least has a capacity to infect people who have already recovered from COVID-19, even if their defenses protect them against other versions of the virus. .................... the virus’s capacity to cause such a deadly second surge in Brazil suggests a dangerous evolutionary potential. ............. New, dangerous variants are all but inevitable when there are extremely high levels of transmission of the virus. ............ The immune response that the vaccines create is generally more robust than the immune response we get after being infected by a virus .......... vaccines will not be available to more than a fifth of the world’s population until 2022. ........... Ensuring that every human is vaccinated is in everyone’s interest, as global distribution of vaccines is the most effective way to drive down the virus’s capacity to replicate and evolve. The key will be bringing down the global rates of transmission as quickly as possible—not getting any single country to 100 percent vaccination while dozens of countries roil. ..............   In a recursive loop, the virus could come back to haunt the vaccinated, leading to new surges and lockdowns in coming years. The countries that hoard the vaccine without a plan to help others do so at their own peril.