Always blog what you want to remember (and then forget it)

“When the garden eels at a Tokyo aquarium remove their heads from the sand, they are usually confronted by pairs of human eyes staring back at them through the glass. But like other animals around the world, the eels at Sumida Aquarium are finding their environment transformed by the effects of the coronavirus outbreak. They also appear to be forgetting what humans look like. Concerned that the garden eels – so named because their grass-like appearance when, en masse, they poke their heads out of the seabed – could come to see visitors as a threat, the aquarium is asking people to get in touch in the form of a calming video calls.”
Japanese aquarium urges public to video-chat eels who are forgetting humans exist, by Justin McCurry, The Guardian, 1 May 2020

Defendez les anguilles du jardin!

“There is a third option that your employees might prefer: a ‘workshares’ program. This is where you reduce employees’ hours and pay and they receive partial unemployment payment from the state. It can be an advantage for businesses–that get to keep their employees–and employees, who get to keep their paychecks.”
How ‘Workshares’ Can Help You Keep Employees on the Payroll, by Susan Lucas, Evil HR Lady, 20 April 202

“Americans with lower incomes are particularly likely to have concerns related to the digital divide and the digital ‘homework gap’.”
53% of Americans Say the Internet Has Been Essential During the COVID-19 Outbreak, by Emily A. Vogels, Andrew Perrin, Lee Rainie, and Monica Anderson, Pew Research, 30 April 2020

“Keep the first 96 minutes of the day free from email and all distractions
I know this is going to be a hard one. Email is seductive because we think there might be something more interesting waiting for us there. Resist the temptation and focus your first hour working on your most critical task. Why 96 minutes? You’ve probably heard of the Pareto principle (also known as the 80–20 rule). This principle says that 20 percent of your activities will account for 80% of your results. 20 percent of your customers will account for 80 percent of your sales, 20 percent of your products or services will account for 80 percent of your profits, 20 percent of your tasks will account for 80 percent of the value of what you do, and so on. 20% of 8 hours is 96 minutes. Instead of wasting your day attempting to work on your critical task but never accomplishing that due to interruptions, give yourself the first 96 minutes of each day to accomplish what you need to. That accomplishment will energize you and give you more focus throughout your day. Try it for 3 days and see if you don’t see a marked difference in your productivity.”
7 Habits to Return Several Hours to Every Day, by Anne Blumer, Solutions For You, 25 February 2019

“Here we are, breadbasket of the world, California, and we want to address that mismatch. We want to address the supply and the demand. So, that’s the announcement today, to work with the ranchers, to work with the farmers, to connect them to the food banks and do so in a way that jumpstarts our capacity to deliver nutritious food, high-quality, locally produced produce, poultry, and dairy and the like to those most in need in the state of California. The partnership currently has about 128 farmers and ranchers providing food to 41 food banks being distributed in 58 counties. The goal of this announcement is to provide 21 million pounds of fresh food and fresh produce. On a monthly basis, 20 to 21 million pounds of fresh produce and other commodities to our food banks. We’ve raised some $3.6 million to jumpstart this program. We want to extend this program through the end of the year and we are blessed to have Philanthropy including Kat Taylor, who’s been passionate in this space.”
Gov. Gavin Newsom California COVID-19 Briefing Transcript April 29, by REV.com, 29 April 2020

“Now in its seventh week, the U.S. unemployment crisis continues to deepen. According to Thursday’s data release from the Department of Labor, 3.8 million more Americans filed for unemployment insurance during the week ending April 25. Although that represents the fourth consecutive week of decline in seasonally adjusted initial claims, the number remains historic. (Remember, no single week prior to March 21 had ever seen even 1 million initial claims since 1967, the earliest year that data is available from the Federal Reserve.) If we add up all of the initial claims filed since the coronavirus recession began, more than 30 million people — or nearly 19 percent of the total U.S. labor force — have filed for unemployment claims over the past month and a half.”
Nearly 20 Percent Of The U.S. Labor Force Has Filed For Unemployment Since Mid-March, by Neil Paine, 538, 30 April 2020

“I did not understand then – two decades before my first conference call or doctor’s waiting room – that boredom was a fact of life no more avoidable than any other mental state, good or bad. At times, it may even be a dominant experience. Studies show boredom levels rise through childhood, peak in early adulthood, and then decline, hitting the floor in one’s 50s. But though boredom may be less prominent in middle life, it is still present – evidence suggests it comes creeping back in your 60s, especially among women.”
Why it’s good to be bored, by Elle Hunt, The Guardian, 3 May 2020

“US company down $610m on first quarter compared with $2.4bn profit the year before.” ~snip~ “The US oil company reported a loss of $610m for the first quarter of the year following the outbreak of coronavirus, compared to a profit of $2.4bn in the same months last year. The financial slump includes a $2.9bn writedown to the value of its oil reserves after oil prices tumbled by more than 70% this year due to the sudden drop in demand for oil and transport fuels as major economies impose Covid-19 lockdowns.”
ExxonMobil reports loss after $3bn wiped off value of oil reserves, by Jillian Ambrose, The Guardian, 1 May 2020

Last time oil prices fell not as badly as this, as I recall, so did the Soviet Union. And if this is happening to Exxon, it’s happening to all oil companies. Not that I feel sorry for them, but I hope I won’t be feeling sorry and sorrier for the world very soon. Also, not that I’m an expert or economist, but it seems to me that oil prices are always the first cost to increase and wages are the last. That oil price/wages situation reverses when oil prices drop. So could this trigger an artificial shortage to drive the prices up until the supply glut goes down? Please no oil shocks; the late 70s were bad enough.

“We temporarily raised wages and overtime premiums. We funded a new Amazon Relief Fund and we allowed employees to take unpaid time off at their discretion. To deal with the unprecedented demand, we hired an additional 175,000 new employees, many of whom were displaced from other jobs in the economy. We took steps to dampen demand for non-essential products including reducing our marketing spend. Our network pivoted to shipping priority products within one to four days and extending promises on non-priority items. Our independent, third party sellers, most of whom are small and medium sized businesses, work tremendously hard to serve our customers and we are grateful for their efforts. Third party sellers continue to see strong growth in our stores as more than half our units sold are from third party sellers. We increased grocery delivery capacity by more than 60% and expanded in store pickup at Whole Foods stores from 80 stores to more than 150 stores. Other Amazon teams shifted their focus to directly helping customers in the overall effort to fight the COVID virus.”
Amazon (AMZN) Q1 2020 Earnings Call Transcript, by Rev.com, 1 May 2020

Is it just me not reading the transcript right, or does Amazon never say how much the earnings were? It seems to be in English…

“The novel coronavirus pandemic, in addition to its direct impact on people’s health, has unleashed a perfect storm of conditions that may increase the rate of domestic violence. Social isolation, for example, is one of the most common tactics used by abusers to distance survivors from their support networks, and now physical isolation is government-sanctioned. Unemployment claims are hitting historic highs, as are levels of economic anxiety; both of these circumstances are linked to a higher incidence of domestic violence. Firearm ownership is tied to a greater chance of domestic homicide, and gun sales in the U.S. rocketed in March, with reports that many of those sales were to first-time gun buyers. National hotlines even have to devise strategies to combat abusers’ weaponizing COVID-19 itself to terrorize survivors — e.g., threatening to infect someone with COVID-19 or hiding cleaning supplies so the survivor cannot access them.”
What We Know About Crises And Domestic Violence — And What That Could Mean For COVID-19, by Jasmine Mithani, 538, 4 May 2020

“When the nefarious Cardinal Richelieu died in 1642, Pope Urban VIII is said to have declared: ‘If there is a God, the Cardinal de Richelieu will have much to answer for. If not … well, he had a successful life.'”
How Do You Explain Henry Kissinger?, by John A. Farrell, NYT, 28 April 2020

“If there is a God, ___insert name___ will have much to answer for. If not … well, they had a successful life.”

Seems like a weird thing for a Pope to say (about God, not Cardinal Richelieu), but witty, very witty.

“An estimated 6,000 Tajikistanis live in the US. Most have settled in New York, California, Nebraska, and the Washington, DC area. For whatever reason — and unlike most East and Southeast Asian immigrants — Central Asian immigrants tend to favor the East Coast over the West. Two of the most prominent Tajikistani-Americans are dancer Malika Kalontarova and Vine co-founder Rus Yusupov. Both are Bukharan Jews and both live in New York. Not surprisingly, the Embassy of Tajikistan is located in the nation’s capital. Metro Los Angeles, on the other hand, is home to the California Tajik Society (in Torrance), the California Tajik American Association (in Long Beach), and the Tajik Karate Academy (two locations in Irvine).”
No Enclave – Tajik Los Angeles, by Eric Brightwell, 1 May 2020

“If you didn’t get what you paid for, and the thing you bought cost five figures, it stands to reason that you’d get some of your money back. But that is not what is happening with the nation’s residential undergraduate institutions this spring. While many offered partial refunds of room and board, administrators have held fast to the idea that nobody should get back any of their tuition payment. The strange thing about this stance is that the colleges know that many people aren’t getting full value for their dollar. Administrators and professors from Northern Arizona University to the Ivy League have acknowledged the deficiencies. Class-action lawyers have noticed too, and they’ve filed suit against a range of name-brand institutions and are actively seeking additional plaintiffs.”
Colleges Won’t Refund Tuition. Autumn May Force a Reckoning., by Ron Lieber, NYT 1 May 2020

Reading:

“Junji Ito’s Cat Diary,” by Junji Ito

“Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki,” by Haruki Murakami

Quotes:

All great deeds and all great thoughts have a ridiculous beginning. Great works are often born on a street corner or in a restaurant’s revolving door.
Albert Camus

All I have seen teaches me to trust the creator for all I have not seen.
Ralph Waldo Emerson

All life is an experiment. The more experiments you make the better.
Ralph Waldo Emerson

All mankind love a lover.
Ralph Waldo Emerson

All modern revolutions have ended in a reinforcement of the power of the State.
Albert Camus

All oppression creates a state of war.
Simone de Beauvoir

All significant truths are private truths. As they become public they cease to become truths; they become facts, or at best, part of the public character; or at worst, catchwords.
T.S. Eliot

All that I know most surely about morality and obligations I owe to football.
Albert Camus

All the good music has already been written by people with wigs and stuff.
Frank Zappa

All the idols made by man, however terrifying they may be, are in point of fact subordinate to him, and that is why he will always have it in his power to destroy them.
Simone de Beauvoir

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *