“The big adult fiction title of this past fall was Margaret Atwood’s The Testaments. The sequel to the author’s 1985 bestseller The Handmaid’s Tale was unveiled with a 500,000-copy first printing. At the time, The Handmaid’s Tale was benefiting from a surge of interest in its wildly popular TV adaptation on Hulu, and from a renewed interest in dystopian tales following the election of Donald Trump. Now, with the globe seized by a pandemic and millions of Americans hunkered down because of shelter-at-home orders, editors say they are interested in lighter fare—mostly.”
In Pandemic, Dystopian Fiction Loses Its Luster for Editors, by Rachel Deahl, PW, 15 May 2020
“The most startling shift, though, is among voters age 65 and older. Four years ago, Trump bested Hillary Clinton by 13 points, 55 percent to 42 percent, according to the Cooperative Congressional Election Study, a survey of more than 60,000 voters organized by Harvard University and administered by YouGov. But now Biden narrowly leads Trump 48 percent to 47 percent, based on an average of 48 national polls that included that age group.1 If those figures hold until November, they would represent a seismic shift in the voting behavior of America’s oldest voters.”
Are Older Voters Turning Away From Trump?, by Geoffrey Skelley, 538, 18 May 2020
“In this the coronavirus has clarified, once and for all, the distinctiveness of Trump’s demagogy. Great men and bad men alike seek attention as a means of getting power, but our president is interested in power only as a means of getting attention. Which is why, tellingly, his most important virus-related power grab to date has been the airtime grab of his daily news conferences — a temporary coup against the cable television schedule, a ruthless imposition (at least until the reviews turned bad) of presidential reality TV.”
Donald Trump Doesn’t Want Authority, by Ross Douthat, NYT, 19 May 2020
“People are spending a lot of time online these days. They’re helping kids with homework, looking up prices for a sick parent’s prescriptions, or visiting who knows what websites in search of who knows what content: researching the pandemic, hanging out virtually with friends, shopping, or whatever else floats their boats. Unfortunately, the answer to the ‘who’ in ‘who knows what’ is ‘the government.’ Last week, the Senate narrowly missed an opportunity to protect Americans’ web histories from government surveillance. On Thursday, an amendment to the controversial Patriot Act fell short by a single vote. The final tally was 59-37, but the amendment needed at least 60 votes to pass.”
Senate renews warrantless collection of web histories, by Lisa Vaas, Sophos blog, 18 May 2020
“Ebook lending has been included for the first time in UK libraries’ annual tally of loans, and indicates distinct preferences between media.”
Print and digital readers like different books, library data suggests, by Alison Flood, The Guardian, 19 May 2020
“As the well-worn internet saying goes – there is no cloud, it’s just someone else’s computer.
“It opens our coverage of the news last February that some Google Photos data had been inadvertently made accessible to the wrong users. Now Microsoft has suffered its own smaller version of the same phenomenon on the Office 365 platform (or Microsoft 365 as its business versions are now called). The Register reported that an admin was told that their company’s internal search results had been made visible when queries were run by users from another company. The glitch was temporary, and any files displayed were not accessible.” yet. gah. GM
Office 365 exposed some internal search results to other companies, by John E. Dunn, Sophos Blog, 20 May 2020
“Trump has stoked outrage among his supporters, who have echoed his rhetoric and fury, and his detractors, who have launched anti-Trump resistance protests and helped recruit new congressional candidates in 2018. It has also set the mood for the 2020 election. There’s only one problem for Democrats looking to replicate Barack Obama’s multiracial coalition: The voters most energized by anger are white.”
Why Democrats Can’t Rely On Voter Anger This November, by Matt Grossman, 538, 19 May 2020
“In a moment when we’re all mandated to stay at home, staring into the middle distance, this seems, on balance, more of a plus. Until now, there were times I found myself missing the hours-long phone calls I used to have with friends well into the night, detailing the ins and outs of my life to a responsive person on the other end of the line. It made me feel unalone in my life and linked in a way few things did.”
A New Connection with the Lost Art of Phone Conversation, by Daphne Merkin, NYR Daily, 15 April 2020
“Rehman, a forensic scientist with the Afghan government’s Forensic Medicine Directorate, stops to catch his breath and scans the uneven ground ahead. He is searching for Ephedra sinica, a hardy, sage-colored shrub that grows abundantly across central and northern Afghanistan. The plant contains a naturally-occurring stimulant called ephedrine — the synthetic version of which is a common ingredient in decongestants and weight loss pills, and is often used to make crystal methamphetamine.”
The Wild Shrub at the Root of the Afghan Meth Epidemic, by Kern Hendricks, Undark, 20 May 2020
“”It is my fervent hope that we use this crisis as a catalyst to rebuild an economy that creates and sustains opportunity for dramatically more people, especially those who have been left behind for too long,’ he wrote in a memo issued ahead of his bank’s annual shareholder meeting.”
Covid-19 a ‘wake-up call’ to build fairer society, says billionaire JP Morgan boss, by Dominic Rushe, The Guardian, 19 May 2020
“On Wednesday, the Los Angeles City Council will consider asking City Attorney Mike Feuer to prepare an ordinance temporarily banning ‘third-party food delivery services’ such as Uber Eats, Postmates, Grubhub, DoorDash and Caviar from charging restaurants more than 15% of the cost of an online order. The order would only last as long as L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti’s public health emergency declaration remains in effect.”
Warning ‘Countless Restaurants’ Face Closure, LA May Act To Curb ‘Exorbitant’ App Delivery Fees, by Elina Shatkin, LAist, 19 May 2020
“BHUSD’s lawsuit charges that Metro’s choice of Century City staging areas was not supported by its environmental documentation (its Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement – SEIS.) That there is a supplemental EIS is due to an earlier Beverly Hills lawsuit where Judge Wu mandated that Metro more fully document the factors that led to its final subway alignment. Wu’s ruling notes that, under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), Metro is required to explain why it chose one alternative over another (one staging area over an alternative staging area) and that Metro ‘satisfied the obligation and that their determination was not arbitrary or capricious.’ The court does not rule on whether chosing one alternative is ‘right’; it ensures that the selection process is thorough and documented – as Metro’s was.”
Court Sides With Metro on Beverly Hills Subway Lawsuit, Again, by Joe Linton, Streets Blog, 18 May 2020
“A tweak to the next version of Mozilla Firefox should fix the longstanding problem of generating a password that exceeds the maximum length allowed by a website without being alerted that this has happened. It sounds like an obscure issue, but anyone who regularly uses a password manager to generate passwords or passphrases longer than the 16 or 20-character limits imposed by many websites will have encountered this issue at some point. The user generates a long password (or upgrades an existing one), pastes it into the website, which automatically truncates it according to the max length attribute. Except that websites often offer no warning that this has happened, which means that the original and now incorrect non-truncated password is saved by the password manager.”
Firefox to tell you if sites are shortening your passwords, by John E. Dunn, Sophos Blog, 19 May 2020
Creating characters is just another way to express a type and put that type to use.
Cultivate your curves – they may be dangerous but they won’t be avoided.
Culture: the cry of men in face of their destiny.
Curiosity is lying in wait for every secret.
Ralph Waldo Emerson
Death comes to all, but great achievements build a monument which shall endure until the sun grows cold.
Ralph Waldo Emerson
Defending the truth is not something one does out of a sense of duty or to allay guilt complexes, but is a reward in itself.
Simone de Beauvoir
Do the thing we fear, and death of fear is certain.
Ralph Waldo Emerson
Doing well is the result of doing good. That’s what capitalism is all about.
Ralph Waldo Emerson
Don’t be afraid of missing opportunities. Behind every failure is an opportunity somebody wishes they had missed.
Don’t be too timid and squeamish about your actions. All life is an experiment.
Ralph Waldo Emerson