Covered this week; Apple and Google detail bold plan to track Covid-19 at scale… Something gives me the feeling that the near-future will be grimmer than I expected… Looking back to the roots of the Rolling Stones iconic logo… Brian Dennehy dead at 81… The eerie silence of the Las Vegas Strip… Am I the Asshole? Covid-19 is killing off the myth that we are the greatest country on earth.
April 13, 2020
As Ars Technika does so well, this article covers all the potential caveats of what is being proposed here. At a base level though, this is a pretty positive task to lay upon our personal phones and the cell networks they run atop. At very least, food for thought.
The system applies a technological approach to what’s known as contact tracing, or the practice of figuring out everyone an infected individual has recently been in contact with. A recently published study by a group of Oxford researchers suggested that the novel coronavirus is too infectious for contact tracing to work well using traditional methods. The researchers proposed using smartphones, since they’re nearly ubiquitous, don’t rely on faulty memories of people who have been infected, and can track a nearly unlimited number of contacts of other participating users.
April 14, 2020
Today’s link continues on with yesterday’s theme which in my opinion, will be a major concept that we will all need to educate ourselves on as things progress. Monitoring Covid-19 through ‘Contact Tracing’ appears to be both the best way to get a handle on living with this virus as a society, as well as including technical details that are certainly a threat to personal privacy. This is a great article from Gideon Lichfield for the MIT Technology Review that’s worth the read. Incidentally, the illustration accompanying the piece is by Rob Sheridan of NIN fame, nice… I actually came to find this link after a Google search of Rob’s work 😉
This, then, is what passes for optimism in these grim times: the hope that while the days are still warm, and after tens if not hundreds of thousands of lives have been lost that could have been saved with quicker action, some of us will be able to start crawling out into the sunlight. We’ll emerge into a world in which people give each other wide berths and suspicious looks, where those public venues still in business allow only the thinnest crowds to congregate, and where a system of legal segregation determines who can enter them. Millions will still be out of work and struggling to get by, and people will watch nervously for signs of a new flare-up near them.
April 15, 2020
Let’s get back to some graphic design and lighten things up a bit today… one of the most enduring logos in history and certainly one of my personal favorites… designed by John Pasche back in 1970… and like so many similar stories, he had no idea how influential his work would become.
In a meeting with the designer some months later, Jagger was more specific, Pasche recalled: He wanted “an image that could work on its own … like the Shell Petroleum logo. He wanted that kind of simplicity.” During the same meeting Jagger showed Pasche an illustration of the Hindu deity Kali, which Jagger had seen in a shop near his home and asked if he could borrow.
April 16, 2020
Thanks to my Mom and her subscription to the Goodman Theater in Chicago back in the 90’s… I got to see Brian Dennehy playing the lead in Death of a Salesman for which he won one of his two Tony Awards… also, who can forget him in the original Rambo. One of those actors that was in SO many things, movies, television and the stage, he covered it all. Brian Dennehy, dead at 81. (Times Obit)
Mr. Dennehy, who said he had struggled academically, left school to join the Marines, serving in the United States, South Korea and Japan while he and his first wife, Judith Scheff, had two children. After leaving the service he completed his bachelor’s degree at Columbia in 1965 while working variously as a cabdriver, trucker, butcher, bartender and motel clerk to support his family. He also spent time as a stockbroker — Martha Stewart was a co-worker — though he admitted that he hadn’t been a very good one and hadn’t enjoyed the work.
April 17, 2020
Was just thinking that I should go out right now some night and gather up @chicagodusktildawn pictures in this unprecedented historical time where all of Chicago is mostly a ghost town… and then along came this, which I have to say… I’m viewing as a ‘sign’ that my thought was right on the money.
The strip and Fremont Street aren’t totally empty, of course. All the left-behind establishments are carefully watched by security guards, some of whom will try to stop photos being taken of a casino with caution tape strung across its entrance. Much of the street is also webbed in construction netting and the sounds of workers hammering during the day, the pause of the pandemic becoming a good time to give the sewer system a facelift. Overnight, police clustered at the intersections and the entrances to the higher end casinos. Unhoused people looked for places to rest and food to eat in empty trash cans.
April 18, 2020
So this piece from Joe Berkowitz posts to Fast Company today and I found out about it when my sister texted me the link asking me if I’d heard of it before. As a matter of fact I’ve lost time to this subreddit twice along the way, both times to the tune of about 3 hours… the first time a few years back when a friend sent me a link to go check it out… and again a few weeks ago when it came up in the context of the television show The Good Place… both times, I’ve walked away because as tempting as it is, I try really hard not to spend time standing in judgement of others on the internet anonymously… I can’t imagine a bigger waste of time. Regardless, I read this story (a long read) and it was really good… and if you want to know what I’m talking about, it’s a great primer… give it a shot on a weekend.
Each situation arrives in the form of a question: Am I the Asshole for . . . [fill in transgression here]? Then the poster awaits the feedback of a subscriber base that totals nearly two million. Users sound off in the comments, leaving one of the following judgments: YTA (You’re the Asshole), NTA (Not the Asshole), ESH (Everyone Sucks Here), or NAH (No Assholes here). Commenters then upvote any especially astute summations, and after 18 hours, the one with the most upvotes is cemented as the Final Judgment.
April 19, 2020
I’ve been saying this for years… the unfettered belief by Americans that America is the greatest country on Earth is ludicrous… we’re so far removed from the things that actually made us the greatest country on Earth back in the first half of the 20th century it’s ridiculous. Today’s link is to an opinion piece by Viet Thanh Nguyen for the New York Times where he lays out his belief in the same idea that America’s glory days are behind it. This is part of a NYT series entitled ‘The America We Need‘ which focuses on emerging from the Covid-19 crisis with a fairer more resilient society.
If anything good emerges out of this period, it might be an awakening to the pre-existing conditions of our body politic. We were not as healthy as we thought we were. The biological virus afflicting individuals is also a social virus. Its symptoms — inequality, callousness, selfishness and a profit motive that undervalues human life and overvalues commodities — were for too long masked by the hearty good cheer of American exceptionalism, the ruddiness of someone a few steps away from a heart attack.