Fresh Daily – Week of 5/25/20

Covered this week; What went wrong in Trump’s first real crisis – and what does it mean for the US? How baseball, or any sports return, is an extremely fraught journey… New bicycle sales soar during pandemic… Only one generation stands out as social distancing pros… Some info about Pac-Man you’ve (most likely) never heard before… Social Media, the new cigarettes… Christo, leaves this mortal coil at 84…

May 25, 2020

The US response to a global pandemic. Wow. It doesn’t get much worse than this does it? Anyway, I found this succinctly written summary by Edward Luce on the free side of The Financial Times pay wall so I thought I’d share. After you slog through the totality of Trump’s incompetence, take special note of the last paragraph’s predictive warning. Ominous indeed. (…and on a web design note; the page you visit from today’s link is a great example of some really clean underlying code. Nice typography, nice block quotes, nice color scheme…)

“Trump is caught in a box which keeps getting smaller,” says George Conway, a Republican lawyer who is married to Kellyanne Conway, Trump’s senior counsellor. “In my view he is a sociopath and a malignant narcissist. When a person suffering from these disorders feels the world closing in on them, their tendencies get worse. They lash out and fantasise and lose any ability to think rationally.”

May 26, 2020

As much as I want baseball, all of this seems really unlikely… even if it were to make it out of the starting gate, it’s so easily derailable. Losing $75 million per day, it really seems like Major League Baseball are the only ones that truly want the sport to return immediately.

ESPN examined the challenges facing MLB as it struggles to get back on the field. What emerges is like nothing that has been attempted in the history of American sport, less a baseball season than a military-style operation in which any number of variables could derail the plan, or, worse, contribute to the spread of the deadly disease.

May 27, 2020

As a daily cyclist, which I do for exercise, this is a really interesting story to contemplate. Hopefully some true believers are born during this time of social separation… as it’s amazing how you can be both solitary as well as outwardly bound while riding a bike.

Some bicycle shops in Brooklyn are selling twice as many bikes as usual and drawing blocklong lines of customers. A chain of shops in Phoenix is selling three times the number of bikes it typically does. A retailer in Washington, D.C., sold all its entry-level bikes by the end of April and has fielded more preorders than ever in its 50-year history.

As the coronavirus pandemic shrinks life in major American cities — limiting pastimes and discouraging use of buses and subways — hundreds of thousands of Americans are flocking to one of the most basic forms of mobility: the bicycle.

May 28, 2020

You know how all parents are always telling their kids how much worse they had it as kids? Well I think today, the opposite is true. It was much better growing up in the 80’s than it is today as we had the freedom to learn on the move in a way that rarely happens today… I try to raise my kids that way, but all their friends ARE NOT being raised that way which ends up derailing the train pretty quickly. Anyway, let’s raise a glass to Generation X.

There are roughly 65 million of us ― but we are easy enough to overlook. Generation X is generally accepted to have been born in that sliver of time between 1965 and 1980. What my teens didn’t know was that my entire generation has been dismissed from day one, and what’s more we don’t really care.

It seems that it has taken a global pandemic for anyone to sing our praises ― to even call us by name. All of the sudden folks are impressed by our remarkable resilience, our ability to entertain ourselves for hours on end and our willingness to shelter in place without whining.

May 29, 2020

A somewhat definitive insight into the mind of Toru Iwatani and his invention of the arcade original gangster Pac Man.

May 30, 2020

Ran into this one published a few years back now… but still just as relevant as the day it was written. How sad that this is what it has come down to, our best option to mitigate as much as possible and ‘flatten the curve’… this pull-quote is fucking depressing.

Addicted and dependent on our junk feeds, we, the Billion, hit our touch screens time and again, hungry for our dopamine hit like mice in laboratory cages, driving our mental health to record lows. Social media has been repeatedly demonstrated to increase Anxiety, Depression, Narcissism, eating disorders, FOMO, excessive multi-tasking, and inducing negative consequences on girls’ ability to develop a healthy sexual self-image – amongst other illnesses. Social media generates and widens the painful gap between our real selves and the idealized image we feel obliged to project to our “friends”. It teaches us to forever compare ourselves and our lives to the endless stream of spectacular vacations and Haute-Cuisine meals, enjoyed by carefully posed and shot selfie pictures of beautied people. This comparative and narcissistic epidemic replaces our primary relationships with superficial connections, and destroys empathy and intimacy, resulting in contagious loneliness and misery on unprecedented levels. It is a modern-day Werther Effect, on steroids. The social media platforms are not only fully aware of their impact, but actually leverage it to make sure this addiction is maintained and increased, not hesitating to use psychological levers and biases to guarantee that we, the Billion, will keep coming back. The 2014 Facebook Emotional Contagion Study is an example of their knowledge and willingness to actively influence our psyche.

May 31, 2020

Interestingly, it wasn’t until art school that I ever heard of Christo… but once I did hear of him, I wondered how he had escaped my view for as long as he did. A truly unique lens through which he viewed the world. I couldn’t recommend researching this extraordinary life more. Christo, dead at 84, godspeed.

For “Valley Curtain,” Christo and his lawyer devised the system that made all of his subsequent works possible. For each project a corporation was created, with Jeanne-Claude as director and Christo as a salaried employee. Financing came from the sale of drawings and small models to collectors and museums; Christo never accepted grants or public money. When the art work was taken down, the corporation dissolved itself, having earned zero profit.

Nic Rotondo

Nic Rotondo

Nic Rotondo - is the lead designer for the optiflux|mediatribe, a nocturnal design shop focused on graphics, branding and one-of-a-kind, handcrafted websites.

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