There’s an argument that governments should have let the pandemic run its course. Kept most things open as Sweden did at the beginning. More early deaths, more illness, more long long-haul side effects.
Leaders leaning this way include Trump, Nicaragua’s Ortega, Brazil’s Bolsonaro, Mexico’s Obrador, Belarus’s Lukashenko, Turkmenistan’s Berdimuhamedow, Cambodia’s Hun Sen, Tanzania’s Magufuli.
Populists pandering to their dumbest voters.
When the pandemic ends we’ll be able to calculate which nations survived best: economically, educationally, healthiest. It won’t be any of those nations. They will include New Zealand, Taiwan, South Korea, Iceland, Senegal, Denmark, Saudi Arabia.
A recent article of his in Rolling Stone sums up how COVID-19 signals the end of the American era.
In a dark season of pestilence, COVID has reduced to tatters the illusion of American exceptionalism. …
No empire long endures, even if few anticipate their demise …
In 1940, with Europe already ablaze, the United States had a smaller army than either Portugal or Bulgaria. Within four years, 18 million men and women would serve in uniform, with millions more working double shifts in mines and factories that made America, as President Roosevelt promised, the arsenal of democracy.
When the Japanese within six weeks of Pearl Harbor took control of 90 percent of the world’s rubber supply, the U.S. dropped the speed limit to 35 mph to protect tires, and then, in three years, invented from scratch a synthetic-rubber industry that allowed Allied armies to roll over the Nazis. At its peak, Henry Ford’s Willow Run Plant produced a B-24 Liberator every two hours, around the clock. Shipyards in Long Beach and Sausalito spat out Liberty ships at a rate of two a day for four years; the record was a ship built in four days, 15 hours and 29 minutes. A single American factory, Chrysler’s Detroit Arsenal, built more tanks than the whole of the Third Reich.
In the wake of the war, with Europe and Japan in ashes, the United States with but 6 percent of the world’s population accounted for half of the global economy, including the production of 93 percent of all automobiles. …
COVID-19 didn’t lay America low; it simply revealed what had long been forsaken.
As the crisis unfolded, with another American dying every minute of every day, a country that once turned out fighter planes by the hour could not manage to produce the paper masks or cotton swabs essential for tracking the disease. The nation that defeated smallpox and polio, and led the world for generations in medical innovation and discovery, was reduced to a laughing stock as a buffoon of a president advocated the use of household disinfectants as a treatment for a disease that intellectually he could not begin to understand.
… With less than four percent of the global population, the U.S. soon accounted for more than a fifth of COVID deaths. …
Odious as he may be, Trump is less the cause of America’s decline than a product of its descent. As they stare into the mirror and perceive only the myth of their exceptionalism, Americans remain almost bizarrely incapable of seeing what has actually become of their country. …
20-year old Taylor Wilson wrote the best article I’ve read so far on the 2020 Black Lives Matters protests.
Racism is housing discrimination, food inequity, mass incarceration, underfunded schools, unequal access to sport, over-policing, voter disenfranchisement, the war on drugs, hiring discrimination, unequal access to healthcare, and a flawed criminal justice system that far too often lets officers go unchecked for abusing their power.
I am tired of seeing Black people beaten and murdered by police. I am deeply disturbed by the lack of accountability for police officers who so blatantly cause harm, shielded by a blue wall of silence that seems impenetrable by the justice system. …
Almost 56 years after the Civil Rights Act was signed, and Black people are STILL fighting for equal protection under the law and the genuine right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. …
Enough is enough. “Thoughts and prayers” is no longer a sufficient response …
Denounce racism when it’s not convenient for you. In rooms where there are no Black people. … In every space, especially those in which you hold a position of power or influence, leverage your privilege. Do not stay silent. Be explicitly anti-racist and hold others accountable for their words and actions. …
If reading this made you uncomfortable, good.
Get comfortable being uncomfortable because I promise you, this is just the beginning.
Like Bill Bryson, he can make academic subjects interesting and lively.
Critics call it sensationalistinfotainment.
He is a simplifier. I like his frequent analogies to well known references.
There are endless interesting factoids.
Critics complain he gets some facts wrong by over-simplifying.
In Sapiens he postulates that humans now rule the earth because of our ability to organize and coordinate in large numbers.
Bees, ants and other species cooperates even better, but they are too inflexible to evolve. And have comparatively small numbers.
We are the only animal that can believe in things that exist purely in our imagination, such as gods, states, money, human rights, corporations and other fictions, and we have developed a unique ability to use these stories to unify and organize groups and ensure cooperation.
I try to call the audio only version “audiocasts“. Leo Laporte still uses the term “netcast” for both audio only and video podcasts.
Dave Winer is most often credited as the inventor as he decided to include new audio functionality in RSS 0.92. Dave demonstrated it worked on January 11, 2001 by enclosing a Grateful Dead song in his Scripting News weblog.