amreading The Economist, 2 May 2020

A multitude of drops

Private citizens are valiantly trying to compensate for federal failures

Before the pandemic, John-Paul Kaminski was a retired cross-country coach and middle-school technology teacher in Dobbs Ferry, a village about 15 miles (24 km) up the Hudson River from Manhattan, who liked to tinker with his 3D printer at home. He used it to make key chains, jewellery boxes, maze games and the occasional carved pumpkin. These days, he and other tech teachers he knows from university use their printers — 60 in all — to make head- and chinstraps that hold plastic face-shields in place. A college student nearby uses a laser cutter to stamp out the shields himself. Using materials bought out-of-pocket and through donations, they have given away more than 3,000 face shields to hospitals and nursing homes in four counties.

Across America, makers of all ages and skill levels have thrown themselves into helping to alleviate the shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE). Some, like Mr. Kaminski, are making masks, shields and gowns. Others are collaborating on designs, and making those designs public. Still others are trying to figure out how to get PPE to those who need it most as quickly as possible. These charitable tinkerers provide ground for both a deeply American kind of hope — strangers doing as much as they can, for the good of their neighbours — and despair, at the colossal federal failure that inspired them.

Happy Mother’s Day, and STAY SAFE dear blog readers!

 

Lexington in The Economist, 18 April 2020

Self will summarize the finer points:

  • The corona virus has killed 31,000 Americans (This number is significantly higher now)
  • Trump is “a human wedge.”
  • The 2000 presidential election was “a watershed moment … the last decided by persuadable voters.”
  • “Even before Trump made factionalism a governing strategy . . . ” (lol)
  • “Notwithstanding Mr. Trump’s effort to give it a Chinese face (he reverted this week to calling it ‘the Wuhan virus’) . . . ” (smh)
  • “Infectious diseases like density, which is one of the most reliable predictors of Democratic support there is . . . This makes Republicans more receptive than Democrats to Mr. Trump’s call for a reopening of the economy: an issue that — by pitting the certain tragedy of 17 million unemployed workers against the likelihood of additional infections — could scarcely be more polarising.”
  • The differences between the Democrat and Republican response to the pandemic could not be more stark: Democrats are demanding “better, cheaper health care” while “Republican states including Texas and Ohio have meanwhile used the lockdown to try to ban abortions . . . “

On the last point, a political party that cares only about banning abortions when a virus is killing 10x as many Americans as the number of fetuses aborted annually is surely loco.

The article mentions William Barr and describes him as a “cultural warrior,” self hopes in jest. And refers to Ron DeSantis of Florida as “a Trump proxy with ratings to match.”

Stay tuned.

 

 

Your Emergency Response Team of the Day: Mercedes-AMG

from The Economist, 4 April 2020:

The seven Formula-1 teams in Britain have high-tech engineering centres stuffed with the latest production equipment. And they employ hundreds of staff with the talent to use this gear to design, test and manufacture parts rapidly, in the days between races. With the season suspended, they have been collaborating on ways to help produce ventilators, which are needed urgently to treat patients suffering from covid-19. This week, one team, Mercedes-AMG, obtained approval for a device which it can quickly manufacture by the thousands.

The first 100 devices have now been delivered to University College Hospital and other London hospitals for clinical trials.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

The World This Year: The Economist, 21 December 2019

The Economist sent a reporter to traverse the length of the southern border, from El Paso to San Diego. The result below:

p. 39:

El Paso to San Diego: Donald Trump’s wall will irrevocably change America’s southern border

. . . a new wall is rising, and it will not be so easily sliced through. America’s new border wall is made of 30-foot-tall (18 in some places) steel bollards filled with concrete, sunk six feet deep into a concrete foundation and topped with five-foot slabs of solid steel designed to impede climbing . . .

Some Democrats argue that Mr. Trump is merely replacing walls that already exist. That is not true. When a 30-foot wall, impenetrable to wildlife and surrounded by a network of roads and lights, replaces a low fence, it really is a new structure, in much the same way that replacing a garden shed with a ten-storey office block would be. A journey from El Paso to San Diego makes clear just how deeply the wall will change the character of America’s southwestern border. Emma Lazarus’s poem on the Statue of Liberty welcomes to America the world’s “huddled masses yearning to breathe free.” Mr. Trump’s wall sends the opposite message.

In Arizona’s Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument, an environmental atrocity occurs:

. . . along the new sections of wall . . . lie massive, fallen saguaro cactuses in sections — bulldozed for the barrier. They can live for centuries. Some of those cut down were probably standing before Arizona was a state.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Homelessness: The Economist Holiday Double Issue

“Roughly 5,000 people live on the streets of San Francisco, a 19% rise in just two years.”

The Economist

Today’s Mail: Last Wednesday of June 2019

DSCN0093

from Texafornia Dreaming, p. 7, The Economist:

One in five Americans calls Texas or California home. By 2050 one in four will. Over the past 20 years the two states have created a third of new jobs in America. Their economic heft rivals whole countries’. Were they nations, Texas would be the tenth-largest, ahead of Canada by GDP. California would be fifth, right behind Germany.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Thursday Read: The Economist, 16 March 2019

An article on Artemisia Gentileschi is in the Books section.

DSCN0220

Illustration: Gentileschi’s Judith Beheading Holofernes

“Gentileschi’s Self-Portrait as St. Catherine of Alexandria was acquired last year by the National Gallery in London, becoming only the 21st work by a woman in a 2,300-piece collection.”

Artemisia Gentileschi was the “first female artist to be admitted to the Accademia delle Arti del Disegno in Florence.” She was raped by Agostino Tassi, who her father had hired “to teach her perspective.” Her father “petitioned the pope for compensation. His daughter was considered damaged goods.” The case went to trial. Tassi, found guilty, “was exiled from Rome,” but continued to receive commissions from successive popes.

Gentileschi was “married off to a mediocre artist” but “nevertheless set up her own studio . . . She worked in Naples and London. She became the great artist she always wanted to be.”

“A play about Gentileschi’s travails that won awards at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival last year, transferred to London and will soon be staged elsewhere.”

“Roughly 60 paintings by Gentileschi survive . . . ”

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Currently Reading: The Economist, 2 March 2019

Catching up with The Economist this morning.

Interesting review in the Books section, 2 March 2019:

DSCN0136

 

Opioid Addiction

According to The Economist of 23 February 2019,

  • The states with the highest opioid death rates are: Ohio, West Virginia, and New Hampshire.
  • Drugs kill an estimated 70,000 Americans every year. “In 2017, 47,600 of those deaths were caused by opioid overdose — a five-fold increase since 2000.”
  • Alexander Wood invented the hypodermic needle in 1853. He “touted it by claiming that morphine would not cause addiction if injected rather than smoked or swallowed.”
  • “Needles and morphine were deployed in the American Civil War . . .”  leaving “as many as 100,000 veterans” addicted.
  • Heroin was first manufactured by Bayer, the German pharmaceutical company. “To market it, they called it heroin from the German word meaning heroic.”
  • In 1996, a private pharmaceutical firm launched Oxycontin, an opioid “that, like heroin, is twice as strong as morphine.”
  • “Opioid sales quadrupled from 1999 to 2011.”
  • In 2012, the number of opioid prescriptions was 255 million.
  • In 2015, “Americans were still getting four times as many opioids per head than Europeans.”

These stats are terrible.

Books/ The Economist, 9 February 2019

As dear blog readers can tell from the date, self has a whole pile of Economists to catch up on.

Today is Sunday and the sun is shining and she’s made good on her goal to spend most, if not all, of today reading.

She’s on the 9 February 2019 Books section, and there’s a review of a really interesting book:

DSCN0440

Another book reviewed in this issue (though not positively, lol) is Let Me Not Be Mad, by A. K. Benjamin. Sadly, The Economist does not warm up to its unreliable narrator, but self confesses to being intrigued by this excerpt, quoted in the review:

  • I walked over London Bridge in rush hour, faces thronging around me, and diagnosed each one in an instant: Psychosis . . . Depression . . . Lewy Bodies . . . Panic . . . Depression . . . Sociopathy . . . OCD . . . Cynophobia . . . Panic . . . Guam’s. Everybody has something, and now there’s a name for it, even if it’s fear of having something, of going insane, aka dementophobia.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

« Older entries

John's Space .....

"Two roads diverged in a wood, and I— I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference." The Road Not Taken, by Robert Frost

nancy merrill photography

capturing memories one moment at a time

Asian Cultural Experience

Preserving the history and legacy of Salinas Chinatown

Rantings Of A Third Kind

The Blog about everything and nothing and it's all done in the best possible taste!

Sauce Box

Never get lost in the Sauce

GK Dutta

Be One... Make One...

Cee's Photo Challenges

Teaching the art of composition for photography.

Fashion Not Fear

Fueling fearlessness through style and inspiration.

Wanderlust and Wonderment

My writing and photo journey of inspiration and discovery

transcribingmemory

Decades of her words.

John Oliver Mason

Observations about my life and the world around me.

Insanity at its best!

Yousuf Bawany's Blog

litadoolan

Any old world uncovered by new writing

unbolt me

the literary asylum

CSP Archives

Archive of the CSP

The 100 Greatest Books Challenge

A journey from one end of the bookshelf to the other

Random Storyteller

A crazy quilt of poems, stories, and humor by Catherine Hamrick