Week of June 1, 2020

Black Lives Matter

A few other things from around the Internet this week:


This pretty closely mirrors our experience staying at The Westin Perth during our quarantine.

Packaged meals from a third-party catering company were dropped at the door three times a day. Breakfast was often yogurt and cereal, and lunch, a sandwich and a salad; dinner could be spaghetti or chicken curry. While both the cost of the room and the meals themselves were covered by the Australian government, Ailsa and her husband could pay out of pocket for wine, beer, and groceries, which could be delivered.

Security guards were stationed on every floor to make sure no one left their rooms for any reason. Government workers stood in for hotel employees, answering phones and fielding guest questions. A nurse called guests each morning to inquire after their health, and to ask whether they were experiencing any symptoms of the coronavirus.


Kieran Healy on the enormity of the data available about COVID-19.

Every day begins in the same way. I get up. I make my coffee. I look at the data. Everything about this is absurd. To begin with, there’s the absurdity that everyone with a job like mine faces each day. Locked down at home with the kids, trying to get things done, unable to properly teach, write, or think. The household is like a little spacecraft, drifting in the void. Occasionally you venture outside to get supplies, or to check the shields. I find the days are speeding up now, because even though things drag from moment to moment, each twenty-four hour period is essentially identical. It reminds me of when my children were newborns. It’s a daily slog that, in retrospect, fuses into a gray blob almost impossible to recall in any sort of differentiated way.


Om Malik with a little optimism about the future.

My bet is always-on broadband. Virtual worlds, digital entertainment, gaming …. None of it would be possible without broadband. Today, we have about 100-250 Mbps in most modern homes. In some places, you can get a gigabit per second. Now imagine what we could do if, in ten years, we all have 10 gigabits per second in our homes, and we have in-home networks that are fast and fat. What could apps do then? What would it mean for our AI-enhanced devices? In 2001, we imagined a 100 Mbps future — and we got Google, a nearly trillion-dollar company. We got Instagram, YouTube, and Facebook. Fast forward 20 years from now, what do you think is possible? What do you want to be possible?

The Foster Portfolio

Elegant adaptation of a Kurt Vonnegut short story in which an investment banker learns that his working-class client is hiding a million dollar fortune for perplexing reasons. The ending is perfect.

All I Need

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