Boston University recently held an all day symposium for its students to discuss the events surrounding the killing of George Floyd and connecting the current civic unrest to the long history of institutionalized racism in the United States.
Most of the sessions were closed to only BU students but, thankfully, the opening discussion was uploaded for the public and is well-worth watching. Attending were:
Ibram X. Kendi (Moderator), Professor of History (as of July 1, 2020), Founder, BU Center for Antiracist Research
Paula Austin, Assistant Professor of History and African American Studies
Louis Chude-Sokei, Professor of English, George and Joyce Wein Chair in African American Studies, Director of the African American Studies Program
Saida Grundy, Assistant Professor of Sociology and African American Studies
A snippet. . .
This country is really gifted at forgetting. Forgetting is built into capitalism, into the kind of predatory capitalism we have here. Forgetting is crucial to how you create constant obsession with newness, innovation and commodities.
Dr. Louis Chude-Sokei
The context of that quote being, of course, that racism in America continues to persist because we never come to terms with this country’s history of racism.
Japanese documentary film maker Takeuchi Ryo has been living in Nanjing, China for seven years sharing. with his YouTube audience what it is like for a Japanese ex-pats living in China.
In May, Mr. Takeuchi spent 10-days in the newly opened Wuhan, the Chinese city that was at the epicenter and perhaps source of the Coronavirus pandemic. We get a glimpse of a city flickering to life after a long, hard lockdown.
There’s the harsh economic reality of restaurant owners having to cut their prices to attract back customers who are also hurting from lost wages. We learn how contract tracing works in practice, movements are tracked everywhere, it’s Foursquare check-ins, enforced by law. QR codes have finally found widespread adoption. We experience life in the city through several individuals we meet up close.
There’s a nurse who volunteered on the front lines. She’s normally bubbly and would dance to help lift the spirits of her patients but asks to stop the interview when asked to recall what it was like to see so much death. She almost quit her job before the pandemic hit but now she has found a new purpose in her career.
There’s the construction worker who didn’t sleep for three nights while building that famous insta-hospital that went up in just 10-days. His future is uncertain as goods manufactured in Wuhan factories are shunned across China due to fears of contamination. Yet he’s just happy to be alive to raise his family after seeing complete civic panic and the potential collapse of society, up close.
There is also a newlywed couple that re-unite after quarantine forced their separation. Their joy to be together is infectious and through them you feel a giddiness that comes only when happiness has been denied for a long time.
The exuberant optimism of the city’s residents today in Long Time No See, Wuhan hint at what must have been a horrible period of sadness and despair. Only someone who has suppressed happiness for a long time could be this joyful and optimistic.
I am happy for the future of Wuhan but it’s those hints of what they went through that has me worried. I don’t feel like Americans are prepared to give up their freedoms in the same way that those in Wuhan did and still do so today. Americans cannot even agree to wear a mask in public. How will we ever enforce mandatory temperature checks, location tracking, and regular testing to reduce the spread of this disease? I hope we can pull together and do what needs to be done to turn things around.
Milton Glaser, the designer of the I ♥ NY logo and founder of New York Magazine died this week.
We all know now that alt-TikTok duped the Trump campaign into thinking they were going to need an overflow stage in Tulsa. What’s even cooler is that the TikTok army took their inspiration from a 51-year old grandma from Iowa.
The highly anticipated (in some circles) Dior – Air Jordan collab dropped. If you an find a pair, they go for $2,200. If you can’t, be prepared to shell out $10k on the secondary market.
A truck traveling through the intersection of Portage Avenue and Race Track Road collided with another truck and scattered french fries all over the road. The story did not say which had right of way, the Race Track or the Portage.
Apple published an interesting visualization of data they have on the number of times Apple Maps users looked up directions and how the frequency has changed during the pandemic.
The Mobility Trends Report is not only a great way to show the value of Apple’s aggregate data but also an opportunity for the company to explain it’s privacy policies.
Privacy is a fundamental human right. At Apple, it’s also one of our core values, so Maps doesn’t associate your data with your Apple ID, and Apple doesn’t keep a history of where you’ve been.
This data is generated by counting the number of requests made to Apple Maps for directions in select countries/regions, sub-regions, and cities. Data that is sent from users’ devices to the Maps service is associated with random, rotating identifiers so Apple doesn’t have a profile of your movements and searches. The availability of data in a particular country/region, sub-region, or city is based on a number of factors, including minimum thresholds for direction requests per day.
I used to subscribe to Popular Mechanics magazine. Each issue had helpful tips on how to fix something around the schematics of how something works. This week they had some helpful tips on how to topple a confederate statue.
When Deadheads try to explain their appreciation for the Grateful Dead, they will probably point you to a concert at Cornell University in 1977, in particular the sequence from Scarlet Begonias to Fire on the Mountain.
YouTuber Michael Palmisano has built up his channel, Guitar Teacher REACTS around the deconstruction of live music jams. To celebrate his 100,000th subscriber, Michael deconstructed Scarlet > Fire from 5/8/77.
I’ve listened to this version many times but following the Guitar Teacher through his hour-long analysis revealed flourishes that I knew all along were there but never fully appreciated or had the vocabulary to explain. From Scarlet’s “mixolidian lick” to Keith’s arpeggiating progressions – he calls out all the shiny bits and holds each one up to the light like its own little gem.
At the transition into Fire at around 21 minutes, Michael breaks down how each musician transitions over “step-by-step” until the band collectively agree it’s time to jump over. Watching him walk you thru the magic, painted in real-time as only a band that plays together, night after night, can do is infectious.
A COVID-19 testing swab factory said that they had to trash all swabs created during President Trump’s visit last week. The president flew to the factory in Maine to celebrate the factory’s increased production and insisted on touring the factory without a mask.
James Micioni, a 96-year old New Jersey man, passed away and left to his family a collection of baseball cards that is now known as The Uncle Jimmy Collection. A signed Babe Ruth card is a rare find, Uncle Jimmy had six. This treasure trove of vintage, baseball cards that is the single most incredible find in the history of the hobby.
So what did you do during the 2020 shelter in place? Check out this contraption that took two months to build and tune.
Side note: did you know Ruben Goldberg went to UC Berkeley where he studied at the College of Mining and Engineering. His first job was as an engineer with the San Francisco Water and Sewers Department which is where he probably got his ideas for all his crazy inventions.