News 03.27.20 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets


News 03.27.20 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
News 03.27.20 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
News 03.27.20 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

What’s your favorite album? When was the last time you listened — actually listened — to it from start to finish? With intention, like you were watching a movie or reading a novel.

Clear your schedule for the next three hours. Choose three full albums, whether from your collection or your streaming service of choice. Put them in an ordered queue as though you were programming a triple feature.

Because, listen:

Musicians spend years making their albums. They struggle over syllables, melodies, bridges and rhythms with the same intensity with which you compare notes on the “Forensic Files” reboot, loot corpses in “Fortnite” or pound Cabernet during pandemics.

But most of us are half-assed when it comes to listening to albums. We put on artists’ work while we’re scrolling through Twitter, disinfecting doorknobs, obsessively washing our hands or romancing lovers permitted within our COVID-free zones. We rip our favorite tracks from their natural long-player habitat, drop them into playlists and forget the other songs, despite their being sequenced to be heard in order.

It doesn’t have to be this way. There was a time when listeners treated the mere existence of recorded sound as a miracle. A wonder, a kind of time travel. Priests warned of early wax cylinders being tools of the devil. Vintage images from the space age show couples seated around their high-fidelity systems as if being warmed by a fireplace.

Read the rest of this article at: Los Angeles Times

News 03.27.20 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

News 03.27.20 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

One afternoon in April, as we climbed into an armoured car outside her office in Vauxhall, south London, I asked Lynne Owens, the country’s most senior police officer, to describe 21st-century crime in the UK. Her answer spanned most of the next two hours, as we crawled east through the traffic to Chelmsford, Essex where, as head of the National Crime Agency (NCA), she had been invited by the Policing Institute of the Eastern Region to give a lecture on the future of law enforcement.

There was Russia’s attempt to kill Sergei Skripal. A North Korean cyber-attack. Eastern European slave traffickers. Albanian cocaine smugglers. (Sensitive to singling out nationalities, Owens used the term “western Balkans”). Hundreds of billions of pounds laundered through London every year. A dramatic rise in the murder rate in the capital in four years. Historic child abuse in Rotherham. Fentanyl manufacturers in Merseyside and Manchester.

All the cases Owens cited were examples of organised crime, illicit national and transnational networks that have multiplied since the 1980s and now make an annual £1.5tn around the world and £37bn, or 1.8% of GDP, in Britain. It was to tackle this threat that the NCA was established five years ago as a national intelligence and police force – inevitably described in the press as the closest thing Britain has to an FBI. What to many might sound like a terrifying catalogue of crime, then, is to Owens, as the NCA’s director-general, a to-do list. Since we spoke, Owens’s caseload has expanded again to include investigations into the origins of Brexiter Arron Banks’s campaign cash and how an Azerbaijani banker’s wife, Zamira Hajiyeva, sustained a lifestyle that ran to spending £16m in Harrods in a decade.

Read the rest of this article at: The Guardian

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Some of the HBR edit staff met virtually the other day — a screen full of faces in a scene becoming more common everywhere. We talked about the content we’re commissioning in this harrowing time of a pandemic and how we can help people. But we also talked about how we were feeling. One colleague mentioned that what she felt was grief. Heads nodded in all the panes.

If we can name it, perhaps we can manage it. We turned to David Kessler for ideas on how to do that. Kessler is the world’s foremost expert on grief. He co-wrote with Elisabeth Kübler-Ross On Grief and Grieving: Finding the Meaning of Grief through the Five Stages of Loss. His new book adds another stage to the process, Finding Meaning: The Sixth Stage of GriefKessler also has worked for a decade in a three-hospital system in Los Angeles. He served on their biohazards team. His volunteer work includes being an LAPD Specialist Reserve for traumatic events as well as having served on the Red Cross’s disaster services team. He is the founder of, which has over 5 million visits yearly from 167 countries.

Kessler shared his thoughts on why it’s important to acknowledge the grief you may be feeling, how to manage it, and how he believes we will find meaning in it. The conversation is lightly edited for clarity.

Read the rest of this article at: Harvard Business Review

News 03.27.20 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

Three months ago, no one knew that SARS-CoV-2 existed. Now the virus has spread to almost every country, infecting at least 446,000 people whom we know about, and many more whom we do not. It has crashed economies and broken health-care systems, filled hospitals and emptied public spaces. It has separated people from their workplaces and their friends. It has disrupted modern society on a scale that most living people have never witnessed. Soon, most everyone in the United States will know someone who has been infected. Like World War II or the 9/11 attacks, this pandemic has already imprinted itself upon the nation’s psyche.

A global pandemic of this scale was inevitable. In recent years, hundreds of health experts have written books, white papers, and op-eds warning of the possibility. Bill Gates has been telling anyone who would listen, including the 18 million viewers of his TED Talk. In 2018, I wrote a story for The Atlantic arguing that America was not ready for the pandemic that would eventually come. In October, the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security war-gamed what might happen if a new coronavirus swept the globe. And then one did. Hypotheticals became reality. “What if?” became “Now what?”

So, now what? In the late hours of last Wednesday, which now feels like the distant past, I was talking about the pandemic with a pregnant friend who was days away from her due date. We realized that her child might be one of the first of a new cohort who are born into a society profoundly altered by COVID-19. We decided to call them Generation C.

As we’ll see, Gen C’s lives will be shaped by the choices made in the coming weeks, and by the losses we suffer as a result. But first, a brief reckoning. On the Global Health Security Index, a report card that grades every country on its pandemic preparedness, the United States has a score of 83.5—the world’s highest. Rich, strong, developed, America is supposed to be the readiest of nations. That illusion has been shattered. Despite months of advance warning as the virus spread in other countries, when America was finally tested by COVID-19, it failed.

“No matter what, a virus [like SARS-CoV-2] was going to test the resilience of even the most well-equipped health systems,” says Nahid Bhadelia, an infectious-diseases physician at the Boston University School of Medicine. More transmissible and fatal than seasonal influenza, the new coronavirus is also stealthier, spreading from one host to another for several days before triggering obvious symptoms. To contain such a pathogen, nations must develop a test and use it to identify infected people, isolate them, and trace those they’ve had contact with. That is what South Korea, Singapore, and Hong Kong did to tremendous effect. It is what the United States did not.

As my colleagues Alexis Madrigal and Robinson Meyer have reported, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention developed and distributed a faulty test in February. Independent labs created alternatives, but were mired in bureaucracy from the FDA. In a crucial month when the American caseload shot into the tens of thousands, only hundreds of people were tested. That a biomedical powerhouse like the U.S. should so thoroughly fail to create a very simple diagnostic test was, quite literally, unimaginable. “I’m not aware of any simulations that I or others have run where we [considered] a failure of testing,” says Alexandra Phelan of Georgetown University, who works on legal and policy issues related to infectious diseases.

Read the rest of this article at: The Atlantic

News 03.27.20 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

When I say my entire life revolves around death, it is not hyperbole. I am director of the Centre for Death and Society at the University of Bath, one of the world’s only research centres dedicated to the interdisciplinary study of death, dying and the dead body. My father is also a retired American funeral director. My younger sister, Julie, and I spent hours and hours of our youth in the different funeral homes Dad worked in. We never actually lived in a funeral home, much to the disappointment of Six Feet Under fans worldwide, but we did grow up watching our father moving RIP floral arrangements around, or vacuuming a visitation chapel’s carpet, and frequently disappearing on Christmas mornings because someone had died the night before. This was all totally normal for us. Our parents had made a point of not hiding anything about death, funerals or dead bodies when we were kids.

In late July 2017, my sister was diagnosed with an aggressive glioblastoma multiforme brain cancer and underwent emergency surgery to reduce the tumour’s size. She then received multiple radiation and chemo treatments for the next year before dying on 29 July 2018, in Milan, Italy, where she lived with her family and worked as a schoolteacher.

Despite my lived experience and academic credentials on human mortality, I was completely unprepared for Julie’s untimely death at the age of 43. I was not unprepared in that way many people are wholly unprepared for a person to die. There was an element of that emotion, but I was raised to understand that any person, especially the people we know and love, unexpectedly die all the time. My own unpreparedness came in a different form: throughout the year that Julie spent living with brain cancer I constantly felt that I should intervene and ask about hospice care, to make sure that my sister understood she was dying – but for reasons I do not fully understand, I did not say anything until the very end.

I finally said something on the night of 13 July 2018, when I was with my sister in Italy and she asked me what was happening. I held her hand and did what none of her medical team had done and said what the counsellors kept telling my brother-in-law not to say – I told my kid sister that she was never going home to Wisconsin, that she was going to die in Italy, and that we would do everything we could to make her end of life comfortable. Julie died 16 days later.

What I remember most about this experience is my sister saying three things: (1) thank you for telling me, (2) I know I’m dying (we did grow up the same way, after all), and (3) I am glad you are the one who told me because I would do the same for you.

This was one of the last conversations I ever had with my sister. Julie’s health was rapidly declining by this time. She had already lost vision in her right eye because of the tumour, the left eye was on its way out, she was bedbound because of severe balance problems also caused by the tumour, and her hearing was failing. On the upside, she was not in much physical pain because a local hospice recently started providing her with palliative drugs and outpatient medical care. But even after the local hospice got involved, no one said anything about dying. It was a matter of days after our conversation that an ambulance transported my sister to the same hospice’s comprehensive inpatient facility for comfort care. Julie requested that she not die at home, contrary to the conventional wisdom on where people prefer to die, so my brother-in-law dutifully made the arrangements.

Read the rest of this article at: The Guardian

P.S. previous articles & more by P.F.M.

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