Tuesday, May 04, 2021

How Long Can We Live?

 Love takes off the masks that we fear we cannot live without and know we cannot live within.

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James Baldwin

James Baldwin’s landmark essay “Letter From a Region in My Mind” was published half a century ago, two years before the 1964 Civil Rights Act was signed into law, but the great writer’s formidable insights are as relevant today as they were then. A solution to racial inequality in the United States, Baldwin suggested, lay not just in ending segregation, but in “releasing” white Americans from their “unadmitted — and apparently… unspeakable — private fears and longings.” Love, for Baldwin, depends on letting go of fear: “I use the word ‘love’ here not merely in the personal sense," he wrote, "but as a state of being, or a state of grace… in the tough and universal sense of quest and daring and growth.”

The New York Times – New research is intensifying the debate — with profound implications for the future of the planet. “…Humans have never belonged to the select society of the everlasting. We most likely inherited fairly long life spans from our last common ancestor with chimpanzees, which may have been a large, intelligent, social ape that lived in trees away from ground predators. But we never out-evolved the eventual senescence that is part of being a complex animal with all manner of metabolically costly adaptations and embellishments. As the years pass, our chromosomes contract and fracture, genes turn on and off haphazardly, mitochondria break down, proteins unravel or clump together, reserves of regenerative stem cells dwindle, bodily cells stop dividing, bones thin, muscles shrivel, neurons wither, organs become sluggish and dysfunctional, the immune system weakens and self-repair mechanisms fail. There is no programmed death clock ticking away inside us — no precise expiration date hard-wired into our species — but, eventually, the human body just can’t keep going. Social advances and improving public health may further increase life expectancy and lift some supercentenarians well beyond Jeanne Calment’s record. Even the most optimistic longevity scientists admit, however, that at some point these environmentally induced gains will run up against human biology’s limits — unless, that is, we fundamentally alter our biology…”

Costof Grenfell inquiry so far: £117m (including £50m on lawyers)

Cost of RBKC’s refurbishment: c £10m

Saving by switching to combustible cladding: c £300,000

Grenfell Gaps


How is President Biden doing as he approaches the 100-day mark? Not bad, experts say.

Why Informal Information Sharing is Holding Your Organization Back – This article by Mary Ellen Bates is an excerpt from her recent presentation “The Strategic Value of Copyright Licensing Solutions,” to which she also provides a video link. Bates discusses ways published information is being used throughout organizations that you may not have considered, and the impact on copyright compliance.

Actors On One Of Germany’s Most Popular TV Shows Made Sarcastic Videos About The COVID Lockdown. Bad Idea.

“A website called #allesdichtmachen(‘close it all down’) was launched on Thursday night, featuring 53 to-camera clips in which high-profile actors [from the long-running series Tatort] sarcastically boast of the lengths they have gone to restrict their social contacts and appeal to the government to lock down the country even harder.” Mein Gott, did they get dragged. One television host who’s been working as a paramedic summed up the general reaction, tweeting that the stars can “shove their irony up their ventilators.” – The Guardian

How Many Plants was built by a particularly passionate houseplant obsessive, but it’s here for all plant parents, seasoned enthusiasts and first-timers alike. By cutting through the disparate and often contradictory advice that seems to grow like weeds around all corners of the internet, HMP strives for clarity. With confidence-boosting plant guides and deep dives into everything from what we mean when we say “bright indirect light” to a very-calm-totally-not-freaking-out identification of the little critters ailing your plants, HMP is here to help you on your journey to plant-based happiness! Hand-in-hand with a passion for plants comes a love for design. With an eye for interiors, each plant guide highlights handy cues for narrowing in on the “big frilly leaf with wide-load growth potential” perfect for that cozy corner of your bedroom…” [the design, illustrations, practical information and recommendations make this site especially enjoyable]

As we move past the one-year mark since the COVID-19 crisis first spread to businesses and markets around the globe, it’s clear that the competitive landscape has been significantly reshaped. New winners and new losers emerged in many industries, with the difference often explained by their responses to the pandemic and the new needs it created. What have we learned about what it takes to succeed in crises Some clues can be found in our Fortune Future 50 index, an annual research partnership between Fortune and the BCG Henderson Institute. The index identifies which large, public companies have the greatest vitality—the capacity to sustain long-run growth through continual innovation and reinvention. One might not have expected this capacity to be relevant amid the short-term challenges faced in a crisis. Yet amid the shocks of 2020, the Future 50 companies we identified in fall 2019, before COVID-19 had come to the fore, substantially outperformed…”

The Wikipedia page listing company name etymologies is a good place to spend some time.

7-Eleven - convenience stores; renamed from “Tote’m” in 1946 to reflect their newly extended hours, 7:00 am until 11:00 pm.

Samsung - meaning “three stars” in Korean

Coca-Cola - derived from the coca leaves and kola nuts used as flavoring. Coca-Cola creator John S. Pemberton changed the ‘K’ of kola to ‘C’ to make the name look better.

Pepsi - named from the digestive enzyme pepsin

Jordache - from the first names of the Nakash brothers who founded the company: Joe, Ralph, David (Ralph’s first son), Avi, plus che, after the second syllable of “Nakash”

Employers Eager for Return to Workplace, Survey Says Employees Disagree

limeade: “Bellevue, Wash., April 27, 2021 – Today, the Limeade Institute released a global study, Employee Care: Defining the New Normal. The study delves into the current state of the employee experience, the level of care employees feel at this critical time and employee sentiment around how companies are planning to transition into the workplace in 2021. Of the employees surveyed that were previously working on-site pre-pandemic but are currently working from home — all say they have some anxiety about returning to work. 77% cited being exposed to COVID-19 as their top source of anxiety, followed by less flexibility at 71% and commuting to work at 58%…”