Yascha Mounk for The Atlantic:
Is the desirability of an eye exam performed by a medical professional a sufficient reason to prevent Americans who would rather not—or cannot—visit an optometrist from buying glasses and contacts? We can only answer this question by acknowledging a trade-off between competing goods.
On the one hand, some number of Americans who visit an optometrist to get a new prescription will indeed discover that they have a serious condition that requires immediate care. On the other hand, it is likely that a much greater number keep wearing glasses that are too weak—or won’t wear glasses at all—because they want to avoid the cost, time, or stress of a visit to a doctor.
Charlie Watts was never the most flashy drummer. He wasn’t known for the frenzied solos of Cream’s Ginger Baker, or for placing explosives in his kick drum like The Who’s Keith Moon. Instead, he was the subtle, stoic heartbeat of The Rolling Stones for almost 60 years.
On and off the stage, he was quiet and reserved – sticking to the shadows and letting the rest of the band suck up the limelight.
“I’ve actually never been interested in all that stuff and still am not,” he told the San Diego Tribune in 1991. “I don’t know what showbiz is and I’ve never watched MTV. There are people who just play instruments, and I’m pleased to know that I’m one of them.”
I haven’t had much time in the past few months, but I didn’t want to miss reflecting on this. It takes a humble drummer to avoid the spotlight and simply be the solid foundation behind the rest of the band. By all accounts from those who knew him best, humble appears to be an understatement for Charlie. What a career.
Our efforts yielded two big lessons. The first is that every improvement is a trade-off. Protecting bus lanes with concrete barriers, for example, would keep cars out, but it would also keep limited-stop buses from passing local ones. Our street incorporates a possible set of compromises. The second is that even simple tweaks imply a far-reaching organizational overhaul.
Many of these proposals are radical only in New York. Other cities — even big chaotic ones, like Barcelona and Paris — update their streets without losing their identities or going broke. When it comes to quality of life in the public realm, New York’s attitude should be competitive, not fatalistic.
It’s easy to forget that the street is the ultimate public open space, a space with the capacity to better serve many other functions if we can only agree to deprioritize the personal automobile. The proposals I enjoyed the most, and that I think have the biggest capacity for change in the shortest amount of time, are the continued reduction in automobile capacity by converting streets to plazas, and the dedication of micro-mobility spaces on every street.
Dell Cameron, writing for Gizmodo:
Internal documents obtained by the Journal now reveal that Facebook formed a special team to study children and ponder ways in which they could be monetized. One such document is said to refer to children between the ages of 10 and 12 (“tweens”) as a “valuable but untapped audience.” Another suggests “leveraging playdates” as means to drive Facebook’s “growth.”
The parallels between Facebook today and tobacco companies fifty years ago are stunning.
Rebecca Tuhus-Dubrow, for Next City:
We know that cities can be hectic, stressful places. We also know that green space can have a calming effect on people. But Olszewska is seeking to take our knowledge a step further — to enable designers and planners to maximize the serenity of urban green refuges.
The most contemplative landscapes are not necessarily the ones that people would claim to enjoy the most. More stimulating landscapes — brightly colored flowers, numerous eye-catching elements — may be more immediately attractive. “If you imagine the French baroque gardens, they are very geometrical, very organized,” said Olszewska. But this kind of environment, however beautiful, may be less relaxing to spend time in.
Before, localized COVID-19 hot spots led to bed shortages, but there were usually hospitals in the region not as affected that could accept a transfer. Now, as the highly contagious delta variant envelops swaths of low-vaccination states all at once, it becomes harder to find nearby hospitals that are not slammed.
“Wait times can now be measured in days,” said Darrell Pile, CEO of the SouthEast Texas Regional Advisory Council, which helps coordinate patient transfers across a 25-county region.
Recently, Dr. Cedric Dark, a Houston emergency physician and assistant professor of emergency medicine at Baylor College of Medicine, said he saw a critically ill COVID-19 patient waiting in the emergency room for an ICU bed to open. The doctor worked eight hours, went home and came in the next day. The patient was still waiting.
Holding a seriously ill patient in an emergency room while waiting for an in-patient bed to open is known as boarding. The longer the wait, the more dangerous it can be for the patient, studies have found. Not only do patients ultimately end up staying in the hospital or the ICU longer, some research suggests that long waits for a bed will worsen their condition and may increase the risk of in-hospital death.
That’s what happened last month in Texas.
Even if you are vaccinated, any other kind of medical emergency will now be impacted by an unvaccinated COVID-19 patient occupying the hospital bed you needed. These differences in outcomes are the direct costs, both in lives and dollars, willfully and narcissistically incurred on our society by those who choose to remain unvaccinated.
Jordan Moreau, writing for Variety:
Norm Macdonald, the deadpan comedian, actor, writer and “Saturday Night Live” star, has died after a battle with cancer, Variety has confirmed. He was 61.
One of my favorite jokes of all time is Norm’s moth joke. Norm knew delivery, and delivery is everything.
Dennis Pillion, writing for AL.com:
“One of the last things they do before they’re intubated is beg me for the vaccine. I hold their hand and tell them that I’m sorry, but it’s too late… A few days later when I call time of death,” continued Cobia on Facebook, “I hug their family members and I tell them the best way to honor their loved one is to go get vaccinated and encourage everyone they know to do the same.”
“They cry. And they tell me they didn’t know. They thought it was a hoax. They thought it was political. They thought because they had a certain blood type or a certain skin color they wouldn’t get as sick. They thought it was ‘just the flu’. But they were wrong. And they wish they could go back. But they can’t. So they thank me and they go get the vaccine. And I go back to my office, write their death note, and say a small prayer that this loss will save more lives.”
“I try to be very non-judgmental when I’m getting a new COVID patient that’s unvaccinated, but I really just started asking them, ‘Why haven’t you gotten the vaccine?’ And I’ll just ask it point blank, in the least judgmental way possible,” she said. “And most of them, they’re very honest, they give me answers. ‘I talked to this person, I saw this thing on Facebook, I got this email, I saw this on the news,’ you know, these are all the reasons that I didn’t get vaccinated.”
“And the one question that I always ask them is, did you make an appointment with your primary care doctor and ask them for their opinion on whether or not you should receive the vaccine? And so far, nobody has answered yes to that question.”
Enough is enough. Get vaccinated.
Maria Cramer, in the New York Times:
Joshua Hawkins said the request seemed “pretty weird,” but the dark-haired man who made it was offering cash, and a lot of it.
The man said his name was Nate and he wanted Mr. Hawkins, a local artist, to paint an enormous Soviet-style mural of Cookie Monster — the voracious, pastry-loving “Sesame Street” creature — and three Russian words on a commercial building in Peoria, Ill.
When the job was done over Thanksgiving weekend, the man paid in full and Mr. Hawkins, 33, proudly displayed the mural on his Facebook page.
But Mr. Hawkins learned C can also be for Caper.
Less than a week after the mural went up, Mr. Hawkins said he received a call from the real Nate Comte, who said he had never commissioned the Cookie Monster mural.
The mural was short lived, but as Cookie Monster likes to say, “No cry because cookie is finished. Smile because cookie happened.”