From kottke.org

  • “I Lived Through A Stupid Coup. America Is Having One Now.”

    Indi Samarajiva on living through a stupid political coup in Sri Lanka and a warning to Americans.

    Two years ago, I lived through a coup in Sri Lanka. It was stupid. The minority party threw chili powder at everyone in Parliament and took over by farce. Math, however, requires a majority and the courts kicked them out. They gave in. We’d been on the streets for weeks but yay, we won.

    No.

    I didn’t know it at the time, but we had already lost. No one knew — but oh my God, what we lost. The...


  • Rebecca Solnit: We Don’t Need to Meet Nazis Halfway

    Writing for Lithub, Rebecca Solnit on On Not Meeting Nazis Halfway.

    Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito just complained that “you can’t say that marriage is a union between one man and one woman. Now it’s considered bigotry.” This is a standard complaint of the right: the real victim is the racist who has been called a racist, not the victim of his racism, the real oppression is to be impeded in your freedom to oppress. And of course Alito is disingenuous; you can say that stuff against marriage...


  • Oxford-AstraZeneca’s Covid-19 Vaccine Up to 90% Effective

    Preliminary results from the trials of the Covid-19 vaccine jointly developed by the University of Oxford and AstraZeneca indicate that the vaccine’s overall efficacy is 70% but that a regimen that calls for a lower first dose is 90% effective.

    The preliminary results on the AstraZeneca vaccine were based on a total of 131 Covid-19 cases in a study involving 11,363 participants. The findings were perplexing. Two full doses of the vaccine appeared to be only 62% effective at preventing disease,...


  • Election Days I Have Known

    My birthday is November 3, 1979. This means that Election Day 2020 in the United States was also my 41st birthday. It was a very strange birthday. But I believe that anyone born in the first week of November who lives and/or votes in this country often finds themselves celebrating strange birthdays. Their memories and experiences of those days are different, more vivid, and more hopelessly entwine the political, civic, and personal.

    I was very nearly born on November 2. That was my mother’s...


  • Tomorrow’s Special Guest…

    Hey all. I’m taking the day off tomorrow (Friday) to take care of a few things I’ve been neglecting in my life recently (laundry, tidying, showering, maybe even email). But I am pleased to tell you that Mr. Tim Carmody will be covering for me in his typically fine fashion. Tim has been a part of this website for many years now and I’m so glad to welcome him back. He’ll be helming the @kottke Twitter account tomorrow as well, so pop over there if you want to say hello, offer feedback, etc. I’ll...


  • A Secret to Vermont’s Pandemic Success

    For Vox, Julia Belluz takes a look at the approach that’s made Vermont more successful than most other US states in combatting Covid-19. The big thing? State officials recognized that those most at risk needed more support.

    There’s a fatal flaw embedded in the basic Covid-19 test, trace, and isolate trifecta used around the world: It doesn’t account for the fact that the coronavirus is not an equal-opportunity pathogen. The people who are most likely to be tested, and to have the easiest time...


  • Pandemic Safety Rules

    As I write this, it’s snowing outside here in Vermont and Covid-19 has finally gained a foothold in our little state. At the governor’s press conference yesterday, he and his pandemic response team announced that contact tracing done by the state showed that the rise in cases started as an outbreak in some hockey leagues. That initial outbreak wasn’t contained and subsequent non-essential, indoor, mask-less, multi-household gatherings and Halloween parties resulted in the very sharp rise we...


  • Anonymous Obama Gets Some Ice Cream

    Barack Obama’s A Promised Land comes out today and The Root’s Michael Harriot has a brief interview with Obama. The rest of the interview is meatier, but I like Harriott’s last question:

    Q: You are a former president and you are unquestionably the predominant role model for a generation of Black people, both of which come with a certain amount of public scrutiny. But for one day, you get to be an anonymous, everyday American who can go anywhere you want and do anything. Describe that day.

    A:...


  • Today Marks a Year of Covid-19

    According to an unpublicized report by the Chinese government, the first documented case of Covid-19 was a 55-year-old person living in Hubei province on November 17, 2019. That makes today the first anniversary of the start of the Covid-19 pandemic. From that person (and possibly earlier or concurrent cases), the disease slowly and silently spread until it was determined to be due to a novel coronavirus.

    They found that following the Nov. 17 case, about one to five new cases were reported...


  • “It’s Time to Hunker Down”

    Zeynep Tufekci says that a devastating third pandemic surge is upon us and that It’s Time to Hunker Down. She leads with the good news (vaccines, treatments, knowledge, testing capacity & quickness) but notes that with winter coming and a high baseline of cases from a summer not spent in preparation, now is the time to really knuckle down so that we can get to the finish line.

    Whatever the causes, public-health experts knew a fall and winter wave was a high likelihood, and urged us to get...


  • Preliminary Results: Moderna Covid-19 Vaccine Is 94.5% Effective

    Last Monday the world got some good news: an early review of the data showed that Pfizer’s Covid-19 vaccine was “more than 90% effective” in preventing the disease. The results pointed to other vaccines also being highly effective against the virus and this morning comes this news: Early Data Show Moderna’s Coronavirus Vaccine Is 94.5% Effective.

    The drugmaker Moderna announced on Monday that its coronavirus vaccine was 94.5 percent effective, based on an early look at the results from its...


  • No Evidence of Voter Fraud Reported by Election Officials Nationwide

    The headline and first few paragraphs of today’s front-page story in the NY Times say it all: The Times Called Officials in Every State: No Evidence of Voter Fraud.

    Election officials in dozens of states representing both political parties said that there was no evidence that fraud or other irregularities played a role in the outcome of the presidential race, amounting to a forceful rebuke of President Trump’s portrait of a fraudulent election.

    Over the last several days, the president,...