What I'm Reading (May 25)

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The Lessons of COVID
Chimp lessons
A.I. comes for you
Sabbath bread


“We were among a group of public health experts appointed to a task force by then-President-elect Biden to advise him on the pandemic during his transition following his 2020 election. At that point, the pandemic was about to enter its second year. We have continued to be involved in the public health response. In this light, we offer 13 lessons, many of which are not yet fully appreciated or integrated into planning for the next dangerous infectious disease outbreak — one that, in all likelihood, many of us will encounter in our lifetime.”

Given all the smoke and mirrors and non-apologetic apologies, this stands out for being at least useful. From the N.Y. Times, We Worked on the U.S. Pandemic Response. Here Are 13 Takeaways for the Next Health Emergency


One of the earliest and most dramatic scenes in 2001-A Space Odyssey is when the chimp killed another, throwing the bone into the air, which transformed into a space station. I had a similar moment in previewing a new 4 episode documentary on Netflix, Chimp Empire. While the tooth-and-claw view of evolution seems to be featured, perhaps there are lessons for us all as we look in the mirror at our close relations.


A.I. is coming, A.I. is coming. Another of the Paul Revere’s speaks up.

Email didn’t dismantle the culture of interoffice memos and workplace correspondence, but it did make them readily accessible all the time. Slack, the corporate email killer, hasn’t unclogged our inboxes. Instead, it is merely another workplace channel workers must tend to—another way to be productive and available to our colleagues and bosses, instantly, at any time. Why should we expect generative A.I. to free us from this familiar cycle?”

Charlie Warzel writing in the Atlantic, points out that

“The principles of Taylorism changed business and management forever. But its gains weren’t to the benefit of the worker, who was simply driven to produce more each shift.”

From the Atlantic, Here’s How AI Will Come for Your Job


My wife bakes wonderfully and provides us with many treats – highest among them bread.

“The word challah, which comes from a root meaning round (suggesting the shape), originally denoted the portion of bread that Jews were commanded to reserve for the kohanim, the priests who worked and lived in the Temple and relied on such gifts for their sustenance; the challah, as such, was supposed to be of highest quality, a bread befitting a servant of God.

After the Second Temple’s destruction and the scattering of its priests, the Sages commemorated the now-obsolete practice by instituting a substitute: a portion of dough from the people’s daily bread would be removed and burned. (The root word might alternatively mean hollow, or pierced. An empty space.) This sacrificial portion was then called the challah.”

From Longreads, an ode to bread, Our Braided Bread