Friday Hodgepodge

Friday, February 26, 2021

Four Things

1. Cal Newport leads off a post on "Steinbeck's Productive Inactivity" with the following entertaining real estate note:

Good news: if you have $17.9 million available, John Steinbeck's 1.8 acre waterfront retreat is now for sale. It's tucked onto a grassy peninsula in Upper Sag Harbor Cove, and features a pool, a long pier, and two cozy guest cottages. Arguably most important is the hexagonal, 100-square-foot "writer's house" overlooking the water.
There's more at the source, including a photograph of the writer's house and a thought-provoking exploration of the languid workstyle the novelist used on the way to producing thirty-three books.

2. At Leaps Magazine is a piece covering the efforts of a medical researcher who is systematically organizing data on drugs being repurposed to fight Covid. His personal experience -- of having to find a drug to treat his own illness -- will inspire more than just confidence that he is the right man at the right time for such a job:
A swirl of exasperation and doggedness finally propelled Fajgenbaum to take on a crucial question himself: Among all of the already FDA-approved drugs on the market, was there something out there, labeled for another use, that could beat back Castleman disease and that he could tolerate long-term? After months of research, he discovered the answer: sirolimus, a drug normally prescribed to patients receiving a kidney transplant, could be used to suppress his overactive immune system with few known side effects to boot.
David Fajgenbaum's CORONA Project is tracking four hundred such treatments.

3. From a New Yorker article titled "Why Remote Work Is So Hard -- and How It Can Be Fixed" comes an early example of telecommuting:
The satellite-office idea didn't catch on, but it didn't matter: over the next decade, advances in computer and network technology leapfrogged it. In 1986, my mother, a COBOL programmer for the Houston Chronicle, became one of the first true remote workers: in a bid to keep her from leaving -- she was very good, and had a long commute -- the paper set her up with an early-model, monochrome-screen PC, from which she "dialled in" to the paper's I.B.M. mainframe using a primitive modem, sending screens of code back and forth. "It was very slow," she told me recently. "You would watch the lines load on the screen, one by one." The technology wasn't fast enough for widespread use -- hours could pass while the computers synchronized -- but the basic template for remote work had been set.
The piece is more than just interesting: It considers the idea that current attempts to exploit the advantages of remote work might well resemble an earlier shift in industry, namely the one from steam power to electric in terms of non-obviousness in applying the newer technology.

4. My favorite soccer team, Arsenal, were on the brink of elimination from the Europa League cup competition yesterday, when my new favorite player, Kieran Tierney, came up with a goal, as shown below.

Rico of the Arsenal-focused Highbury House blog comments:
A mention for Willian too for setting up Kieran Tierney but in truth, the Scotsman did all the hard work. Plus, he gave the team hope after scoring the first of the two goals we needed to achieve the right result. As said above, no big celebration, just get back to work and go again.
This was Tierney's first appearance in some time due to injury. And it is more than a relief to see him back.

-- CAV


Snedcat said...

Yo, Gus, here's a couple of good videos for you. First, a zippy little number with interesting changes in style throughout by Oreskaband, the leading Japanese women's ska group.

Second, one of the contemporary composers I discovered while exploring Bandcamp is a fellow named Charlie Cawood, who writes music that has a broadly neo-classical sound with jazz influences and a light chamber sound, and often propulsive. He sometimes has slightly sappy or mawkish touches that I don't like so much, but on the whole his music is eminently listenable and often delightful. On one of his albums he has a couple of songs with videos up on YouTube. This one is a decent song, but the video is a real treat.

Gus Van Horn said...