Saturday, November 21, 2020
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1. Story of the Week: Trump’s Michigan Gambit Fails

Running out of options to reverse his Nov. 3 loss, President Donald Trump seems to be down to arm-twisting in the Oval Office. But Republican lawmakers from Michigan, which is poised to certify Joe Biden as winner of its 16 electoral votes, said after their Friday meeting with Trump that they’d seen no evidence that would alter the outcome of a process that should be “free from threats and intimidation.” Georgia’s GOP governor, likewise, certified President-elect Biden Friday as the narrow winner of his state’s 16 electoral votes. Trump’s legal challenges face an uphill battle, while a Wisconsin recount isn’t expected to change the outcome there. Meanwhile, Biden has reportedly firmed up as-yet unannounced key cabinet picks.

Sources: ABC, Atlanta Journal Constitution, Politico, PBS, Axios

2. Coming Up: 2020’s Pandemic Thanksgiving

“It’s hard to imagine a more dangerous holiday than Thanksgiving in 2020.” That’s the warning from Seattle doctor Elisabeth Poorman. She, like federal, state and local health authorities, is praying the holiday doesn’t spin out of control. The graph of infections in the U.S. doesn’t even curve, it looks more like a moonshot. Amid all of that are many who, after mobbing supermarkets for supplies, plan to defiantly exercise their right to break bread with large groups of family and friends — except those who are working in overcrowded ICUs and the patients they’re caring for.

Sources: NPR, The Atlantic, Vox, KTVU Fox 2

3. What Can the US Lecture the World About?

On the eve of the virtual G-20 summit this weekend, an embattled White House announced that President Donald Trump will participate. But the digital presence of a lame-duck leader who won’t accept that he’s been voted out of office and has withdrawn from the World Health Organization promises to do little to help solve the world’s most pressing issue. Leaders are expected to urge a multibillion-dollar commitment of aid for poorer nations to cope with the pandemic, plus an economic stimulus to follow, but without leadership from the world’s richest nation, reaching a consensus seems unlikely.

Sources: Washington Post, Reuters

4. Vaccines May Tank the Dollar

While many cheer the advent of effective vaccines, financial experts see a downside. Investors around the world have been seeking safety in dollars. But with an end to the pandemic in sight, money is likely to flow into riskier markets, and that includes currencies poised to rise, an improbable list that includes the Russian ruble and the Brazilian real. That could trigger what some analysts expect to be a decline in the U.S. dollar by as much as 20 percent in 2021. Others are more cautious, predicting that continued financial tumult will make people clutch their greenbacks like there’s no tomorrow.

Source: FT

5. Also Important …

Wisconsin authorities are trying to identify a gunman who wounded eight people at a shopping mall near Milwaukee last night, apparently during an altercation. The president’s son, Donald Trump Jr., has tested positive for COVID-19 and is in isolation. And protests have erupted across Brazil after the killing of a Black man by white security guards.

In the week ahead: On Sunday the U.S. officially withdraws from the Open Skies treaty, which allowed rival nations’ surveillance rights in order to reduce the risk of nuclear war. President Trump is scheduled to welcome two Iowa turkeys to the White House Tuesday for the annual pre-Thanksgiving tradition of “pardoning” them. And the week winds down (or up) with Black Friday, the frenzied start of Christmas gift-buying season, amid pandemic warnings about crowds spreading contagion.

The Best Show to Come Out of 2020: As a celebration for the return of the Carlos Watson Show, OZY’s partnering with Hulu to bring you a series of special interviews with some of the most important cultural figures of our time to discover the untold struggle behind their success. Find out why the LA Times calls Defining Moments With OZY “the most important show of 2020.” Out today — the story of talent, ambition, suffering and luck that made John Legend. Watch now on Hulu.

6. Taking the Heat

The effects of climate change are already being felt and are likely to persist for decades to come, but OZY and Goldman Sachs can show you how we can tackle it. Smaller-scale innovations being proven in one part of the world, for instance, could lead to breakthroughs for others. Learn more about strategies for protecting the planet for future generations.

Noom is a health program designed by psychologists to prioritize you, your health and your brain. By using psychology to show how your mind works and why you make the decisions you do, Noom can help you achieve a sustainable and healthy lifestyle.

With Noom, you get the encouragement of its online support system, which includes a team of personal goal specialists and group chat support. With real people trained in psychology, fitness and nutrition, Noom is dedicated to helping users reach personal goals. Take Noom’s quick quiz to get started on your new health journey today!

1. The Next Weapon vs. the Virus: Dry Ice

It could take three weeks for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to approve the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine. The next steps may hinge on the availability of that steamy substance better known for chilling ice cream carts. Dry ice, or solid carbon dioxide, will be needed around the world to keep the vaccine fresh at -94 degrees Fahrenheit inside isothermic containers. That’s put some U.S. producers in “scramble mode” to ramp up production amid existing shortages of ethanol used to make the CO2. Add to that airline restrictions on what’s considered a hazardous substance, leaving a host of uncertainties for a planet anxious for pandemic relief.

Sources: Bloomberg, CNN, CBS

2. Why Killing Your Company Is Productive

Who’d even show up at the funeral? Your business, your nonprofit or whatever entity pays your bills in exchange for the sweat of your brow could benefit from its untimely death. Untimely, that is, because it’s still kicking. But productivity experts say writing an obituary for your workplace is a way to flesh out how meaningful staffers see their efforts, OZY reports. The more value they place upon the company’s purpose, the more focused and productive they’ll be. So say a few words for your dearly departed cause/meal ticket/racket and discuss.

Sources: OZY

3. When the Internet of Things Can Stop Your Heart

Like many electronic devices, ICDs are taking off, with 10,000 acquired every month. Implantable cardioverter defibrillators can save your life by shocking your heart rhythm back into sync — or they can kill you. Just ask writer-filmmaker Jameson Rich, who has one attached to his heart. Only too late did he discover that his device, monitored by doctors online, is hackable. A major vulnerability affecting 500,000 patients was fixed with a software patch in 2017, and Rich notes that his and other devices receive regular updates to fix problems unbeknownst to wearers. Now patients are organizing, agitating for access to such life-or-death data.

Sources: OneZero

4. How a Fairy Tale Is Opening Chess for Girls

She crushed the chess world. Alas, it was a fictional 1960s that Beth Harmon, the make-believe protagonist of The Queen’s Gambit, took by storm. While a contemporary teen girl isn’t likely to win a championship during the pandemic, she can earn her chops online, where sites like chess.com match similarly skilled players. And while online, she can learn about female champions like Judit Polgár, a grandmaster at 15 who went on to beat 11 current or former world champions. It’s hoped that the Netflix miniseries will inspire more girls to follow in Polgár’s footsteps.

Sources: The Guardian

5. Sports Fans, You’re Hurting Young Athletes

Maryland football coach Michael Locksley is but one of many in college sports to test positive for COVID-19. It’s a symptom of something larger that, like what’s going on outside of sports, needs citizen participation, argues Washington Post sports writer Barry Svrluga. Football is “trying to rage forward,” he writes, while “the virus is beating it back.” In three weeks, the pandemic has led to the cancellation of 40 games. Yet the season presses on, Svrluga laments, to satisfy broadcasters and, ultimately, fans. As the nation sees the worst infection rates ever, it’s worth asking: “To what limit will this be pushed?”

Sources: Washington Post