Arnold King:

In the long run, I don’t expect normal either. Pre-crisis, our patterns of specialization and trade were optimized for efficiency at the expense of fragility. Expect supply chains in the future to have a lot more redundancy and to be less driven by cost minimization. The Chief Risk Officer’s approval will now be needed before the CEO will approve a major new supply contract.

We will develop a lot of what you might call social-distancing capital, including the ability to make use of remote meetings and distance learning. Last night, some folks attempted a virtual session of dancing. Most of the time was spent getting a bunch of old people up to speed on using Zoom. Next time, we might be able to dance. People will get accustomed to new forms of entertaintment.

This is a fun (and a bit quirky, UI-wise) app. It makes video calls fun. I also really like that to chat with someone they have to be online. It’s like how it used to be, back to when closing the chat meant going offline.

The guy in this video is flicking through the obituary pages of the local newspaper. The first paper is from the 9th of February: one page and a bit. The second paper is from the 13th of march, yesterday: 10 pages.

I also would like to point out that Lombardy, the region most severely affected by this, has a 9.9/10 score in health on the OECD scale: across all OECD regions, the region is in the top 5% in health.

Don’t be stupid.

NY Times:

The point of a model like this is not to try to predict the future but to help people understand why we may need to change our behaviors or restrict our movements, and also to give people a sense of the sort of effect these changes can have. […]

None of us know what lies ahead. But the wise uncertainty of epidemiologists is preferable to the confident bluster of television blowhards. The one thing we can be confident of is that enormous risks lie ahead — including a huge loss of life — if we don’t take aggressive action.

The possibility for the UK to reach herd immunity (a marketing slang for natural selection at this point, lacking of clear measures to protect the elderly or to strengthen the health system) is based on a lot of untested assumptions.

At the end: “I think one thing that people should remember is that nature is the biggest bio-terrorist. Nature wants to kill you.”

Bill Gates, back in 2015:

But in fact, we can build a really good response system. We have the benefits of all the science and technology that we talk about here. We’ve got cell phones to get information from the public and get information out to them. We have satellite maps where we can see where people are and where they’re moving. We have advances in biology that should dramatically change the turnaround time to look at a pathogen and be able to make drugs and vaccines that fit for that pathogen. So we can have tools, but those tools need to be put into an overall global health system. And we need preparedness.

The best lessons, I think, on how to get prepared are again, what we do for war. For soldiers, we have full-time, waiting to go. We have reserves that can scale us up to large numbers. NATO has a mobile unit that can deploy very rapidly. NATO does a lot of war games to check, are people well trained? Do they understand about fuel and logistics and the same radio frequencies? So they are absolutely ready to go. So those are the kinds of things we need to deal with an epidemic.

Tim Cook:

The global spread of COVID-19 is affecting every one of us. At Apple, we are people first, and we do what we do with the belief that technology can change lives and the hope that it can be a valuable tool in a moment like this. Teachers are innovating to make remote lessons come alive. Companies are experimenting with new ways to stay productive. And medical experts can diagnose illnesses and reach millions with critical updates in the blink of an eye. We are all adapting and responding in our own way, and Apple wants to continue to play a role in helping individuals and communities emerge stronger.

But this global effort — to protect the most vulnerable, to study this virus, and to care for the sick — requires all of our care, and all of our participation. And I want to update you about the ways in which we are doing our part.

The right call to make. If the government is refusing to act fast in face of evidence (as is the case here in the UK), we need to take responsibility in our hands.

If you are organising something, postpone it. If you run a company and can WFH, enforce it.

The virus is not the main danger, our unprepared medical system and fragile supply chains are. We know and have been told about what works and what doesn’t: there is no excuse at this point to delay action.

The only reason to panic is if everyone is going about as if nothing was happening.

AIGA:

Watching a single place evolve over time reveals small histories and granular inconsistencies. Train stations and airports are built, a gunpowder factory disappears for the length of the Cold War. But on certain maps, in Switzerland’s more remote regions, there is also, curiously, a spider, a man’s face, a naked woman, a hiker, a fish, and a marmot. These barely-perceptible apparitions aren’t mistakes, but rather illustrations hidden by the official cartographers at Swisstopo in defiance of their mandate “to reconstitute reality.” Maps published by Swisstopo undergo a rigorous proofreading process, so to find an illicit drawing means that the cartographer has outsmarted his colleagues.

Each day a different image or photograph of our universe is featured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer.


(*)

Matthew Butterick:

They contradict Unicode. Unicode is a standardized system—used by all contemporary fonts—that identifies each character uniquely. This way, software programs don’t have to worry that things like the fi ligature might be stashed in some special place in the font. Instead, Unicode designates a unique name and number for each character, known as a code point. If you have an fi ligature in your font, you identify it with its designated Unicode code point, which is 0xFB01.

In addition to alphabetic characters, Unicode assigns code points to hundreds of symbols. Many of the programming ligatures shown above are visually similar to existing Unicode symbols. So in a source file that uses Unicode characters, how would you know if you’re looking at a => ligature that’s shaped like ⇒ vs. Unicode character 0x21D2, which also looks like ⇒? The ligature introduces an ambiguity that wasn’t there before.