I hope November has started as well as possible despite the various restrictions and tumult that have been going on.
I’d previously thought that by this time it would be legit to make a comment on the US election winner, but who knows when that will be possible… The metaphor to describe the presidential campaign used to be “the race” to the White House, now it seems like “the slog” might be more appropriate.
Closer to home, Denmark culled 17 million mink. It turns out that the weasel-like animals are more susceptible to coronavirus mutations and there was a worry that Denmark could become “the new Wuhan” if new strains occurred here. This is particularly relevant as there is a huge export market of the animals to China (for fur coats).
I went to Kenya for a couple of weeks as there felt like a window of opportunity to go. It might at first seem bonkers to make the trip, but it was actually pretty straightforward: we had to present a negative coronavirus test at Nairobi airport and after that stayed with friends. If symptoms were to arise we felt confident getting to local hospital/ self-isolating in the apartment.
- “Hakuna corona”: (it means “no Covid”). That was the general sentiment from people in Kenya we spoke to who weren’t seeing much (health) effect of the virus
- Less testing: the tests for coronavirus cost money (~$100) which mean people are less inclined to take them
- Less prevalent: that said, it seems to be that not so many people are falling ill. Admittedly it was hearsay, but one person was saying how something like 80% of people in East Africa in one study were asymptomatic. The theory being that there could have been multiple (harmless) coronaviruses in circulation over the past few years which means certain people have built up immunity
Nevertheless, everyone (was asked that they) wore facemasks when out of the house and there was a curfew to not be out past 11pm.
Aside from some work things and meeting people for coffee we got some “fun stuff” in, including a camping trip to the Masai Mara.
I went mushroom foraging early in October which ended up being a very wholesome way to spend a Saturday morning
- A nature walk: the Danish “nature agency” organise free walks which myself and a couple of friends went a long to.
- There’s an app for that: people who had done it before used an app that recognised an image of the mushroom and told you the risks of eating it etc.
- Wisdom of the elders: that said, we all gravitated towards asking our guide, Lars. He’d been foraging for 25 years and could confidently say whether a mushroom was edible or not. This felt like an unusual dynamic these days: younger people shunning technology to seek the advice of someone older. We all left with a lot of respect for Lars, and plans to go foraging again.
- Make Republicans Environmentalists Again | How To Save A Planet: this is a Gimlet Media podcast about climate change. Most productions they make are high quality, and this is no different. The topic of this episode is about engaging people on the right of politics to care about the environment. They succinctly explain how “the environment” became so politically hostile (in America), and speak to people trying to change it
- In defence of ‘Like’ | Word Matters: Merriam-Webster (the dictionary writers) have this great little show where the editors come together and nerd out on the history of particular words. This one is, like, great
- Unjust Power Systems are Solvable | Solvable: practical advice on how to successfully protest. In short, the evidence shows that non-violent protest is best as it attracts a greater breadth of people to become involved which sends a stronger signal to the powers that be
- Classic Cartoon Sounds | Twenty Thousand Hertz: fun episode about how old cartoon sounds (e.g. coyote falling from a cliff) were all made manually
- Caen Contee – Operating Locally at Global Scale with Lime | Landed by Venture Desktop: a new client of mine has just launched his new show about how companies can “go international”. This first episode is about how the electric scooter company Lime got going in Paris, in part through working with the local government.
- Born a Crime | Trevor Noah: a vivid story of growing up in apartheid. An interesting takeaway was how Trevor felt that racism is not what you look like, but how you sound. As a “coloured” (black mother, white father) he visually didn’t fit in any circles. Being able to speak many local languages meant people felt less uncomfortable with him and at times, even welcomed him
- Like A Virgin | Richard Branson: for some reason I’d always kind of dismissed Richard Branson as a bit lightweight/ showmanistic, despite his obvious business success. This book is a collection of 3-4 page “articles” which have been interesting to read. I particularly like his philosophy of delegating rather than being the critical cog in the business (a la Steve Jobs).
- What outdoor space tells us about inequality | BBC: interesting to think about, especially as large scale lock downs come into effect
- 40 brilliant idioms that simply can’t be translated literally | TED: I think my favourite is “Słoń nastąpił ci na ucho?”. For those not fluent in Polish it apparently means “Did an elephant stomp on your ear?” (you have a terrible ear for music).
A Life on Our Planet | David Attenborough: described as “David Attenborough’s witness statement” this is a documentary by David giving an overview of his career and how he has seen the world change.
It also ends with a relative clear diagnosis of how to reverse the environmental degradation path we (humanity) have been on during his lifetime.
His main recommendations are:
- Increase biodiversity: create/ protect more truly wild spaces
- Eradicate poverty: so people naturally want small families
- More food from less: adopt technologies to increase yield
- Switch energy sources: to harness the power from the sun
The parting thought is that our framing of “saving the planet” is wrong. As seen by places like Chernobyl, the planet will adapt and continue without much thought of whether homo sapiens are living on it or not. The correct framing is how can we “save ourselves”.
Related, I’m starting a new project around creating podcast(s) about how to reverse climate change (more info here). If you know anyone interested in doing some part-time work on it, let me know.
😀 For fun
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