Flu cases in the US this year are running at about 1% of last year's level. So imagine how much worse Covid-19 could have been if we had taken no measures.
Here's an interesting plan to get homeowners to agree to new development in their neighborhoods: give them control over the process, including the right to charge as much as they can get for their approval.
Volunteers race to save thousands of cold-stunned turtles washing up in Texas (NPR)
Futuristic design for a floating ocean research station wins architecture awards.
Matt Yglesias on Scott Alexander/Siskind, his blog, and the Rationalists
Underwater Photographer of the Year winners.
In Brazil, everyone is taking cocktails of anti-Covid pills, but nobody knows if they work. (Washington Post)
Kevin Drum bemoans the proliferation of bad faith arguments in our discourse.
The massive influence of Japanese art in France, c. 1860-1900. Another indication of how Europe's ever increasing knowledge of the world inspired its own creativity. (NY Times)
Vox explains the "Free Britney Spears" movement, long article but then it's a tough topic; when is an adult not sane enough to be responsible for running her own life?
The Backchannel: famous old blog post from Freddie deBoer about all the left/woke people who agree in public with the latest explosion of outrage but write to him privately about their doubts.
Playing the world's oldest functioning musical instrument, an 18,000-year-old conch shell. Sounds, um, exactly like a modern conch shell.
What do men under 65 who have dropped out of the workforce do? 5+ hours a day in front of a video screen.
Facebook's "Supreme Court" (The New Yorker)
Those European glass beads found in Alaska are old, but probably 17th century and not pre-Columbus as the discoverers claimed. But still cool that Venetian beads made it to Alaska in the 1600s.
Interesting piece about Kaliningrad, a Russian enclave cut off from the rest of the country, that focuses on the never-finished brutalist disaster known as the House of Soviets. Some locals have come to love the ugly thing. (NY Times)
Is there a Planet Nine? Or could it be a small black hole?
When she was 15, Keira Bell decided she hated her body and wanted to become a man. She went to a clinic called the Tavistock Center, which gave her puberty blockers and male hormones; she also had a double mastectomy. At 23, she decided the whole thing was a mistake and sued the Tavistock Center for "not questioning" her 15-year-old self. Last month, she won her suit, with who knows what long-term consequences. She now says, "There was nothing wrong with my body, I just needed somebody to tell me I was fine the way I was."