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I’m really sorry to be the one to tell you this but yes, it is Monday, and yes, 2020 is still happening. It just keeps happening! Rude. We’ll catch you up on the news because, you know, we have to, but then we’ll get to the good stuff: mysterious epidemics that you’re not currently living through, stalking the undecided voter and visiting a country where napping on the subway is culturally smiled upon. Play a game at the end: Here’s a little musical hint to the theme.
Still suffering from COVID-19, President Donald Trump briefly took a car ride outside his hospital yesterday to wave at supporters, reportedly outraging doctors and Secret Service agents. Was Trump being irresponsible? Vote on Twitter. Doctors say he might leave the hospital Monday but revealed that the president has been on supplemental oxygen and steroids. The virus has also infected three senators, potentially jeopardizing confirmation of Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, Amy Coney Barrett. Meanwhile, Joe Biden saw a small polling bump as 65 percent of voters said Trump could have avoided the virus if he’d taken it seriously.
Ethiopian runner Shura Kitata won the London Marathon yesterday by one second, ending the winning streak of Kenyan world record-holder Eliud Kipchoge, who came in eighth. Only a small group of elite runners actually raced through the city, pelted by rain from Storm Alex and waved on by cardboard cutouts of the queen, but an estimated 43,000 people competed in the marathon around the world on a virtual course.
Thank heavens, at least something is sparing us its wrath this year.
Perhaps sensing that humanity just can’t take anymore, lightning strikes are at a record low in 2020, with only a dozen lightning-related deaths in the United States so far — about half the 10-year average. Meteorologists say it’s to do with unusual atmospheric pressures, and because people have stayed indoors more during lockdowns.
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The Carlos Watson Show welcomes legendary dancer and director Debbie Allen — Carlos’ own childhood inspiration — to talk about the fight for justice. Subscribe to the OZY YouTube channel to be notified when it's live, and show your support with Carlos Watson Show gear from the OZY store.
With just weeks to go until Nov. 3, both campaigns are looking to the still-undecided voters as the group that could propel Biden or Trump to power. But … will they?
1. Why Bother?
With only about 5 percent of voters still unsure who to vote for, some experts argue candidates should just forget about them rather than spend huge amounts of money trying to convince them. Still, the presidential race isn’t the only thing that matters, and candidates in state and local contests can often make a difference by appealing to these holdouts.
2. Do They Exist?
Being “independent” sure sounds good to people, but research indicates that many who describe themselves as independent or undecided actually swing strongly one way or the other. In fact, the genuinely undecided are often so politically disengaged that they just won’t end up voting at all.
Tudor England was ravaged five times between 1485 and 1551 by this fast-working pestilence, which was notorious for felling the wealthy along with the poor. After centuries of speculation, a similar 1993 outbreak among the Navajo people in New Mexico has led some to conclude it was a type of hantavirus.
About 45 percent of the native population in 16th century Mexico was killed by this disease, long suspected to be an ebola-like hemorrhagic fever. Still, recent DNA analysis of skeletons of the time found evidence of salmonella, though researchers admit the food-borne bacteria may merely have been a contributing factor in their deaths.
3. Encephalitis Lethargica
Almost unheard of today, this sleeping sickness, which caused its victims to slip into overwhelming lethargy and a comatose state, spread to as many as a million people between 1916 and the mid-1930s. Like the influenza pandemic it coincided with, it's likely that the movement of troops during World War I facilitated the spread of encephalitis lethargica.
Also known as the “nodding disease,” this disease has affected thousands of children in East Africa for decades, causing seizures with a distinctive head bobbing. It’s still unknown what causes it, but brain scans have shown young patients have similarities to elderly sufferers of Alzheimer’s.
Ha, go back to sleep? Me? Never. You just take a look at these sleep habits from around the world, I’ll be back in 15 minutes to three hours. What? I’m testing these to see if they work.
Would you nap in public? In Japan, it’s no big deal: People in this notoriously sleep-deprived country are known to catch 40 winks on the subway, in class and even at work. Scared to miss out on social occasions, work and everything in between, the hardworking Japanese just don’t want to spend time in bed.
2. Fear Sleep
The two don’t seem to go together — can you really sleep while you’re scared? You can, if you’re in Bali. The Indonesian island boasts a unique meditative sleeping tradition known as todolet poeles, which refers to the ability of people to fall asleep when they’re most stressed or fearful. Now we know who’s been sleeping the best in 2020.
3. Sleep Late
Especially if you’re a kid and it’s holiday time. That’s the tradition in Argentina, where — unlike their American counterparts — parents usually let children stay up and sleep in late, while also taking them along for late-night social events. Apparently it helps develop their social skills faster. I’d like to sleep long enough to wake up in 2021 ...
4. Bed on Bricks
Prop the legs of your bed up on bricks if you want a peaceful sleep in South Africa. So goes the Zulu legend of the Tokoloshe, a terrifying yet short demon that enters your bedroom and messes with your sleep, unless you ward it away with those bricks.
Finally, test your fuzzy Monday brain with these weather words by matching the term to its definition. No idea? Check back tomorrow to learn a little something.
Weather Word Game
a. Horribly sultry. b. Little balls of snow. c. Spring with warm days, chilly nights