Bold start. Smooth finish. The newsletter that interesting people love.
Yesterday was my mother’s birthday and it was also the day I discovered you can get doughnuts delivered to somebody’s house if you are unable to visit yourself due to say, a global pandemic. Which is to say: Please somebody deliver doughnuts to my house. After you’ve done that, read on about profane parrots, the fallout from a very unpresidential debate, innovations for outdoor winter dining and mysterious moving rocks. Start by pressing play on this Tori Amos song I listen to first thing every Wednesday morning.
Outrage ensued last week when a grand jury declined to press charges against police officers who killed Louisville EMT Breonna Taylor during a raid — but now Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron has admitted that he didn’t recommend murder charges in the first place. That’s after a juror accused Cameron of using the jury as “a shield to deflect accountability and responsibility.” A recording of the proceedings is expected to be publicly released today.
2. Green Apocalypse
Forty percent of world plant species are at risk of extinction — and disappearing with them is the chance for humans to find new ways to use them as food, fuel or medicine. A new plan for a safety net, converting half the Earth’s land mass to protected areas, could save the planet. Not if Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro has his way, though: He has rolled back regulations protecting mangrove trees, key for preserving coastal habitats.
3. Ballot Botch
About 100,000 New Yorkers got faulty absentee ballots yesterday, with different names on inner and outer envelopes leading to confusion and concerns over a voting system many are turning to amid the pandemic. Nine million voters have requested ballots across just five states already, 52 percent of them registered Democrats, and 28 percent Republicans. Can the U.S. handle this volume of mail-in voting? Vote on Twitter.
4. Unhappiest Place on Earth
Disney has announced it will lay off 28,000 U.S. workers, on furlough since April, after California indicated that the Orange County theme parks will have to remain closed for the foreseeable future. Speaking of Disney (and wasted talent), Moonlightdirector Barry Jenkins has signed on to direct a sequel to The Lion King, using the same live-action technology employed in the 2019 film.
Meanwhile, zookeepers in England are discovering that social distancing has merits beyond health, especially with parrots.
A group of African gray parrots at a wildlife park in Lincolnshire, England, taught each other how to swear and then laugh about it. Zookeepers (whose laughter at the parrots’ swearing is thought to have inspired the birds’ own chuckles) will now separate them in hopes they’ll learn less offensive language from other parrots.
Asking the right questions has the power to dissolve the barriers to creative thinking, and channel the pursuit of solutions into new, accelerated pathways. A great question can ignite innovative thinking that is essential in our globalized, digitized and disruptive world. The six-week Inquiry-Driven Leadership online short course from the MIT Sloan School of Management teaches you to adopt a questioning approach to effectively identify and solve organizational problems.
Are you ready to unlock the power of catalytic questioning? Find out more about the program here.
Oh, you thought we wouldn’t get to the debate? You thought wrong. Laden with Trumpian interruptions and short on actual substance, here are the moments that really amped up the left, the right … and China.
1. Proud Boys
They’re prouder than ever. Pressed to criticize white supremacy, Trump asked Joe Biden what group he meant. Biden mentioned the “Proud Boys” — a self-described “Western chauvinist” organization that’s beaten up protesters, endorsed violence and is listed as a hate group by the Anti-Defamation League. Trump’s response: “Proud Boys, stand back and stand by,” before targeting antifa. Proud Boys took the comment as a call to arms, posting Trump’s comment on Telegram, a private messaging app, and saying they were “ready” to take on antifa.
2. Green New Deal
Sure, Biden has always been ambivalent about the Green New Deal co-authored by New York Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, but on Tuesday, he was categorical. “No, I don't support the Green New Deal," Biden said. While AOC tweeted that those differences were the very reason she’s part of Biden’s climate change team to build a robust response to the crisis, Biden’s comment upset others on the left, sparking allegations that the campaign was “taking progressive voters for granted.”
3. China’s Smiling
Never mind the gimmicky digs as Trump and Biden each accused the other of being weak on Beijing. Biden said China had “perfected the art of the steal,” riffing on the name of Trump’s book, The Art of the Deal. Trump in turn told Biden: “China ate your lunch.” It turns out that while America’s economy remains in recession, China’s currency, the yuan or renminbi, is now at its strongest since the start of the trade war with the U.S., and its economy is expected to grow by 2 percent in 2020.
With the fight to improve the American experiment at a tipping point, our#ResetAmerica campaign is taking over the entire OZY ecosystem today.
Reset America With OZY
Let us know how you would Reset America bytweeting with the hashtag #ResetAmerica. Then tune into today's episode ofThe Carlos Watson Show, where Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo discusses how to end "lawful but awful" policing. Finally, watch A&E tonight at 10 p.m. ET/PT to catch Voices Magnified: Locked Up in America, the latest TV special from OZY, where Carlos and rapper-actor Ludacris discuss prison reform with currently and formerly incarcerated people.
Winter is coming. Really. And restaurants must get creative to make it through without bringing people inside where the virus is easier to spread. Here’s how they could do that.
OK, we’re not sure about sitting so low to the ground all winter, but Japan’s traditional low heated table, popular for home patios, would at least keep you toasty. Some Tokyo eateries were already using taller versions before the pandemic, making this a handy solution for outdoor winter dining.
2. Viking Village
One Washington, D.C., restaurant, Hook Hall, will turn its outdoor space into a viking outpost in November, with reservable huts, a roaring fire and lots of meat to keep their clientele feeling like they can survive the end of the world.
Just remember to BYOB (bring your own blanket). Swedish restaurant Bord för En’s concept is simple: You eat all by yourself at a solitary table in the middle of a meadow. Now we just need 7 billion meadows!
Being stuck inside for six months has really made me appreciate nature. I love geology (and an unsolved mystery), so I’ll be checking out these rock puzzles when travel’s back.
These so-called “growing stones,” located mostly in the village of Costești, absorb minerals from the rain that slowly make them expand. Locals also believe the rocks move on their own. A similar legend exists in the British town of Blaxhall, with a boulder that people claim was a small stone 200 years ago.
2. The Sailing Stones of Death Valley
It’s long been known that stones inexplicably move, as if under their own power, across the Racetrack Playa in the world’s hottest place. But researchers using time-lapse photography have now discovered that it’s all about ice: Overnight rain freezes, creating a slick layer, and light wind then slides the stones around.
3. The Island of Impossible Rocks
Tiny volcanic island Anjouan, near Madagascar, was formed by volcanic lava. But researchers discovered a huge amount of quartzite rock there — which simply shouldn’t exist in that environment. How it got there is still a mystery I hope to solve someday.
If you’re struggling to find words to describe this dumpster fire that is the world, here are some fun slang words to help you. Guess which language each word comes from!