Welcome to Issue 6.5 of Digestable, your daily mouthful of real things happening in the world, minus alarmist pandemic news.
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Today’s news, fermented:
In the era of ‘rona, as Latifah has coined it, numbers are the new clickbait. Whether its new cases or unemployment numbers or stock market figures or me doing terrible math about what happens if billionaires bail people out instead of the other way around, the news has been crazed by numbers.
Considering this trend, I had a little laugh to myself at an article about how the president shows up to the Oval Office at noon and is in a ‘sour mood’ from his morning of binge watching television. Usually, when someone exhibits abnormal behavior, we quantify this abnormality by explaining how the person in question is acting like someone of a different age.
My favorite example is that my dad, who is in unreasonably good shape. He takes those online assessments sometimes and sees that his *real fitness age* is…my age, or something embarrassing like that.
But in the case of DT, there’s no numeric quantification, just a list of his activities.
Waking up early to consume media in his bedroom
Going to work late
Being upset because he can’t play his favorite game
Feeling isolated because he fired all his former friends
Getting angry at the bullies on TV
It’s hard to put a number on it, but I’d say this list puts him around…thirteen?
Really draws a stark comparison to my new favorite 30-year old: the Hubble Space telescope. This friend has plenty of accomplishments to show for its three decades of life, such as:
Having a blurry camera and fixing it
Producing data used in 1,000 scientific papers
Getting its six gyroscopes upgraded
Identifying the age of the universe (13.8 billion years old)
Proving the existence of supermassive black holes
Celebrating its 30th birthday with this stunning image of a star-forming region scientists have named a ‘space reef’
Well, there’s really no question about which one of these beings is more equipped to move our nation forward, is there.
Last, but certainly not least numbers bit is a very cute article about how NYC is employing a whole smattering of creative solutions to get people to fill out the US Census. Although the Census usually relies on countless door-knocks to get everyone in the US counted, just once, in the right place, their schedule and tactics have had to change. Now, this looks like ice cream trucks outfitted with jingles to get the insular Hasidic community to participate, and Zoom calls featuring Afro-house music.
(And if that sky reef isn’t scratching your animal itch, maybe these tiny porcupine hands will. Thank you Andrea for sending this friend my way!)
Brought to you by the superb Latifah Azlan.
Jummah Mubarak and Ramadan Kareem, dear readers! Today marks the first day of the holiest month in the Islamic calendar – a time of contemplation, reflection, and spiritual reconnection for observers like myself and many, many others across the world. We will be fasting from dusk until dawn as well as abstaining from behavior that impurifies our hearts, including gossip :)
So expect less snark or speculation and more wholesome content this month as I balance fasting and quarantine with writing this column. Like these photos of Rod Stewart sitting on a beach in Florida by himself. It’s my state of mind going into another few more weeks of quarantine and a month of fasting. Calm, peaceful, and serene. Unbothered. Minding my own business. Tanned. Slightly sunburnt. But still fabulous.
Have a good weekend all and I’ll see you on Monday!
Today’s news, raw:
COUNTING THE WAYS NEW YORK IS GETTING CREATIVE WITH PROMOTING THE CENSUS, 4/23/20, The City
Hubble telescope delivers stunning 30th birthday picture, 4/24/20, BBC