Summary of “My priceless, worthless baseball cards”

I’d spent roughly $50,000 on those cards in the late 1980s and early 1990s, but I knew they weren’t worth that much now.
The mass overproduction and fraud that plagued the boom period for baseball cards of the late 1980s and early 1990s had doomed that sector of the industry.
I reached out to 10 dealers who advertised that they aggressively bought cards, and their responses were 10 different variations of “We buy cards but not those cards.” I called an auction house that required payment up front, then a cut of whatever sold, and even with virtually no risk, the company said it didn’t bother with any cards from that era.
Then we’d make trades, and we chuckle now because we’d trade so much that we’d end up with the same cards we started with.
We’d sprawl out on the floor of both houses, say a cordial hello to our stepmom or stepdad and then retreat into the cards.
Some 30 years later, staring at the remains of that collection, I was paralyzed by indecision: Drive the surviving cards to the nearest dumpster or cling to the remnants of my childhood?
The cards were so valuable to me that it didn’t matter that they were worthless.
I’d love to tell you that what she sent me was a heartwarming note about how moved she was, but what she actually wrote was: “It’s a really good story. I’m sure TikTok isn’t giving us what the cards gave you. Especially because we aren’t allowed to have it.”

The orginal article.

Summary of “The real Lord of the Flies: what happened when six boys were shipwrecked for 15 months”

After trawling the web for a while, I came across an obscure blog that told an arresting story: “One day, in 1977, six boys set out from Tonga on a fishing trip … Caught in a huge storm, the boys were shipwrecked on a deserted island. What do they do, this little tribe? They made a pact never to quarrel.”
The story concerned six boys who had been found three weeks earlier on a rocky islet south of Tonga, an island group in the Pacific Ocean.
Were the boys still alive? And could I find the television footage? Most importantly I had a lead: the captain’s name was Peter Warner.
The protagonists were six boys – Sione, Stephen, Kolo, David, Luke and Mano – all pupils at a strict Catholic boarding school in Nuku’alofa.
“By the time we arrived,” Captain Warner wrote in his memoirs, “The boys had set up a small commune with food garden, hollowed-out tree trunks to store rainwater, a gymnasium with curious weights, a badminton court, chicken pens and a permanent fire, all from handiwork, an old knife blade and much determination.” While the boys in Lord of the Flies come to blows over the fire, those in this real-life version tended their flame so it never went out, for more than a year.
Mr Taniela Uhila, whose sailing boat the boys had “Borrowed” 15 months earlier, was still furious, and he’d decided to press charges.
Then he had the six boys brought over and granted them the thing that had started it all: an opportunity to see the world beyond Tonga.
While the boys of ‘Ata have been consigned to obscurity, Golding’s book is still widely read. Media historians even credit him as being the unwitting originator of one of the most popular entertainment genres on television today: reality TV. “I read and reread Lord of the Flies ,” divulged the creator of hit series Survivor in an interview.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Pay Attention: Practice Can Make Your Brain Better at Focusing”

Practicing paying attention can boost performance on a new task, and change the way the brain processes information, a 2017 study says.
The question is: which part of this attention equation is more important for learning, and how is it affected by practice? To find out, researchers led by Sirawaj Itthipuripat at the University of California, San Diego, subjected 12 research participants to the least entertaining computer game in the world, while measuring their brain activity.
The researchers suspect that this more automatic phase is the result of the brain fine-tuning what exactly it needs to pay attention to, basically switching over to a process that’s more like muting the volume on the rest of the orchestra.
For some of the sessions, the students were told where the contrast-boosted circle might appear, and to pay attention to that spot.
Turns out, the students got much better at picking out the correct, contrast-boosted circle after two or three days of training when they knew which part of the screen to pay attention to.
Itthipuripat suspects that this initial spike in activity accounts for the early gains in performance, when the brain is learning what to pay attention to.
Then as the task becomes more natural, another mechanism takes over that refines the pattern of brain activity that drives the task, cutting down on the neural background noise.
“The brain is still figuring out ways to make itself better.”

The orginal article.

Summary of “Parents On Childcare And Challenges In Coronavirus Isolation”

Over the last week, I’ve talked to hundreds of parents about the specific challenges they’re facing now – some are unique, others feel near-universal.
“It’s not physically possible for two working parents to both work from home full time during regular workday working hours and care for a baby,” one mom named Melanie told me.
That’s essentially asking parents to do two full-time jobs at the same time – when, as she pointed out, childcare alone is more than enough to keep full-time caregivers and stay-at-home moms working hard all day.
One of the key things for parents and nonparents to realize is that most of the parents in your life are probably only able to get a fraction of their work done, and many are cramming it in during their kids’ naps and after they’ve gone to bed.
Some parents told me they’re most anxious about their child’s development and how they might be impacted in the long run by isolation and stress.
4) Not every parent has the option of working from home or full isolation – and childcare plans will have to change in the future.
Parents can decrease their overall anxiety by making plans for care now – and those without children can help lessen parents’ burden by offering themselves as potential caregivers when the time arrives.
Some parents whose childcare has fallen through will place their children with unvetted or unsafe caregivers because there have no better options.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Florence Nightingale: Reimagining the Famous Nurse”

As Britain prepares to celebrate Florence Nightingale’s 200th birthday on May 12-with a wreath-laying at Waterloo Place, a special version of the annual Procession of the Lamp at Westminster Abbey, a two-day conference on nursing and global health sponsored by the Florence Nightingale Foundation, and tours of her summer home in Derbyshire-scholars are debating her reputation and accomplishments.
Mark Bostridge, author of the biography Florence Nightingale, attributes much of the controversy to Nightingale’s defiance of Victorian conventions.
To better understand this epic figure, I not only interviewed scholars and searched the archives but went to the place where the crucible of war transformed Nightingale into perhaps the most celebrated woman of her time: Balaklava, a port on the Crimean Peninsula, where a former Russian military officer named Aleksandr Kuts, who served as my guide, summed up Nightingale as we stood on the cliff near the site of the hospital where she toiled.
Sidney Herbert, the secretary of state for war and a friend of the Nightingales, dispatched Florence to the Barrack Hospital at Scutari, outside Constantinople, where thousands of wounded and sick British troops had ended up, after being transported across the Black Sea aboard filthy ships.
The work would be later romanticized in The Mission of Mercy: Florence Nightingale receiving the wounded at Scutari, a large canvas painted by Jerry Barrett in 1857 that today hangs in the National Portrait Gallery in London.
“Miss Nightingale shows an ambitious struggling after power inimical to the true interests of the medical department,” John Hall, the chief British Army medical officer in Crimea, wrote angrily to his superior in London in late 1854 after Nightingale went over his head to order supplies from his stores.
Nightingale became the first woman to receive the Order of Merit, a highly prestigious award instituted by Edward VII. The ceremony resulted in a surge of renewed interest in the nearly forgotten nurse and social reformer.
UNISON declared in 1999 that Nightingale had “Held the nursing profession back too long” and represented its most “Negative and the backward elements.” The union demanded that International Nurses Day, celebrated on Nightingale’s birthday, be moved to a different date.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Real estate for the apocalypse: my journey into a survival bunker”

The end of the world was trending, and it seemed as good a time as any to visit a place for sitting out the last days.
This had opened out on to a broader vista of apocalyptic preparedness, and to a lucrative niche of the real estate sector catering to individuals of means who wanted a place to retreat to when things truly went sideways.
The plan came to him instantly, he said, the whole idea for xPoint: he was going to pay the rancher the sum of one dollar for the property, offering him a 50% cut of all future profits from the vaults, which he was going to sell at a reasonable price to people willing to fit them out to their own specs, and it was going to be the largest survival community on Earth.
What if Vicino was a homicidal lunatic who had decided to immure me in here, like a poorly characterised antagonist in one of Edgar Allan Poe’s tales of terror? What if he’d decided I was going to sell him out, that I was likely to damage his business prospects by making him out in my writings to look like a fool, or a charlatan, or the kind of Poe-esque madman who might murder an adversary by entombing him in a decommissioned weapons silo.
The void then filled with sunlight, and as my eyes adjusted to the brightness I was able to make out Vicino’s prodigious silhouette in the doorframe.
Later, Vicino told me of how he’d made his money in advertising back in the 80s. He’d basically pioneered what was known as “Large inflatables”.
Vicino had at his disposal a lavish prospectus of end-time scenarios, an apocalypse to suit every aesthetic taste and ideological preference.
“Burying your head in the sand,” Vicino told me, “Isn’t gonna save your ass that’s hanging out.” He was, he said, paraphrasing Ayn Rand – his point being, I supposed, that not purchasing a place in one of his facilities amounted to an unwillingness to face down the reality of the world.

The orginal article.

Summary of “The Unsolved Case of the Most Mysterious Song on the Internet”

“Everything about this song is mysterious, from the creation to the lyrics to where it played on the radio,” says amateur song detective “Mkll,” who prefers to be identified only by his internet handle.
“It’s not often that songs of this age are dug up, and the fact that a search has been happening for over a decade on the Internet really made this case unique.” Even if the case is never solved, it has briefly returned the pre-Google mystique to music, set to a Sprockets-appropriate beat.
The full song had apparently leaked out when Lydia says she received an email from someone asking for the full track; after uploading it using Lycos, she was still concerned about the legalities and quickly removed the link after the fan of the song downloaded it.
Based on the singer’s accent, is the band from Germany or, perhaps, Poland or Austria? Is it even a band, or a one-man-group operation? Is the unknown singer intoning, “Hear the young and restless dreaming” or “Here you’re under arrest for screaming”? Is the song a comment on the Cold War? Is the song called “Like the Wind,” after its not entirely decipherable opening line? Or is that voice singing “Locked Away”?
The names of these potential sources all appear on a detailed spreadsheet set up to keep track of leads: Deine Lakaien has been “Ruled out” but someone claims to recognize it as “The B-side of a demo tape.” Another song detective lamented they’d been unable to reach out to a particular company that “Managed in-store music for Whole Foods in 2003, where one YouTuber said they were ‘100 percent sure’ the song was played.” Phonebook-thick guides to Eighties New Wave records have been scrutinized.
“If I thought it was the best thing since sliced bread, I probably would be more interested, but I don’t think it’s a particular interesting song.” For his part, “Mkll” insists it’s about acknowlegement, that “The people behind the song get proper credits for their work.” A mysterious poster claimed credit for the song and put it on Spotify, but others determined he wasn’t even born when it was released.
“I think the fact that I’m so interested in this isn’t even because of the song itself – it’s understanding why this song is so mysterious and why nobody can find anything about it,” Vieira admits.
Would the singer and/or musicians involved be dragged out of obscurity and thrust in the limelight – only for fans of the song to realize they’re retired, out of practice and only had one decent song? What if the song was actually released on a small label in the Eighties? Would it then become an overpriced collector’s item out of reach of anyone who’d want to own it? “How many hundreds of people will have more money to spend than me and will ban me from purchasing an original?” Zúñiga asks.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Convincing Boomer Parents to Take the Coronavirus Seriously”

I still think of my parents as the grownups, the ones who lecture me about saving for retirement and intervene in squabbles with my little sister.
A lot of us have spent the past week pleading with our baby-boomer parents to cook at home, rip up the cruise tickets, and step away from the grandchildren.
It’s striking that the first celebrities to announce that they had contracted COVID-19 were Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson, the closest thing that Hollywood has to fun boomer parents.
One friend writes that her doctor parents have been “Overcautious” for a month, and plenty of others have rightfully hunkered down.
It’s a normal part of the life cycle for adult children to start parenting their parents.
This generational role reversal may be a prelude to the demographic shift to come, as baby boomers age out of late-late “Middle age” and are forced to relinquish their invincibility, while their children take on the burdens of caring for elderly-yes, elderly-parents.
It’s a twisted inverse of the generation gap of the sixties, when young boomers screamed across the table at their parents about Vietnam-except that now we’re telling ours not to leave their homes.
The literary agent Lucy Carson pleaded on Twitter, “Best advice for convincing a diabetic boomer parent to stop commuting into the city? Rage-sobbing into the phone isn’t helping my cause.” At Vogue, Molly Jong-Fast wrote about a similar dynamic with her “Fabulous feminist mother,” the generation-chronicling author Erica Jong.

The orginal article.

Summary of “When Will a Coronavirus Vaccine Be Ready?”

With the World Health Organization finally declaring a pandemic, all eyes have turned to the prospect of a vaccine, because only a vaccine can prevent people from getting sick.
“The speed with which we have builds very much on the investment in understanding how to develop vaccines for other coronaviruses,” says Richard Hatchett, CEO of the Oslo-based nonprofit the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations, which is leading efforts to finance and coordinate Covid-19 vaccine development.
This is the case for Moderna and another Boston company, CureVac, both of which are building Covid-19 vaccines out of messenger RNA. Cepi’s original portfolio of four funded Covid-19 vaccine projects was heavily skewed towards these more innovative technologies, and last week it announced $4.4m of partnership funding with Novavax and with a University of Oxford vectored vaccine project.
“Not all horses that leave the starting gate will finish the race,” says Bruce Gellin, who runs the global immunisation programme for the Washington DC-based nonprofit, the Sabin Vaccine Institute, and is collaborating with Cepi over a Covid-19 vaccine.
So the Covid-19 vaccine candidates have to be treated as brand new vaccines, and as Gellin says: “While there is a push to do things as fast as possible, it’s really important not to take shortcuts.”
It’s for these reasons that taking a vaccine candidate all the way to regulatory approval typically takes a decade or more, and why President Trump sowed confusion when, at a meeting at the White House on 2 March, he pressed for a vaccine to be ready by the US elections in November – an impossible deadline.
“Like most vaccinologists, I don’t think this vaccine will be ready before 18 months,” says Annelies Wilder-Smith, professor of emerging infectious diseases at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.
As soon as a vaccine is approved, it’s going to be needed in vast quantities – and many of the organisations in the Covid-19 vaccine race simply don’t have the necessary production capacity.

The orginal article.

Summary of “A Super Strange True Love Story: My Disappearing Fiancé”

“It’s not going to work. Nothing’s ready.” I called him in a panic as soon as he woke up, in Canada.
“Listen. Getting married is the best idea we’ve ever had and we’re going to do it. It’s all going to work out. I promise.”
We met in Italy, fell in love and spent the summer of our lives on intense weeks together and long stretches apart: He worked on a photography project that took him to Alaska, Japan, Congo; I went to Kosovo, volunteering and looking for stories, then moved to Paris to complete a master’s.
His work took him there, too, and we spent a couple blissful months together.
We looked for a new place, and I cried like a spoiled child when faced with the reality that his priorities were different from mine – he wanted to save money on rent, and on everything really, to be able to invest in his work.
We didn’t have much money – I worked as the editor of a small online publication and had been supporting both of us on my Indian salary while his work was slow.
His assignments had always been sporadic, but a day of his work often paid ten of mine, and something always came through when our funds were nearly gone.
Infidelities and lies: a girlfriend hidden from me when we first got together, who he moved back in with after he left Paris; an older woman he had even thought he was in love with; adventures around the world as he traveled for work.

The orginal article.