Weekly Edition #008

The battle between green militants and die-hard industrialists will define the post-pandemic world.

Artwork by Brenna Quinlan

After decades of slow action on climate change, pollution and carbon emission levels are dropping everywhere — leaving bluer skies and visible mountains.

The European Union began the year promoting “the Green Deal,” a plan to transition to a carbon-neutral future. The question is how far political leaders will go now, as citizens pressure them for economic relief. The battle over how to spend recovery funds — to quickly restore the old economy or invest in a greener one — will define the post-pandemic world.

Here are the latest updates and maps of the outbreak.

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Artwork by Nope Creative

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🧠 The Psychology of Design
101 cognitive biases & principles that affect your UX.

💬 Upvoty
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Product & Design Resources

ℹ️ Bookmark our ever-growing resources hub including tools, online courses, websites, YT channels, and much more.


Photograph: Aaron Huey

How creative thinking helped Seattle flatten the curve

National Geographic

With the help of community organizers, the Seattle Office of Arts & Culture has launched #artdisplays4homestays to encourage residents to display homemade works of art. The program is part of Seattle Together, a community response aimed at growing social networks and supporting neighborhoods in the wake of this COVID-19 pandemic. Front yard art is just the start.

The next social era is here: why now is the time for social products again


First, the pandemic is creating a new topology of psychological and emotional needs. Digital media and social products are no longer distractions, they are central to the functioning of society. “Social” and “network” is at the core of how we function, and increasingly at the core of how we relate to ourselves and project our identities. Technologies that help us work and live digitally are finally achieving real liftoff. 

Get ready for a vaccine information war

The New York Times

Social media is already filling up with misinformation about a Covid-19 vaccine, months or years before one even exists.

Time management: do the things you actually want to do

Ness Labs

Except if we end up inventing time travel, we need to accept the fact that there are only 24 hours in a day. In order to achieve our goals, we need to be smart about how we allocate our time to different tasks and activities. 

Don't let coronaphobia turn into agoraphobia

The Telegraph

Home is where the heart is during these lockdown days. In fact, it’s where our entire lives are. Which is leading to a new epidemic of sorts: flashes of anxiety triggered by the thought of leaving home. “Research suggests people will become habituated to the new normal of not going out.”

COVID-19 on Economy

Illustration: Sarah Grillo / Axios

  • Over 500 people in the U.S. news media were laid off last week, Axios reports.

    • Layoffs at Vice (155 people), Quartz (80 people), The Economist (90 people), Condé Nast (100 people), and furloughs at BuzzFeed News (68) and Condé Nast (another 100) were posted last week.

    • Hundreds more are expected in the coming months.

  • Led by the Silicon Valley tech giants, more companies are extending their timelines for remote work — and some are weighing letting employees work from home forever. Companies can save thousands per employee. And workers might save some money, too.

    • Firms will have to spend some money to make the transition work. For example, Twitter is giving each employee $1,000 for remote work supplies.

    • But in the long run — when considering cutting the costs of renting, heating and furnishing an office — telework could save firms up to $11,000 per worker per year, according to a new report from the Cognizant Center for the Future of Work.

    • Workers stand to save up to $7,000 per year in commuting, child care and wardrobe costs, the report notes.

  • Japan fell into a recession for the first time since 2015, as its already weakened economy was dragged down by the coronavirus’s impact on businesses at home and abroad.

  • New York will open some “low-risk” businesses this week, including gardening stores and drive-in movie theaters.

  • Countries across Europe eyeing the summer holidays are taking steps to begin reopening borders that had been closed to prevent the spread of coronavirus. Interior Minister Horst Seehofer of Germany said that together with Austria, France, and Switzerland, his country would begin easing border restrictions on Saturday, with the aim of lifting them entirely by June 15.

  • Shangai - Smartphone shipments from China’s factories to vendors rose 17% in April compared to the same month a year ago, according to government data released on Tuesday.

  • Uber has reportedly offered to buy GrubHub as it leans on food delivery to make up for coronavirus losses.

  • Turkey barbers return to work. Shops are reopening across the country — but strict hygiene guidelines prohibit the traditional straight-razor shave.

  • Uber cuts 3,000 more jobs, shuts 45 offices in coronavirus crunch.

This week rocks!

Do something special this week.

Artwork: Bakhtiyar Agabalayev

One way in which you can make a contribution is by labeling. You can help Mozilla to teach robots how to speak or OpenStreetMap by helping them label your neighborhood. You can also help universities in general via the Zooniverse project.

Another way to help is to offer your computer’s resources to perform complicated computations. Projects like folding at home allow you to help with calculating how protein structures fold (which is helping the fight against many diseases like corona).

Open-source, feel free to collaborate. If you want to commit to this idea, consider reminding yourself via dearme.email.

Useless facts

For looking smart at dinner parties.

😑 People photocopying their buttocks are the cause of 23% of all photocopier faults worldwide.

👾 During its lifetime, an oyster changes its sex from male to female and back several times.

⛑ Construction workers’ hard hats were first invented and used in the building of the Hoover Dam in 1933.

🛤 Cuba is the only island in the Caribbean to have a railroad.

🧠 There is no theory of evolution. Just a list of creatures Chuck Norris has allowed to live.

What else

Moderna headquarters in Cambridge, Mass. Maddie Meyer / Getty Images

  • Moderna the manufacturer announced the first coronavirus vaccine to be tested in people appears to be safe and able to stimulate an immune response against the infection.

    • The preliminary findings, in the first eight people who each received two doses of the experimental vaccine, must now be repeated in far larger tests in hundreds and then thousands of people.

  • The Rijksmuseum published the largest and most detailed ever photograph of The Night Watch on its website, making it possible to zoom in on individual brushstrokes and even particles of pigment in the painting.

  • Twitter will allow employees to work at home indefinitely, which makes them the first major tech company to announce such a policy.

  • Apple has purchased virtual reality company NextVR, further evidence of the company’s plans to enter virtual reality and related augmented reality technologies as a new product category.

  • Adobe announced the 2020 Adobe Creative Residents and Community Fund.

  • Telegram abandons $1.7 billion crypto project.

  • Intel Capital commits $132 million to 11 AI startups.

  • Epic Games announced Unreal Engine 5 with a stunning PlayStation 5 demo.

  • Spatial goes free, aiming to become the Zoom of virtual collaboration.

  • Facebook is buying Giphy and integrating it with Instagram. You can learn more about the technical details and join the conversation at HN.

  • Kevin Mayer, a Disney veteran who oversaw the company's streaming unit and the launch of Disney+, is leaving the company after 27 years to become the CEO of TikTok, Disney announced Monday.

  • Microsoft and FedEx team up to make deliveries more predictable.

  • Supercomputers hacked across Europe to mine cryptocurrency.

So what happens now?

Carrie Mae Weems and Jenny Holzer among artists taking over NYC’s empty billboards.

Soon enough (and even now, in certain places) we will venture out. There is some good news: a new National Geographic article reports that while coronavirus will upend the ways we use trains, buses, and bike lanes in our future, one legacy of the pandemic will be to make our journeys healthier.

When we return to the world, it will look different because we will be different. We can thank our current anxieties for future solutions that make the planet happier, safer, and more sustainable for travelers to come.

That’s it for this edition. Here is a piano playlist for focus on work and a little game for brain candy. See you next week.

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