Links from the past weeks

Links from the past week

  • What the Forest Remembers, by Jennifer Egan
    A short fiction piece that bundles from the past to the present, and then into the future. The story moves along, and suddenly brings you elsewhere – I like the little surprise. An ode to the power of fiction.

  • What Really Happens When Workers Are Given a Flexible Hybrid Schedule?
    Interesting to read about different experiences / preferences. Reams (observations? predictions?) were written but I had thought it was too early to generalise, and by now, the consensus is flexibility because there are just too many different preferences/ needs/ seasons in life to cater for. I believe that a policy which recommends (and not mandate) 2 days in the office makes sense for now. I don’t believe that a fully remote workplace does well where the work requires some form of apprenticeship but insisting on too much face-time seems wrong too. Maybe when management of the workplace is fully under the province of millennials will we truly create a different order.

  • China’s Reform Generation Adapts to Life in the Middle Class
    Peter Hessler catches up with his former students. 20 years, and a few stories about those who had grown up in China’s countryside and entered teaching college in the 90s.

  • The Economist touches on why Apple is in the media game:
    “None of the markets is a big prize for the world’s most valuable firm. The entire global recorded music industry had sales of $22bn in 2020, less than Apple made just from selling iPads. In about a month Apple generates as much revenue as Netflix makes in a year.

    Apple’s renewed interest in media is best explained by the transformation in the company’s scale, which radically changes the calculation of which side-projects are worthwhile. … In 2021 Apple tv+’s estimated content budget represented 0.6% of company revenues.

    … Streaming subscriptions may not lock people in as strongly as iTunes purchases did, but Apple’s various services still sink “meat hooks” into customers, making them spend more time with their devices and making it a bit more inconvenient to leave Apple’s ecosystem.”

  • Here’s a very neat image showing the mean risk of infection in different mask-wearing combinations, where ‘inf’ or ‘i’ refers to what the infectious is wearing, and ‘sus’ or ‘s’ refers to what the counter-party/ susceptible person is wearing.

    The research article can be found here. The FFP2 masks this study mentions ought to be similar in standards to a N95 or KN95. (3M has a table comparing the various mask standards.)
    [h/t Derek Powazek]