What follows is a summary of the articles for magazines I received this week. I consider this entry a time-capsule for strange times.
Bloomberg Businessweek for the week of 18 May.
- Cover story: Feature on Gilead Sciences, the company that developed Remdesivir, a treatment for various coronavirus afflictions. The company was established in 1987. They made a name for themselves creating medicines such as Tamiflu and the HIV/AIDS single-pill cocktail that suppresses symptoms.
Remdesivir was developed in 2009 in response to SARS and MERS viruses. It didn't work against Ebola in 2018, but at least it was proven that Remdesivir was safe for human consumption. Gilead is continuing their research into coronavirus treatment and prevention. If they develop a successful COVID-19 treatment, Gilead execs state they will give away the first 1.5 million doses free of charge (collecting research data in the process, ostensibly).
Other stories include:
- Michael Bloomberg editorial: Congress needs to pass legislation that protects both workers who go back to work, as well as the businesses that employ them.
- Summary of Sweden's pandemic strategy of relaxed social-distancing. They caught a lot of flack for old-age homes being woefully under-protected. But will the strategy work in the long-term for the general public? It's at the wait-and-see stage.
- Chinese malls and restaurants are empty of customers. Restaurants have been hit the hardest, and have adapted their business model to adjust.
- US shopping malls are being redeveloped into multi-use properties, instead of single-use, exclusively-retail outlets.
- Private colleges are wondering how to pay the bills when many of the affluent, accepted students opt for a "gap year" while those in line for scholarships, already hardened by life, opt to attend their exclusive colleges even if the first semesters aren't on campus.
- "Young techies" who are currently working from home are broadening housing options (because it's cheaper outside Silicon Valley). Tech companies are also broadening their pool of talent outside the area for the same reasons, and are likely to lower wages as time goes on.
- A company is using their remote counseling app for smartphones, Talkspace, to collect aggregate data via transcripts of their patients' and therapists' video conferences. Sure, nothing could go wrong with that... It's supposedly to research mental health techniques and symptoms.
- Mini-blurb on the "year of the electric bike."
- Excerpt from the book "Flash Crash," which discusses the techniques of Nev Sarao, an otherwise non-descript online trader who made a name for himself and one for the history books on 6th May 2010 when he caused a momentary stock market crash from his basement or something.
- "About half the 43 million rental units in the [United States] are owned by small businesses" (usually an individual, sometimes with more than one job), and the result of current eviction freezes is that these landlords holding the bag and no relief from federal or state governments means they'll go bankrupt.
- The travel and lodging industry shutdown is crippling most minority-owned hotel businesses. The focus is on Indian and Middle Eastern migrants who came to the US seeking an entry point into a middle-class and above lifestyle.
- Oil prices and COVID-19 outcomes influence how voters will behave this coming November, and a highlight is on Texas (for oil, which is currently crashing) and Pennsylvania (for fracking and natural gas, which is currently booming). Both industries are notoriously hazardous, poisonous, and environmentally destructive, but the typical US resident doesn't give a dry fart.
- Discussion of the transfer of power in the Fed gov if both POTUS and the Vice President become ill with COVID-19 (or something else) and Congress steps in as Chief Executive.
- Fluff piece with the CEO of Unilever, some guy named Alan Jope. He waxes thick on how, in times of crisis, "people depend on trusted brands."
- UFC fighters are organizing an anti-trust effort against the UFC parent company for better pay and working conditions.
- the Global Engagement Center, a small division in the US Dept of Commerce, works to quell disinformation and conspiracy theories. They're apparently working overtime during the COVID-19 crisis. What Would Edward Bernays Do?
- Some product reviews, with a "new grad" slant.
- Golf courses are in various stages of open throughout the US (mostly in the midwest), but also practice social distancing.
- A certain true crime teevee show fails to produce a convincing argument at how true crime teevee and "the court of public opinion" actually influences court case outcomes. Well, duh. It boils down largely to the team with more money and better lawyers. Oh, and the color of your skin.
- Chicken processing hasn't experienced as many shortages as pork and beef processing in the US because it's more automated and less labor-intensive than those other two industries.
I also received the June 2020 issue of "In These Times," a socialist magazine. I'll save that summary for another time. I've had a single read-through of it today, and I'm conflicted about the big picture of its content.