Happy Thursday! There’s not a lot to be happy about when we have to start off the newsletter with a frightening number of Covid-19 deaths in the U.S. As of this writing at 4 a.m. EST the U.S. crossed a grim milestone of 250,537 deaths. Yesterday saw over 1,100 in one day. Let’s take a moment and thank all the healthcare workers who are working around the clock to keep up.
New York City schools are closing in-person learning again as the city population hits a 3% positivity level. Governor Cuomo warns of “astronomical” increases.
In Today’s Newsletter:
Unemployment benefits set to run out
Everyone’s moving to Georgia
China wants you to move to the countryside
Lead Story: Coal In Our Stockings
We hate to be a holiday humbug but here is some grim news: About 12 million unemployed people will lose their unemployment benefits the day after Christmas when the CARES Act expires.
The extra $600 per week that had been offered to the unemployed expired in July but unemployment there had been additional funds offered from the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation benefits. The time is about up on that and the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program, which gives jobless aid to freelance and gig workers. By some measures, 7.3 million people rely on that income.
Additionally, a moratorium on evictions will end on December 31. It’s all like a ticking time bomb designed to test the economy. President-elect Joe Biden has called on Congress to pass a stimulus immediately but given he’s not getting very far with his government cooperation, that request hasn’t been very effective so far.
The two Senate races in Georgia have big stakes for U.S. government with the potential to shift power out of Republicans’ hands. That is why both parties are throwing their weight behind it big time, so much so that some Democrats are willing to move to Georgia in order to cast a vote.
The pandemic has shifted the voting demographic in a major, and perhaps permanent way. Red states like Arizona received a major influx of blue voters from high-tax states who cast their votes in their new homes. Some telecommuters who are seeking new homes are willing to move to a place just to cast a vote.
Activists in San Francisco are assisting one another to move to Georgia. One of them told the Chronicle that her phone was ringing every 20 minutes with these requests.
“People are asking me, ‘When do I move to Georgia? Where can I stay? Should I get a block of hotel rooms?’”
We applaud this spirit but should you get to vote in a state if you have a hotel room??? This is not a civics newsletter but that hardly seems like fair play.
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China is trying to reverse its urban shift. For decades, people from small villages moved to big cities to seek work. This left rural China in dire straits, and the government wants to fix that.
The government is investing in the infrastructure of small towns and asking entrepreneurs and business owners to do the same. Some who left for the big city are going back and bringing with them new life and new business. Some villages that were in the dumps have now been certified as poverty-free.
Much of China’s growth has been from manufacturing and exporting cheap goods. Now the government wants to turn its attention inward and increase domestic spending.
Air Canada Gets Creative
Air Canada has cleared out the coach section of many of their airplanes to make room for cargo because inanimate objects and animals are not afraid to fly during a pandemic.
The planes have turned into shipping containers, carrying car parts, mail, produce, and pets. The 300 seats normally reserved for humans have been cleared out. Business class, however, was left intact. The pilots say that it is an odd change but gives them more freedom to fly the most efficient routes. With human passengers, they choose the smoothest air. With cargo, they go off-roading, so to speak.
$5.7 million. That is how much in free advertising Nike has enjoyed from a photo of a Hail Mary catch by DeAndre Hopkins, which has gone viral on social media. Hopkins won’t share in that pot, however, because he is not a Nike sponsored athlete.
200 pounds. That is how much a mere human can lift if they wear a battery-powered Iron Man-looking exoskeleton suit.
300 miles. That is how far the Italian police traveled to transport a kidney to a new donor in a Lamborghini. But of course, the Italian police would have a Lamborghini in its fleet. The car sped from Rome to Padua in 2 hours at 145 mph with the kidney in its specially-designed refrigerated trunk.
Marisa Mayer used to be the hottest name in Silicon Valley but the former Yahoo CEO hasn’t been in the spotlight much since 2017. Now she’s back with an app to promote that will clean up your contact list.
The app is called Sunshine Contacts and it uses artificial intelligence to find and merge duplicate contacts and fill in incomplete contacts. It integrates with iOS and Gmail.
It also allows users to change their own contact information, which will automatically update on other people’s contact lists. Mayer’s company aims to release family sharing, scheduling, and organizing apps after the initial rollout of Sunshine Contacts. The contacts app is available by invitation only for now.
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