Saturday, January 23, 2021

Weekend Reading: The Reclaiming a Bit More Happiness Edition

Wednesday felt good, didn't it? I couldn't watch much live so I stayed up later that I should have watching the recordings. Watching them made me feel a mix of happiness (that the Trump presidency is over), relief (that we have competent people trying to solve our problems again), pride (that we, the people, managed to get rid of Trump), and profound sadness (that the Trump presidency happened and that so many people didn't make it through to the other side).

Anyway, I am very grateful that I have made it to the other side of the Trump presidency, and so have all of my loved ones. And so did our democracy, if only barely. We have much work to do, and in future weeks I will post about what I'm doing to help.

For right now, though, I am focusing on reclaiming a bit more happiness in my life. The Trump years were exhausting. The pandemic is exhausting. And yes, there is much work still to do to get through this particular crisis point in American history, but this is a long term project and you don't run a long project in perpetual crunch mode. 

As I wrote last week, I've been trying to scroll social media less and spend my time on more restorative things. I've also been trying to rebalance how I use social media. Instagram is my place to remind myself of the nice things in the world. I have occasionally used my Instagram account as a place to post things I notice that make me happy. That practice has always fizzled out. I recently listened to the Ologies episode with Neil Pasricha and was inspired to try again. This time I'm going to try it as a daily practice because I think daily habits are easier to establish and maintain. I'm posting one thing that made me happy each day on my Instagram account along with the many pictures of our pet hamster. I'm restlessrabbit42 over there if you want more cute hamster photos in your life.

I haven't figured out how to reform my Twitter usage yet, so I'm just trying to cut back for now and hoping what to do will become clear. 

I did decide to start trying to post over at Adjusted Latitudes more. I had the idea that I could use that as a place to share the interesting music videos from around the world that Mr. Snarky and I like finding. I explain in my first musical tourism post over there.

And now on to the other links:

I am really enjoying the Ologies podcast! Another recent favorite was the episode on sleep.

I also found the conversation Ana Marie Cox had with Adam Serwer on the inauguration and this moment in history really good.

But this is supposed to be weekend reading not weekend listening! 

I found this quote from the San Diego Union-Tribune's story about our local vaccination efforts telling:

"Fletcher noted during the county’s weekly coronavirus briefing that the county often doesn’t know more than about a day in advance that doses are coming. "

I know that the chaotic rollout is very, very frustrating for all of us... but try to imagine being a local health official or a hospital administrator attempting to make a plan for a smooth vaccination effort when you don't know ahead of time how many doses you'll have. I hope the new federal team can sort this out quickly. We should expect some ongoing hiccups - batches will fail quality control, miscommunications will still happen - but the manufacturers know how many batches they are making so it should be possible to give local officials a little more predictability for their plans.

Speaking of manufacturing... here is a deep dive on the manufacturing of the mRNA vaccines (thanks to Derek Lowe and Chemjobber for sharing it on Twitter). It is very technical and not in my particular area of expertise but a couple of things jumped out: this is the first time the biologics manufacturing industry has tried to make clinical grade mRNA at such a large scale. This is not an easy manufacturing process:

"The skills to produce mRNA at scale and the associated supply chain are new. The conversion process from DNA to mRNA in living cells is well understood. However, doing it at scale, in a factory, and with a long shelf-life is still an area of development."

Could something like the Defense Production Act help? I don't know, but I don't think it is obvious. I am glad that we finally have a team in place that I trust to look at all the options and make smart decisions driven by a desire to actually help Americans, not protect one man's ego. I am sure there were some good people trying to do the right thing in the last administration... but they had a hefty headwind from the political side and that should be gone now.

The thread this tweet is part of, and the linked story are worth your time if you want to try to understand what has gone wrong in Southern California (and LA county in particular):

Heaps of spoilers... but I liked Athena Scalzi's take on the movie Soul.

Some things that made me smile this week:

This is genius:

I wish I could go see these:

Vaccine Wellerman!

Baby capybaras!

Here's your bunny for the week:

Have a good weekend!


  1. Anonymous1:35 PM

    THANK YOU so much.
    The Lewis structures are amazing and totally wonderful and filled me with great joy! So lovely to see photos of the creativity and work.
    Looking forward to hearing how and what you are doing to help with the 'long term project' we all face. You have had such positive good ideas during the past tough years.
    Thank you also for pointing out the articles/information on the comparison of FL and S.CA, it helped me refocus again on the SF versus LA ...Different circumstances and populations are involved and size of populations are giant.
    REALLY APPRECIATE your making the time to do this. Part of the strands connecting me to a bigger world.

    1. You're welcome! I am glad you find the posts useful.

  2. I think you mean this one!

    1. Vaccine Wellerman post now fixed! Copy-and-paste error....


Sorry for the CAPTCHA, folks. The spammers were stealing too much of my time.