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Surasti Puri

Good afternoon. First the news, then some great weekend reads.

Five things from Quartz we especially liked

Watching people play video games is a great way to cope. Professional streamers like Twitch provide an online community as well as an escape.Quartz

I thought playing video games was unproductive – until coronavirus

Playing video games used to make entertainment reporter Adam Epstein feel vaguely guilty—but no longer. Entering a virtual world has become a welcome respite, he writes, and gives him a small sense of control in a world where everything feels out of control. He's also begun following video-game streamers—online

Playing video games used to make entertainment reporter Adam Epstein feel vaguely guilty—but no longer. Entering a virtual world has become a welcome respite, he writes, and gives him a small sense of control in a world where everything feels out of control. He's also begun following video-game streamers—online celebrities who have created a new form of entertainment by playing video games for an audience.

How Taiwan is tracking 55,000 people under home quarantine in real time. The country has set up a “digital fence” that uses cellular signals on mobile phones to keep people inside.Quartz

How Taiwan is tracking 55,000 people under home quarantine in real time

If I had $1 for every time a government in history has said “we will relinquish this power after the crisis is averted”. COVID-19 is a serious health safety threat, but governments around the world are using the opportunity to make huge land-grabs around invasion of privacy and control of their local

If I had $1 for every time a government in history has said “we will relinquish this power after the crisis is averted”. COVID-19 is a serious health safety threat, but governments around the world are using the opportunity to make huge land-grabs around invasion of privacy and control of their local economies. The US government swooped in and forced multiple industries to re-tool privately owned factories to make supplies for circulation by the federal gov., Taiwan’s government is tracking citizens in a modern day version of George Orwell’s 1984 telescreen, and citizens across the world are applauding the changes and asking for more.

Strong democracies do, in fact, release restrictions after the threat is over (think US, UK, Canada, etc after WWII). But certainly authoritarian regimes will take advantage (eg repressive regimes claiming “terrorist crackdowns”). The key is an informed and empowered electorate supported by a strong

Strong democracies do, in fact, release restrictions after the threat is over (think US, UK, Canada, etc after WWII). But certainly authoritarian regimes will take advantage (eg repressive regimes claiming “terrorist crackdowns”). The key is an informed and empowered electorate supported by a strong press that is not being demonized.

Geofencing isnt new but it was amazing how fast Taiwan deployed it. There aren’t enough law enforcement officers to look into home-quarantined patients for sure but this should eases the work for sure.

Taiwan is one of many countries leveraging cellphone location data to monitor the movements of people during the coronavirus pandemic—but its quick, coordinated response has set it apart. In total, some 55,000 people are being kept at home through a "digital fence." Mary Hui explains the tech that has

Taiwan is one of many countries leveraging cellphone location data to monitor the movements of people during the coronavirus pandemic—but its quick, coordinated response has set it apart. In total, some 55,000 people are being kept at home through a "digital fence." Mary Hui explains the tech that has helped keep infections low in the country of 24 million.

The real test for US food supply chains is on the way. Farming unions agree that operators aren’t adequately protecting fieldworkers, and US food security could be at risk.Quartz

Covid-19 is about to reach US farms in a major test for food supply chains

So far, the only coronavirus-related food shortages in the US have resulted from a surge in demand for staples like yeast. But as Chase Purdy reports, there’s evidence that farmers aren’t yet taking adequate measures to protect agricultural workers from infection, which could impact food at the supply

So far, the only coronavirus-related food shortages in the US have resulted from a surge in demand for staples like yeast. But as Chase Purdy reports, there’s evidence that farmers aren’t yet taking adequate measures to protect agricultural workers from infection, which could impact food at the supply level as Covid-19 spreads to rural farming communities.

The unscrupulous state of farm workforce practices (astoundingly low worker pay, overlooking a systemically undocumented workforce, etc) has been a tinderbox for a long time. Coronavirus could be the match. Del Monte and the other major labels can claim they’ve created worker safety rules, but they’ll

The unscrupulous state of farm workforce practices (astoundingly low worker pay, overlooking a systemically undocumented workforce, etc) has been a tinderbox for a long time. Coronavirus could be the match. Del Monte and the other major labels can claim they’ve created worker safety rules, but they’ll simply fall by the wayside like employment laws and every other workforce rule by the time they get down the chain to field workers. The farms in the California valleys are likely to be hit first - they’re right next to LA, have many of the manual-labor oriented crops like lettuce and grapes, and thus have more undocumented workers than other parts of the country.

Homeschooling is a unique opportunity for kids and parents. Education doesn't just happen in one place, or in one way.Quartz

To the millions of parents who didn't choose to homeschool: This is an opportunity

Quartz at Work reporter Cassie Weber, who was "unschooled" until the age of 12, has some words of reassurance for the millions of parents around the world who did not choose to homeschool their children—and should perhaps use the opportunity now to do something even wilder.

The pandemic has put global protest movements on hold. Nevertheless, new forms of demonstrations persist.Quartz

Coronavirus has crippled global protest movements

On hold, but not ended! I have hope that when we are past this, those who had been actively fighting for more often than not, the most basic right to well-being, will re-emerge with more passion and more allies then we have seen in a very long time. Strategies of mutual aid, affinity groups, and the

On hold, but not ended! I have hope that when we are past this, those who had been actively fighting for more often than not, the most basic right to well-being, will re-emerge with more passion and more allies then we have seen in a very long time. Strategies of mutual aid, affinity groups, and the types of direct actions long thought to be the domain of radicals alone are being rediscovered and newly appreciated by larger elements of society. This year has been a wake up call for so many, and they will not hit snooze!

Prohibiting group gatherings means no more street protests. Neither taking it online nor going to the balcony seems to be effective. Max takes us around the world to see how social organizing is harmed by the ongoing crisis, while national governments find ways to increase surveillance and strengthen control.

Five things from elsewhere that made us smarter

Celebrities, it turns out, aren't really like us at all. Their quarantine posts are finally making it clear that they simply cannot relate to normal humans.The New York Times

Celebrity Culture Is Burning

Just weeks (a lifetime) ago, we scrolled through Instagram enviously. But where we once found posts about the lives of the famous and beautiful aspirational, in the pandemic era they increasingly strike us as gauche, excessive, tone-deaf, and out of touch, writes Amanda Hess in the New York Times. Will

Just weeks (a lifetime) ago, we scrolled through Instagram enviously. But where we once found posts about the lives of the famous and beautiful aspirational, in the pandemic era they increasingly strike us as gauche, excessive, tone-deaf, and out of touch, writes Amanda Hess in the New York Times. Will this mark the end of celebrity idolatry in our culture?

The Federal Reserve's role is changing. Making decisions in hours that used to take days, the US central bank is now focusing more on prevention rather than jump-starting economic growth.The Wall Street Journal

The Fed Transformed: Jay Powell Leads Central Bank into Uncharted Waters

The Fed has taken radical action to combat Covid-19. As Donald Trump dawdled, Fed chair Jay Powell began cutting interest rates to near zero, buying more than $1 trillion in debt, and propping up lending markets.

The Wall Street Journal gives a blow-by-blow account of how the "mild-mannered," guitar-playing

The Fed has taken radical action to combat Covid-19. As Donald Trump dawdled, Fed chair Jay Powell began cutting interest rates to near zero, buying more than $1 trillion in debt, and propping up lending markets.

The Wall Street Journal gives a blow-by-blow account of how the "mild-mannered," guitar-playing lawyer has handled the crisis from his home in the Maryland suburbs—and won the begrudging praise of Trump, a longtime critic.

Isolation in pictures. A photoessay by Italian journalist Alessio Mamo shows what it's like to live with a pandemic already inside your home.the Guardian

Masks, meals and Skype: self-isolating in Sicily - a photo essay

As an award-winning photojournalist, Alessio Mamo has traveled the world telling stories of war and famine, but in a photo essay for the Guardian, he offers a glimpse into what it’s like when the world’s biggest story arrives on your own doorstep. His black-and-white photographs could be stills from

As an award-winning photojournalist, Alessio Mamo has traveled the world telling stories of war and famine, but in a photo essay for the Guardian, he offers a glimpse into what it’s like when the world’s biggest story arrives on your own doorstep. His black-and-white photographs could be stills from a Fellini movie, showing Catania’s empty streets and the harsh realities of life with the virus.

Social distancing can be done for decades, if needed. Billy Barr has done it for 50 years, but he acknowledges it's not for everyone.NPR.org

Tips From Someone With Nearly 50 Years Of Social Distancing Experience

While everyone else in the world gets accustomed to staying six feet away from others, Billy Barr (*not* Trump's AG), the lone full-time resident of Gothic, Colorado, has lived a solitary life for the past 50 years. NPR spoke with Barr about his daily routine and how it might help others. But even though

While everyone else in the world gets accustomed to staying six feet away from others, Billy Barr (*not* Trump's AG), the lone full-time resident of Gothic, Colorado, has lived a solitary life for the past 50 years. NPR spoke with Barr about his daily routine and how it might help others. But even though he lives almost entirely in isolation, the notes Barr has taken during his years alone have been used for climate research by the Rocky Mountain Biological Lab.

World vs. coronavirus

Globalization brought us Covid-19—and the tools to fight it. The world faces daunting choices, but solutions are unlikely to come if every country stands on its own. This week’s field guide examines the long-term consequences of the pandemic on work, education, diplomacy, globalization, climate change, and more. ✦Quartz

Globalization brought us Covid-19—and the tools to fight it

COVID-19 is a huge reminder of how interconnected our world is, even despite increased protectionism we've seen of late in policy and trade. The effects of the virus on any particular company or industry may be difficult to predict, but how companies plan, respond and communicate to their stakeholders is proving to be critical.

We’re obsessed with Dies Irae

“Untitled” Marisol, age 9, remote co-worker of Quartz Culture & Lifestyle Editor Oliver Staley