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US Supreme Court justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has died. The 87-year-old succumbed to cancer just weeks before the US general election. Now, the world will watch to see if president Donald Trump is able to push a nomination through for a right-wing replacement for the court’s least pro-business justice. (Here’s his list of possible nominees.)
Over the course of her career, Ginsburg shared many lessons in how she saw and navigated the world. To dive more into the life of a tiny woman who has made an enormous impact on a nation, we recommend the following:
- RBG had advice for succeeding in marriage, the Supreme Court, and everything in between.
- She also advised women on how to make sure their voices were heard.
- Ginsburg was the perfect example of the Zen concept of a “beginner’s mind.”
- Her proudest professional moment came from a loss.
- True to form, she explained Passover in a feminist way.
- Here are three ways she showed the power of patience in the fight for equality.
- And she never retired, because she knew the court needed her.
We’re obsessed with Ruth Bader Ginsburg
In May, we devoted our Obsession email to the US Supreme Court Justice. Here’s one of our favorite parts (read the whole email here).
Speaking to a Georgetown University Law Center audience about the Equal Rights Amendment in Feb. 2020, RBG said she hasn’t cooked a meal since 1980 when her daughter said dad was the superior chef.
Citizens of the world
Before Covid-19, connections and money could buy almost anyone the right to live pretty much anywhere they wanted.
The industry known today as CRBI—citizenship and residence by investment—began in 1984 in the Caribbean nation of St. Kitts and Nevis, which offered a passport to foreigners who “invested substantially” in its economy. Today, more than half of the world’s 193 countries will trade citizenship or residency for cash. The now $25 billion industry has attracted criticism from those who say passports for purchase turn democracies into havens for criminals and facilitate money laundering and tax evasion.
The pandemic has led to unprecedented border closures and travel restrictions, which has helped the CRBI industry grow. It’s also prompting high-net-worth individuals to turn away from traditionally prized passports like the US and toward countries with high-quality healthcare systems. Read more…
Five things on Quartz we especially liked
Crowd control. India’s famously lavish, multi-day nuptials are getting leaner by necessity during Covid-19. In this insightful piece, Manavi Kapur writes that health restrictions have many couples saying their vows in front of a mere 100 witnesses, compared to a mainstream Hindu wedding’s typical 500 guests. Some millennial brides and grooms-to-be have welcomed the change, which has brought with it huge savings and greater autonomy. For the industry, the effects have been more complicated, but not entirely devastating. —Lila MacLellan, senior reporter
We’re so hot for them and they’re so cold. -70°C (-94°F) is crazy cold, colder than the North Pole in January. It’s also the temperature at which one experimental Covid-19 vaccine needs to be kept—colder than necessary for most pharmaceuticals currently in circulation. Olivia Goldhill explains how healthcare facilities are working to get their hands on these super cold freezers, and how the entire supply chain would have to make changes to get these vaccines to where they’re needed. —Alex Ossola, special projects editor
We built this city on…office workers? I fled a small-town childhood for a life in the big city, so I was eager to read Lila MacLellan’s article on whether metropolises can survive without white-collar workers and the companies that employ them. The TL;DR answer is “no,” but the creative solutions for how to encourage those businesses to stick around, while making cities more livable for everyone, give me hope. —Liz Webber, senior news curator
The Native American approach to forest management. Fires are burning across large swaths of the US. Tim McDonnell’s story suggests that part of the problem lies in the idea that fires can and should be prevented. His explanation of the indigenous tactics that rely on a mixture of controlled burns and forest thinning left me hopeful that there may be a way to mitigate damage in the future—but only if the federal government gives more license to Native American tribes. —Sarah Todd, senior reporter
The Emmys like you’ve never seen them before (thankfully). Formerly a sucker for awards shows, I didn’t realize how long it had been since I’d tuned in to any of them until I read Adam Epstein’s piece about the virtual chaos that could be the 2020 Emmys this Sunday. Is it possible that, as a genre, the bejeweled red carpet has gotten stale? The iconic US TV awards show’s declining viewership indicates that something certainly has, and an unscripted journey into the homes of the glitterati could give the Emmys the boost it sorely needed. —Susan Howson, news editor
Watch: Quartz’s workshop on productivity and time management
The coronavirus pandemic and all of the changes in its wake have, for many of us, increased our workloads and exacerbated our stress levels. Each condition on its own invites productivity challenges. Experienced together, they can make us feel we simultaneously have neither the time to do all we need to do, nor the will to get anything done.
The latest Quartz at Work (from home) workshop explores the psychology of productivity and procrastination, and why hitting a wall is normal. Our presenters also share practical and actionable advice on how to overcome productivity, efficiency, and distraction obstacles—including children. Watch now.
Closed captioning finds a new audience
While members of the deaf and hard of hearing community have relied on closed captioning for decades, there has been a recent, noticeable rise in usage of the service by Gen Z. Younger, hearing people have opted to turn on CC for various reasons, from multitasking to education to ADHD, or simply because it feels comforting.
Read more about the history of closed captioning—and its potential AI future—in the Quartz Weekly Obsession.
Live from New York: The future of the TV ad
The transformation of the TV advertising industry can be told through Saturday Night Live. For a long time, the show really was live, and advertisers loved the simplicity of it, knowing exactly how they were connecting with viewers. But that’s not how we watch Saturday Night Live anymore.
Today, nearly 60% of SNL’s viewership comes from digital platforms. And 60% of the viewing on those digital platforms is “short-form consumption”—meaning most fans are watching sketch by sketch. Viewing within digital is also consumed in vastly different ways on an array of different devices.
More options are great for the consumer, but a nightmare for advertisers as they try to decide how much to spend on each medium, and how their messaging should change depending on the platform. Read more in our field guide on the future of the TV ad.
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Five things from elsewhere that made us smarter
Facebook’s India quagmire deepens… As if the platform wasn’t already in the soup in India, an Ozy investigation by Maroosha Muzaffar shines brighter light on how the social media giant’s advertising rules in the country helped prime minister Narendra Modi create an image of invincibility. Meticulously investigating advertising buys amounting to $680,000, Muzaffar found that almost all the pages buying these ads were linked to Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party. What’s more worrying, there is no way to trace who is funding these pro-BJP proxies. —Manavi Kapur, Quartz India reporter
…as it fans the flames of genocide in Ethiopia. After a popular ethnic Oromo singer was murdered in June in Addis Ababa, a now all-too-familiar sequence of events ensued—posts inciting attacks against specific religious or ethnic groups proliferated on Facebook, and violence and destruction promptly erupted. For Vice News, David Gilbert explores how the social network is trying to operate in Ethiopia’s volatile ethnic landscape, as critics charge that it’s simply doing the bare minimum to moderate hate speech. —Isabella Steger, Asia deputy editor
Here comes the sun. The Beatles! India! A solo traveler looking to mend his broken heart! A chance meeting! The only thing that could possibly make this story better is if there were video evidence of it—and, you guessed it, there is. Once traveler, now director Paul Saltzman has turned what he describes as “a magically pure meeting” into a documentary, but even the stills hold enough charm to conjure, if fleetingly, a few days of Indian magic with the Fab Four. —Annalisa Merelli, geopolitics reporter
Water access politics. This week, the California Coastal Commission was supposed to decide on the future of a tiny town called Marina, as well as the future of environmental justice in the state, Rosanna Xia writes for the LA Times. California American Water, an investor-owned water utility company, sought to build a polluting desalination plant in Marina, which is already saturated with the environmental waste of industrial activity. A day after Xia’s piece was published, Cal Am withdrew its proposal after “talking more about the environmental justice concerns.” That’s journalism in action. —Katherine Ellen Foley, health and science reporter
Meet Dr. Phosphine. The search for life beyond Earth is detective work: Find the clues, rule out false positives, identify a suspect. Sarah Scholes reports in Wired that scientists have done just that on Venus, where telescopes spotted the signature of a unique chemical called phosphine. On Earth, it is produced by life-forms that don’t require oxygen (or from physical activities, but those don’t seem to take place on the super-hot second planet from the sun). What’s left is the tantalizing possibility that the chemical came from a biological process—or that our data aren’t right, or Venus has some fun geophysics we don’t yet know about. —Tim Fernholz, senior reporter
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