Opinion | We Made the Coronavirus Epidemic – By David Quammen – The New York Times

By 

Mr. Quammen is the author of “Spillover: Animal Infections and the Next Human Pandemic.”

Credit…Kevin Frayer/Getty Images

“The latest scary new virus that has captured the world’s horrified attention, caused a lockdown of 56 million people in China, disrupted travel plans around the globe and sparked a run on medical masks from Wuhan, Hubei Province, to Bryan, Texas, is known provisionally as “nCoV-2019.” It’s a clunky moniker for a lurid threat.

The name, picked by the team of Chinese scientists who isolated and identified the virus, is short for “novel coronavirus of 2019.” It reflects the fact that the virus was first recognized to have infected humans late last year — in a seafood and live-animal market in Wuhan — and that it belongs to the coronavirus family, a notorious group. The SARS epidemic of 2002-3, which infected 8,098 people worldwide, killing 774 of them, was caused by a coronavirus, and so was the MERS outbreak that began on the Arabian Peninsula in 2012 and still lingers (2,494 people infected and 858 deaths as of November).

Despite the new virus’s name, though, and as the people who christened it well know, nCoV-2019 isn’t as novel as you might think.

Something very much like it was found several years ago in a cave in Yunnan, a province roughly a thousand miles southwest of Wuhan, by a team of perspicacious researchers, who noted its existence with concern. The fast spread of nCoV-2019 — more than 4,500 confirmed cases, including at least 106 deaths, as of Tuesday morning, and the figures will have risen by the time you read this — is startling but not unforeseeable. That the virus emerged from a nonhuman animal, probably a bat, and possibly after passing through another creature, may seem spooky, yet it is utterly unsurprising to scientists who study these things.”

25 Again? How Exercise May Fight Aging – By Gretchen Reynolds -The New York Times

“Regular exercise throughout adulthood may protect our muscles against age-related loss and damage later, according to an interesting new study of lifelong athletes and their thighs. The study finds that active older men’s muscles resemble, at a cellular level, those of 25-year-olds and weather inflammatory damage much better than the muscles of sedentary older people.

The study also raises some cautionary questions about whether waiting until middle age or later to start exercising might prove to be challenging for the lifelong health of our muscles.

Physical aging is a complicated and enigmatic process, as any of us who are living and experiencing it know. Precipitated by little-understood changes in the workings of our cells and physiological systems, it proceeds in stuttering fits and starts, affecting some people and body parts earlier or more noticeably than others.

Muscles are among the body parts most vulnerable to time. Almost all of us begin losing some muscle mass and strength by early middle age, with the process accelerating as the decades pass. While the full causes for this decline remain unknown, most aging researchers agree that a subtle, age-related rise in inflammation throughout our bodies plays a role.”

No Kneeling During Super Bowl LIII National Anthem- but Still Plenty of Talk – The New York Times

 

David Lindsay:  Kathleen and I watched the super bowl, without our usual guests, who were all on family leave. By and large, it was good football, though I felt that the game is getting more violent in that the definition of of interference with the receiver has gotten looser, not tighter. It was a guilty pleasure, since I have at least three reasons to boycott the event. First, the black quarterback Colin Kaepernick hasn’t been allowed to play since the season in 2016 when he took a knee against police shootings of unarmed black men, and second, the brain disease, chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or C.T.E., makes the whole thing something to revise or avoid. Third, the NFL is guilty of false claims. They insist this is the world championship, which is nonesense. They are not international like the real international sport of football at the World Cup.
The reason for this post is to share the rap video by Ava Duvernay in honor of Colin Kaepernick in the NYT article below. I’m afraid it is exactly what the white billionaires’s club of NFL owners deserves.

By Ken Belson
Feb. 4, 2019, 1
ATLANTA — Dr. Bernice A. King, the youngest child of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Coretta Scott King, was brought out to midfield for the coin toss before the start of Super Bowl LIII. She was joined by two other titanic civil rights leaders, Ambassador Andrew Young and Representative John Lewis.

Before the game began, the N.F.L. also played a video in the stadium that included images of Dr. King and other civil rights leaders, interspersed with images of N.F.L. players doing charity work.

On television, CBS ran a public service announcement that showed Commissioner Roger Goodell and other league executives touring the Ebenezer Baptist Church and other landmarks associated with Martin Luther King Jr.

For the many Super Bowl viewers who do not closely follow the league, and perhaps many who do, such imagery probably came across as proper and right for a game played in Atlanta, known as the cradle of the Civil Rights Movement.

Yet it underscored something else, a league still struggling with race and seeking a balance between fans and players who find no reason to talk about it and those who find it front and center in a simmering controversy over a player who has not played a down since the 2016 season.

The presence of the civil rights leaders did not seem to win over supporters of the player, Colin Kaepernick, the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback who in 2016 began taking a knee during the national anthem to protest racism and police brutality against people of color and has not played a down since that season.

Even before the game, many resolved not to watch, including the film director Ava DuVernay, who accused the N.F.L. of “racist treatment of @Kaepernick7” and lamented an “ongoing disregard for the health + well-being of players.”

Ava DuVernay tweets:

@ava
I will not be a spectator, viewer or supporter of the #SuperBowl today in protest of the @NFL’s racist treatment of @Kaepernick7 and its ongoing disregard for the health + well-being of all its players. To watch the game is to compromise my beliefs. It’s not worth it. #ImWithKap

Embedded video

60.7K
8:13 AM – Feb 3, 2019
21.2K people are talking about this

Opinion | Martina Navratilova: What Serena Got Wrong – The New York Times

Quote

“Serena Williams has part of it right. There is a huge double standard for women when it comes to how bad behavior is punished — and not just in tennis.

But in her protests against an umpire during the United States Open final on Saturday, she also got part of it wrong. I don’t believe it’s a good idea to apply a standard of “If men can get away with it, women should be able to, too.” Rather, I think the question we have to ask ourselves is this: What is the right way to behave to honor our sport and to respect our opponents?”

via Opinion | Martina Navratilova: What Serena Got Wrong – The New York Times

Serena Williams Spotlights Tennis Inequities, but in the Best Way? – By Juliet Macur – NYT

Quote

“Had I behaved like that on a tennis court, I would have expected to get everything that happened to Serena,” said Martina Navratilova, who won 18 Grand Slam singles titles and a record nine Wimbledon titles, and has been a longtime advocate for equality in the sport. “ It should’ve ended right there with the point warning, but Serena just couldn’t let it go.”

She added, “She completely had the right message about women’s inequality, but it wasn’t the right time to bring it up.”

Ramos officiated with his usual exacting eye. He gave Williams a warning for receiving coaching in the second set. His action was warranted because Williams’s coach, Patrick Mouratoglou, admitted to coaching her.”

. . .

“Billie Jean King, a pioneer for women’s equality in sports, weighed in on Twitter.

“When a woman is emotional, she’s ‘hysterical’ and she’s penalized for it,’ ” King wrote. “When a man does the same, he’s ‘outspoken’ and there are no such repercussions. Thank you, Serena Williams, for calling out this double standard. More voices are needed to do the same.”

Hard to argue with that. But it was disappointing that King said nothing about the poor timing of Williams’s powerful voice. It made me think back to last year’s Open, when the Italian player Fabio Fognini unleashed a barrage of Italian curses upon a female umpire and was kicked out of the tournament.

So sometimes, there are repercussions.

Rafael Nadal feuded with Ramos during last year’s French Open, and Djokovic did so at Wimbledon. “Double standards, my friend, double standards,” Djokovic said to Ramos. Those players vented and moved on without derailing the entire match.”

David Lindsay: Thank you Juliet Macur. I  agree with Martina Navratolova, Serena’s complaint was valid, but her timing and refusal to move on was terrible. A female friend wondered if the relentless anger might have been exaggerated by post partum spirits, or ferocity. I criticize the World Tennis Association, for not have more choices in the rules than, 1,2,3:  1, a warning, 2. dock a point, then 3. dock a game. In the end I fear that, the umpire made a judgement mistake, by taking a whole game away from Serena without a second soft warning. While Serena got what she deserved, it seems that the umpire did a disservice to Naomi Osaka, who was doing fine without his help, even though Serena was completely out of line. In defense of the umpire,  Serena did not appear to respect anything he said.

via Serena Williams Spotlights Tennis Inequities, but in the Best Way? – The New York Times

Parents Behaving Badly: A Youth Sports Crisis Caught on Video – By Bill Pennington – NYT

By Bill PenningtonJuly 18, 2018
78 comments
TULSA, Okla. — In one video, a fan at a youth soccer game bellows profanities and violently kicks a ball that slams into a teenage referee standing nearby. She disagreed with a penalty called.

Another captures parents at a youth basketball game charging the court to hurl punches at the referee. And yet another shows parents berating game officials as they walk to their cars after a soccer game. The players were 8-year-olds.

The videos were posted on a Facebook page, Offside, created in frustration by an Oklahoma youth soccer referee, Brian Barlow, who offers a $100 bounty for each clip in order to shame the rising tide of unruly parents and spectators at youth sports events.

“I do it to hold people accountable — to identify and call out the small percentage of parents who nonetheless create a toxic environment at youth sports,” Barlow, 44, said. “It’s a very visual deterrent, and not just to the person caught on video but to others who ask themselves: Do I look like that jerk?” ”

David Lindsay:

This put a smile on my face. Not the video, but that a referee stood up to ugly parents. And, it is worth noting, not all Facebook stories are bad. Here is Facebook as spectacular public servant.
I coached and sometimes refereed youth soccer for 10 or 11 years. I coached my three kids, Austin, Daniel and Catherine. It was a good run, pun intended. I didn’t see many out of control parents, but bad parent behavior was a regular discussion of our organizational meetings. While coaching U6, (Under Six), or 4 and 5 year olds,
I once with a big smile reprimanded one Dad gentlly, for yelling, “Go Joey, pull his pants down.”
I was tempted to use the same expression myself many times afterwards, but lucking, kept it as just a dinner story.

Croatia Digs Deeper- Burying England’s World Cup Dreams – By RORY SMITH – NYT

Quote

MOSCOW — Their legs had stopped working long before the end. Their muscles ached, their lungs heaved, their bodies creaked and groaned. Croatia’s players had hit their limits and traveled beyond them, yet again; they had drained themselves of adrenaline; they had passed deep into the red, into the pain.

And still, even as their movements grew stiff and their tendons tight, when they were gasping for breath and it looked as though they could not possibly give any more, they kept going, kept chasing, kept running: past England, into the World Cup final, into history.

Croatia 2   England 1

via Croatia Digs Deeper, Burying England’s World Cup Dreams – The New York Times

David Lindsay:  Here is a comment I really liked, and my response to it.

LA 3 NYC

Los Angeles 13 hours ago

Well done Croatia. Great strategy start to finish – and I mean that, including the first half.

I disagree with the article waxing on about burning legs and exhaustion and beating the odds, the article completely missed the point that this game was played by Croatia as chess vs. checkers.

It was clear from about 15 minutes in by looking at the players’ body language what would happen: Croats were mostly walking and jogging, relaxed, expending occasional bursts of energy as needed and running England into hyperdrive, burning their energy and focus.

They mistook Croatia’s initial quiet, “diagnostic” soft pace as weakness and underestimated the lurking dangers of playing a long game against endurance players who only get more energetic and more accurate under duress. The Croats used pace and pressure to build their advantage. Sometimes you gotta watch out for the quiet ones. Well done.

David Lindsay Jr.

Hamden, CT 

 

I agree with this comment by LA 3 NYC, even if I didn’t see it at the time, I did see England fall off their game in the second half and overtime, more exhausted, their confidence shattered, while the Croatia team dominated with ball control.

But Croatia also seemed in the first half to be unusually rough, and deserved 3 yellow cards and a red card that they didn’t get. Or was that just good, rough football? I fear that Fifa football is going the way of American NHL hockey, and getting more and more violent. (Columbia was over the top with foul and dirty play against England, almost all of which the ref did not call.)

I also liked a criticism from another commenter, of the Fox news casters. They were pathetic, and I wanted to mute their inane and silly remarks. They appeared to jinx the England team by supporting them like village idiots. Future remotes need a second mute button, to turn off bad commentary. They certainly didn’t see or notice the Croatia team pacing themselves. Croatia deserved this win.

As I learn about and admire Fifa football, I focus on patience and control being the keys to having a good day on the field, and Croatia led on these metrics for the last two thirds of the game.

David Lindsay Jr. is the author of “The Tay Son Rebellion, Historical Fiction of Eighteenth-century Vietnam,” and blogs at TheTaySonRebellion.com and InconvenientNewsWorldwide.wordpress.com

Opinion | The N.F.L. Kneels to Trump – The New York Times

“The owners of the National Football League have concluded, with President Trump, that true patriotism is not about bravely standing up for democratic principle but about standing up, period.

Rather than show a little backbone themselves and support the right of athletes to protest peacefully, the league capitulated to a president who relishes demonizing black athletes. The owners voted Wednesday to fine teams whose players do not stand for the national anthem while they are on the field.

Let us hope that in keeping with the league’s pinched view of patriotism, the players choose to honor the letter but not the spirit of this insulting ban. It might be amusing, for example, to see the owners tied in knots by players who choose to abide by the injunction to “stand and show respect” — while holding black-gloved fists in the air. Or who choose to stand — while holding signs protesting policy brutality. We look forward to many more meetings of fatootsed gazillionaires conducting many more votes on petty rules to ban creative new forms of player protest.”

David Lindsay Jr.

Great editorial, and comments afterwards!
Hamden, CT | Pending Approval
Issassi wrote:”Colin Kaepernick is someone I really look up to; I don’t have his kind of courage. As for the NFL owners, they have shown their lack of spine today, and their abject failure to support free speech in America. Last, I applaud the Jets and their co-owner Chris Johnson, who is firmly on the right side of history.” What is this about. I found: “Johnson first endeared himself to his players in September, after Trump made protests against racial injustice the talk of the NFL. Prior to New York’s Sept. 24 game against the Dolphins, Johnson met individually with every Jet and asked if he could stand alongside them during the national anthem. Their blessing given, he’s been doing it ever since. On Tuesday, Johnson said linking arms with his players has been “the honor of my life.”’ I hope Chris Johnson offers Colin Kaepernick a job playing football. David Lindsay Jr. is the author of “The Tay Son Rebellion, Historical Fiction of Eighteenth-century Vietnam,” and blogs at TheTaySonRebellion.com and InconvenientNews.wordpress.com

Review Finds ‘Tsunami’ of Fixed Matches in Lower Levels of Tennis – The New York Times

Professional tennis has created an environment ripe for corruption at the sport’s lowest levels and needs reform to combat the problem, an independent task force reported on Wednesday, after a two-year investigation.

The review panel, made up of three prominent lawyers, found that there was a “tsunami” of fixed matches at the lower levels of the game, but that there was no conspiracy or collusion among the sport’s governing bodies to cover it up.

Scarred by reports of match fixing, tennis leaders created the panel in January 2016 and announced they would implement all of its recommendations.

via Review Finds ‘Tsunami’ of Fixed Matches in Lower Levels of Tennis – The New York Times

Can This Judge Solve the Opioid Crisis? – News by Jan Hoffman – NYT

“CLEVELAND — Here are a few choice mutterings from the scrum of lawyers outside Courtroom 18B, about the federal judge who summoned them to a closed-door conference on hundreds of opioid lawsuits:“Grandstander.”

“Pollyanna.” “Over his head.”

And the chorus: “This is not how we do things!”

Judge Dan Aaron Polster of the Northern District of Ohio has perhaps the most daunting legal challenge in the country: resolving more than 400 federal lawsuits brought by cities, counties and Native American tribes against central figures in the national opioid tragedy, including makers of the prescription painkillers, companies that distribute them, and pharmacy chains that sell them. And he has made it clear that he will not be doing business as usual.

During the first hearing in the case, in early January, the judge informed lawyers that he intended to dispense with legal norms like discovery and would not preside over years of “unraveling complicated conspiracy theories.” Then he ordered them to prepare for settlement discussions immediately.Not a settlement that would be “just moving money around,” he added, but one that would provide meaningful solutions to a national crisis — by the end of this year.”

David Lindsay: I recommend the whole article above. This judge is amazing. He is using Organization Development theory and techniques, to bring the parties together, to share important information, and to work on collective problem solving. It’s brilliant, and he might get the parties in 400 federal lawsuites to work together.