Week 36, 2020

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SIX MONTHS OF LOCKDOWN. We passed the milestone without even realizing, it just kind of came and went. (It was the same when we hit 100 days back in week 26.) Of course, “lockdown” is not exactly lockdown. Sometimes when the word crosses my lips, I feel like a character from this McSweeney’s jab: “Another dull quarantine weekend at home, Target, Chipotle, Home Depot, and our niece’s graduation party.” Your lockdown might not look the same as mine. We leave the house once or twice a day, go to the local shops or for a stroll. We get takeout food. Some weekends we have a socially-distanced drink with a couple of friends in our back garden, although I can’t think of the last time we visited other people. We haven’t done outside dining or drinking, which are now allowed in San Francisco, and the only shops I’ve been inside are supermarkets and pet stores. Our risk balance is being spent on childcare, basically: a covid-vetted summer camp here and there. School is back, but only virtually, for now—maybe October, they’re saying. The rest of the time we’re staying home. That’s now been fully half a year. And you only have so many days, right?

Books I read: Just one completed this week. Fever Dream by Samanth Schwelbin (translated from Spanish), which lived up to its name and had me in dread from the very beginning right through to the end.

PORTLAND, OR - AUGUST 22: Right wing groups, left, and Portland anti-police protesters face off in front of the Multnomah County Justice Center on August 22, 2020 in Portland, Oregon. For the second Saturday in a row, right wing groups gathered in downtown Portland, sparking counter protests and violence. (Photo by Nathan Howard/Getty Images)

Stories I worked on: Our magazine ridealong podcast Deep Tech looks at India’s history of using internet shutdown to stifle protest, with Sonia Faleiro. A study suggesting covid-19 tracing apps can have significant impact even if not everybody uses them; Joan Donovan walks through the emergence of right wing “riot porn” online; elsewhere what political databases know about you and, relatedly, what Facebook’s political ad ban gets wrong.

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