🇨🇳 a post-pandemic city.

on the agenda this week: a virologist looks ahead, knee replacement gets hi-tech and putin seems rattled.

📖 reading time: 3m 15s.

hi, happy monday!

stay safe and mask up. look after yourselves and thanks for reading.


tag me on instagram or follow me on twitter if you enjoy this week's brain drain.

a special thank you to my paid subscribers: i really appreciate the support.

👂 earworm: listen to jorja smith.


📚 word of the week:

mammonism”.

the greedy pursuit of riches.

it is not so new, after all—this alliance of mammonism with epicurism—the mania for sudden wealth and the passion for a vulgar display of it in twenty-thousand-dollar banquets.

- addison ballard, november 5, 1905


🧠 brain candy:

💻 facebook’s advertising-based business can incentivise emotional reactions to posts that drive people to the anti-vax movement, here’s why.

🦠 a german virologist looks back on the mistakes he has made in the coronavirus pandemic – and ahead to the dangers that the pandemic still has in store for us.

🔋 microgrids—stashed in empty parking lots and installed on rooftops—are the future of new york's power supply.

👨‍💻 there is nothing natural about the way we work: “huge swathes of people, in europe and north america in particular, spend their entire working lives performing tasks they secretly believe do not really need to be performed. the moral and spiritual damage that comes from this situation is profound.”

🦵 the first knee replacement surgery using augmented reality in the u.s. was recently carried out. the software overlays information onto the surgeon’s glasses, ensuring that his “cuts are degree for degree, millimeter for millimeter, accurate”.


🤪 mildly humorous:
💡 longer reads:

🇨🇳 a post-pandemic city.

wuhan once offered a forewarning about the coronavirus. what lessons does it give us now?

the long months of harsh lockdown have faded from view in wuhan, the first city in the world devastated by the new coronavirus. as residents look to move on, they cite a chinese saying that warns against “forgetting the pain after a scar heals.”

to many in this central chinese city, the saying sums up a temptation to let go of the bad memories while reveling in the recovery. to families grieving in the shadows, it means the danger of hastily forgetting without a public reckoning for the lives needlessly lost.

a year ago when wuhan shut down, it offered the world a forewarning about the dangers of the virus. now, it heralds a post-pandemic world where the relief at unmasked faces, joyous get-togethers and daily commutes conceals the emotional aftershocks.

in wuhan, residents savor ordinary pleasures that a year ago became forbidden hazards, like strolling along the historic jianghan shopping street. office workers jostle for seats on the subway, which was shut throughout the lockdown. riverside restaurants, karaoke bars and music clubs are a hubbub of conversation and song that was unthinkable last year, and remains unthinkable for much of the world still in the grips of the pandemic.

👉 read more via the new york times.


🇷🇺 putin seems perturbed.

there are growing signs russian president vladimir putin is becoming increasingly rattled by the return of alexei navalny.

navalny returned home last week after five months recovering in germany from a suspected assassination attempt, that he and a team of investigative journalists say was ordered by putin himself. he was detained at a moscow airport sunday night, and the next day jailed for 30 days following a hastily-arranged hearing in a makeshift courtroom.

navalny’s supporters plan to protest his detention in demonstrations planned for dozens of cities and towns on saturday, but ahead of the weekend russian authorities are cracking down, online and irl.

at least five key figures affiliated with navalny’s anti-corruption foundation have been arrested, including his press secretary, kira yarmysh. she was unbowed as she announced on twitter friday that she had been given a nine-day sentence for calling on people to join the demonstrations.

“well, you know what to do,” she tweeted. “january 23, 14.00, the central streets of your cities. come!”

in an earlier tweet, she said that showing up at the protests was “everyone’s duty, if we want prosperity, freedom and the well-being of our country. and so that alexei and all those illegally behind bars are set free.”

👉 read more via vice.


🦶 footer:

did you know that word of mouth is the only way something like this grows?

tell one of your friends what they’re missing out on. they can sign up here.

🚨 if you post a screenshot to instagram stories of your favourite part of the email & tag me (@sam.travel), i’ll repost the best ones.

you can also support me but upgrading to a paid (€5 a month, it’s the lowest price i can charge on this platform) subscription:

buy me a coffee :)


🎉 get social:

instagram: @sam.travel

twitter: @sammcallister

email me: smcallis[at]gmail.com

website: sammcallister.me


👋 read one of my last 3 posts:

🗿 the isolated language.

🦶 other significant others.

✝️ what is heaven?

or click to see them all.