Sword of Kings (The Saxon Stories, #12)


📚 Finished Sword of Kings today and really enjoyed it. It's the 12th book in the series though so I'm heavily invested. The pacing on this one was particularly good and the payoffs and callbacks to things setup in the earlier books were pretty satisfying.

Pastor brings 1,000 people to Sunday service, defying state's coronavirus order


On Sunday, Pastor Tony Spell said his Life Tabernacle Church in Baton Rouge bussed people from five parishes in for the service, assembling the 1,000-person gathering despite orders to not hold gatherings of more than 50 people.

He says he plans to hold another one on Tuesday.

As of right now Louisiana is third behind New York and Washington State in total COVID-19 deaths with 83, and seems likely to move up the the total case rankings if they have enough testing capacity. What a terrible confluence of unnecessary peril and willful ignorance.

Firefighter Farrar: From one dream job to another


Farrar moved back to the US in the fall of 2017, bringing down the curtain on a career that spanned more than a decade and in which he won stages in all three Grand Tours. The then 32-year-old could have conceivably carried on for another year – at least – but by the time he finished his final race in Canada he had known for some time that he was ready to move on.

Joining the fire service had always been at the back of his mind, even when he was a young kid kicking ass on the track back home in his early teens, but when the wins started to flood in he understandably chose to follow one dream while the other was put on hold.

Tyler Farrar grew up in Wenatchee, WA so I always enjoyed following his pro cycling career from afar over the last decade or so. My interest in the sport has waned a bit in recent years though and I hadn't realized he had completely retired 3 years ago. Really cool to see that he knew exactly what he wanted to do next after wrapping up his cycling career, and that he's now working as a firefighter in Kirkland.

US Health Weather Map by Kinsa


The U.S. Health Weather Map is a visualization of seasonal illness linked to fever - specifically influenza-like illness. The aggregate, anonymized data visualized here is a product of Kinsa’s network of Smart Thermometers and the accompanying mobile applications. Kinsa is providing this map and associated charts as a public service.

As of March 22nd Florida is showing a ton of red, indicating 3% more fevers than expected based on Kinsa's models for a typical flu season. Between data like this, minimal social distancing policies up to this point, and the demographics of the state, I think Florida is a ticking Covid-19 timebomb.

Accidental hero Rudy Gobert makes North America sit up and take notice of the coronavirus


And then Rudy Gobert, who treated the coronavirus as a joke, tested positive, and sports stopped. It resulted in the most significant public acknowledgment in North America that this was an emergency, that the coronavirus outbreak was real. Tom Hanks and his wife, Rita Wilson, tested positive, sure, in Australia.

But Tom Hanks testing positive doesn’t shut down movies, TV, the theatre and high school plays. Tom Hanks testing positive just shuts down Tom Hanks.

“Honestly,” said one sports executive, sounding drained. “Rudy Gobert saved America. He really did.”

It's amazing what can act as a tipping point. I think visibly ill Nebraska coach Fred Hoiberg coaching yesterday with a bad regular flu during the Big 10 tournament may have factored in as well.

Bernie's Whole Campaign Was Based On a Misreading of the 2016 Election


The factor that actually explains 2016, as some of us chagrined liberals insisted at the time, was Hillary Clinton’s idiosyncratic personal unpopularity. It turned out large portions of the public, even of the Democratic electorate, simply detested her. Sexism is obviously a very large reason, along with Clinton’s own mistakes and the media’s frequently unfair coverage of her. But the important thing is that Clinton’s toxic standing among wide swaths of the electorate was the gravitational force causing the phenomenon Bernie fans misread. Clinton hatred allowed Sanders to draw more than 40 percent of the primary vote, and Clinton hatred allowed Donald Trump to narrowly win.

This is unfortunate on so many levels, but it's the conclusion I've come to over the last couple weeks as Joe Biden's campaign has surged post Super Tuesday and Bernie Sander's has stalled.

What If Ben Affleck Had Stayed at Kansas in 'The Way Back'?


Jack Cunningham had a full ride to play for the Jayhawks at the same time Paul Pierce, Raef LaFrentz, and Jacque Vaughn were there. Here’s what would’ve happened if he hadn’t quit.

🏀🍿 I'd seen a brief trailer in passing for a movie featuring Ben Affleck as a high school basketball coach1, but I didn't even know anything about the actual premise of The Way Back or remember its title until I read this piece (which is a pretty awesome what-if). Anyway a fun historical exercise in imagining what kind of impact the Ben Affleck character could have had if he had been a real player that had played at Kansas during the implied era and didn't have his career derailed by alcoholism.

  1. I've kind of got a thing for this particular sports movie sub genre, even if most are ultimately disappointing.

Mead schools delayed after dead person found on Farwell Road Tuesday morning


An ambulance crew found a dead person in the road near Northwood Middle School early Tuesday morning, leading to a two-hour delay in the Mead School District.

The AMR Ambulance Crew found the body just after 3:30 a.m. on Farwell Road east of Pittsburg Street, according to a Spokane County Sheriff’s Office statement.

I planned to turn onto Farwell this morning on the way into work to go get some gas at the local Fred Meyers and was surprised to find it completely coned off with a police car overseeing the roadblock. You don't expect someone to drop dead in the middle of a suburban neighborhood during the early morning hours so hopefully more information will be forthcoming soon.

How March Madness is planning to combat the spread of coronavirus


"Let's say that we discover that COVID-19 is an illness where the public health is really threatened," NCAA Chief Medical Officer Dr. Brian Hainline told CNN. "The only people that are in the building are the players and the referees and the necessary personnel. The fans aren't there and we know that the risk mitigation is superb and that the people there are without risk of transmission… We painted all of those scenarios and so we're prepared for that."

🏀 Not really encouraging when we know that COVID-19 is in fact "an illness where the public health is really threatened." The NCAA has the plans, but they don't have the will to implement them proactively, only reactively when infection has spread to a significant number of people. It's up to government to step up to the plate and be the bad guy in this situation, which means we're screwed for a national tournament like this one.

When Coronavirus Struck Seattle, This Lab Was Ready To Start Testing


"We've already gone to three shifts," says Dr. Keith Jerome, a professor in the department of laboratory medicine who runs the lab. "People are going to be here basically all the time."

The lab is processing about 100 coronavirus tests a day. But it's prepared to do more than 1,000 a day immediately and could quickly increase that to 4,000, Jerome says.

I'm so glad these UW scientists had the foresight to start preparing when they did. Hopefully similar efforts have already been underway at labs throughout the rest of the country.