Marshallese people represent 1% of Spokane County's population and a quarter of its COVID-19 cases

(www.spokesman.com)

Jeffery Yoshikawa was at work in early April when he got the call.

His mother-in-law was running a high fever, and the dialysis clinic at which she was getting treatment suspected she had COVID-19.

He left immediately to take her to the hospital. On the way, her symptoms worsened.

When they arrived, she tested positive for COVID-19. Yoshikawa asked to be tested, too, since he had spent so much time with her.

They both had COVID-19, it turned out, becoming two of the 341 Marshallese people in Spokane to be diagnosed with the disease. With that number of cases, people from the Marshall Islands account for about 30% of the county’s COVID-19 cases – despite making up less than 1% of the county’s population, according to Thursday’s data from the Spokane Regional Health District.

Thankfully Mr. Yoshikawa and his mother-in-law pulled through, but this is so heartbreaking. I remember first hearing that Spokane had a fairly sizable population of Marshallese people a few years ago, but Spokane is big enough and they are a small enough group that I've never really interacted with anyone from their community. Hearing about their plight absolutely confirms on a local level everything I've read about minorities being the most the heavily impacted by Covid-19 in the United States. Our inability to protect low income and vulnerable groups is both shameful and dangerous to the health of our county as a whole.

Canoeing with the Cree

(www.goodreads.com)

📚Originally published in 1935, Canoeing with the Cree (★★★★) is a classic true life adventure story from a bygone era when two high school buddies pulled off an epic canoe journey from Minneapolis to Hudson's Bay during the summer of 1930. My main dissatisfaction with an otherwise excellent tale is that despite the pair's obvious respect and admiration for the Cree as masters of the Canadian wilderness, they ultimately still considered them uncivilized and lesser.

How I Became a Poker Champion in One Year

(www.theatlantic.com)

Three years ago, Seidel began to teach me how to play poker. Why on earth would a professional poker player—the professional poker player—agree to let a random journalist follow him around like an overeager toddler? It’s not for money or exposure. Seidel is notoriously reticent, and he hates sharing his tactics. I was, however, an ideal pupil in a few ways. Most important, I have a Ph.D. in psychology, and so I was well positioned to understand Seidel’s style of play. I also never had much of an interest in cards, meaning Seidel wouldn’t have to rid me of any bad habits. My academic training and my inexperience made me a perfect vehicle for an experiment to see if Seidel’s psychological game could still triumph over a strictly mathematical style.

After reading the excerpt in the Atlantic I definitely want to read the rest of Maria Konnikova's new book, The Biggest Bluff because it sounds like a fascinating story. Deadspin also has a pretty good interview with her about the book and her poker playing career.

inessential: One Advantage of the App Store That's Gone

(inessential.com)

The best part of the App Store, years ago, from this developer's point of view, was that it was easy to charge money for an app. No need to set up a system — just choose the price, and Apple takes care of everything. So easy!

Great insight from Brent Simmons about the realities of Apple software development and making money in the App Store. Today you have to do in app purchase and subscription to be sustainable long term and those are a huge headache to implement.

White Elephant owners ending 74-year legacy in Spokane

(www.spokesman.com)

The history of the White Elephant stores mirrors the story of Spokane: A somewhat unconventional place that provides nearly everything that matters at an affordable price.

Outside the Division Street store, the mechanical elephant, which still only costs a dime, is about to offer its last ride.

The Conley family has decided to close its stores in Spokane and Spokane Valley, ending its patriarch’s legacy that started 74 years ago when John R. Conley Sr. started offering Army surplus before converting the business into a sporting goods and toy destination.

The White Elephant was THE toy store of my childhood. Its narrow aisles, crammed shelves, and grease-pencilled prices were the antithesis of a modern box store and only added to its appeal as I grew older. I bought countless Lego sets, tabletop games, model rocketry kits, Transformers, Playmobil sets, and a variety of general sporting goods there over the years. During the winter I still occasionally run in a garish wool stocking cap that I bought at the Spokane Valley store in the early 90s. The original Division street store is quite close to where I work so it's continued to be my go to store if I needed to pickup a fun game, toy or birthday present. My older kids are familiar with it and have shopped there a little bit over the years when they've had money saved up, but I'm bummed out that my youngest three won't really understand. This kind of thing is inevitable, but I'm truly sad to see such a treasured local institution finally close its doors.

NASA will pay a staggering $146 million for each SLS rocket engine

(arstechnica.com)

It is true that the shuttle main engine, or RS-25, is the Ferrari of rocket engines. NASA designed these brilliant engines in the 1970s for the space shuttle program, during which they each flew multiple launches. A total of 46 engines were built for the shuttle at an estimated cost of $40 million per engine. But now these formerly reusable engines will be flown a single time on the SLS rocket and then dropped into the ocean.

There are four engines on a Space Launch System rocket. At this price, the engines for an SLS rocket alone will cost more than $580 million. This does not include the costs of fabricating the rocket's large core stage, towering solid-rocket boosters, an upper stage, or the costs of test, transportation, storage, and integration. With engine prices like these, it seems reasonable to assume that the cost of a single SLS launch will remain $2 billion in perpetuity.

I knew the SLS had some serious issues, but this is super troubling. And ten years out the Space Shuttle program continues to be an anchor around NASA's neck. If I was miraculously given authority over this boondoggle I would immediately cancel it and simply blame it on the post COVID-19 economy.

Here's what to expect as SpaceX launches its first human crew to space

(www.theverge.com)

On the afternoon of May 27th, SpaceX is slated to launch its very first passengers to space, potentially heralding a new era of human spaceflight for the United States. It’ll be the first time in nearly a decade that people have launched to orbit from American soil, and it’ll be the first time that a private vehicle takes them there.

It's been a long time coming, but I'm looking forward to seeing how this goes tomorrow. Still not sure how I feel about the Space-X sci-fi spacesuits that look like style was the number one priority.

Jerry Sloan, the Utah Jazz's Hall of Fame coach and beloved Beehive State icon, dies at 78

(www.sltrib.com)

Jerry Sloan was seemingly a man of contradictions. On the one hand, a legendary NBA coach known for his intense, no-nonsense demeanor and a fierce competitive streak, to say nothing of his frequent foul-mouthed rage toward referees; on the other, though, a simple, humble farmer with an affinity for antique stores, yard sales, and vintage tractors, decked out in overalls and a grimy John Deere ballcap, and secretly possessed of a sweet and tender side.

And yet, those who knew him best say there was never really any contradiction at all, that with Sloan, you always knew what you were going to get.

Jerry Sloan, who guided the Utah Jazz for 23 seasons and became the fourth-winningest coach in NBA history in the process, died early Friday.

🏀 The old-school basketball coaching legend1 and we really saw just how good he was after Stockton and Malone retired.


  1. Even Popovich considered him someone to emulate.

Running in the Age of Coronavirus

(www.si.com)

More than 40 years ago, pioneering author Jim Fixx’s best-selling book brought jogging to the masses, espousing its physical and emotional benefits. Now, those themes resonate more than ever with a homebound society.

To read his book now, as I did recently, is to see how much Fixx foresaw. Certainly, parts are dated. But much of it reads as visionary. Cut out white flour and sugar? Practice self-care? Find a flow state? Exercise regularly, even for short amounts of time, to live better and longer? It’s like reading 20 years of modern studies 40 years before the fact. Fixx wrote about the barefoot-running Tarahumara decades before Born to Run. His contrived mileage counter was basically an early Fitbit. He was right on the big points too. A Stanford study found jogging is effective in increasing lifespan and mitigating the effects of aging. Running can help ward off all manner of diseases—including lowering the risk of lung, prostate and colon cancer. And, in a study the Times covered in April, “among a generally healthy but sedentary group of adults in their 20s, 30s and 40s, working out lowers levels of depression, hostility and other negative feelings.”

🏃‍♂ I'm almost positive that my dad had a copy of Fixx's, The Complete Book of Running at one point because I absolutely recognize the cover, but I don't recall seeing it when going through his various sports related books in the years after he died. That's one book that I'd really like to have a copy of now.

Inside the Flour Company Supplying America’s Sudden Baking Obsession

(marker.medium.com)

Ely and the other half-dozen or so hotline experts share an open office with the employees who take call-in orders from customers, and they, too, were getting a flood of odd calls. Namely, countless people were calling in to order as many as 10 of the company’s five-pound bags of flour at once. Who would need that much flour in their homes? “That was another data point that told us this wasn’t just the holiday build-up,” recalls Ely.

Ely and her colleagues didn’t know it, but across Carbohydrate Camelot — the name that employees gave the 14-acre headquarters campus in Norwich, Vermont, that contains a restored farmhouse and a handful of small buildings — co-CEO Karen Colberg was staring in shock at the recent daily sales figures that had just popped up on her screen. “I fired off a text to the sales team to check their figures,” says Colberg. “It was obviously some sort of mistake.”

No mistake, came the reply. The figures had already been double-checked. They showed a 600% increase in grocery-store sales almost literally overnight.

Within hours, a simple truth became clear. Flour was flying off grocery-store shelves, propelled by a sudden and seemingly insatiable demand that was carrying into King Arthur’s much smaller online business, too. It was as if half of America had decided all at once that they needed to bake. A lot.

Fascinating look at how the pandemic has impacted flour demand (we saw this firsthand locally as Mary struggled to find her usual baking staples) and how King Arthur Flour has responded. Mary has always baked a lot, but my oldest daughter has started baking a ton of interesting new stuff in the last month or so too. High carb comfort food may not be the healthiest thing if it dominates your diet, but I can think of a lot worse things for people to be turning to to find a little happiness given the upheaval we've been experiencing.