There’s a lot of bad news out there this week. The border’s being overwhelmed with immigrants, the French are mad at us over the Australian submarine deal, Delta continues to surge, there’s a planned rally in WDC in support of the vandals who ransacked the Capitol in January, new storms are queuing up off the Atlantic Coast, and Facebook, it turns out, knew its algorithms were promoting fear, outrage and doubt yet kept using them anyway (they still are, by the way).
But hey, it’s Friday and the weekend’s coming up. Let’s focus on the good news. Your faithful correspondent has done the hard work, curating the swamp of news to come up with some pearls of goodness. It ain’t all bad out there! Consider these items:
—Egypt has announced a new commitment to human rights. President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi unveiled a new human rights strategy, laying out a plan to protect human rights for the first time in his seven years in power, apparently in response to international pressure. “This is new,” said Essam Shiha, head of the pro-government Egyptian Organization for Human Rights. “It is the first clear signal of what I imagine to be an opening for parties, syndicates and civil society groups since Sisi came to power.” (NYT)
—The crew of Inspiration4, the SpaceX rocket that launched on Wednesday evening, is happily orbiting the Earth. The flight, which is a fundraiser for St. Jude’s Hospital and the subject of a Netflix documentary, launched higher than the International Space Station and will return to Earth sometime this weekend. The four-person crew includes a billionaire, a science teacher, an aerospace engineer and a 29-year-old cancer survivor. (BBC)
—The Russians announced plans to produce the first feature film in space onboard the International Space Station (confirming my predictions of the commercialization of space in this earlier post). Bad news is they beat out Tom Cruise, who has plans to do the same thing; wonder if it will be a “Mission Impossible” sequel? (NYT)
—French forces in Northern Africa abruptly ended the career of Adnan Abu Walid al-Sahroui, leader of the Islamic State of Greater Sahara, a vicious jihadist group responsible for the deaths of U.S. soldiers and defenseless villagers in the region. The operation involved a French commando unit with air support. (NYT)
—Lucid tested a new electric car that gets up to 520 miles on a single charge, blowing the doors off Tesla’s range. (NYT)
—Amazon is offering to cover four-year college tuition for most of its approximately 750,000 hourly workers in the U.S., the latest major employer to offer the perk to attract and retain hourly employees in a tight job market. Maybe size does matter. Amazon, by the way, is now responsible for 1 in 153 jobs across the country. (CNN, the Insider)
—Robert Plant (former Led Zeppelin) and Alison Krauss (Nickel Creek), the Sonny and Cher of bluegrass and Americana, are reuniting for their first album since 2007’s “Raising Sand.” Continuing the theme, the new record is called “Raise the Roof” and an early track is a cover of “Can’t Let Go” from Lucinda Williams’ classic “Car Wheels On a Gravel Road” (here’s Lucinda’s version). Can’t wait. (Mojo)
—A new book, “Good Anxiety: Harnessing the Power of the Most Misunderstood Emotion” by Wendy Suzuki, professor of neural science and psychology at New York University, argues that “everyday anxiety,” the low-grade, generalized worry that most of us experience from time to time (and which is often fed by the deluge of bad news we’re trying to counteract with this post) can actually be good for us. Dealing with anxiety the right way — by reassessing situations to reframe thoughts and feelings can rewire our brains and increase emotional resilience. So go ahead and worry, it could be good for you! (WSJ)
We all live in a tumultuous world and we have to learn how to deal with it. Anxiety can be good and bad it’s how you handle it that counts. Thanks Russ.
Hi Russ, Thinking of you today as I reflect on Kit and her birthday today. I hope that you are doing well and safe. Much love, Thea Bellos