Even the US doesn’t have a ‘magic money tree’

by Rashmee

Posted on January 3, 2021


  I never thought I’d say these words, but here goes: I agree with Mitch McConnell. The Republican Senate majority leader refused to move forward with President Donald Trump’s command that most American adults be sent $2,000 checks. This, after Mr Trump had signed into law a $900 billion stimulus bill that included means-tested $600 … Continue reading “Even the US doesn’t have a ‘magic money tree’”

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What British sofa beds – or the lack thereof – tell us about the ’empire of things’

by Rashmee

Posted on January 2, 2021


I have been trying – and failing – to buy a sofa bed for delivery within the next month or two and it’s got me thinking about something that historian Frank Trentmann has called the “empire of things”. Mr Trentmann’s 2016 book ‘Empire of Things’ chronicled the “global advance of goods” from the 15th century. … Continue reading “What British sofa beds – or the lack thereof – tell us about the ’empire of things’”

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New year, new concepts: Digital vaccine passports. Vaxxies

by Rashmee

Posted on January 1, 2021


Digital vaccine passports. Vaxxies. The first term signifies antibody protection – those who completed the Covid-19 vaccine course. The second allows entry into the same exclusive new club – the vaccinated person who takes a selfie while engaged in the act. Happy new year. It’s all change in a global pandemic. Expect to see the … Continue reading “New year, new concepts: Digital vaccine passports. Vaxxies”

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The beachfront WeWorks. Digital nomad visas are becoming a thing

by Rashmee

Posted on December 31, 2020


Apparently, the digital nomad visa is going to ride the coat-tails of the #wfh revolution. Those who work from home are going to move their remote working somewhere nice. Somewhere, in fact, like a palm-fringed island nation, the sort you would normally visit on vacation. According to OZY, the seekers include the African island nation … Continue reading “The beachfront WeWorks. Digital nomad visas are becoming a thing”

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Unmasking President Trump’s fatal ignorance throughout the plague year

by Rashmee

Posted on December 29, 2020


I don’t subscribe to The New Yorker so can’t help but be grateful for the Axios story on how the nearly 100-year-old magazine is looking back on the plague year in an eponymous issue, which is almost entirely about America’s unmoored response to the pandemic. Axios says Lawrence Wright offers a 40-page account (paywall). I’ve written before about … Continue reading “Unmasking President Trump’s fatal ignorance throughout the plague year”

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Past pandemics as a guide to this one

by Rashmee

Posted on December 24, 2020


Ever wondered what behaviour change has been wrought by past pandemics? Yale physician and sociologist Nicholas Christakis has an answer. The spittoon. No one uses them the way they once did. Until the 1918 pandemic, these great receptacles for spit were common in pubs, saloons and hotels across the United States. But when a highly … Continue reading “Past pandemics as a guide to this one”

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Pandemic or not, here’s everyone’s idea of heaven…a garden and running water

by Rashmee

Posted on December 23, 2020


I read about (paywall) a fascinating doctoral piece of research the other day. It was reported by Bloomberg’s Caroline Winter. She writes that a doctoral student in architecture, requested Luke Leung, director of the sustainable engineering studio Skidmore Owings & Merrill, to suggest a thesis topic. Mr Leung came up with the following subject: What … Continue reading “Pandemic or not, here’s everyone’s idea of heaven…a garden and running water”

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From tomorrow, the long dark night gets shorter…literally, at least

by Rashmee

Posted on December 21, 2020


Today being Winter Solstice, every day from now on will be longer and every night will be shorter. Literally. One can but hope that there is a metaphorical brightening as well – that the pandemic, for instance, causes less sickness, misery and heartache. In the meantime, it’s worth taking note of Winter Solstice and what … Continue reading “From tomorrow, the long dark night gets shorter…literally, at least”

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Tree-hugging pandemic therapy, home-delivered litter. What will governments do next?

by Rashmee

Posted on December 20, 2020


In August, this blog explored “unique” government jobs that push up against the category of weird. These include Puppy Webcam Guru, Professional sleeper and Chicago’s Census Cowboy. Well, now we’ll be looking at the weirdest government stories of the year, which is to say the strangest things done by officials at a federal, state or local … Continue reading “Tree-hugging pandemic therapy, home-delivered litter. What will governments do next?”

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A counterlife without the pandemic? Try the fictional take

by Rashmee

Posted on November 28, 2020


In Emily St John Mandel’s ‘The Glass Hotel’, a young female protagonist, Vincent Smith, imagines multiple counterfactual histories, including one in which the swine flu “hadn’t been swiftly contained.” The omniscient narrator then notes: “She [Vincent] could only play this game for so long before she was overcome by a kind of vertigo and had … Continue reading “A counterlife without the pandemic? Try the fictional take”

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Rashmee has lived and worked in several countries in the past decade, including Afghanistan, India, Haiti, Tunisia, the UAE, US and UK