Happy Friday. A big thank you to everyone who reached out with suggestions to combat the lack of sunlight woes. Some common themes:
Exercise & make time to go outside during the day.
Detox from screens & social media. Read a book (the horror!).
Seek out puppies and play with them. Some folks mentioned pets in general, but an oddly overwhelming amount specifically mentioned puppies. Further suggestions on where to find said puppies would be very helpful.
And our personal favorite, light therapy lamps (shoutout to Tricia from ATX). We ordered one for the office yesterday; we’ll keep you all posted.
“The man who moves a mountain begins by carrying away small stones.”
The Dear America Project
Separate from this year’s election results, the next few decades in the U.S. are bound to be eventful. Unprecedented technologies are on the horizon, and demographics & culture are shifting and changing right before our eyes.
What does this mean for the future of the country? No one’s entirely sure. But with tangible divisiveness permeating our society, reconciliation and compromise appear hopeless.
Is That Actually the Case?
We believe these divisive voices are those of a very vocal minority on both sides — not the majority of the country. We believe the majority consists of reasonable, open-minded, and intelligent individuals able to grasp nuance and capable of compromise. In other words: you, a DONUT subscriber.
We performed a survey earlier this year to get a feel for who our audience is and how y’all think we can improve the newsletter. The responses yielded some interesting results — specifically regarding our subscribers’ ideological diversity.
A touch over twenty percent of our audience identifies as politically moderate or independent. Thirty-nine point two percent identify as Left of Center, and thirty-nine point two percent identify as Right of Center… the EXACT same number.
This puts us in a unique position. We have the ability to capture responses from a wide variety of viewpoints comprising the majority of the country, and compile them in an attempt to bridge the conversation and understanding gap between political tribes.
So we’d like to pose a question: What is your vision for the future of our country? What would you like to see the next few decades hold? The emphasis is long-term, not a 4-8 year presidential timeline.
Questions about the rating system we use? Learn more
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DOJ Concludes Epstein Probe
A DOJ investigation found that federal prosecutors did not engage in “professional misconduct,” but used “poor judgement” in reaching a secret plea deal in 2008 with deceased sex-trafficker Jeffrey Epstein. Under the 2008 non-prosecution agreement, Epstein was sentenced to 13 months in a work-release program and required to make payments to victims as well as register as a sex offender, but managed to avert a possible life sentence.
More: Epstein was later charged by federal prosecutors in Manhattan for nearly identical allegations in 2019, but died in federal custody while awaiting trial.
A federal appeals court in Boston ruled yesterday that Harvard University doesn’t intentionally discriminate against Asian Americans in its admissions process, and therefore is not in violation of federal civil rights law. The case was brought by nonprofit group Students for Fair Admissions, which alleged that Harvard intentionally discriminates against Asian American applicants by holding them to a higher standard than other applicants.
More: The plaintiffs said they would appeal the decision to the Supreme Court.
On Thursday, the EU and UK joined the U.S. in condemning a Chinese resolution that disqualified four pro-democracy Hong Kong lawmakers earlier this week, causing 15 additional opposition lawmakers to resign in protest. In a statement, the EU’s 27 governments described Beijing’s move as a “severe blow” to Hong Kong’s autonomy and called for the resolution to be reversed, while UK officials said the country would consider sanctioning specific Chinese individuals.
More: President Trump signed an executive order on Thursday banning American companies and individuals from investing in a collection of 31 Chinese companies the White House believes supports the country’s military.
🕵️ Switzerland’s Parliamentrevealed on Thursday that the Swiss intelligence service knew encryption device maker Crypto AG was actually a front for the CIA since 1993, but that Swiss leaders were kept in the dark until last year.
🎮 Hi, Five
Sony launched the PlayStation 5, its next-gen video game console, yesterday. The release comes two days after competitor Microsoft introduced its Xbox Series X console.
Disney announced that Disney+ surpassed 73.7M subscribers on Thursday, the one-year anniversary of its launch. Before the streaming service was released, Disney said it hoped to reach 60M to 90M subscriptions by 2024. The platform is still far behind Netflix, which reported more than 195M subscribers last quarter.
🏈 Football Fever
Eleven NCAA football games scheduled for this Saturday have been postponed due to COVID-19, including Alabama vs. LSU and Ohio St. vs. Maryland. (See the full list)
Pepsirevealed that three-time Grammy Award winner The Weeknd will headline the Super Bowl LV halftime show in Tampa, FL, next February.
🛑 The Commerce Departmentannounced a stay of its TikTok shutdown order ahead of last night’s midnight deadline.
🎖 Christmas In November
On Veterans Day each year, the staff at the New York State Veterans Home in Oxford, NY, honor the facility’s residents by organizing a day of energetic festivities, including a concert and large community lunch. According to Veterans Home recreation therapist Kristen Slate, the celebration is the facility’s “biggest event of the year” – aside from Christmas.
It also goes against almost every COVID-19 safety measure in the book.
This November, with all of the aging veterans isolated in their rooms due to the pandemic, Kristen made it her mission to show the home’s 146 residents – 18 of whom fought in World War II – that they are appreciated. To prepare for the public holiday, the therapist put together an assortment of prayers, poems, and songs to play for the retired servicemen over the facility’s closed-circuit television. She also organized a card drive that collected more than 3,000 well-wishing letters for the veterans.
❄️ Sikh Saviors
Last week, in Calgary, Canada, a group of elderly Sikh men who enjoy strolling the neighborhood together for exercise were alarmed when they heard terrified screams coming from a nearby stormwater pond. Upon closer inspection, the men found that two teenage girls had fallen through the thin layer of ice that covered the surface and could not make it back to shore.
Seeing the girls struggling in the frigid water, the men rushed to the rescue, calling 911 while grabbing a piece of vinyl house siding from a nearby renovation project, extending it out into the pond for the trapped teens. When the siding did not reach far enough, the men removed their turbans – a garment deeply symbolic of the Sikh faith – and used the cloth as a rope to safely pull the girls into shore.
🎸 Play It Again
When Sammy Myers, a medical assistant at UConn Health in Farmington, CT, entered the room of 62-year-old patient Curtis Exum earlier this month, he immediately sensed something was wrong. Indeed, Curtis had just been delivered a devastating diagnosis by the hospital’s oncology unit, and his spirits were depleted.
“I wanted to go home,” said Curtis, “I was really low and my sanity was in a bad place.”
After starting a conversation with Curtis to lift his mood, Sammy learned the aged patient was aguitar player who missed playing his instruments while in the health facility, where he had to stay for ten days. Remembering his daughter had an old electric guitar she no longer used, the selfless Sammy brought the instrument – along with an amplifier – for Curtis to play the next day, an act which the patient said “saved my sanity.” (Video)
Are you too busy with the daily “fire drills” to tackle your to-do list?
Prowess Project helps companies get stuff done by harnessing the skills of women. We have tapped into a pool of 3+ million “MBA moms” who have taken time off to raise a family and want to get back into the workforce. Prowess Project certifies this educated, experienced talent in project management, the latest technology and emotional intelligence. The untapped (wo)manpower then is matched with companies to provide skilled, vetted talent at a lower cost.
🚀 Houston, We Are Go For Launch… NASA and SpaceX completed certification of the first commercial spacecraft in history capable of transporting humans to and from the ISS. A joint crewed mission launch is scheduled for tomorrow at 7:49 p.m. ET.
🌐 The Speed Of Light… Alphabet’s Project Taara is partnering with a telecom company to develop a wireless network in Kenya that can deliver internet access over light beams from up to 20 km away. (Visual Explanation)
🔉 The Sound Of Silence… Israeli company Noveto Systems launched a series of audio devices that can beam sound directly to a listener without the need for headphones — and without disturbing those around them.
🚁 Hang In There… Chinese manufacturer EHang successfully completed a test flight of its two-seat, autonomous flying taxi in Seoul, South Korea, on Wednesday. (Video)
Adjusting for inflation, which U.S. President had the largest salary?
A) George Washington B) William H. Taft C) George W. Bush D) Woodrow Wilson
(keep scrolling for the answer)
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