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FC96: Ignore The Productivity Pressure

Plus, the world's largest distributed supercomputer, the best business advice we've been given, and a tonne of good news from the frontlines of the global effort to beat COVID-19.

Future Crunch
Future Crunch

Good news you might not have heard about

The British government called for a volunteer army to help the NHS. Within four days, 750,000 people had signed up — three times the original target, and the largest volunteer effort since World War II. WaPo

Support for Medicare for All has skyrocketed. 55% of US voters support it, and support for single-payer healthcare has jumped by 9 points. Morning Consult

New Zealand isn’t just flattening the curve - they’re squashing it, thanks to a masterclass in leadership from Jacinda Ardern. The Conversation

A family business in Adelaide that makes packaging for fast-food giants has swung into action to pump out a staggering 145 million masks. FiveAA

A group of 150 employees at a Tunisian factory have chosen to self-isolate for a month, and are now churning out 50,000 face masks a day. BBC

Shenzhen has become the first city in China to ban the eating of cats and dogs, due to fears of future viral outbreaks. DNA India

Amidst the economic fallout, fossil fuel companies have suffered a total bloodbath. Exxon and Peabody Coal are down a stunning 70% compared to 30% for the broader market. Financial Times

In Pakistan, people are pausing outside stores to offer zakat, the traditional Muslim charity tax, for those in need. BBC

Portugal has given all migrants and asylum-seekers full citizenship to ensure they can access public services for the duration of the outbreak. CNN

In South Africa, crime rates have plummeted following bans on sales of alcohol, and the notorious gangs of the Cape Flats have called a truce. BBC

Shipments of PPE from Jack Ma and Alibaba have arrived in Ethiopia, and are now being distributed across the entire African continent. They include six million masks, over a million testing kits and 60,000 protective suits. Daily News

Indistinguishable from magic

I never hear scientists, true scientists, good quality scientists, speak in terms of nationality.” Never before have so many of the world’s researchers focused so urgently on a single topic. Nearly all other research has ground to a halt. NYT

An open dataset of 47,000 articles on coronavirus has been created by Google and made machine readable, meaning researchers can use AI to generate insights. Kaggle

Researchers from around the world have set up an online platform for volunteers who want to help them fight the coronavirus. There already over 35,000 volunteers.

There are now 95 treatments and 52 vaccines in development for COVID19 in over 200 clinical trials in the US, China and EU. Milken Institute

The largest of these is being run by Oxford University. Almost 1,000 patients from 132 different hospitals across the UK with thousands more expected to join. Harrogate

The Gates Foundation is building seven factories for each of the top seven vaccine candidates. “Even though we’ll end up picking at most two of them, we’re going to fund factories for all seven, so we don’t waste time.BI

Over a million people have joined up to create the world’s largest networked supercomputer, and it’s just successfully simulated the opening motion of the SARS-CoV-2 virus spike protein. Folding@Home

Last time, we didn’t have the internet

The most helpful piece of business advice we’ve been given since shuddering to a halt? “Buy yourself more time, so you can get to reset.” Art of the Gig

Laurie Penny wasn’t expecting to face the apocalypse in snuggly socks and a dressing gown, and to be honest, neither were we. Wired

Goldcap has been putting together two hour sets every week since the beginning of the year. His Goldcast is an eclectic, musical goldmine.

We signed up to several coronavirus-specific newsletters a few weeks ago. Only one remains in our inbox. We cannot recommend Coronadaily enough.

Michael Liebrich nails it with his piece on what need to happen after the coronavirus to get to net-zero. Nobody does this kind of thing better. BNEF

Alex Danco has an extraordinary ability to make complex ideas simple. We’ve gone back repeatedly to his posts on anti-fragility and Black Swans.

You’ve probably seen this doing the rounds, but it’s worth another plug. IGNORE all that coronavirus-inspired productivity pressure. Chronicle

Meanwhile, back at the ranch…

It hasn’t been all open tabs and dodgy Instagram Lives here at FC HQ.

Our director, Rebecca Tapp, has a great podcast called Decoding Purpose, and she’s been interviewing some amazing people about how to purposefully navigate the pandemic. Tane and Gus joined her for a chat about the concept of an Information Diet, and how to go about creating your own. Decoding Purpose - COVID19 Special

Mark Bunn also interviewed our two co-founders on his podcast, Ancient Wisdom, Modern Health, where they had a chance to dive into some of the broader concepts around intelligent optimism, and how to balance that with an adaptable mindset and short term realism.


That’s it for this edition - thank you for your attention.

If you have any suggestions, questions or bad poetry, please leave them in the comment thread below, we promise we’ll reply. Don’t forget about our Future Brunch next week either. We hope you can join us as we explore how to navigate complexity in uncertain times. Pants optional.

Hope you’re finding the time and space you need to think, move and feel.

Love,

The Future Crunch team

Future Crunch

We're a team of science communicators. Our mission is to foster intelligent, optimistic thinking about the future, and create a 21st century that works for people and the planet.