Wednesday Night #2022

Written by  //  December 16, 2020  //  Wednesday Nights  //  No comments

Starting with the happy news:

Forgive the exercise of a grandmother’s prerogative in headlining this week’s message with a huge shout out to Maya Nicholson who has been accepted by Tufts University through the early decision plan as a member of the undergraduate class of 2025 of the faculty of Arts & Sciences. This is contingent on her maintaining her record of academic excellence and personal achievement, which we have no doubt she will do. So YAY Maya! And congratulations to her supportive parents and brother.

Congratulations, Alireza Najafi-Yazdi and his Anyon Systems team! Anyon is to “deliver Canada’s first gate-based quantum computer for the Department of National Defense’s Defence Research and Development Canada (“DRDC”). The quantum computer will feature Anyon’s Yukon generation superconducting quantum processor which will enable DRDC researchers to explore quantum computing to solve problems of interest to their mission.”

Jamais deux sans trois:
Québec nomme un « Innovateur en chef »
Après le scientifique en chef Rémi Quirion, le Québec dispose depuis jeudi d’un « innovateur en chef » en la personne de Luc Sirois.

Eat Just Follows Regulatory Approval With Historic, First-Ever Sale of Cultured Meat
(BUSINESS WIRE) Eat Just, Inc., a company that applies cutting-edge science and technology to create healthier, more sustainable foods, today announced that on the heels of its historic regulatory approval for cultured chicken, it has made the first commercial sale of meat created directly from animal cells for human consumption to 1880, an establishment founded to inspire conversations that change the world. GOOD Meat Cultured Chicken will launch with 1880 this Saturday, December 19.
When seeking out the world’s first restaurant to sell and serve cultured meat, Eat Just wanted to ensure the partner would not only satisfy guests’ appetites with a superior culinary experience, but would also engage and enlighten with a philosophy of feeding the body and the mind. There was no more perfect partner in Singapore than 1880, which opened three years ago in Robertson Quay and has become known for its innovative menus, thought-provoking events and social impact programming.
“We are honored to host the global launch of Eat Just’s first cultured meat product. This is a revolutionary step towards solving climate change and creating the opportunity to feed the world without overwhelming the planet,” said 1880 Founder Marc Nicholson, a serial entrepreneur whose past endeavors include venture capital, advertising and a chain of barber shops.

RIP John le Carré, writer extraordinaire of Espionage and Intrigue
Cruel 2020 has claimed one more of our best in its dying days. John le Carré, the writer extraordinaire of espionage novels and a great humanist, died yesterday at the age of 89, of pneumonia at the Royal Cornwall Hospital.
A masterful storyteller, observer of human nature and duplicity, complex plots conveyed in matchless prose, but above all, what I admired, was his ear for the individual accents and expression of his characters. How sad that there will be no more new books to look forward to! Fortunately, every one of his books is worth re-reading -and more than once.
There have been so many tributes, however we particularly recommend Seth Barron’s elegant analysis in his piece The Spy Who Lingers.
“This sense of undoing a “last clever knot” is the essence of le Carré’s craft, and central to the pleasure of reading him. As when we read Agatha Christie or Conan Doyle, we feel that we are in the hands of a great puzzle-master when we enter the world of his novels. But he also had a moral sensibility and political gravity that bring him closer to Joseph Conrad or Graham Greene, and a sensitivity to the operations and reflections of human consciousness that at times approaches Henry James. His novels repay multiple readings.”
When may we expect an online festival of  film and TV adaptations of his work? We would relish revisiting all from The Spy Who Came in In From the Cold and Tinker, Tailor to  more recent ones we never saw.[The Twists And Turns In ‘Little Drummer Girl’ Are Pure Le Carré]

The biggest and best news is, of course, that COVID-19 Vaccinations have begun. A week ago, it was announced that Pfizer’s Covid-19 vaccine passed a critical milestone on Thursday when a panel of experts formally recommended that the Food and Drug Administration authorize the vaccine. (See the NYT for extensive coverage In the UK 138,000 people received Covid vaccine in first week and on Monday (14 December) ‘V-Day’: First COVID-19 vaccines administered in Canada
But many questions remain. See What we know about Quebec’s vaccine plans and what it means for 2021 and All Canadians who want a shot will be vaccinated by September 2021, public health agency says. Most worrisome is this report about ‘long-haulers’, one of whom we know: The Long Haul – “Covid-19 was originally thought to be a quick disease. The virus came, did its damage, and, for those who survived, was gone in a month or so. But new research suggests that it can linger much longer than anyone thought. These seven survivors are living proof.”
Andrew Caddell‘s weekly column addresses Anti-vaxxers…the biggest threat in fighting COVID-19 in which he notes ” a survey early this year indicated half of Canadians are hesitant about vaccines. While not as radical as the anti-vaxxers, those who are hesitant once presented a danger only to their children; now, in COVID times, they are a threat to all of us.
As the first vaccines for COVID are being rolled out, a recent poll revealed nearly half of Canadians would line up right away, while another third would “eventually” be injected. But 14 per cent would refuse outright: that’s a staggering five million people.”

Revenge is sweet!
Hillary Clinton calls for Electoral College to be abolished after casting first vote in New York for Biden. Following 2016 loss, former Democratic presidential candidate renews casts first vote in New York as electors affirm Trump’s loss.
The Electoral College has spoken and finally, Putin and Moscow Mitch have listened.
Putin Congratulates Biden After Electoral College Vote
President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia had delayed acknowledging the victory of President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. for over a month, citing President Trump’s legal challenges.
More importantly:
Defying Trump, McConnell Seeks to Squelch Bid to Overturn the Election
Senator Mitch McConnell, the majority leader, congratulated President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. and pleaded with Republicans privately not to join an effort by House members to throw out the results.
“Although Mr. McConnell waited until weeks after Mr. Biden was declared the winner to recognize the outcome, his actions were a clear bid by the majority leader, who is the most powerful Republican in Congress, to put an end to his party’s attempts to sow doubt about the election.”
Although the White House continues to deny that Trump has been defeated, Heather Cox Richardson added this tidbit to her December 15 Letter. “…power is shifting in Washington. Tonight, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and his wife Susan hosted an indoor holiday party to which they had invited more than 900 guests. Only about 70 people responded to the invitation and even fewer showed up to what public health officials warned could be a superspreader event. In the past, the party has drawn 200-300 people, but the combination of a pandemic and the waning days of the administration meant the event had little attraction. Pompeo’s name was on the invitation and he was scheduled to speak, but he canceled and sent someone else.”

Democracy on the Edge Bill Moyers talks with noted lawyer Steven Harper and distinguished historian Heather Cox Richardson about threats to democracy. A wonderfully intelligent discussion – long and worth every minute.

Tuesday night’s Diplomatic Community was the last for this year – even Jeremy Kinsman and Larry Hass deserve a holiday sometime. In this week’s discussion they look at Foreign Affairs Challenges for 2021. No surprise, number one on the list is the U.S.-China relationship including the need for cooperation on climate change and vaccination.

More in the revenge is sweet category
Mar-a-Lago neighbors to Trump: Spend your post-presidency elsewhere
That message was formally conveyed Tuesday morning in a demand letter delivered to the town of Palm Beach and also addressed to the U.S. Secret Service asserting that Trump lost his legal right to live at Mar-a-Lago because of an agreement he signed in the early 1990s when he converted the storied estate from his private residence to a private club. The legal maneuver could, at long last, force Palm Beach to publicly address whether Trump can make Mar-a-Lago his legal residence and home.

You may be entertained -and possibly enraged- by Conrad Black’s assessment of Donald Trump in The Hill Trump’s political future depends on whether he can change. Although CB cannot resist praising Trump lavishly (“Trump’s accomplishments as president are beyond debate and will quickly prevail in the national memory over the nonsense in which he often enshrouded them.”) while taking swipes at the previous presidents in his living memory, he nonetheless admits that his hitherto unassailable hero might have done some things better.

Respite from almost all the other news:
Your Guide to Not Getting Murdered in a Quaint English Village Thank you, Matthew Cope.
Christopher Goodfellow adds “Christopher Goodfellow
You will learn every trick in the book looking at Midsommer Mysteries series on Amazon Prime”
Conversation Canada features University of Waterloo’s J. Andrew Deman  who explains why old texts take on new cultural significance as the world we live in changes. He writes that a story’s relevance depends on the context, and Harry Potter’s significance will change as the world around us changes too.
In the final book of the series, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, the eponymous hero finds himself cut off from his school and friends as Voldemort ascends to power. First published in 2007, Deathly Hallows sees Potter dealing with isolation and frustration — feelings we can all relate to.

The long road  [from McGill] to The Queen’s Gambit Allan Scott, BA’61, the show’s co-creator and executive producer … with a nice Leonard Cohen sidebar.

The new Netflix docuseries Room 2806: The Accusation about the 2011 sexual assault case involving French politician (and at the time, Managing Director of the IMF)  Dominique Strauss-Kahn is  a complex and finely-constructed four-part series, well worth your time. “Created by French director Jalil Lespert, Room 2806: The Accusation is a tightly-woven and suspenseful docuseries, with each episode ending with a cliffhanging new information that conduces to binging the whole four episodes. If you know about the case, this documentary does not provide any new information, but it does shed a very comprehensive light on the way sexual assault cases are approached.”

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