The Grey Swan Guild News Wrap — The Week That Was February 26, 2021

The TikTok sexy, body-positive challenge is being hijacked by individuals who used software to remove the red filter.

The Great 😇

  1. Streaming in the night. We had an inkling that streaming services were the big winners of the pandemic. 2020 numbers are now out. The coronavirus pandemic has changed our entertainment behaviors. Consumers who subscribe to a paid streaming service pay for an average of five subscriptions, up from three before the pandemic. Worldwide viewing time grew 44% in Q4 2020 compared with Q4 2019. Netflix has more than 200 million subscribers globally, Amazon Prime 150 million, Disney+, 94.9 million, Hulu, 35.4 million, HBO Max, 37.7 million, and Peacock, 33 million. — Read the full report by Conviva.
  2. Good Samaritans. With an estimated 40 million Americans losing their home during the pandemic and 2 million households temporarily losing power during last week’s Texas blackout in the middle of a Winter storm, sheltering has become a primary need for many. Despite the pandemic, people have opened their homes to strangers to share heating and warm food. In Houston, Mattress Mack furniture store provided 3,000 meals and overnight accommodations to 700 residents. Already in 2005 and 2017, they had welcomed refugees from Hurricanes Katrina and Harvey. Meanwhile in Canada, a couple launches a tiny home company with a clever 268-square-foot dwelling. The post-pandemic home could very well be micro-dwellings on wheels!
Fritz Tiny Homes — Photo by Laura Mauk

The Good 😀

  1. Vaccines and Masks for All. The global sharing program designed to make vaccine access more equal delivered its first major shipment of 600,000 doses to the West African nation of Ghana, ramping up the largest mass immunization campaign in history. Altogether 92 low and middle-income countries will receive free vaccines through the Covax vaccine-sharing initiative. At the same time, in the U.S. the Biden administration announced its plans to deliver 25 million washable cloth masks for low-income Americans nationwide through 1,300 federally approved health centers and 60,000 food distribution points.
  2. Reshaping the Art Scene. France’s heritage sites fight for survival, such as the Domaine of Chantilly who lost €6 million because of Covid-19 closures and is now asking for support from the public and the government. However, spared the shutdown orders imposed on other cultural venues, French art galleries have seen record numbers of visitors in the last three months and have come to symbolise the last bastion of a pre-pandemic world. For arts professionals, more patrons are a welcome relief for a sector hard hit by the health crisis and uncertain of its future. In Toronto, OverActive Media confirmed their highly-anticipated performance venue, projected to be completed in 2025. The $500 million project includes a theatre-style entertainment venue and hotel complex. It will be the first new sports or entertainment venue built in Toronto since BMO Field in 2007 and promises to be an unparalleled experience for fans and performance artists alike.
OverActive Media’s new venue designed by Populous

The Bad 😬

  1. 500.000 Lives Lost. As the COVID-19 death toll reaches half a million in the U.S. and millions of U.S. renters are struggling with a loss of income and the insecurity of not knowing how long they will have a home, President Biden’s $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief bill is about to pass. The stimulus package includes $1,400 direct payments to most Americans, a $400 per week jobless benefit supplement and an extension of programs making millions more Americans eligible for unemployment insurance. It also puts $20 billion into Covid-19 vaccinations, $50 billion into testing, and $350 billion into state, local and tribal government relief. Critics say the package goes beyond its core mission of COVID-19 relief, risking a spike in inflation that could derail the economic recovery or further swell the nation’s $28 trillion debt.
  2. Labor costs. Since the start of the pandemic, total non-farm employment dropped from 152.5 million to 137.8 million, for a loss of 14.7 million jobs (-9.6%) in the U.S. Some sectors were particularly hard hit, with employment declining in hotels and motels (-38.6%), air transportation (-25.9%), and food services and drinking places (-25.6%). The COVID-19 pandemic has caused massive short-term disruptions to the U.S. economy and labor market, but its long-term impacts remain unclear. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics has revised its projections through two alternate scenarios: a strong impact scenario (strong avoidance of interpersonal contact) and a moderate impact scenario (transfer of activity from industries depending on gatherings to other industries such as grocery, health research and treatment, online events). In both scenarios, telework will be a driver to bounce back. But the mental health crisis related to working-from-home still need to be addressed. Interestingly, the new video call app Focusmate links home workers with strangers. You have just one minute to say hello to the other person (randomly chosen), before you then both sit in silence and do your work for 50 minutes.
Focusmate: “There’s no chitchat and no collaboration. Just show up and get to work!”

The Ugly 😱

  1. Anatomy of an oil disaster. A suspected oil tanker leak off the coast of Israel last week has led to Israel’s biggest maritime ecological disaster in many years, with authorities closing the country’s beaches and beginning a massive cleanup effort that could take months, if not years. The spill has affected 90% of Israel’s coastline, killed sea turtles and fish, and was possibly responsible for the death of a juvenile fin whale that had black liquid in its lungs from two weeks before. It is still too early to assess the full damage to fish. The country’s desalination plants seem to not have been affected, but it is not to be understated that Israel gets 75% of its drinking water from the Mediterranean.
A woman holds a dead sea turtle covered in tar from an oil spill in the Mediterranean Sea. Photo by AP Photo/Ariel Schalit.

Memes of the Week

Silhouette Challenge and bringing back the sexy, the latest TikTok hype
Mars Memes on the Rise
COVID-19, Curse or Opportunity?
Pro-Vaccine Memes Circulating on the Internet

Term of the Week

Grey Swan Guild

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Grey Swan Guild

Grey Swan Guild

Making Sense of the World’s Biggest Challenges & Next Grey Swans — curating and creating knowledge through observation, informed futurism, and analysis🦢

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