Fed-up cobbler fashions extra-long social-distancing shoes

Romanian Cobbler Grigore Lup noticed that people weren't following the rules of social distancing at his local market, so he decided to make long-nosed shoes as a response. His Euro size 75 shoes are specifically designed to keep people apart, "If two people wearing these shoes were facing each other, there would be almost one-and-a-half metres between them."

Reuters:

Lup, who said he adapted the long footwear from a model he made for actors, said he had so far received five orders for social distancing shoes.

It takes him two days to make a pair, which requires almost one square metre of leather. They cost 500 lei ($115) a pair.

Now 55, Lup first started making shoes when he was 16, learning from a cobbler who at 93 today still makes traditional ethnic Hungarian footwear.

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#NouaColectie pentru #DistantareSociala. STOC LIMITAT!!!.. 😀😂🤣 #socialdistancing #quarantine #carantina #pielenaturala #mensfashion #menstyle #stilmasculin . Persoana contact: Grigore Lup (intre orele 9 – 17) Telefon: 0740.046.732 #madebyGrigoreLup #SHOEMAKER #produsromanesc #făcutînromânia . #incaltaminte #incaltamintedinpiele #incaltamintelacomanda #incaltamintecustom #pantofi #pantofilacomanda #pantofibarbati #pantofidistantare #leathershoes #genuineleather #lacomanda #madeinromania #facutinromania #cluj #clujnapoca #grigorelup Fotograf:@dan.bodea

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Thanks, Mark! Read the rest

This work-from-home team surprises each day with crazy costumes

“My work team has been one-upping each other every day during our quarantine meetings with homemade costumes,” says IMGURian @squirrld1. “Here's some of my favorites.” Read the rest

The suicide rate in Colorado has dropped 40% during COVID quarantine

From the Denver Post:

Colorado recorded a 40% decrease in suicides in March and April as social-distancing policies aimed at slowing the spread of the novel coronavirus kept residents home, according to provisional death-certificate data from the state health department.

The data helps paint a complex picture of the mental and emotional toll of the COVID-19 pandemic. While suicides are down from 2019 levels, Colorado Crisis Services saw an almost 48% increase calls in March and April compared to last year, with most callers seeking help for anxiety, depression and suicidal ideation.

Donald Trump (and all of his parrot pundits, by extension) have shamelessly exploited the threat of increased suicides as a reason to "re-open the economy" sooner. This rang hollow before, as it was an excuse often given by people who had never seemed overly concerned about suicide, addiction, or mental health beyond the generic self-serving platitudes that virtue-signal their bare-minimum humanity. Now, it seems like an even more disgusting excuse to profit on the back of human lives.

The Denver Post article does quote from a few experts, who share their possible theories on why this might be happening. Anxieties are, of course, running high, as evidenced by the jump in calls to crisis hotlines. But some people think that this unprecedented crisis may actually be helping to create a sense of community; seeing so many other people so visibly struggling might put things into perspective for some people. Another theory is that people at risk for suicide might be too overwhelmed by the adrenaline of day-to-day survival — figuring out the logistics of simply things like groceries — that it might be temporarily suppressing their emotional pain. Read the rest

A bleakly touching webcomic compares our apocalyptic fantasies to the real experience of coronavirus quarantine

Nate Powell is the writer and artist behind About Face, a brilliant webcomic about America's obsession with fascist fashion. His latest comic, Hide Out, is less of a macro-scale political analysis, and more of a quiet, reflective, internal piece about life in apocalyptic scenarios — but it's just as powerful, and just as much worth reading.

 

This Isn’t My Fantasy Apocalypse [Nate Powell / The Nib] Read the rest

Now that driving is down, so are organ transplants

From NPR:

Deaths from motor vehicle crashes and fatal injuries are the biggest source of organs for transplant, accounting for 33% of donations, according to the United Network for Organ Sharing, which manages the nation's organ transplant system.

But ever since the coronavirus forced Californians indoors, those accidents have declined. Traffic collisions and fatalities in the state dropped by half in the first three weeks of shelter-in-place restrictions, according to a study by the University of California, Davis. Drowning deaths dropped 80% in California, according to data compiled by the nonprofit Stop Drowning Now.

From March 8 to April 11, the number of organ donors who died in traffic collisions was down 23% nationwide compared with the same period last year, while donors who died in all other types of accidents were down 21%, according to data from UNOS.

Well this is awkward.

Organ Transplants Down As Stay-At-Home Rules Reduce Fatal Traffic Collisions [April Dembosky / NPR]

Image: Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons Read the rest

Excellent lip-sync of The Temptations' "I Can't Get Next to You"

The inimitable Jimmy Slonina cloned himself four times to lip-sync The Temptations' "I Can't Get Next to You."

(Thanks, Pat!)

Image: YouTube Read the rest

Hawaii hotels are issuing single use keys to prevent guests from venturing out of rooms

Hawaii is still having to deal with covidiots who want to take a vacation there and possibly spread the virus to locals. The governor issued a two-week quarantine rule for anyone arriving in the state, but many tourists are ignoring it, reports MSN. Approximately 20 people have been arrested and hundreds more have been fined for ignoring the order.

State parks and Hawaii’s famous beaches have been closed. Hotels are issuing single-use keys, forcing quarantined guests who leave their rooms to go to the front desk and explain why. Airlines have been encouraged to suspend incoming flights. The state’s visitors bureau has asked media organizations to “refrain from publishing any stories about Hawaii that might encourage people to travel to the islands.”

Image: Jumpstory/CC0 Read the rest

This Phoebe Bridgers profile is a fascinating look at journalism in the time of coronavius

The New Yorker has a great new profile on singer-songwriter / human treasure Phoebe Bridgers, whose new album, Punisher, will be released on June 19. Any interview with Bridgers is a delight, even if you're not a fan of her work. But what really makes this article stick out is its relationship to coronavirus quarantine.

Author Amanda Petrusich initially follows the standard form for one of these type of marquee-musician magazine profiles — embedding herself in the subject's life over the course of a few months, getting them to open up about personal stuff as the journalist explores their home and discusses the creative process, et cetera. I don't mean that to sound flippant; Petrusich is an absolute master of that form. Except the form itself is threatened when Petrusich and Bridgers both end up quarantined (separately) shorter after the initial embedding begins. But Petrusich endures, and finds a way to make it work, using FaceTime to tour through Bridgers' life in Los Angeles and even speak with the singer's mother in her childhood bedroom. This is almost certainly made easier by the fact that Bridgers is already a candid and confessional artist, but it still makes for a very unique profile that illuminates both the artist at the center of it, and the unprecedented time at which the journalism was happening.

It's also available to listen to on Audm.

Phoebe Bridgers’s Frank, Anxious Music [Amanda Petrusich / The New Yorker]

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A stop motion ode to quarantine made entirely out of toilet paper

Animator Kate J. Miller has created a highly accurate ode to the shelter-in-place experience using our most precious commodity: toilet paper.

“Two Ply Over The Cuckoo’s Nest” is the grand prize winner of KQED’s Homemade Film Festival. I worked on this festival, which was conceived as a way to inspire creativity and connection during shelter-in-place. Filmmakers were asked to submit a movie under 10 minutes long, created entirely at home. We expected a few entries, but, wow! We were hit with a cinema tsunami! A veritable tidal wave of amazing submissions. From an animated documentary about racism to a heavy metal ode to hamsters, there was really something for everyone. See for yourself here:

Read the rest

Lost Horizon Night Market returns... without actual box trucks

The "transient bazaar" known as Lost Horizon Night Market is a covert operation. Worlds are imagined and then built inside the blank canvasses of empty box trucks. For the event, all the "proprietors," and their appointed box trucks, convene in an unsanctioned, though discreet, location. This location is disclosed to would-be "shoppers" via text just a few hours before it starts. Word of the market generally spreads rapidly but not publicly, definitely not by social media. If you're lucky enough to hear about it, you should go.

So, Happy Mutants, this is your heads up. Lost Horizon Night Market: Quarantine Edition is happening Saturday, May 9, from 6:59p EST until 11:59p EST, "rain or shine." This one is a little different, as the spaces are virtual, not in actual, physical trucks. I got a sneak peek yesterday of what's been created and can't wait to dive in deeper. Admission is free, though tips are appreciated. RSVP here.

Previously: Secret box truck 'night market' pops up again in NYC Read the rest

How a children's book about a mouse is keeping me motivated in quarantine

When I was a teenager, I worked at the Eli Whitney Museum and Workshop in New Haven, Connecticut — which, as far as teenage work went, was pretty formative and fantastic. While the campus is based in Eli Whitney's original factory, the museum itself is more of an experimental learning workshop that uses alternative teaching methods to celebrate and explore the intersections of engineering, design, and innovation. And yes, that man above was my boss, who hopes to enjoy his well-deserved retirement soon, depending on how this pandemic plays out.

On the weekends, we'd host birthday parties at the museum for younger kids, where they'd get to do some hands-on woodworking projects that also introduced them to simple machines or electricity (like a single Christmas light and a battery; we weren't monsters). We had a series of projects loosely based on the books of Leo Lionni, including one very simple project for 5-year olds that was based on the story of Frederick the Mouse. The basic idea of the story is that all the other mice accuse Frederick of being lazy while the rest of them are busy getting ready for the winter. They're all gathering wood and straw and nuts and stone so they can hide away in comfort when it gets cold out — and Frederick just sits there, insisting that he, too, is collecting things like colors and stories and sounds.

This, understandably, irritates all the other hard-working mice. But when the winter finally comes, and they're all trapped in the cave together, going out of their little mouse minds, that's when Frederick finally pulls his weight. Read the rest

Updating Hemingway's saddest shortest story for the pandemic age

Top image: JD Hancock / Flickr (CC 2.0) Read the rest

Sheep farmer in Dublin gives himself haircut in COVID-19 lockdown the Irish way

“Lighten the load.” Read the rest

Be like a SpaceX rocket in quarantine: pressurized yet chilled and not exploding

From Ars Technica:

Late on Sunday night, SpaceX completed a critical cryogenic test of a Starship prototype at its launch site in South Texas. […] The vehicle, dubbed SN4—which stands for Serial Number 4—was pressurized to 4.9 bar, or 4.9 times the atmospheric pressure at the surface of the Earth. This pressure is not as high as Starship's fuel tanks and plumbing system are designed to withstand, but it is enough for a basic flight.

This marks an important moment in the Starship program. Since November 2019, the company has lost three full-scale Starship prototypes during cryogenic and pressure tests. The most recent failure came on April 3. This is the first time a vehicle has survived pressure testing to advance to further work. Such tests are designed to ensure the integrity of a rocket's fueling system prior to lighting an engine.

So it's been chilled, but also highly pressurized, and is somehow still holding it together. Which is also how I feel every day of quarantine.

Starship chilled. Starship pressurized. And for the first time, it didn’t explode. [Eric Berger / Ars Technica]

Image: Public Domain via Stuart Rankin / Flickr Read the rest

Modern bathroom design is a direct response to pandemic planning

I spent the first two weeks of my quarantine shitting in a portapotty in the parking lot of my building. It wasn't great — but hey, at least it was always stocked with hand sanitizer.

The contractors I'd hired to renovate my bathroom were not so good on timeliness or communication before the pandemic started. And it only got worse from there. So I drove 300 miles in late March where I could at least be with my pregnant wife, and where at least I could shit indoors.

I returned home the other day to find that the bathroom still wasn't finished (though at least I could shower and shit now). Disappointed, I began to unpack my things, and ended up listening to this new NPR Short Wave podcast, which strangely made me feel better. It traces the history of indoor plumbing — including the uphill battle of trying to get people to understand that no, actually, a centralized sewage system will be better for your sanitation, and you shouldn't worry about the shit from other peoples' shit infecting your home. It goes on to explain how things such as porcelain/tiling and first-floor "powder rooms" actually served utilitarian purposes, making it easier for people to distance themselves from potential disease carriers, or clean things off after hosting guests with uncertain medical histories.

To be clear, I'm not sure why this made me feel better about my frustrating bathroom contracting experience. Or the deadly virus that continues to rage just outside my doors. Read the rest

Spanish nuns playing basketball in quarantine

The nuns at the San Leandro convent in Seville, Spain have been very busy making masks as part of their charity work. But it's important to stay in shape in quarantine — plus, everyone deserves a break from sometimes. So naturally, they converted the 13th century courtyard into a different kind of court.

Just watch out for those Hail Mary shots.

  Read the rest

How domesticated tarantulas are dealing with COVID-19

From NPR, always digging into the difficult issues:

The coronavirus lockdown has raised a conundrum for scientists around the globe: What to do with creatures they study now that research projects have come to a halt.

[…]

So when the university gave the go ahead to bring home animals that were not at risk of escaping into the wild and harming the environment, [Todd] Waters brought the [arthropod] zoo [at the University of Maryland] home with him.

The assortment included wolf spiders, assassin bugs, mantises, baby scorpions and baby tarantulas. Waters lives with four other people, which he says made things a bit uncomfortable when he showed up with the critters.

You can listen to the story below, or check it out on NPR.

Bring Home The Tarantulas? As Research Halts, Scientists Face Difficult Decisions [Apoorva Mittal / NPR]

Image: Hugo A. Quintero G. / Flickr (CC 2.0)

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