20.Aug.2021

Keep your knee over the ball and your eyes on the prize.

As I type this, my son is on a field fighting for a spot on his high school’s varsity soccer team.

After putting in a lot of work over the past year, he has a clear idea of who his competition is, and knows what he needs to do to make the cut. He’s also focused on what he can control, and pushing what he can’t out of his mind.

He’s rising to the challenge, and as his dad, I couldn’t be prouder. I don’t how this will play out (stay tuned!), but I know that he’ll land on his feet either way.

More importantly, he loves being part of the program as a whole, and what it represents not just for the school, but the community as well.

At the same time, our county just announced a return of mask mandates while indoors. The reaction was swift, with way too many people having total meltdowns and lashing out anywhere they can. Apparently not only are we all epidemiologists now, but we’re also again Constitutional scholars (spoiler alert: The right to walk into a Costco without a mask is nowhere to be found.).

How is it that kids in the throes of their “everything is terrible” stage of life recognize the idea of the Common Good, and their role in it, while grown-ass men and women cannot? Has the lack of adversity in our modern lives so thoroughly filled us with a sense of entitlement?

We have so little asked of us. Our grandparents picked up rifles and went to Europe or the Pacific for years. Those left behind certainly did their part. Our older siblings may have spent some time in the Sandbox. We’re being asked not to take up arms, but rather to put a piece of cloth on our face—and only while in a public building. And yes, it sucks. No one likes doing it. That doesn’t mean it’s a tough request.

We know what our competition is, and we all have a copy of the playbook. We’re being asked to come together to fight a common enemy— possibly the most American thing one can do— and we’re failing miserably; Like shoes-tied-together miserably. At this point, we’re not even making the practice squad.

And that’s a loss for all of us.

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Airlines Warn Of “Major” Disruption From 5G

By Mike Dano for Light Reading

"Such harmful interference could lead to an escalation of negative outcomes, from missed approaches, delays, diversions and flight cancellations, to the shutting down of runways on an indefinite basis," wrote a large number of airline and aerospace trade associations and companies including Aerospace Industries Association, Airlines for America, American Airlines, The Boeing Company and Lockheed Martin Corporation, among others. 

This might seem like a non-issue. After all, people have long seen ignoring warnings to put one’s phone into Airplane Mode as a birthright. But this is potentially a much larger issue with potentially dire consequences.

As noted, the 5g spectrum can cause radio altimeters to give false readings. That can mean getting erroneous Ground proximity warnings (annoying), or not getting any warnings at all (possibly catastrophic).

The US Government and Airlines Are Doing Their Best to Ensure Travel Won’t Recover Soon

By Brett Synder for Cranky Flier

This article is a bit of a hot take, and I almost left it without comment. But the author’s frustration is echoed by many of us in the aviation industry. A set of goalposts that are constantly moving make it tough to deliver any level of customer service. It’s also hard to reassure skittish travelers that flying is safe—it really is— while also asking them to jump through hoops that vary depending on where they happen to be going.

And that doesn’t even touch on the mask mandates, which were extended until January 2022 earlier this week.

Note: These extra rules can be maddening. Please don’t take that out on your gate agent, flight attendant, etc. None of us drew them up.

All these bad government and airline policies do is confuse travelers and prevent them from booking trips. Oh, and they scare the hell out of people, sometimes enough to get them to cancel their travels. That is not what we should be doing in the US right now. People need to know that if they get sick abroad, they can come home. And if they get sick, they need to know that CDC guidance will be followed by travel providers. This absurd collection of senseless requirements is just making everything worse, and it is only going to hurt the recovery without providing a real benefit.

As Hikers Vanish, These Mountains Hold Tight to Their Mysteries

By Yan Zhuang for the New York Times

Sometimes the things that scare us the most aren’t monsters or vampires. It’s the unknown. Think back to a movie that wouldn’t let you sleep for a week. Was it a mummy that kept you up, or an unseen menace? This story is a great one to dive into. Just don’t read it at night. Or on a camping trip.

There is no evidence that the Button Man had anything to do with the disappearances, or ever saw Mr. Hill and Ms. Clay at their campsite. Nonetheless, his mere presence in this forbidding terrain has captured the national imagination — the embodiment, in a vast country, of the strange allure and abiding fear of places so distant they can swallow people up without a sound.

The rumors and stories, both about the Button Man and the missing campers, reflect an innate desire to find explanations for the inexplicable. But for a century and beyond, these mountains, more than most places, have held their secrets tightly.

A $5.5 Billion Reminder that Email is Not Work

By Cal Newport for Study Hacks

Dedicated to everyone who wades through emails that start with “I hope this finds you well,” and end with “thoughts?”

The players in this story were for sure feeling very productive: furiously typing on devices, messages moving back and forth, bases being touched, plates spun, their industry palpable.

But the actual activity that mattered, the realization that they were short on collateral and urgently needed to reduce their investment exposure, was missed. Ad hoc, back-and-forth, unscheduled messaging kept everyone busy. But it didn’t actually work.

You’d Have a Lot More Followers if You Acted Like You Only Needed 10

By Josh Spector for For The Interested

This is simple—but often overlooked— advice should be required reading for anyone trying to build an audience. When I write, it’s with a handful of people in mind. I like to think it’s meant a massive improvement in my work.

Since you assume you need thousands of fans (or more) to be successful, you aim your work at a broad audience. You don’t want to exclude any potential fans.

But if you only needed 10 fans, you’d narrow your aim.

You’d focus on a more targeted group and wouldn’t worry about alienating the masses.

“You’d create things for a few people to LOVE instead of for a lot of people to like and set out to be the perfect choice for somebody instead of the acceptable choice for everybody.”

In doing so, your creations would become more unique, authentic, and likely to connect with your audience.

Two For The Road:

Video: Watch 400 gallons of firefighting foam test United’s Technical Operations Center at LAX

The insides of pro bowling balls will make your head spin

What are you working on this week? What hurdles are in your way, and what are you doing to clear them?

Thanks for being here,
Kevin—

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