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Weekly News Digest

The Essex Boys: How Nine Traders Hit a Gusher With Negative Oil - Bloomberg Businessweek (18 min).  

Over the course of a few hours on April 20, a guy called Cuddles and eight of his pals from the freewheeling world of London's commodities markets rode oil's crash to a $660 million profit.  

3C Epiphany: The Japanese Authorities Understood Covid-19 Better Than Most - The Economist (4 min).  

Japan has more elderly than any other country, yet has a lower Covid-19 death rate (just 18 per million people) than every other G7 nation, and has done so without mass testing or strict lockdowns.

Death to the Zipper! - Patagonia.com (5 min).  

The zipper is one of the most elegantly functional features in design. It’s also one of the most frustrating barriers to fully recycled, easily repairable gear.

5 Good Books for a Lousy Year - GatesNotes (3 min).  

A famously voracious reader, Bill Gates reviews 5 of the best non-fiction books he read in 2020.

Slack is the Right Tool for the Wrong Way to Work - The New Yorker (5 min).  

"Though Slack improved the areas where e-mail was lacking in an age of high message volume, it simultaneously amplified the rate at which this interaction occurs. Data gathered by the software firm RescueTime estimate that employees who use Slack check communications tools more frequently than non-users, accessing them once every five minutes on average—an absurdly high rate of interruption.

The 13 Numbers That Defined 2020 - USA Facts.

The data to measure the pandemic, the environment, and American politics

What’s the Right Way to Give in a Pandemic? - New York Times.

Charities and donors are facing a holiday season like no other. But they have come up with solutions. Also: Vanguard Charitable's Nonprofit Aid Visualizer -a groundbreaking new tool provides a wealth of data on an interactive platform, making it easy to find charities solving the problems you care about most.

How to Play a Fiery Victorian Christmas Game and Not Get Burned - Atlas Obscura.

Snapdragon is not for the faint-hearted. In the 19th century, Christmas looked a little different. For holiday fun, revelers in the United States and England scared their friends with ghost stories, told fortunes, and played boisterous party games. One such game, snapdragon, is rarely part of anyone’s Christmas these days. After all, it involves pulling sweets from a puddle of flames.