Share – Tại sao bạn chỉ muốn câu cá nhỏ khi có thể câu được cá to trong cuộc đời này? — Triết Học Đường Phố 2.0

(875 chữ, 3.5 phút đọc) Khi nhiều người đi câu ra về thì vẫn còn có một số ít người nhất định phải bắt cá to dù phải chờ đợi lâu hơn nữa. 29 more words

Tại sao bạn chỉ muốn câu cá nhỏ khi có thể câu được cá to trong cuộc đời này? — Triết Học Đường Phố 2.0

Cuộc sống của bạn thực chất là một buổi câu cá và một buổi câu cá cũng là ẩn dụ ngắn gọn cho mọi thứ có thể xảy ra với bạn ở cuộc đời này.

Hãy tưởng tượng cuộc đời là một chuyến đi câu, người câu cá là bạn, hồ nước là hàng chục năm bạn sống, những con cá trong hồ là cơ hội bạn có thể tận dụng được trong đời mình.

Nếu trong vai người câu cá bạn sẽ làm gì khi chiếc giỏ đựng cá chỉ cho phép bạn đựng được một con cá duy nhất? Và bạn sẽ làm gì khi trong hồ nước có những cá nhỏ lởn vởn trước mắt bạn, còn cá to thì mãi chẳng thấy đâu?

Có lẽ bạn và nhiều người khác được gia đình, trường học và xã hội dạy rằng thà bắt cá nhỏ còn hơn là chẳng có con nào, được voi đòi tiên, lo cái trước mắt – câu cá nhỏ thì tốt hơn ngồi chờ cơ hội – bắt cá to. Vì thế đa số chúng ta ngay lập tức bắt những con cá nhỏ nếu chúng cắn câu.

Những con cá nhỏ này chính là những công việc trước mắt, những điều làm đẹp lòng gia đình, phù hợp với quan điểm và thang giá trị của đa phần xã hội. Vì bạn đã câu được cá nhỏ, chiếc giỏ đã không chứa được thêm nữa nên dù khi cá lớn – cơ hội tốt hơn xuất hiện thì bạn cũng không thể nắm bắt được nữa rồi.

Hẳn bạn đã có những lần ngồi ở một công ty, làm một công việc vài năm đến phát chán nghĩ tới những công việc hay một niềm đam mê khác đầy hứng thú, nhưng rồi ngay sau đó bạn thở dài bỏ qua và tự nói rằng “Quá muộn rồi, đừng mơ mộng làm gì cả.”

Đúng là sẽ có muộn nhưng bạn vẫn có thể thay đổi bằng cách THẢ CÁ NHỎ đi và lại ngồi câu chờ cá to. Tuy nhiên, tâm lý học hành vi đã chứng minh rằng con người thà không có được cái to còn hơn là mất cái đang có. Do vậy, rất ít người sẽ quay lại hồ câu để thả cá nhỏ và chờ cá to.

Khi nhiều người đi câu ra về thì vẫn còn có một số ít người nhất định phải bắt cá to dù phải chờ đợi lâu hơn nữa. Họ biết rằng cá to ít hơn cá nhỏ, thông minh hơn cá nhỏ, nhưng nếu cứ chờ thì cơ hội để bắt cá to vẫn còn nguyên đó.

Họ thà đợi câu cá to còn hơn hài lòng với cá nhỏ. Đôi khi là cố chấp nhưng những người câu cá này ít nhiều đã chứng tỏ phẩm chất kiên trì, bỏ ngoài tai mọi nhận định của người khác, không dễ dàng thoả mãn và KHÔNG TỪ BỎ MỤC TIÊU CÂU CÁ LỚN.

Vậy những người này phải chờ đến bao lâu để câu được cá lớn?

Khương Tử Nha, người đã giúp Chu Vũ Vương sáng lập nhà Chu kéo dài 880 năm, lâu nhất trong lịch sử Trung Quốc sống ẩn dật từ năm 60 đến 80 tuổi trước khi gặp được người xứng đáng để giúp.

Trong thời gian ấy, Khương Tử Nha nuôi con gái nhỏ và đi câu cá với lưỡi câu là cây kim thêu quần áo. Lần nào cá cắn câu thì ông đều thả đi. Có người hỏi tại sao ông lại làm thế thì Khương Tử Nha cười bảo “Ta câu vương câu hầu chứ ham gì đám cá này.”

Lưu Bang, ông tổ nhà Hán xuất thân là tay bán thịt đầu đường xó chợ không biết chữ, nhưng lại thắng được hai trong số võ tướng giỏi nhất lịch sử Trung Quốc là Hạng Vũ và Hàn Tín, cũng bởi nghe theo kế sách Trương Lương liên tục nhịn nhục, chờ đợi thời cơ tốt mới có ngày xưng đế sau này.

Khi bắt đầu tranh hùng, Lưu Bang đã hơn 40 tuổi, nhưng chỉ hơn 10 năm sau ông trở thành đế vương được triệu người quỳ lạy.

Còn thời nay, mọi người quá để ý và ca tụng đến các siêu tỷ phú trẻ trước tuổi 30 như Mark Zuckerberg mà quên đi mất rằng những ông chủ của Amazon, Google, SpaceX cũng chỉ đưa công ty của mình đạt giá trị tỷ đô ở khi xấp xỉ 30-40 tuổi.

Bill Gates cũng vậy, trước 30 tuổi người ta chỉ biết đến Steve Jobs, phải mất vài năm nữa thì Gates mới đưa Microsoft trở thành công ty tỉ đô.

Bạn và những người khác cũng vậy, dù đã qua tuổi 20 và 30 đi nữa thì cơ hội để bắt được cá lớn vẫn còn nguyên vẹn. Để thực hiện hoá điều này, thì liệu bạn có dám quay lại hồ câu, thả cá nhỏ rồi ngồi chờ lần nữa để bắt cá lớn không?

Nếu bạn muốn đi câu thêm một lần nữa thì hãy nhanh lên, có không ít người đã quay lại hồ câu để chờ cá lớn trước bạn rồi.

Tác giả: Đức Nhân

Share – Bất kỳ ai cũng có thể trao đi sự tử tế — Triết Học Đường Phố 2.0

(1124 chữ, 4.5 phút đọc) Chúng ta đâu cần là người lớn tuổi, người giàu có, người xinh đẹp, người có chức quyền, người có danh tiếng để có thể giúp đỡ người khác.

Bất kỳ ai cũng có thể trao đi sự tử tế — Triết Học Đường Phố 2.0

Tết năm nay tôi về quê thăm gia đình được 2 tuần mà thấy không khí đìu hiu lặng lẽ, không rộn ràng nhộn nhịp như mọi khi. Dịch bệnh chen ngang khiến nỗi sợ hãi và e dè che phủ lên mọi người trong mọi hoạt động thường ngày. Mọi người có phần nào ngại giao tiếp hơn, ngại chia sẻ hơn và ngại tương tác với thế giới hơn. Tuy nhiên, bên cạnh những nỗi sợ hãi đang được đà bao phủ lên đời sống, tôi vẫn thấy tình yêu và sự chia sẻ âm thầm hiện diện khắp nơi như nguồn ánh sáng không thể bị dập tắt. Những dấu vết của lòng nhân hậu và sự tử tế bất chấp hoàn cảnh hiện tại, bất chấp rào cản cá nhân đã lọt vào góc nhìn của tôi. Nó khiến tôi thấy ấm áp và tràn trề hy vọng về những điều tốt đẹp của con người.

Lúc ở sân bay, tôi và những hành khách khác phải trải qua quá trình kiểm tra rất gắt gao vì tình hình dịch bệnh diễn biến phức tạp. Khi đi qua cổng an ninh để vào phòng chờ, tôi thấy có một anh kia bị nhân viên kiểm tra bắt quay vòng trở lại để bỏ chiếc ví còn sót trên người lên băng truyền kiểm tra. Anh ta lúng túng và bối rối vô cùng. Nói thật là cá nhân tôi, dù vẫn tỉnh táo làm đúng mọi thủ tục quy trình, cũng vẫn cảm thấy căng thẳng trong một bầu không khí thanh tra ngột ngạt như vậy. Khi đã được xác nhận qua cửa, tôi thu dọn giày dép, áo khoác và hành lý của mình từ trên băng truyền. Nhưng lúc đó, tôi thấy chiếc ví của anh chàng kia bị kẹt giữa hai chiếc ba lô to và anh ta thì đang dáo dác đi tìm nó với vẻ lo lắng. Đột nhiên, trong tôi tự động thốt ra một câu rằng: “Anh ơi, ví của anh ở đây này!” Nghe vậy, anh chàng ấy vội vã trở lại, cảm ơn tôi với giọng nói nhẹ nhàng. 

Rồi một tiếng sau, hành khách chúng tôi được dẫn lên chiếc xe bus để đi ra máy bay đang chờ đón. Khi chiếc xe bus chạy vào khúc cua, chiếc vali của tôi bị nghiêng và trượt đi một đoạn về cuối xe. Thấy vậy, một cậu bé tầm 6 tuổi, mặt mũi khôi ngô xinh xắn đã nhanh chóng giữ chiếc vali lại giùm tôi để nó khỏi đổ. Tôi chưa kịp nói lời cảm ơn cậu bé ngoan ngoãn thì ông bố của cậu đứng cạnh đó đã nói với đứa con bằng một giọng gay gắt rằng: “Thôi đi! Ông chưa lo được cho thân ông mà đòi giúp gì người khác.” Trước cảnh ngộ đó, tôi chỉ biết im lặng, nhìn vào đôi mắt rạng rỡ đang thoáng nét buồn của cậu bé và khẽ chớp mi thật chậm thay cho một cái gật đầu cảm ơn.

Khi máy bay khởi hành được nửa thời gian, ở phía hành lang gần nơi tôi ngồi bỗng có một cậu chàng kia ngã lăn ra đất. Các tiếp viên trên máy bay và một số hành khách ở gần đó ngay lập tức xúm lại đỡ cậu ta ngồi dậy vào ghế. Người thì hỏi han xem có bị sốt hay có tiền sử bị bệnh gì không, người thì pha nước đường cho cậu uống vì tưởng cậu ta tụt huyết áp. Nhưng cuối cùng hóa ra cậu ta bị say máy bay. Trong suốt chuyến đi ấy, nhân viên của hãng hàng không luôn túc trực, dặn dò cậu ta rằng không nên xem điện thoại khi đi tàu xe, rồi thì nhắc cậu cầm sẵn chiếc túi nôn bên cạnh. Rồi khi máy bay hạ cánh, cậu ta cũng được ưu tiên dẫn xuống trước. Những gì tôi chứng kiến ở đó là một sự dịu dàng săn sóc từ tận tấm lòng, chứ không phải hành động như một nghĩa vụ bắt ép.

Dù chuyến hành trình bay của tôi trong giữa cao điểm dịch bệnh diễn ra chậm chạp và có phần căng thẳng hơn, nhưng bù lại, tôi thấy ấm lòng vô cùng khi được chứng kiến những hành động tương thân tương ái của con người. Chúng ta quên mình để giúp đỡ đồng loại. Chúng ta quên đi những rào cản xã hội, những định kiến cá nhân để mang lại điều ngọt ngào cho nhau, hay đơn giản là xua bớt đi những vất vả khó nhọc của nhau.

Ngày trước, tôi đã từng nghe không ít người nói rằng phải giúp mình trước thì mới giúp người, phải lo cho bản thân trước thì mới lo được cho người khác. Nhưng sau chuyến đi này, chứng kiến những hành động nhân ái của mọi người, đặc biệt của cậu bé có người bố sợ hãi kia, tôi mới dám khẳng định rằng bất kỳ ai trong chúng ta cũng đều có thể trao đi sự tử tế ngọt ngào mà không cần biết bản thân mình lúc đó đang như thế nào. Vì khi tình huống xảy đến, cuộc đời kêu gọi chính cá nhân ấy phải phản hồi, trái tim họ phải lên tiếng ngay lập tức. Tình yêu và sự quan tâm giúp đỡ diễn ra trong tích tắc không hề thông qua sự tính toán cân đong chậm chạp của trí não. Tôi thấy nó xảy ra như một phản xạ tự nhiên, như một hành động bản năng của con người.

Nếu yêu thương và lương thiện đã là bản chất tự nhiên của con người, thì việc thể hiện tình yêu đấy đâu cần phải được thông qua một thước đo xã hội nào khác. Chúng ta đâu cần là người lớn tuổi, người giàu có, người xinh đẹp, người có chức quyền, người có danh tiếng để có thể giúp đỡ người khác. Vì sự giúp đỡ và thương yêu chỉ cần một trái tim nhạy cảm, một lời nói nhẹ nhàng, một ánh nhìn trìu mến, hay một đôi tay giúp đỡ ân cần. Và ai ai trong số chúng ta cũng đều có thể trao đi những điều đó từ chính bản thân mình. Dù chỉ là một hành động vô cùng nhỏ bé như đỡ một chiếc vali, nhắc về một chiếc ví bị kẹt hay dõi mắt quan tâm khi người khác mỏi mệt, thì hành động đó cũng là hiện thân của Tình Yêu rồi. Tình Yêu ấy sẽ bừng sáng, lay động và thức tỉnh con người.

Tác giả: Vũ Thanh Hòa

Ẩm thực – The #1 Best Oatmeal to Eat, According to a Dietitian

By KIERSTEN HICKMAN

Full link: https://www.eatthis.com/news-best-oatmeal-to-eat/?utm_source=nsltr&utm_medium=email&utm_content=news-best-oatmeal-to-eat&utm_campaign=etntNewsletter

This type of oatmeal is certainly the best of the best.

oatmeal

There are many types of oats that you’re probably familiar with. There’s the classic rolled-cut oat, the quick oat, and even the steel-cut oat. However, while all of these types of oats are great additions to your breakfast routine, they aren’t actually considered the best oatmeal to eat. Don’t get us wrong—oatmeal is still incredibly healthy for you! But, if you were to evaluate the nutritional benefits of all oatmeal, the best oatmeal to eat would actually be oat groats. One dietitian gave us the low-down of why oat groats are the best oatmeal to eat, and how you should prepare them if you decide to give them a try.

Here’s what she had to say, and for even more healthy tips, be sure to check out our list of The 7 Healthiest Foods to Eat Right Now.

What are oat groats?

Before the natural oat is rolled or crushed into flat flakes that turn into the oatmeal we know (and can easily sit for long periods of time on the shelf), oats actually come from a whole-grain oat groat called oat groats. Oats are grown on a kernel, and when they are ready to harvest they are cleaned and minimally processed to remove the inedible hulls around the oat kernels. The oats that remain are known as oat groats, and according to Theresa Gentile, MS, RDN, owner of Full Plate Nutrition and a media spokesperson for the NY State Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, oat groats are considered the best oatmeal to eat.

“Oat groats are the healthiest way to eat oats. Quick oats, rolled oats and steel-cut oats all start out as oat groats,” says Gentile. “Oat groats are whole oat kernels that have been cleaned and treated with heat and moisture. This increases shelf life, flavor development, phenolic content, and antioxidant activity. In the production of oat groats, only their loose hulls are removed. Groats still contain the intact germ, endosperm, and bran.”

These three elements provide your body with a myriad of nutrients including fiber, selenium, potassium, magnesium, B vitamins, antioxidants, and iron. In particular, oat bran is the element that is packed with dietary fiber, which is the key element you need in your meals to help you lose weight. Whole oats are also known for containing avenanthramides, which is a type of antioxidant that is believed to protect your body against heart disease, according to Healthline.

Why are oat groats considered the best oatmeal to eat?

Because oat groats are minimally processed, they contain the most nutritional value compared to other oat varieties.

“The least processed oats will take the longest to be digested,” says Gentile. “This equates to a slower rise in blood sugar and a lower glycemic index. The next healthiest form of oats is steel-cut. Steel-cut oats are oat groats that are cut into a few smaller pieces using a steel blade.”

According to Harvard Health, the least processed oats—like groats or steel-cut—are lower on the glycemic index, and will take longer to digest compared to rolled or instant oats. Slow digestion also means your body will feel satiated and full for a longer period of time—especially since oat groats are full of fiber.

Gentile also mentions that oat groats will take the longest to cook compared to other oat varieties, but when prepared correctly, they can truly provide your body with a myriad of nutritional benefits. Especially if you top your bowl of oat groats with the right sorts of add-ons.

“To make sure either of these forms of oats remains healthy once they’re cooked, add some flavor in the form of fruit,” says Gentile. “Adding protein can also decrease the glycemic index. This can be in the form of low-fat milk or with the addition of nuts. Top with some flaxseeds or chia seeds for healthy fat and you have yourself a superfood.”

Ẩm thực – When the Māori First Settled New Zealand, They Hunted Flightless, 500-Pound Birds

By ANNE EWBANK

Full link: https://www.atlasobscura.com/articles/what-is-biggest-bird?utm_source=Gastro+Obscura+Weekly+E-mail&utm_campaign=58fcee72b3-GASTRO_EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2021_01_19&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_2418498528-58fcee72b3-70327933&mc_cid=58fcee72b3&mc_eid=df51e46713

The magnificent moa is no more.

Two unfortunate moa fleeing a Haast's eagle.
Two unfortunate moa fleeing a Haast’s eagle. PLOS BIOLOGY/CC BY 2.5

WHEN ONE THINKS ABOUT ICONIC New Zealand birds, the one that comes to mind is invariably the fuzzy brown kiwi. But lost to time is another bird, one that long ago loomed over the chicken-sized kiwi. Enter the moa: nine species of flightless bird that once sprinted around New Zealand. While the smallest, such as the turkey-sized bush moa, were fairly petite, the South Island giant moa clocked in at two meters (6.5 feet) tall. In its time, it was the tallest bird to walk the earth; larger females weighed more than 500 pounds. With their long necks, rotund bodies, and total lack of wings, they must have been an imposing sight. And for the Polynesians who arrived in canoes on the shores of New Zealand in the 13th century, they were a delicious one.

Before the arrival of humans, New Zealand was the land of the birds. In place of large carnivores, of which it had none, an avian hierarchy flourished, from the burrowing mutton birds to the gigantic but now extinct Haast’s eagle, which perched at the top of the food chain. Despite being prey for the Haast’s eagle, moa proliferated across New Zealand, inhabiting different ecosystems suited to their size and diets. The South Island giant moa could reach high branches, and the heavy-footed moa stuck to “open herb fields.”

This hierarchy was upended with the arrival of the people now called the Māori. Starting in Asia, most likely Taiwan, Polynesians traveled across the Pacific for thousands of years, populating islands along the way. New Zealand was the last stop, and the last major, uninhabited landmass to be settled by humans. For food, the new settlers brought taro and yams, some of the traditional canoe plants of the Polynesians, along with rats and dogs for meat. But New Zealand proved to be fertile hunting grounds.

In this early-20th-century illustration, Māori are inaccurately shown hunting moa with bows and arrows.
In this early-20th-century illustration, Māori are inaccurately shown hunting moa with bows and arrows. PUBLIC DOMAIN

Lacking any wing bones, moa couldn’t fly away from their new foes. But, considering their large leg bones, much speculation has been made over their speed, not to mention the power of their kicks. (Mark Twain, on seeing a moa skeleton, wrote, “It must have been a convincing kind of kick. If a person had his back to the bird and did not see who it was that did it, he would think he had been kicked by a wind-mill.”) Since newly arrived Māori hadn’t yet developed bows, hunting these large birds took some creativity.

For researchers, piecing together how moa were hunted has been an equally creative process, combining archeological and anthropological findings. To avoid contact with the larger moa, some researchers believe the Māori used snares to tangle up their prey, which was considered the traditional “Māori fowling method.” One prehistorian points to the Māori dog’s “strong neck, forequarters, and jaw” to conjecture they were bred to seize large game, including moa. Another historian, skeptical that dogs could handle these massive birds, has speculated that dogs helped drive moa to inescapable locations where they could be cornered and killed.

Hunts started from base camps that served as butchering sites. The enormous quantity of left-over bones buried in middens reveal key facts about how the Māori dealt with up to 500 pounds of dead moa. While smaller moa could be carried away whole, hunters dealt with larger ones, which were harder to heft, by cutting and carrying away only their meat-heavy legs. “It is tempting to imagine a line of successful hunters with giant drumsticks over their shoulders,” writes James Belich in Making Peoples: A History of the New Zealanders.

An immense preserved moa claw.
An immense preserved moa claw. RYAN BAUMANN/CC BY 2.0

In a recent study, three New Zealand scholars examined Māori sayings, or whakataukī, for clues about their relationship to moa, including cooking techniques. One, He koromiko te wahie i taona ai te moa, or “Koromiko is the wood with which the moa was cooked,” likely meant that koromiko branches were used to cover moa meat cooking in underground ovens. Researchers and scholars, who can only contemplate the moa’s formidable skeletons, have long speculated on how the bird tasted—their fattiness and their flavor. Most recently, researchers have conjectured that moa tasted similar to their closest relatives, the flightless tinamous of South America. Ironically, many species are over hunted because of their tasty meat.

When Polynesians first arrived in the 13th century, an estimated 160,000 moa roamed New Zealand. But they were annihilated within 150 years, in a process one study calls “the most rapid, human-facilitated megafauna extinction documented to date.” After all, moa had few natural predators (other than the giant eagles) and may not have been very afraid of humans. They lay few eggs—only one or two every breeding season—and took a long time to reach maturity. The Māori hunted them faster than they could reproduce, until they were gone.

British naturalist Richard Owen poses with a moa skeleton.
British naturalist Richard Owen poses with a moa skeleton. PUBLIC DOMAIN

While their demise was unusually fast, the disappearance of the moa was par for the course for human history. As early humans spread across the earth, they persistently hunted down the largest beasts around. Along with climate changes and human-caused ecosystem change, many researchers implicate hunting as a death knell for creatures from the giant ground sloth to the wooly mammoth. From this perspective, humanity’s late arrival to New Zealand simply delayed the moa’s execution date. By 1769, when Captain James Cook arrived on the shores of what is now New Zealand, the birds were long gone.

When British naturalist Richard Owen confirmed the existence of the moa in 1839 from a single bone, it created something of a moa craze. After all, moa were as unique as the kiwi, as extinct as the dodo, and more monumental than any other bird. Twenty years later, a workman unearthed the largest moa egg ever known: the Kaikoura egg, which had been nestled next to a body in a grave. It likely weighed almost nine pounds when fresh, and is now on display at the Te Papa museum in Wellington. From perfectly preserved feet to their very footsteps, remnants of the moa continue to be discovered. While they live no more, it’s hard to erase the existence of such an epic avian.

Ẩm thực – California Officially Lifts Its Curfew and Stay-at-Home Order

By Eve Batey 

Full link: https://sf.eater.com/2021/1/25/22248448/california-officially-lifts-its-curfew-and-stay-at-home-order?utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=NATIONAL%20-%2012520&utm_content=NATIONAL%20-%2012520+Version+A+CID_112766ab6927c32063055b04c873699d&utm_source=cm_email&utm_term=California%20officially%20lifts%20its%20curfew%20and%20stay-at-home%20order

If counties allow it, outdoor dining can resume, and restaurants can stay open past 10 p.m.

Sidewalk seating at Tacolicious
California has lifted the ban on outdoor dining for the state’s most populous areas, meaning that this scene on Valenica street could return this week
 Patricia Chang

Part of The Ultimate Guide to Outdoor Dining in San Francisco

Amid a chaotic vaccination rollout, still-high numbers of COVID-19 infections, a rising call to further tighten restrictions demanding mask use, and a frightening new variant of the virus that has experts warning of a new surge in infections, the state of California made a potentially counterintuitive announcement Monday: The regional stay-at-home orders, which were instituted for wide swaths of the state when coronavirus cases began their most recent uptick in early December, have been lifted. The move allows a number of activities, including outdoor dining, to resume in the state, after restaurants have struggled for months to sustain themselves solely through takeout and delivery business.

In a press release, California Department of Public Health director and state public health officer Dr. Tomás Aragón confirmed the stay-at-home lift, saying that “COVID-19 is still here and still deadly, so our work is not over, but it’s important to recognize our collective actions saved lives and we are turning a critical corner.” According to the DPH, counties across the state will now revert to the state’s color-coded reopening plan, which allows activities on a county-by-county basis dependent on that area’s coronavirus case count. The DPH also says that a 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew announced for nonessential activities in November has been lifted, a move that would let restaurants allow dining to continue later in the evening.

As of January 25, most counties in the state remain in the purple (“widespread risk”) tier of reopening, which would allow the resumption of outdoor dining. However, it’s up to individual counties to determine if they want to resume previously restricted activities, and local guidance, if stricter, would prevail. In San Francisco, for example, Mayor London Breed’s office has announced a press event at 1:15 p.m. Monday, presumably to explain how the stay-at-home lift will change things in San Francisco.https://platform.twitter.com/embed/Tweet.html?dnt=false&embedId=twitter-widget-0&frame=false&hideCard=false&hideThread=false&id=1353618097949659141&lang=en&origin=https%3A%2F%2Fsf.eater.com%2F2021%2F1%2F25%2F22248448%2Fcalifornia-officially-lifts-its-curfew-and-stay-at-home-order&siteScreenName=eatersf&theme=light&widgetsVersion=889aa01%3A1612811843556&width=550pxhttps://platform.twitter.com/embed/Tweet.html?dnt=false&embedId=twitter-widget-1&frame=false&hideCard=false&hideThread=false&id=1353597526083952640&lang=en&origin=https%3A%2F%2Fsf.eater.com%2F2021%2F1%2F25%2F22248448%2Fcalifornia-officially-lifts-its-curfew-and-stay-at-home-order&siteScreenName=eatersf&theme=light&widgetsVersion=889aa01%3A1612811843556&width=550px

The lack of consistent statistics prompted some to react to the stay-at-home lift with skepticism, with some suggesting that statistically, the decision could be premature, and others noting the dissonance of the state’s still-high death rate and the reopening news. As widely noted, Newsom and California’s Department of Public Health had refused to provide daily regional ICU capacity percentages for more than a week, saying only that the Bay Area, Southern California, and San Joaquin Valley remain below the required threshold of 15 percent availability of ICU beds throughout the regional hospital networks. That’s left struggling restaurateurs, as well as local officials, scratching their heads and wondering if and when things might change for their areas.


The Bay Area News Group reports
, however, that based on data it’s compiled, as of this past weekend, California has seen its lowest COVID-19 case rates since Christmas: “At about 33,600 per day over the past week, California is averaging its fewest cases since mid-December, prior to its pre-Christmas peak, and has cut its rate of new cases by nearly a quarter from just a week ago,” reporter Evan Webeck writes.

Data announced Saturday suggested that the Bay Area, at least, would be allowed to reopen under the soon-to-be-past system. According to state data, the Bay Area’s ICU bed capacity is at 23.4 percent, Southern California remains at 0 capacity, and the San Joaquin Valley region is at 1.3 percent.

This is why people check out of voting. What is less evil about Newsom? Explain it to me? Who opens bars and restaurants just as we discover we have a homegrown new devastating strain of Covid? There’s nothing less evil about this hair gelled eel— Lexi Alexander الكسندرا ميراي (@Lexialex) January 25, 2021

Others asked why, just days after yet another, seemingly more infectious variant of COVID-19 was discovered in the state, restrictions would be loosened instead of tightened. It’s a good question. The LA Times reports that a new, so-called “homegrown” variant of COVID-19 — one called B.1.426 that differs from the B.1.1.7 first identified in Britain — accounted for nearly a quarter of the state’s cases in the final weeks of 2020. According to Santa Clara County health officer Dr. Sarah Cody, the new variation seems to spread even more quickly than the other versions of the disease and might have been behind the current surge in infections.

Speaking with the SF Chronicle, UCSF researcher Dr. Charles Chiu, whose team at the UCSF-Abbott Viral Diagnostics and Discovery Center was first to report the variant, says that “we don’t know what variants may be circulating or emerging. It becomes very challenging for us to fight an enemy if we don’t know what the enemy is.” Dr. Catherine Blish, professor of medicine and infectious diseases at Stanford University, tells ABC 7 that the new variants can spread 30 to 70 percent faster than the earlier versions of the disease.

Of course, one of the best ways to fight COVID-19 and its emerging mutations is by vaccination, but that’s not something that California has seen much success with yet. The state has struggled to vaccinate the most vulnerable of its 39.5 million residents, hamstrung by short supplies, and — according to state and local officials — fumbling when it comes to communication with the local officials and organizations tasked with getting shots into arms and leaving residents confused about if or when they might be vaccinatedAccording to Bloomberg, as of January 24, only 2.3 million doses of the vaccine have been administered in the state, and only 346,000 people have received a second dose of the two-part shot. That means California is ranked 45th in the country in terms of the percent of population inoculated.https://platform.twitter.com/embed/Tweet.html?dnt=false&embedId=twitter-widget-3&frame=false&hideCard=false&hideThread=true&id=1353585147514294272&lang=en&origin=https%3A%2F%2Fsf.eater.com%2F2021%2F1%2F25%2F22248448%2Fcalifornia-officially-lifts-its-curfew-and-stay-at-home-order&siteScreenName=eatersf&theme=light&widgetsVersion=889aa01%3A1612811843556&width=550px

The slow speed of the vaccination process is why so many health officials are now urging stricter guidance around the use of face coverings. CNN reports that highly protective masks, like the N95 mask, could be the key to ending the pandemic, with Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School physician Dr. Abraar Karan saying that in situations with “prolonged contact,” such as sit-down dining, “cloth masks alone are not going to block aerosols” that could cause COVID-19 infection.

“If we have better personal protection for people, they can more safely go back to work. They can more safely re-engage, especially if testing and tracing is not where we need it to be,” Karan says.https://platform.twitter.com/embed/Tweet.html?dnt=false&embedId=twitter-widget-4&frame=false&hideCard=false&hideThread=true&id=1353621981065662464&lang=en&origin=https%3A%2F%2Fsf.eater.com%2F2021%2F1%2F25%2F22248448%2Fcalifornia-officially-lifts-its-curfew-and-stay-at-home-order&siteScreenName=eatersf&theme=light&widgetsVersion=889aa01%3A1612811843556&width=550px

Of course, all that flies out the window when it comes to extended contact that’s unmasked, as one might expect from, say, outdoor dining. It’s exactly that paradox that prompted an angry tweetstorm from Stanford doctor Jorge A. Caballerowho says that “The data does NOT support lifting restrictions— this would be Newsom caving to political pressure, again,” perhaps referring to an anti-vaccination/Republican-led recall effort against the governor. Caballero warns that even now, the devastating surge in Southern California “is moving up the state: through the central valley and into the SF Bay Area.”

But for now, restaurateurs in San Francisco are focused less on projections and more on what local officials will announce. “We look forward to the Mayor’s press conference at 1:15 when we expect that the city will announce the reopening of outdoor dining later this week,” San Francisco dining lobby the Golden Gate Restaurant Association said in a statement. “This is a huge step forward for the San Francisco restaurant community and the city at large.”

Kungfu – Protein Consumption for Martial Artists

By Jason Kelly 

Full link: https://blackbeltmag.com/protein-for-martial-arts?utm_campaign=BBM%20FY21&utm_medium=email&_hsmi=112757048&_hsenc=p2ANqtz-9bZ12HFTTHA9v314x3EJgrDByl8NrnjX9SvF4QIVeXDPY3fxbVIZ1dVNYf6MV4_aM7543yrRrmiJEogYYIeQ_wOYWYvQ&utm_content=112757048&utm_source=hs_email

Martial arts training is physically demanding, especially if you are in a tournament. The timing of protein consumption is critical for muscles to rebuild and recover. It all depends on something called protein synthesis.

Muscles Martial Arts
cdn2.omidoo.com

Protein synthesis is a process that repairs broken down muscles, mainly happening from training or competing. However, your body is constantly going through this process, fluctuating at low levels throughout the day. Conveniently, when you train or compete, your muscles breakdown, and, at the same time, it stimulates protein synthesis. Protein synthesis also simply happens when you ingest protein.

Most people and athletes have poor timing replenishing. How well you utilize protein synthesis will make a difference either enhancing your training and athletic performance or being adequate. The key to using protein pre, during, and post training or competition, is to reduce the level of muscle breakdown for optimal recovery.

Before Training/Competition

Eating protein prior to training activates and increases protein synthesis. It has a greater effect on muscle repair and growth, not just afterwards. Plan ahead to minimize damage.

Eating protein before training and competition will:

  • Improve muscle recovery, inducing a faster more effective recovery.
  • Suppress muscular breakdown to increase performance.

The only issue with eating before, is less time to digest. So, consuming 20g of whey protein 1-2 hours before is perfect! About 2-3 hours before, you can have a balanced meal containing carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. Keep it naturally cooked and as light as possible for easy digestion. Digestion uses a lot of energy so eating a big meal with oils or sauces can be counterproductive. A pre-workout meal could be half chicken breast, potatoes, and vegetables.

During Training/Competition

MMA Training
cdn.onefc.com

The focus is to repair and minimize damage caused by training/competition for faster recovery.

  • For training less than two hours, you don’t need to worry about protein during the training. Pre and post, is ok.
  • Training lasting more than two hours- tournaments, multi-round fights, etc., consume 20-25 grams of protein per hour, as well as 40g carbohydrate drink.
  • If you don’t want to consume protein, you can use essential amino acids (EAA) and branched amino acids (BCAA) together, to prevent breakdown as well.

After Training/Competition

Food is the best source, however, many times it is not practical. By consuming a fast-absorbing protein, like whey protein immediately after your workout, you’re supplying your muscles with protein and EAA needed to repair and grow.

Immediately after exercise, within the first 0-20 minutes is best. You can have a full meal 2 hours later. Although, protein synthesis is highest 24 hours after training, the most effective time frame to ingest protein is within 20 minutes, it is like the spark that starts the fire.

Whey Protein

Whey Protein
a99d9b858c7df59c454c-96c6baa7fa2a34c80f17051de799bc8e.ssl.cf1.rackcdn.com

Whey protein is one of the best to use. It has all 9 EAA’s to make a complete protein. It stays soluble in the stomach for fast acting digestion to rapidly enter the small intestine. Proteins like soy and casein are digested more slowly. Many whey powders boost their muscle recovery by adding BCAA’s. BCAA’s give a big boost to repair and recovery when combined with whey protein. Leucine is a BCAA that has a dramatic effect increasing protein synthesis in comparison to other EAA’s and BCAA ‘s to increase muscle growth and preserve lean body mass, the reason whey protein powders add it.

Helpful Tips:

  • It is best to consume protein at about 20-35 g at a time. Anything more than 35g will probably get wasted. So, it is best to space it out through the day.
  • Potassium is important and enhances transport of EAA’s and BCAA’s.
  • To maintain normal body weight, consume 1g of protein per kg of body weight. For athletic people consume about 1.2-1.6g. The higher the protein the more muscle growth.
  • Have whey protein 2 hours prior to sleep to assist in protein synthesis.
  • Take 5 g BCAA’s 30 minutes before your training and greater protein synthesis will occur.
  • If you take whey protein, you don’t need EAA.
  • For protein synthesis to be most effective, combine whey protein and BCAA or EAA and BCAA.
  • Structure your protein consumption around your training for best results.
  • 20g before/ 30g after and structure the rest around the number of meals you eat in a day.

3 Best Times to Eat Protein

For more information and training videos, visit and subscribe to my YouTube Channel.

For more information and training videos, visit and subscribe to my YouTube Channel.

Kungfu – The Martial Arts of Vietnam

By Noel Plaugher

Full link: https://blackbeltmag.com/vietnam-martial-arts?utm_campaign=BBM%20FY21&utm_medium=email&_hsmi=112757048&_hsenc=p2ANqtz–3ykoLUys4s8y7FQR5aoaeymMT25ZRTIdnyto7kfN5HMQiLDqZnJs_H9ceVX0wetvVM7HKsGyQvhMfMgL8-iy66Adi9w&utm_content=112757048&utm_source=hs_email

Many countries immediately come to mind when people think of martial arts. Whether it’s Chinese Kung Fu, Japanese Karate, or Korean Tae Kwon Do, years of exposure have made these arts known and accessible to most people.

Vietnamese Martial Arts

Of course, many countries have rich martial arts traditions, we just haven’t heard about them yet. The new book The Martial Arts of Vietnam by Augustus John Roe is a great introduction to the incredible variety of martial arts in Vietnam. The author spoke with me from his home in Hanoi where he told me about the fascinating and varied arts found in his new book.

Arrival in Vietnam

Originally from the UK, Roe’s lifelong martial arts interest took him to Asia and then, on a whim, ultimately to his new home, “I studied Tae Kwon Do, Wing Chun, and some White Crane Kung Fu as well. I was really interested in martial arts in general, so naturally I wanted to go to Asia.” After spending time in Japan and Korea, Roe got a call from a friend teaching in Vietnam. His friend invited him for a stay over Christmas. With time on his hands and an adventurous spirit, Roe went for a visit. “I soon got involved in the local martial arts scene and saw no reason really ever to leave.”

Vietnamese Martial Arts

Vietnam Martial Arts

Roe started studying the martial arts of the Seven Mountains region initially and as his curiosity grew about the influence of nations, cultures, and centuries of conflict in the region he began to study other Vietnamese martial arts. As he explains, “My personal interest coupled with a lack of information about Vietnamese martial arts made me want to seek out other styles. This gave me a better understanding of where the system I studied fit in to the bigger picture. Basically, it was a passion to learn and to know more.”

So what are Vietnamese martial arts like? They are like and unlike many martial arts you probably already know. The book breaks down the arts by region as the influence of the terrain, whether mountainous, delta, or farmland has influenced the arts as much as the necessity of defense and practice of tradition. What makes them different from other arts? Roe explains, “The different geographical and cultural aspects, all kind of contribute to make something that is distinctly unique from China or Japan or other countries.”

Among the numerous styles of Vietnamese martial arts, there are traditional wrestling, weapons, empty-hand, beast styles, and more. Vietnamese wrestling, Dau Vat, is similar to Chinese Shuai-Jiao without a jacket. The goal is to make the opponent land on their shoulders using a variety of methods including throws and sweeps. There are forms of Qigong that accompany many arts and weapons forms as well. The most popular art, Vovinam is a complete system incorporating all of the aspects one would expect of a martial art today, such as grappling (both ground and standing) weapons and standing defense.

From Roe’s extensive first-hand experience with so many arts, masters, and styles he was able to compile them all into a comprehensive guide that is as complete as any I have ever seen. His book is dense with detailed information that paints a picture of arts not so exotic as to be inaccessible, but rather they are different enough to make them interesting and certainly leaving any martial artist looking for a class to check out in their neighborhood.

The Martial Arts of Vietnam

Martial Arts of Vietnam

You can also read a young-adult, adventure novel inspired by a number of stories from Vietnam’s martial history in another of Roe’s books, “Where Tigers Roam.”$16.99Buy NowRoe started studying the martial arts of the Seven Mountains region initially and as his curiosity grew about the influence of nations, cultures, and centuries of conflict in the region he began to study other Vietnamese martial arts. As he explains, “My personal interest coupled with a lack of information about Vietnamese martial arts made me want to seek out other styles. This gave me a better understanding of where the system I studied fit in to the bigger picture. Basically, it was a passion to learn and to know more.”

So what are Vietnamese martial arts like? They are like and unlike many martial arts you probably already know. The book breaks down the arts by region as the influence of the terrain, whether mountainous, delta, or farmland has influenced the arts as much as the necessity of defense and practice of tradition. What makes them different from other arts? Roe explains, “The different geographical and cultural aspects, all kind of contribute to make something that is distinctly unique from China or Japan or other countries.”

Among the numerous styles of Vietnamese martial arts, there are traditional wrestling, weapons, empty-hand, beast styles, and more. Vietnamese wrestling, Dau Vat, is similar to Chinese Shuai-Jiao without a jacket. The goal is to make the opponent land on their shoulders using a variety of methods including throws and sweeps. There are forms of Qigong that accompany many arts and weapons forms as well. The most popular art, Vovinam is a complete system incorporating all of the aspects one would expect of a martial art today, such as grappling (both ground and standing) weapons and standing defense.

From Roe’s extensive first-hand experience with so many arts, masters, and styles he was able to compile them all into a comprehensive guide that is as complete as any I have ever seen. His book is dense with detailed information that paints a picture of arts not so exotic as to be inaccessible, but rather they are different enough to make them interesting and certainly leaving any martial artist looking for a class to check out in their neighborhood.

Collection – How to use design thinking to create a happier life for yourself

By Bill Burnett

Full link: https://ideas.ted.com/how-to-use-design-thinking-to-create-a-happier-life-for-yourself/?utm_source=ideasweekly&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=ideasblog&utm_content=20210227-2

Pete Ryan

Design thinking is something that we’ve been working on at the Stanford Design School and in the School of Engineering for over 50 years. It’s an innovation methodology that works on services and products and experiences, such as designing a great-looking sports car or a laptop that contains its own built-in mouse.

But I think the most interesting design problem is your life.

I cofounded the Life Design Lab with Dave Evans at Stanford. There, we teach people how to take design thinking — which is a both a process and a mindset — and apply it to their own lives. School has taught most of us to be skeptical and to be rationalists, but those aren’t very useful mindsets when you’re trying to do something new, something no one’s ever done before, or something that has no one clear solution. Instead, design thinking says you should start with empathy and lean into what you’re curious about.

At Stanford, Dave and I teach a class called “Designing Your Life,” which we adapted into the book Designing Your LifeDesigning Your Work Life and a set of online workshops. We started the class because we’ve been in office hours for a long, long time with students, and we saw that many of them were getting stuck in their lives. What’s more, they didn’t have the tools for getting unstuck.

Now designers get stuck all the time. When I signed up to be a designer, I knew that I was going to work on something brand new, something I’ve never done before — every single day of my career. So I get stuck and unstuck and stuck and unstuck all the time.

One of the most important ways to get unstuck is reframing. It’s one of our most powerful mindsets. Reframing also makes sure that we’re working on the right problem. Life design involves a lot of reframes that allow you to step back, examine your biases and open up new solution spaces. Reframing is essential to finding the right problems and the right solutions.

Many people have beliefs about life which psychologists would label as dysfunctional. If you want to design your life, you need to reframe these beliefs. They hold us back and keep us stuck. I’ll share three of the most common.

Dysfunctional belief #1: “Knowing your passion will tell you what you need to do with your life.”

If you actually have a passion, that’s awesome. Maybe you wanted to be a doctor as long as you can remember. Or you knew at the age of 7 you wanted to be a clown at Cirque du Soleil and now you are one.

To investigate this passion idea Dave and I went over to Stanford’s Center on Adolescence, which by the way now goes up to 27, and we met with professor Bill Damon. He’s studied this question of passion and purpose, and it turns out less than 20 percent of people have a single identifiable passion in their lives. It’s a dysfunctional belief. You don’t need a passion to start designing your life, and the reframe is “you are OK, just where you are”.

Dysfunctional belief #2: “By the time you’re out of college, you should know where you’re going. And if you don’t know, you’re late.”

Here we asked the obvious question, what exactly are you late for? When I was growing up you were supposed to have married and be on track to start a family by about 25. That’s an old-fashioned idea. We know that nowadays people are living their lives much more fluidly, and they are staying in dynamic career motion between the ages of 22 to 35. David Brooks, the New York Times columnist, calls these years the Odyssey Years — when we explore many alternative versions of ourselves.

Dave and I don’t believe in “should’s”. The notion that you “should be somewhere you’re not” and “you’re late” is a dysfunctional belief. We reframe this as “Let’s start from wherever you are; you’re not late for anything.”

Dysfunctional belief #3: “You should try to optimize the best possible version of yourself.”

This is a dysfunctional belief that we really don’t like. Why? It implies that there’s just one singular best and that life is a linear progression towards this singular best. Well, there is no evidence that there is one singular best version of you — we believe there are many, many versions of you and any of them can result in a well-designed life. Our experience is that life is anything but linear. Our reframe: “life design is a journey; let go of optimizing an end goal and focus on the process and see what happens next.”

Now that you’ve practiced some reframing, I’m going to give you five ideas from “Designing Your Life” to try out. They’re the ones that people who’ve read our book or taken our class or workshop told us were the most useful and most doable. After all, Dave and I are human-centered designers, so we want to be helpful.

Designing your life idea #1: Connect the dots

The number-one reason that people say they took our class or read our book is they want their life to be meaningful or purposeful. Dave and I looked in the positive psychology literature and in the design literature and found that there are three important identities that shape our lives: who you are, what you believe and what you do.

If you can make a connection between these three, you will experience your life as more meaningful. To help connect the dots, we do two things. The first thing is we ask people to write about why they work — your work view. What’s your theory of work? What’s it for? What’s work in service of? We ask them to write around a page about this.

The second thing is a little harder to do in a single page, but we still ask people to try and write up their ideas on the meaning of life. Why are you here? What is your view of how the world works — your life view?

When you can connect your work view and your life view together in a coherent way, you’ll start to experience your life as meaningful.

Designing your life idea #2: Recognize your gravity problems

There’s a class of problems that people can get stuck on, and we call them “gravity problems”. By that, we mean problems that are just circumstance, like gravity. You either can’t change these circumstances, or you are not willing to do what it would take – these are problems you cannot change.

You probably have a friend you’ve been talking to for a while, and they’re stuck. They don’t like their boss, or they don’t like their partner, or they don’t like their job. However, nothing’s happening with that problem. Dave would say, “You can’t solve a problem that you’re not willing to have.” He means if you’ve got a problem and you’re simply not willing to work on it, then it’s just a circumstance in your life. It is a gravity problem. The only thing we can do with gravity problems is to accept them.

Once you’ve accepted that you have a gravity problem and you can’t change it, you have to decide: What do you want to do? Is this a circumstance you can reframe and “work with”? Or do you need a “work around” – and do something completely different?

Be really careful about a gravity problem, because it’s pernicious and can really get in your way. Accept it and then decide on a “work through” or “work-around” strategy to move forward.

Designing your life idea #3: Brainstorm your possible futures and make three Odyssey Plans

For this idea, let’s go back to this idea of multiples. I like to do a thought experiment with my students. I say, “physicists have demonstrated that this multiverse-thing might be real; there are multiple parallel universes that are one right next to each other. Let’s say you could live in all the multiverses simultaneously. Not only that, but you’d know about your life in each one of these instances. You could be a ballerina and a scientist and a CPA or whatever else you ever wanted to be. You could have all these lives in parallel, so how many lives would you want?”

I get answers from 3 to 10,000, but on average, most people think they have about 7 ½ really good lives that they could live.

Then I say, “Great! There are more lives than one in you. So let’s go on an Odyssey and ideate those other lives. We’re going to ideate your future – and you can’t ideate just one — you have to ideate three.”

There’s some research from the Stanford School of Education that says if you start with three ideas and you brainstorm from there, you get a much richer and a wider range of ideas. The ideas are more generative and lead to better solutions than if you’d just started with one idea and brainstormed from there. I also think there’s something magical about threes. When we help people imagine three completely different lives, we’ve found that it can be transformational.

To guide them, we give them this rubric.

Life #1 is the life and job that you’re currently living — just make it better. Put in all the bucket list stuff you want to do. Maybe you want to go to the Galapagos or write a book or bicycle across the country. It’s your life and your job as you’re living it now, but your job goes great and your life includes all the extra interesting things that you’ve thought about doing.

For Life #2, let’s pretend that your job just doesn’t exist anymore. The AI and robots have come, and your job has disappeared. What are you going to do instead? What will you do if Life #1 goes away?

And for Life #3, this is your wild card plan. What would you do if you didn’t have to worry about money? If you had enough money — not so much that you’re fabulously wealthy but enough and to live on — what would you do? And what would you do if you knew no one would laugh at you? Maybe you’d go to study butterflies for a living or be a bartender in Belize. Whatever, it’s your wildcard!

What happens when people do these Odyssey Plans is that they realize that these three parallel lives are all pretty interesting. And doable. They also realize there are things, life ideas, that got left behind in the business of life and bring them back into their plans. Sometimes, because of this exercise, folks decide to pivot to an entirely different life plan. Mostly they use this as a method to ideate all the possible wonderful ways that they could live.

Designing your life idea #4: Build some prototypes

You could immediately start executing one of your Odyssey lives, but in the design process, the thing you do after you come up with lots of new ideas is you start prototyping.

The science-fiction writer William Gibson has a famous quote: “The future is already here. It’s just unevenly distributed.” To discover this future, we prototype. When we say prototyping, we ask the question: “What would it be like if I tried this possible future in some small an easy to execute way?” Prototypes help you expose your assumptions. It’s easy. You can have what we call a prototype conversation. There’s already someone bartending in Belize — she’s been doing it for years. You could talk to her and have a conversation about her experience. And rest assured, somebody, somewhere is doing the thing you want to prototype, the thing you’re you’re interested in. They’re living in your future. All you have to do is talk to them! When you have a conversation with them, they’ll tell you their story. If you hear something that rings true for you, you can identify that as a potential way of moving forward.

Instead of a prototype conversation you could also try a prototype experience. Dave and I were working with a woman in her late 40s. She was in the middle of her career and a very successful tech executive, but she told us she wanted to move her career from money-making to meaning-making. One idea was to go back to school, get a degree in early childhood education, and start working with kids.

But she said, “I don’t know; I’m 45. Going back to school — is that going to work? And I heard about millennials and how they don’t like people my age. How do I prototype this?”

We said, “You just have to go try this, it’s a prototype experience.” We sent her to sit-in on an education class. She wasn’t registered, but she just went in and sat down to listen. When she came back to us, she said, “It was fantastic. I walked into the lecture hall. I sat down; my body was on fire. The lecture was so interesting and then I met these millennials, and it turns out, they’re pretty interesting people. They think I’m interesting too because I’m going back to school at 45. I’ve set up three prototype conversations with them!”

The lesson here: We are more than just our brains, and when you have a felt experience — meaning an experience in your body — that’s a great way to find out if one of your ideas might work for you.

Designing your life idea #5: Choose well

When many people make decisions, they end up not being happy with them. So many of us have FOMO, the fear of missing out and we worry: “What if I didn’t pick the right thing?” Or, “I’m worried about whether or not I made the best decision, and what if I want to change my mind?”

Narrowing down your choices can be quite simple if you understand the psychology of decision-making. After the rational pro-con lists, choosing is about that feeling in your stomach. Pay attention to your felt sensations, the feelings that you experience in your body. Without your emotions and your gut feelings, you can’t make good decisions.

After following your gut, you need to let go of all the other options and move on. By the way, this has always been the hardest part for me. But there is evidence that “going all in” is the best way to choose. In a psychology experiment run by Harvard University professor Dan Gilbert, researchers showed five Monet prints to participants and asked them to rank them from best to least. Afterwards, the researcher said to some participants, “I bought too many of prints two and three. If you want to take one home, you can keep it.” With the other participants, the researcher said the same thing but added, “If you don’t like the one you picked out, you can come back and exchange it for another one.”

Then, they brought the people back a week later and asked them, “Which print do you like now?” they found the people who were allowed to change their minds didn’t like the print they took, and they actually didn’t like any of them anymore. Meanwhile, the people in the other group — the ones who were told they could not change their mind — loved their print. They liked it the best and ranked it even higher than before. The lesson from this experiment is that when given the option, the reversible condition is not conducive to creating happiness. So, go ahead and make a good choice, and then make it irrevocable. You will be happier.

Once you get good at gathering, creating and choosing ideas, you also want to make sure you leave room for lucky or serendipitous ideas. Being lucky is about paying attention to the task at hand while keeping your peripheral vision open. It’s in your peripheral vision that interesting opportunities show up that you were not expecting. Taking advantage of these opportunities is how we define “luck”.

To recap, these are my five life design ideas: 1) Connect your dots to find meaning; 2) Be wary of gravity problems; 3) Do three Odyssey Plans, or three ideations for your life; 4) Prototype everything; 5) To choose well, make your choices emotional and irrevocable.

We know you can design your life because thousands of students, mid-career folks, and folks thinking about retirement have already done it. Two PhD studies have concluded that our class develops higher self-efficacy and lower dysfunctional beliefs in people. And that helps them feels what David Kelley calls “creative confidence”. It’s been fascinating to watch our students go through the class and walk out, saying, “You know what? I’m guess I am a pretty creative person.”

The designing your life idea is pretty simple — get curious, talk to people, try stuff and tell your story. That’s how you achieve a well-designed life, one that’s generative, constantly creative, productive, changing, evolving and where there’s always the possibility of surprise.

This post was adapted from a TEDxStanford Talk. Watch it here:  

Collection – How COVID-19 is speeding up Vietnam’s digital transformation

Authors: Quan Vu Le, Fulbright University Vietnam and Jason Quang Nguyen, VNU-HCMC

Full link: https://www.eastasiaforum.org/2021/02/23/how-covid-19-is-speeding-up-vietnams-digital-transformation/?utm_source=subscribe2&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=postnotify&utm_id=332167&utm_title=How%20COVID-19%20is%20speeding%20up%20Vietnam%26rsquo%3Bs%20digital%20transformation

The Lunar New Year, ‘Tet’ in Vietnamese, is the most important celebration in the country. This year’s festival on 12 February was accompanied by much uncertainty as Vietnam was hit by a third COVID-19 outbreak just days prior.

A customer pays in a corner shop where a plastic divider is installed as
a measure against the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) at a shop
in Hanoi, Vietnam, 18 February, 2021 (Photo: Reuters/Thanh Hue).

The first case of the UK variant of the virus was discovered in Hai Duong province on 28 January and quickly spread to 13 provinces and cities throughout Vietnam, resulting in over 791 new community cases since the beginning of this third wave.

The sensitive timing of the outbreak elevated health and safety concerns as many Vietnamese had travel plans for reunions and family festivities. The government issued several social isolation orders in major cities, limiting inbound and outbound travel. The Ministry of Health and the World Health Organization’s office in Vietnam recommended people celebrate Tet safely with the message that ‘health is the most precious gift we can give each other this Tetholiday’.

Tet is prime time for increased spending thanks to a long tradition of gift-giving, drinking and dining with friends and family, and sprucing up the home for the holidays. The health measures and social distancing orders therefore dampened the Vietnamese economy, which had shown promising signs of recovery after recovering from the first two waves of COVID-19.

Amid this looming crisis, more and more Vietnamese turned to e-commerce platforms and digital financial services for Tet preparation. Tiki, one of the four largest online shopping platforms in Vietnam, reported that its transaction volume in January surged 50 per cent compared to the same period last year. Due to the new outbreak leading up to Tet, it is likely that all e-commerce platforms experienced a massive surge in activity. The National Payment Corporation of Vietnam (NAPAS) reported a significant surge in the numbers of transactions in e-commerce and interbank funds transfers since 28 January, continuing to rise after the holidays.

Many Vietnamese businesses and services have also taken measures such as speeding up digital transformation projects and offering new services to meet this new demand. ZaloPay, one of Vietnam’s largest electronic wallets, strongly promoted its ‘li xi’ service, a new digital approach to the tradition of elderly people giving lucky money to children. Many supermarkets, including Big C and Coop Mart, teamed up with digital wallets and online shopping platforms for marketing campaigns to promote online shopping and delivery services for Tet preparation.

These campaigns are gaining traction and could potentially help companies expand their customer bases as they address health and safety concerns. Such concerns have been an important driver of the surge in usage of e-commerce and digital financial services, especially among elderly consumers, during the last two waves of COVID-19 in Vietnam.

The COVID-19 pandemic, for all its negative impacts on health, society and economy, is expediting the growth of Vietnamese e-commerce and digital finance, paving the way for the country to fulfill its digital potential. Traffic on e-commerce platforms in 2020 was 150 per cent higher than the previous year, with approximately 3.5 million visitors per day on various platforms.

Usage of digital financial services, including internet banking, e-wallets and mobile money, have also risen significantly, placing Vietnam among the top three countries in Southeast Asia for e-commerce growth. Revenue in the sector is projected to reach US$7 billion in 2021, an increase of 16.2 per cent year-on-year. The number of users is expected to rise 13.5 per cent year-on-year to 51.8 million, with an average revenue of US$135 per user.

Since living with the virus will likely become the new normal following the pandemic, health and safety concerns will remain important factors influencing consumers’ online shopping behaviour. Firms can quickly reinvent their processes and services to survive and even benefit from the pandemic by addressing these concerns. This also highlights the importance of digital transformation, which helps establish and maintain a stable channel for businesses and services despite disruptions from unpredictable shocks like COVID-19.

Digital health is another area the healthcare industry should pay attention to going forward. Demand for consumer health electronics and telemedicine are rising strongly in Vietnam amid growing challenges from infectious diseases such as COVID-19 as well as from non-communicable diseases.

What has been seen in both consumers’ behavioural changes and in business’ strategies strongly points towards faster digital transformation in businesses and services due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It is also encouraging that businesses in Vietnam have transformed in a way that better supports equal access to healthcare, enhanced safety measures and stronger collaboration across industries. This spurs the digital transformation that is essential for emerging economies like Vietnam.

Quan Vu Le is Director of the Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative (YSEALI) Academy, Fulbright University Vietnam.

Jason Quang Nguyen is a Senior Research Fellow at the Institute for Circular Economy Development, Vietnam National University, Ho Chi Minh City.

Collection – Adapting your operating model to the next normal: The next big move in chemicals

By Alexander Klei, Chantal Lorbeer, and Ulrich Weihe

Full link: https://www.mckinsey.com/industries/chemicals/our-insights/adapting-your-operating-model-to-the-next-normal-the-next-big-move-in-chemicals?cid=other-eml-alt-mip-mck&hdpid=292cfd90-f017-4a00-b871-a005830b779c&hctky=2618809&hlkid=125d06b7300d446ea53f6d37b51295e1#

Increasing uncertainty in chemicals requires companies to adopt new operating models. Four guiding principles can help players incorporate strategies that reflect the new realities of the industry.

After the financial crisis and economic downturn of 2007–08, the global chemical industry underwent a decade of solid growth and value creation, outperforming the world market index in total returns to shareholders (TRS). In the last five years, however, chemicals has fallen behind, and new realities have resulted in a challenging outlook.  15:18AudioListen to the article

To begin, organic revenue growth in Europe has come to a halt after decades of slowing down, and despite years of outstanding growth, China’s economy is expected to grow slower than ever before.1 In addition, industry segments have been hit by various disruptors. Increased emphasis on the circular economy has affected petrochemicals. Specialty chemicals can no longer simply rely on material or technological innovations, as value is now often created by tailoring certain materials to specific applications or end customers. Finally, the COVID-19 crisis has introduced additional uncertainty and led to delayed investments, potential supply-chain changes, and increased regionalization.

In each of these circumstances, focused chemical players (those that earn more than 80 percent of their revenue from, at most, two chemical segments) have outperformed less-focused players (Exhibit 1). However, increased uncertainty and changing market environments have widened the spread over the past two years. This is due, in part, to increased flexibility to adapt to new realities in specific segments, which are sometimes vastly different than others.

Focused chemical players have outperformed less-focused players in the long run—especially in the last two years.
Exhibit 1

Traditional value-creation pathways, such as cost-cutting efforts, have been depleted. And while many companies have chosen to focus on portfolio management, few have updated their operating models to incorporate strategies that reflect the new realities of the industry. This article explains how companies can overcome today’s challenges and unleash their full potential by rethinking their business needs and moving to new-generation operating models.

Evolving operating models in chemicals

Roughly 30 years ago, most chemical companies implemented operating models centered around key functions, such as marketing and sales, R&D, HR, and procurement. This is particularly true of larger players, which often aimed to achieve the maximum possible scale effects through centralized functions.

In the past ten to 20 years, however, an increasing number of companies have switched to business-oriented operating models. During this time, chemical players typically built several business units that utilized product-oriented technology push marketing (effectively “pushing” their products in front of customers). This strategy was mainly driven by an increased emphasis on innovation and the continuous improvement of products. Ultimately, focusing on businesses and products helped chemical companies overcome functional silos and make the most out of their superior technology assets.

Today, the chemical landscape—and its end industries—has become more complex. The semiconductor industry continues to push the boundaries of Moore’s law (the idea that the number of transistors in an integrated circuit doubles every two years, approximately), and disruptive changes in how the vehicle of the future will look have led to both increased pressure on prices in the automotive industry and a shift to new value pools for materials. Meanwhile, most end industries in chemicals no longer need to wait for the next technological revolution, instead shifting to customer-centric solutions. In turn, they require the same approach from their chemical suppliers. Most prominently, geopolitical tensions, sustainability, and advanced analytics are changing established value-creation pathways.

The chemical industry is quite granular, with more than 25 segments all serving a multitude of different end industries. Thus, adapting to the new normal requires flexibility. With this in mind, we analyzed the top 1002 chemical companies in the two years leading up to the COVID-19 crisis and identified the measures they took to react to both increasing changes and the more granular evolution of the industry. Such measures include the following:

  • adapting the corporate portfolio through divesting businesses or assets, through mergers and acquisitions, or by shutting down assets
  • evolving the product portfolio through expansion into higher margin or growth (specialty) products, streamlining the product portfolio, pursuing product innovation, or rationalizing capacities for specific products
  • promoting restructuring, such as reorganization or switching to new operating models
  • driving performance improvements through operational excellence or efficiency improvements

Nearly half the companies we looked at strove to adapt their corporate portfolios, with M&A and divestitures as the most frequently mentioned countermeasures (Exhibit 2). More specifically, 50 percent of chemical players aimed to evolve their product portfolios, mainly by expanding higher margin (specialty) products. Comparatively few players (23 percent) were willing to undergo structural changes. Even fewer companies (15 percent) aimed to drive performance improvements before the pandemic.

Before the pandemic, nearly half of the top 100 chemical companies reacted to industry change by adapting their corporate portfolios instead of considering comprehensive operating-model transformation.
Exhibit 2

A comprehensive operating-model transformation, however, entails changes to the product portfolio as well as structural changes and performance improvements. In other words, many players aimed at a different playing field rather than adapting to the new rules of the game.

In other words, many players aimed at a different playing field rather than adapting to the new rules of the game.

Furthermore, many chemical companies have diversified for less-focused portfolios, which require different operating models for different business units. Others do not differentiate operating models between businesses, even though they should. Most often, an operating-model change is only triggered by external factors or changes, such as the appointment of a new CEO or the intention to sell parts of the business. Rather, the change should be part of a periodic strategic consideration, assuming the business setup allows for strategy implementation and the desired performance.

Different needs for different business archetypes

How can chemical players move to a new-generation operating model? First, there is no single, perfect solution for how companies should react to the industry’s new realities. Every chemical player needs to understand the specific dynamics of its markets, products, and customers before identifying the best operating model for its businesses. With regard to markets, it is important to disentangle true growth markets from those that are only slightly growing, remaining stable, or declining. For products, chemical executives need to ask themselves if they are in the “push” or “pull” game (pushing products in front of customers or pulling customer interest with solutions), as well as if their model is sustainable in the future. And for customers, chemical players must ask themselves if their base matches their strategic vision.

A potential starting point for an integrated perspective is assessing the archetype of each of the company’s businesses. Four such archetypes symbolize the different requirements for value creation: technology push play, application pull play, end-market play, and cost and asset play (Exhibit 3).

Four business archetypes illustrate how chemical companies can create value when transitioning their operating models.
Exhibit 3
  • Technology push play. These companies drive innovation in the market. Their unique, differentiated technology can shape customer needs and set new industry standards.
  • Application pull play. Companies in this archetype work closely with customers to improve products and tailor them to specific applications across markets. These companies typically have strong customer-facing application teams that translate customer needs into chemical solutions.
  • End-market play. The end market is the final evolution to customer centricity. These companies provide a portfolio of products or services to fulfill the needs of their customers’ clients and are typically the primary supplier for their customers’ businesses.
  • Cost and asset play. These companies supply products to a broader set of markets or customers. Aiming to minimize costs, they leverage asset integration and operational excellence.

Each business archetype is informed by many factors, including the required R&D investments; the selling, general, and administrative costs that can be allocated; the share of raw materials sourced; the overall capital intensity of the business; and, perhaps most importantly, how to serve their customers. These factors have strong implications for which operating model is required.

As an example, a company in a former technology push play archetype—organized by siloed businesses and pushing hard on R&D—found itself in a situation in which customers no longer waited for the new intrinsic performance improvement of their products (adhesives, pigments, additives, or coatings). Instead, customers moved to dedicated end markets such as cosmetics, packaging, automotive, and food and beverage to solve specific problems—for example, matching the color of lipstick to bags or clothing, increasing the reusability of packaging, or developing a UV-resistant coating for cars sold in the Middle East. Such external changes require the following big moves:

  • Focus R&D resources. Shift from budgeting for all businesses, as per current revenues, to focusing on a few winning solutions (such as 3-D printing) and a strong shift toward more application development (such as a new finishing lab for automotive coatings).
  • Pursue a true customer-centric setup. A customer-centric commercial organization organized according to customer needs (and not products or businesses), with the customer steering the business priorities.
  • Establish front-back models. While the customer-facing aspects of the organization typically require a market-back setup, manufacturing, supply chain, and sometimes innovation and back office services can be run most effectively across different end markets, which dissolves classical profit-and-loss units.

Many chemical companies have evolved over the past ten years according to their unique situations, sometimes resulting in vastly different operating-model needs in their businesses. As a result, developing or switching to a new operating model can be quite complex and cumbersome due to countless interfaces and interdependencies within the company, as well as the political maneuvering and finesse required. Furthermore, the corporate center often determines the degree of operating-model flexibility of businesses, which can make operating-model changes that much more difficult.

Thus, the question remains: How can executives succeed in designing and shifting to their new operating models? For each specific environment, companies need to set up a distinct operating model that best supports their strategies, specific to their customers and business needs.

Embracing a successful new-generation operating model

The starting point of each operating-model discussion should be a strategic recap and a deep understanding of how value is created now and how it will be created in the future. For instance, key value levers of cost and asset play archetypes include cost leadership, functional excellence, and standardized product quality, among others, while value levers of an application pull play include application-development capabilities, proximity to customers, and levels of service. By exploring different value levers, chemical executives can challenge the status quo and identify the most important areas in which to take action.

Because value creation is strongly rooted in individual chemical segments, there are no universally valid operating-model best practices. Those with multiple business units should differentiate their operating models. This can be done according to the four archetypes and subsequently tailored as needed. In addition, leaders should decide on the role of corporate, especially when the company’s business units adhere to more than one archetype. In this case, granting autonomy in day-to-day operations can allow each business unit to flourish, as centralized operations can stifle differentiation.

With all this in mind, a set of guiding principles can support chemical companies in maneuvering the design and implementation of their new operating models.

Revise the product portfolio based on the business archetype, and adjust as needed

The product portfolio should reflect the value-creation logic and the key value proposition of the business. For instance, chemical executives aiming at cost leadership need to consider removing R&D-heavy products from their portfolios. By contrast, companies in the technology push play should focus on innovative, R&D-heavy products and eliminate commoditizing products from their portfolios. Making such adjustments to product portfolios will help chemical companies bring their value propositions to life, while at the same time avoiding inconsistencies with new operating models.

Set ambitious cost and performance targets, and capture them through diligent tracking

Market dynamics will push businesses to “should costs,” or projections based on efficiency, in the medium to long term. Hence, to be successful, chemical players should triangulate current costs with peer benchmarking and zero-based budgeting to set cost and performance ambitions for their businesses. While incremental functional improvements can only yield smaller cost improvements, operating-model changes (such as changing to digital channels or automating back-end processes) still offer step changes.

Diligent tracking not only ensures the full potential is captured but also drives commitment for the operating-model changes through the link to value potential.

Think beyond traditional ‘boxes and lines,’ and focus on roles, responsibilities, and performance management

Structure, products, and performance are equally important and require the attention of top management.

The organizational chart is an important component of the operating model, yet it is not the only one. Structure, products, and performance are equally important and require the attention of top management. Many companies successfully bring key aspects of their operating models to life via crystal-clear roles and responsibilities. Also, performance management is often overlooked. For instance, setting a profitability key performance indicator (KPI), such as gross margin or EBITDA3 margin, can lead to significantly different business outcomes than setting a capital-efficiency KPI, such as ROIC.

Drive the operating-model design from the top down, but clearly articulate how and why things will change

There is a truth behind the idiom, “Too many cooks spoil the broth,” especially when it comes to operating-model design. Operating-model design is typically not successful as a democratic process with a large number of project team members due to its highly sensitive nature and many different personal agendas. Senior executives are better off collecting input from key stakeholders across the organization but making decisions in a smaller, top-down circle. Different operating models might require different managerial or operational mindsets, and successful managers of one archetype are not necessarily successful in others. Hence, chemical leaders need to select the right talent for managing the new operating model and performance ambitions of the business; they must also put an effort into change management for the broader organization, to adopt necessary behaviors and skills.


A new operating model will not be able to halt changes to political legislation, the environment, or the customer landscape, nor will it halt the impact of sustainability and advanced analytics. Leaders need to carefully monitor affected businesses and act swiftly. Top executives should also keep the corporate perspective in mind. By overhauling the strategy and operating model of the affected businesses, leaders can generate substantial value for shareholders, employees, and society.

Landscape – How Americans Navigated the News in 2020: A Tumultuous Year in Review

By AMY MITCHELLMARK JURKOWITZJ. BAXTER OLIPHANT AND ELISA SHEARER

Full link: https://www.journalism.org/2021/02/22/how-americans-navigated-the-news-in-2020-a-tumultuous-year-in-review/?utm_source=Pew+Research+Center&utm_campaign=66f30d1485-Weekly_2021_02_27&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_3e953b9b70-66f30d1485-400737085

Americans inhabited different information environments, with wide gaps in how they viewed the election and COVID-19

The front page headline of a newspaper states "FROM PANDEMIC TO A NEW PRESIDENT" on December 31, 2020 in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware. (Mark Makela/Getty Images)
(Mark Makela/Getty Images)

Americans are divided – that much is obvious after a contentious presidential election and transition, and in the midst of a politicized pandemic that has prompted a wide range of reactions.

But in addition to the familiar fault line of political partisanship, a look back at Pew Research Center’s American News Pathways project finds there have consistently been dramatic divides between different groups of Americans based on where people get their information about what is going on in the world.

For example, Republicans who looked to former President Donald Trump for their news about the 2020 election or the coronavirus pandemic were more likely to believe false or unproven claims about these events. And while Americans widely agree that misinformation is a major problem, they do not see eye to eye about what actually constitutes misinformation. In many cases, one person’s truth is another’s fiction.

From November 2019 through December 2020, the Pathways project explored how Americans’ news habits and attitudes related to what they heard, perceived and knew about the 2020 presidential election and COVID-19. The research was based on 10 different surveys conducted on the Center’s American Trends Panel, a nationally representative panel of U.S. adults. Each survey consisted of about 9,000 or more U.S. adults.

Over the course of the year, as part of the project, the Center published more than 50 individual analyses and made data from more than 580 survey questions available to the public in an interactive data tool. We now have the opportunity to look back at the findings over the full course of the year and gather together the key takeaways that emerged.

Roadmap to the report

This report explores these and other key findings around five areas of discovery. Chapter 1 examines the evidence pointing to media “echo chambers” on the left and the right, and a new analysis of the Americans who consistently turned to these echo chambers over the course of the study. Chapter 2 analyzes Trump’s role as a source of news about the coronavirus outbreak and the presidential election. Chapter 3 explores Americans’ concern about and views of misinformation. Chapter 4 looks at how Americans who rely on social media for news stand apart. And Chapter 5 looks back on views of the COVID-19 outbreak and media coverage over time.

1. About a quarter of Republicans, Democrats consistently turned only to news outlets whose audiences aligned with them politically in 2020

At the outset of the election year, a Pew Research Center study found Democrats and Republicans increasingly relied on two divergent media ecosystems.

During the course of the presidential campaign, the Americans News Pathways project reexamined these news habits multiple times, with a particular focus on partisans who got more news from outlets with audiences that shared their political leanings versus those who got news from outlets with more politically diverse audiences.

Looking at Americans with consistent media diets over the course of a year

This analysis combines information about Americans’ media diets from three separate surveys conducted in November 2019, September 2020 and November 2020.

We look at which Americans had similar media diets in at least in at least two out of those three surveys.

The rest of this report looks at findings  from American News Pathways analyses from throughout the year, including analysis based on Americans’ media diets at the time of each survey.

See the Appendix for more details.

The new analysis in this chapter studies the sources Americans said they used for political and election news across three surveys – in November 2019, September 2020 and November 2020 – to explore those Republicans and Democrats who consistently got news only from outlets whose audiences shared their political views compared with those Republicans and Democrats who turned to news outlets with more politically diverse users.

We define consistency here as having the same type of media diet in at least two out of the three surveys. For example, we identify those Americans who got political news only from sources with like-minded audiences in at least two of the three surveys (e.g., Republicans who only used sources with right-leaning audiences and Democrats who only used sources with left-leaning audiences in at least two surveys) and respondents who got news from sources whose audiences had mixed political views or leaned toward the other side in at least two of the three surveys. See the appendix for more details.

Takeaway #1: About a quarter of Republicans and Democrats consistently turned to partisan news media bubbles

Chart shows minorities of partisans consistently relied only on news outlets whose audiences lean their way politically

Overall, 24% of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents consistently turned only to sources with right-leaning audiences in at least two of three Pathways surveys, and 25% of Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents chose only outlets with left-leaning audiences in at least two of the three surveys. Another 48% of Democrats and 34% of Republicans used sources with audiences that are politically mixed (e.g., the ABC, CBS or NBC TV networks) or that tilt toward the other end of the political spectrum in at least two of the three surveys.1

The study also reveals that 41% of Republicans and about a quarter of Democrats (27%) did not have either of these consistent media diets across the three surveys. Someone, for example, may have turned only to sources with right-leaning audiences in the November 2019 survey, but then relied on sources with a mix of audiences in September 2020 and didn’t turn to any major sources in November 2020. These Americans often did not use any of the major national sources asked about in the surveys and tended to follow major news storylines such as the COVID-19 outbreak and the 2020 election less closely than others.

Takeaway #2: Republicans and Democrats using news sources with like-minded audiences tend to describe their views as more ideologically consistent

Chart shows Republicans and Democrats who consistently turned only to news outlets with like-minded audiences are more ideological than others in their party

Republicans and Democrats who, during the 2020 presidential election, consistently got their political news only from major news outlets whose audiences share their political leanings are generally more ideological than others in their parties.

Republicans and Republican-leaning independents who generally stuck with news outlets whose audiences lean to the right politically overwhelmingly call themselves conservatives (86%), with more than half saying they are “conservative” and 32% saying they are “very conservative.” Among Republicans who turned to outlets with mixed or left-leaning audiences, fewer describe themselves as conservative or very conservative (48%). Among all other Republicans, 58% are conservative or very conservative.

Similarly, the most liberal group of news media consumers among Democrats are those who consistently used only news outlets with left-leaning audiences: 70% say they are liberals, including about a quarter who are “very liberal” (27%). By contrast, only about a third of Democrats who consistently used news outlets with politically mixed or right-leaning audiences (39%) call their political views liberal; about half in this group say they are moderates (49%).

The study cannot speak to whether news consumption habits shape political ideology, or whether people with stronger ideologies tend to seek out news sources that are friendlier to their perspectives. Still, the data shows that there is a strong relationship between consistently using news outlets whose audiences share respondents’ politics and those respondents’ own political views.

Takeaway #3: Just under half of Republicans who turned only to outlets with like-minded audiences are 65 and older

Among Republicans, those who consistently turned only to news outlets with like-minded audiences are far more likely to be 50 and older

There are stark age differences among Republicans with different media diets. Republicans who consistently turned only to outlets with like-minded audiences are much older than the other groups: 79% are ages 50 and older, while just 4% of the group are 18 to 29.

Among Republicans who consistently turned to outlets with more mixed or left-leaning audiences, fewer are 50 and older (55%), while 14% range from 18 to 29.

Among Democrats, there are somewhat smaller age differences between the group who turned consistently only to outlets with left-leaning audiences and those who consistently turned to outlets with mixed or right-leaning audiences (60% and 44% are under age 50, respectively).

Takeaway #4: Among Democrats, race and ethnicity and education vary across different media diets

Chart shows Democrats who consistently turned to news outlets with left-leaning audiences are much more highly educated

There is little difference among Republicans in educational attainment across these news consumption groupings. That is not the case, however, among Democrats.

Democrats who consistently used only news outlets with left-leaning audiences to get political news during the past year have much higher levels of education than Democrats with other news consumption habits. About six-in-ten U.S. adults in this group have college degrees, including about a third (34%) with postgraduate degrees. Among other Democrats, only about three-in-ten or fewer have completed college.

Chart shows among Democrats, those who consistently turned only to news outlets with like-minded audiences are more likely to be White

Similarly, looking at the race and ethnicity of each group, there are large differences among Democrats by media diet. While a majority of the group who consistently turned only to outlets with left-leaning audiences are White (71%), a minority (42%) of Democrats who consistently turned to outlets with other types of audiences are. And Democrats who consistently turned to outlets with mixed or right-leaning audiences are more likely than other groups among Democrats to be Black (29%), and 21% of them are Hispanic.

Among Republicans, large majorities of all the groups are White – reflecting the GOP’s composition overall.

Takeaway #5: Network TV news emerged as the one area of common ground between parties

Chart shows of news sources studied, Republicans most often stuck with Fox News for election news, while many Democrats turned to CNN

Looking at the individual news sources within each media group in our study, Republicans and Democrats generally got political news from different outlets throughout the 2020 presidential election, with one notable exception. Sizable shares in both parties (43% of Democrats and 26% of Republicans) turned to network TV news in at least two of the three surveys conducted during the election.

Otherwise, the greatest share of Republicans who stuck with any of these outlets over the year were turning to Fox News (36%), followed by talk radio (17%). Much smaller portions (9% or fewer) of Republicans used any of the other five individual outlets asked about.

Conversely, only 11% of Democrats used Fox News in at least two of the three surveys, and an even smaller portion (1%) turned to talk radio consistently.

Beyond the 43% of Democrats who consistently turned to network TV news, Democrats most often looked to CNN (39% used in at least two of the three surveys), NPR (24%), MSNBC (22%), The New York Times (21%) and The Washington Post (14%). While 9% of Republicans consistently stayed with CNN for political news, 4% or fewer of Republicans consistently turned to each of these other top Democratic sources.

2. Republicans who relied on Trump for news in 2020 diverged from others in GOP in views of COVID-19, election

Chart shows for roughly three-in-ten Republicans, Trump was a major source of election and/or COVID-19 news

While large partisan gaps emerged in views of two dominant stories of last year – the COVID-19 pandemic and the presidential election – there also was one clear and consistent difference within a single party. As a whole, Republicans who turned to Donald Trump as a key source of news about these events had different perspectives from Republicans who did not.

Overall, around three-in-ten Republicans and Republican-leaning independents (32%) said in April of 2020 that they relied most on Trump and the White House coronavirus task force for COVID-19 news, while a slightly smaller share (27%) said in September 2020 that the Trump campaign was a major source of news about politics and the presidential election for them. Survey data from the Center’s American News Pathways project reveals that these Republicans were more likely than other Republicans to think the COVID-19 pandemic had been overblown, more likely to see voter fraud as a significant threat to election integrity and more likely to render a harsh verdict on the media. These are all views that are largely in sync with the former president’s messaging and narratives.

Takeaway #1: Those Republicans who relied on Trump for COVID-19 news were more likely to say the pandemic was overblown and that the media covered it poorly

Chart shows among Republicans, those who turned to Trump for COVID-19 news paid closer attention to it throughout 2020

Republicans who relied most on Trump and his coronavirus task force for news about the pandemic followed that coverage more closely than other Republicans. In March, 57% of Republicans who were looking to Trump and the White House said they were following coronavirus news very closely, compared with 43% of other Republicans. By November, with interest in COVID-19 news waning among all Republicans, those who turned to Trump still were more likely to be following coronavirus coverage very closely (31%) than Republicans who were looking elsewhere (23%).

Chart shows Republicans who relied on Trump for COVID-19 news somewhat more critical of media coverage of the pandemic

Among those who relied most on Trump and the White House coronavirus task force for news about the pandemic, views were more aligned with Trump’s messaging. For instance, among the consistent messages from then-President Trump were that the COVID-19 pandemic had been overblown, that his administration was handling the situation effectively and that the outbreak would soon abate.

In early September, nearly nine-in-ten Republicans relying on Trump (89%) said the U.S. had controlled the outbreak as much as it could have. That number was 30 percentage points lower (59%) among other Republicans. By late November, even as virus cases surged throughout the country, that difference remained – 87% of Republicans who were turning to Trump for COVID-19 news said the outbreak had been controlled as much as possible, vs. 56% of other Republicans.

Throughout the year, Trump also continued to criticize news organizations and accuse them of providing erroneous and misleading information – often calling it “fake news.”

Chart shows Republicans who relied on Trump for COVID-19 news somewhat more critical of media coverage of the pandemic

Indeed, the survey data suggests that the group relying on Trump for information about the coronavirus was more likely to be critical of the media. In March, as the COVID-19 outbreak was first being felt in the U.S., Republicans who relied most on Trump and the White House coronavirus task force for news were somewhat less likely than other Republicans to say the media had done “very” or “somewhat” well covering the pandemic (55% vs. 60%). In late April, that gap widened, with 45% of the Trump group saying the media had done well, compared with 57% of Republicans who did not turn to Trump. And in early September, as overall Republican views of coverage grew more critical, 39% of the Trump group said the media had covered the pandemic well.

Chart shows Republicans who turned to Trump for news were more likely to say COVID-19 overblown, media coverage inaccurate

Another question that was asked multiple times over the course of the year did not mention the media explicitly, but was related: Had the COVID-19 outbreak been overblown or underplayed? Again, the gap between Republicans who relied on Trump for their news about the outbreak and those who didn’t remained steady throughout the year.

In late April, about half of the Republicans who relied on Trump for COVID-19 news (53%) said the pandemic had been made into a bigger deal than it really was, compared with 44% among other Republicans. By September, that number had grown to 75% of those in the Trump group and 63% of other Republicans. In late November, as cases began to spike again nationally, 66% of Republicans relying on Trump still said the outbreak was being exaggerated, again higher than the 53% among other Republicans.

Similarly, in the late April survey, half of Republicans who relied most on Trump and the White House task force for news about the pandemic (50%) said that media coverage of the outbreak was largely inaccurate, compared with about one-third (34%) of Republicans who were not most reliant on Trump. A majority (63%) of those most reliant on Trump also said that same media coverage was hurting the country, while a smaller share of other Republicans (50%) shared this perspective.

In addition, two-thirds of Republicans who turned most to Trump (67%) said pandemic coverage revealed journalists to be working mainly to benefit themselves rather than the public, compared with 52% of Republicans who mostly got their news about the pandemic elsewhere. And 43% in the Trump group said coverage was not providing them the information they needed, while fewer (33%) said it was providing the necessary information. Among those not relying on Trump, the numbers were reversed: 48% reported getting the information they needed, while 31% were not.

Takeaway #2: Republicans turning to Trump for election news expressed more concern about voter fraud connected to mail-in ballots

Chart shows Republicans who relied on Trump for election news were more highly engaged

Similar to the pattern on the coronavirus, Republicans who used Trump and his campaign as a major source for election news were much more likely to pay close attention to the 2020 presidential race than Republicans who did not. In early September, 43% of those who said Trump was a major source reported having followed the GOP nominating convention very closely, about four times as many as other Republicans (10%). That same month, half of those who were turning to the Trump campaign reported that they were following news of the candidates very closely, compared with 22% of Republicans who did not use Trump as a major source of election news. And in October, as interest in the election grew across the board, that gap remained: 62% of Republicans who turned to Trump were following very closely, roughly double the share of other Republicans (32%).

Once Election Day passed, this pattern persisted when it came to following Trump’s post-election statements. While 45% of those using Trump as a major source were following those statements very closely, only 17% of the other Republicans were, according to a late November survey.

Chart shows about seven-in-ten Republicans who looked to Trump as a major source of news saw media’s election coverage as inaccurate, harmful to democracy

Differences among Republicans in views of media coverage of the election also emerged in November. No immediate winner was announced on Nov. 3 as the major media outlets waited for vote-counting to continue for four days before calling the race for Joe Biden. Just after the election, Trump falsely declared himself the winner. He continued to claimwithout evidence, that the outcome had been tainted by widespread voter fraud, and launched numerous unsuccessful legal and political challenges to the results.

About seven-in-ten Republicans who used Trump and his campaign as a major source for campaign news (71%) said media coverage after the polls closed on Nov. 3 was largely inaccurate – substantially higher than the 55% of Republicans who did not turn to Trump as a key source. In addition, a similar share of those in the Trump group (69%) said the media’s election coverage did not give them the information they needed, compared with 54% of other Republicans.

Chart shows Republicans who turned to Trump for election news were far more likely to see voter fraud as a major problem

Again, roughly seven-in-ten Republicans who relied on Trump for their election news (72%) said post-Election Day coverage hurt democracy, compared with 59% of other Republicans. And 76% of those who used Trump as a major source said the coverage after the polls closed was not professional; that number slipped to 62% among Republicans who did not turn to Trump. To be sure, skepticism toward the media is common among all Republicans, but these findings show that it was especially widespread among those who were getting their news from Trump directly.

On a number of occasions before Election Day, Trump had falsely claimed that mail-in voting, which became more significant in the 2020 election because of concerns about in-person voting during the pandemic, was unreliable and susceptible to fraud. Again, this messaging seems to have sunk in among those who were listening most closely to him.

Chart shows Republicans who relied on Trump for news much more likely to say ‘too little attention’ had been given to voter fraud allegations

In early September, a clear majority of Republicans who were using the Trump campaign as a major source for election news (61%) said fraud related to voting by mail was a major concern, compared with 36% of other Republicans.

By late November, with Trump and his allies trying multiple paths to overturn the election results, 73% of Republicans who turned to him as a major source of election news said allegations of voter fraud were getting too little attention. Among those Republicans who did not use the Trump campaign as a major source of news, the percentage who said the fraud charges were getting too little attention fell to just over half, at 55%.

3. Misinformation and competing views of reality abounded throughout 2020

Unprecedented national news events, a sharp and sometimes hostile political divide, and polarized news streams created a ripe environment for misinformation and made-up news in 2020. The truth surrounding the two intense, yearlong storylines – the coronavirus pandemic and the presidential election – was often a matter of dispute, whether due to genuine confusion or the intentional distortion of reality.

Pew Research Center’s American News Pathways project revealed consistent differences in what parts of the population – including political partisans and consumers of particular news outlets – heard and believed about the developments involving COVID-19 and the election. For example, news consumers who consistently turned only to outlets with right-leaning audiences were more likely to hear about and believe in certain false or unproven claims. In some cases, the study also showed that made-up news and misinformation have become labels applied to pieces of news and information that do not fit into people’s preferred worldview or narrative – regardless of whether the information was actually made up.

Of course, differences in political party or news diet are not always linked with differences in perceptions of misinformation, nor are they the only factors that have an impact. As explained in Chapter 2, using Donald Trump himself as a news source connects closely to beliefs about certain false claims and exposure to misinformation. So, too, does the reliance on social media as the primary pathway to one’s news, as discussed in Chapter 4.

The Pathways project, then, revealed the degree to which the spread of misinformation is pervasive, but not uniform. Americans’ exposure to – and belief in – misinformation differs by both the specific news outlets and more general pathways they rely on most. Certain types of misinformation emerge more or less strongly within each of these. For example, Americans who rely most on social media for their news (and who also pay less attention to news generally and are less knowledgeable about it) get exposed to different misinformation threads than those who turn only to sources with right-leaning audiences, or to Trump. Both of these latter groups are also more ideologically united and pay very close attention to news.

Takeaway #1: Most Americans said they saw made-up news and expressed concern about it

Most Americans think made-up news had a major impact on the 2020 election

Even a year before the 2020 election, in November 2019, the vast majority of Americans said they were either “very” (48%) or “somewhat” (34%) concerned about the impact made-up news could have on the election. This concern cut across party lines, with almost identical shares of Democrats (including independents who lean toward the Democratic Party) and Republicans (including GOP leaners) expressing these views. But on both sides of the aisle, people were far more concerned that made-up news would be targeted at members of their own party rather than the other party.

A year later, in the weeks following the election, Americans said these fears were borne out: 60% of U.S. adults overall said they felt made-up news had a major impact on the outcome of the election, and an additional 26% said it had a minor impact. Republicans were more likely than Democrats to say it had a major impact (69% vs. 54%). In addition, nearly three-quarters of U.S. adults overall (72%) said they had come across at least “some” election news that seemed completely made up, though far fewer – 18% – felt the made-up news they saw was aimed directly at them.

During the year, many Americans also felt exposed to made-up news related to the coronavirus pandemic, a phenomenon that grew over time. As of mid-March 2020, 48% of Americans said they had seen at least some news related to COVID-19 that seemed completely made up. By mid-April, that figure had risen to 64%.

Overall, older Americans, those who paid more attention to news and those who showed higher levels of knowledge on a range of core political questions expressed greater concern about the impact of made-up news. Republicans also expressed more concern and said it’s harder to identify what is true when it comes to COVID-19 news. Meanwhile, those who relied most on social media for political news tended to express less concern about made-up news.

Takeaway #2: What Americans categorized as made-up news varied widely – and often aligned with partisan views

Asked to name examples of made-up news about COVID-19, Americans cited contradicting claims

Especially in America’s polarized political environment, just because people say that something seemed made up doesn’t mean it was. Without a doubt, many Americans who report encountering made-up news actually did, while others likely came across real, fact-based news that did not fit into their perceptions of what is true. Indeed, open-ended survey responses show that people’s examples of made-up news they saw run the gamut – often connected with partisan divides about reality.

In March of 2020, after asking whether people had come across made-up news related to COVID-19, the American News Pathways project asked respondents to write in an example of something they came across that was made up. The responses were revealing, and sometimes contradictory: Roughly four-in-ten (41%) among those who provided an example named something related to the level of risk associated with the outbreak. Within this category, 22% said the “made-up” information falsely elevated the risks (Republicans were more likely to say this than Democrats), and 15% felt the made-up information was falsely downplaying the risks (Democrats were more likely to give these examples).

Respondents’ examples of made-up news that exaggerated the severity of the pandemic included such claims as numbers of COVID-19 deaths that seemed higher than possible, and the idea that risks had been overplayed by investors so they could make “gobs of money.” Some of these respondents said it was the media overhyping the risk, including one respondent who objected to a front-page newspaper photo designed to equate the coronavirus with the 1918 Spanish flu.

On the flip side, respondents’ examples of made-up news that underplayed COVID-19’s significance included references to statements made by Trump or his administration, including the then-president predicting an early end to the crisis and suggesting that the number of cases in the U.S. would remain low.

Three-in-ten respondents pointed to details about the virus itself. This included some truly made-up claims, such as that it could be “cured with certain supplements, minerals and vitamins,” and others that were perceived by respondents as made up but were not. For example, some respondents listed “wearing a mask for the general public” as an example of a misleading claim. Finally, 10% identified purely political statements as examples of misinformation, such as “That Trump didn’t act quickly enough,” or, by contrast, that “Almost everything Donald Trump has said” about the coronavirus has constituted made-up news.

Takeaway #3: While political divides were a big part of the equation, news diet within party has been a consistent factor in what Americans believe, whether true or untrue

In addition to wholly made-up claims, another finding to emerge from the Pathways project was the degree to which news diet also plays into the storylines – both true and untrue – that people get exposed to, how that feeds into perceptions about those events and, ultimately, different views of reality.

This phenomenon appears more strongly among Republicans than among Democrats, in large part due to the smaller mix of outlets Republicans tend to rely on – and within that, the outsize role of Fox News. (This is in addition to differences in perceptions and beliefs between Republicans who relied on Trump for news and those who didn’t, written about in Chapter 2.)

Trump’s first impeachment

Consider one of the first news topics covered by the project: the 2019 impeachment of Donald Trump, which involved Trump’s behavior and motives in withholding military aid to Ukraine, as well as actions there by Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden (whom Trump had asked Ukraine’s government to investigate).

A Pathways survey conducted in November 2019 found that Americans’ sense of the impeachment story connected closely with where they got their news. For instance, about half (52%) of Republicans who, among 30 outlets asked about in that survey, got political news only from outlets with right-leaning audiences had heard a lot about Biden’s efforts to remove a prosecutor in Ukraine in 2016. That is more than double the percentage of Democrats who got news only from outlets with left-leaning audiences (20%) who heard a lot. The gap is similar on Biden’s son (Hunter Biden) work with a Ukraine-based natural gas company: 64% of these Republicans had heard a lot about this, compared with 33% of these Democrats. (Details of the news outlet groupings and audience profiles can be found here.)

In November 2019, partisans with different media diets viewed Biden’s intentions in Ukraine differently

These patterns also play out in views about Joe Biden’s motivations. When asked, based on what they had heard in the news, whether they thought Biden called for the prosecutor’s removal in order to advance a U.S. government position to reduce corruption in Ukraine or to protect his son from being investigated, 81% of Republicans who got news only from outlets with right-leaning audiences said he wanted to protect his son. Only 2% of these Republicans thought it was part of a U.S. anti-corruption campaign.

Democrats who got news only from outlets with left-leaning audiences were much more inclined to attribute Biden’s actions to anti-corruption efforts (44%) than to a desire to protect his son (13%) – though that 44% is nearly matched by 42% who said they were not sure why Biden called for the prosecutor’s removal.

Republicans with different media diets viewed Trump’s actions in Ukraine differently in late 2019

A similar gap is evident when it comes to views about Trump’s role in the Ukraine affair.

About two-thirds of Republicans and Republican leaners who got their political news only from media outlets with right-leaning audiences (65%) said he did it to advance a U.S. policy to reduce corruption in Ukraine. Just 10% of these Republicans said Trump withheld the aid to help his reelection campaign (23% said they weren’t sure).

Among Republicans who got political news from a combination of outlet types – some of which have right-leaning audiences and some which have mixed and/or left-leaning audiences – that gap narrows significantly. About half (46%) cited the advancement of U.S. policy, and 24% cited political gain. What’s more, Republicans who did not get news from any sources with right-leaning audiences (but did get news from outlets with mixed and/or left-leaning audiences) were more likely to say it was for political gain than to advance U.S. policy (34% vs. 21%), while 43% of Republicans in this group were not sure why he did it.

Among Democrats and Democratic leaners, those who got political news only on outlets with left-leaning audiences and those who got news from outlets with left-leaning audiences plus others that have mixed and/or right-leaning audiences responded similarly. Roughly three-quarters of Democrats in each of these groups (75% and 77%, respectively) said Trump withheld aid to help his reelection effort, while very small minorities of these Democrats (4% and 3%, respectively) cited reducing corruption as the president’s intent.

The coronavirus pandemic
Beliefs about the origin of the COVID-19 virus, including the false claim that it was intentionally developed in a lab, differ within party by media diet

Several false claims related to the pandemic emerged over the course of the study. Not only did Republicans who turned to Trump for news about the pandemic express higher levels of belief in some of these claims (discussed in Chapter 2), but those who only relied on outlets with right-leaning audiences also stood out in this way (from that same initial group of 30).

One early claim, made without evidence, was that COVID-19 was created intentionally in a lab. (Scientists have determined that the virus almost certainly came about naturally, but some authorities, while saying it’s unlikely, have not ruled out the possibility that a lab played a role in its release.) When asked in March 2020 what they thought was the most likely way the current strain came about based on what they had seen or heard in the news, 40% of Republicans who only got news from outlets with right-leaning audiences said COVID-19 was most likely created intentionally in a lab, far higher than the 28% of Republicans who got political news from outlets with both right-leaning and mixed audiences and 25% of Republicans who get political news only from outlets without right-leaning audiences.

Among Democrats, those who got political news only from outlets with left-leaning audiences stood out less. They were slightly more likely than Democrats whose news diet included outlets with both left-leaning and non-left-leaning audiences to say the virus strain came about naturally (61% and 55%, respectively). Instead, it was Democrats who didn’t get news from any outlets with left-leaning audiences who stood apart. They were more likely to say COVID-19 was most likely created intentionally in a lab (26%), less likely than other Democrats to say it came about naturally (30%) and more likely to express uncertainty over the virus’ origin (34%).

Among Republicans, those who relied only on Fox News or talk radio more likely to believe false claims about young people and COVID-19

In another area of false claims, Republicans who turned only to outlets with right-leaning audiences (according to whether they used eight sources in September 2020) also stood apart. As of September 2020, they were more likely than other Republicans to believe a much-touted (but false) claim that young people are far less susceptible to catching COVID-19 than older adults. (Young people have much lower rates of severe illness and death from COVID-19, but there is no strong evidence that they are less likely to contract the virus.)

Looking at media diet within party, there were only small differences in responses to this question among Democrats who used different major sources for political news. But among Republicans who used only outlets with right-leaning audiences (in this case among eight asked about), a majority (60%) said that minors under 18 are far less susceptible, compared with far fewer among Republicans who used a mixed media diet (32%) or only major sources without conservative-leaning audiences (30%).

Election 2020
Before 2020 election, Republicans who relied on Fox News, talk radio much more likely than rest of GOP to see voter fraud as a major problem with mail-in voting

The study also explored the impact of false and unproven claims made prior to Election Day about the potential of voter fraud tied to mail-in ballots (though experts say there is almost no meaningful fraud associated with mail ballots), and then after the fact, whether voter fraud was getting too much or too little attention.

In September, fully 61% of Republicans who only cited Fox News and/or talk radio shows as key news sources said fraud has been a major problem when mail-in ballots are used. That figure drops to 44% for Republicans who cited other outlets alongside Fox News and/or talk radio as major sources, then down to about a quarter (23%) among Republicans who didn’t rely on Fox News or talk radio (but selected at least one of the six other sources mentioned in the survey).

After 2020 election, views of news attention to voter fraud allegations differed according to media diet

Democrats who cited only outlets with left-leaning audiences as key sources of political news were by far the most likely to say that voter fraud has not been a problem associated with mail-in ballots: 67% said this, compared with 43% of those who relied on some of these sources but also others. Democrats who didn’t rely on any of the outlets with left-leaning audiences (or, in some cases, any of the eight major news sources mentioned in the survey) expressed greater uncertainty on this issue than other Democrats.

Similarly, after the election, Republicans who turned only to outlets with conservative-leaning audiences were much more likely than those who turned to other outlets to say allegations of voter fraud were getting “too little attention.” Just 6% of Republicans who only used Fox News or talk radio as major sources for post-election news said there had been too much attention paid to the fraud allegations, compared with 78% who said there had been too little attention. In the group that used other sources in addition to Fox News and/or talk radio, 26% said there had been too much attention, while 45% said there had been too little. And Republicans who didn’t rely on Fox News or talk radio at all and only relied on other sources for their post-election news were pretty evenly divided between the two responses.

4. Americans who mainly got news via social media knew less about politics and current events, heard more about some unproven stories

About two-in-ten U.S. adults got most of their political news on social media

Beyond the differences in perceptions between partisans – and within parties based on people’s news sources – those who turn to social media as the most common way they get their political news stand out in some ways from those who get news from other pathways (news websites and apps; local, cable, and network TV; radio; and print).

Throughout 2020, the Center’s American News Pathways project found that those who primarily got political news on social media tended to follow news – about both the 2020 election and the COVID-19 pandemic – less closely than others. Perhaps related to that fact, this group also was less likely to correctly answer a range of fact-based questions about politics and current events. And in some cases, these social media news consumers were more aware of specific false or unproven stories about the coronavirus and said they had seen more misinformation about the pandemic in general.

The 18% of U.S. adults who said in late 2019 that social media was the most common way they got political news also differ from other Americans demographically. Most notably, they are the youngest group by a considerable margin – nearly half of the adults who turned mostly to social media are under 30 (48%), compared with 21% of those who turned to news websites or apps, and even fewer of those who said they mostly turned to other platforms like cable television or print. Compared with all other news consumers, U.S. adults who most commonly used social media for news also are less likely to be White (56% are).

Takeaway #1: Social media served as a source of news for many Americans, even as the information there was widely distrusted

Few U.S. adults trusted social media as place to get political and election news

While many Americans get news on social media, the public as a whole largely distrusts these platforms as a source for political news. In November of 2019, both Democrats and Republicans were more likely to express distrust rather than trust in social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram as sources of political news. For example, among U.S. adults overall, 59% said they distrusted Facebook as a place for political news, compared with just 15% who said they trusted the social networking site.

The public’s general feeling is that the information they see on social media is likely inaccurate – about six-in-ten social media news consumers think so, according to a survey conducted in September 2020.

Takeaway #2: Those who turned to social media were less likely to pay attention to multiple types of news

Fewer Americans who turned to social media for election news followed coverage of candidates, COVID-19 closely

Americans who turn to social media for their news tend to be less engaged with that news than others. They were less likely to say in June 2020, for example, that they had been closely following news about the 2020 election candidates. And those who turned to social media for news also tended to be less aware of a number of specific political storylines early last year, including stories related to Trump’s first impeachment.

The same pattern applies to news about the coronavirus pandemic, even as attention to that topic was very high among the general public overall. About a quarter of social media news consumers (23%) said they were following COVID-19 news very closely in June, lower than the shares among those who got news primarily from any other pathway.

Takeaway #3: Those who relied on social media for news were less likely than most others to be knowledgeable about current events

Americans who primarily get political news from social media are among least knowledgeable about politics

U.S. adults whose most common way of getting political and election news is social media lag behind Americans who turn to most other sources of news in their knowledge and understanding of national politics, current events and the COVID-19 pandemic.

In November 2019, for instance, Americans who turned to social media for news were among the least likely to correctly answer nine fact-based questions about political knowledge; these nine questions gauged respondents’ knowledge about topics such as trends in unemployment, tariffs, the federal budget deficit and which party supports specific political positions.

Fewer than a quarter (17%) of U.S. adults who relied most on social media for political and election news have high political knowledge, according to this index of knowledge questions.1 Another 27% have middle political knowledge, and a majority (57%) have low political knowledge.

All other groups of news consumers in the study have substantially higher levels of knowledge of national politics, with the exception of Americans who most commonly got their political news from local TV.

Those who relied on social media for news were among the least knowledgeable about key facts during COVID-19 outbreak

There are similar patterns when it comes to specific questions about the coronavirus pandemic. A June 2020 survey asked U.S. adults what they knew about a few facts relevant to the coronavirus outbreak and its impact on the economy. These questions included one asking respondents to identify Anthony Fauci’s role as an infectious disease expert and government health adviser, another about the purpose of coronavirus antibody tests and a third about the unemployment rate during the pandemic.

Americans who relied most on social media for getting political and election news were among the least likely to get these questions right (again, along with local TV news consumers). For example, about half of the social media group (52%) correctly identified Fauci as an infectious disease expert and government health adviser, similar to the share among those who relied on local TV (49%). The other news consumer groups all performed much better on this question; three-quarters or more knew Fauci’s role.

Takeaway #4: Americans who primarily got their political news from social media were more likely to have heard about some unproven claims and theories

Those who got news primarily through social media heard more about unproven theories that vitamin C, 5G technology are connected to COVID-19

In some cases, false and unproven claims about the coronavirus – such as the idea that there could be a connection between the virus and 5G technology, and the notion that vitamin C could prevent infection – were more likely to reach Americans who got their political news primarily from social media. U.S. adults who said they often turned to social media for coronavirus news specifically also were more likely to say they had heard about the unproven theory that powerful people had intentionally planned the COVID-19 outbreak.

Majority of those who got news mainly from social media said they had seen at least some misinformation about the coronavirus

Social media news consumers also were more likely to say that they had seen misinformation about the virus in general – 57% said they had seen at least some, versus 49% or fewer among those who used other platforms as their most common way to get political news.

Though Americans who turn to social media appear to be more aware of unproven claims and exposed to more misinformation, this doesn’t translate to more concern about the effects made-up news can have. In a November 2019 survey, this group was actually less likely than most others to be concerned about the effects made-up news could have on the 2020 election.

5. Republicans’ views on COVID-19 shifted over course of 2020; Democrats’ hardly budged

In March 2020, as the World Health Organization was declaring COVID-19 a global pandemic and its spread was accelerating in the U.S., Republicans and Democrats were paying similar levels of attention to news coverage of the outbreak.

At that time, 53% of Democrats (including those who lean Democratic) were following news of the pandemic very closely, as were nearly as many Republicans and Republican leaners (48%). But by late November, after the presidential election, a large partisan gap had developed. While about half of Democrats (47%) still reported that they were following coverage of the pandemic very closely, about three-in-ten Republicans (28%) said the same – a gap of 19 percentage points.

This finding fits a pattern seen in a series of surveys administered in 2020 as part of the Center’s American News Pathways project. Over time, Republicans’ responses shifted on a number of COVID-19-related issues. Generally speaking, they paid less attention to the coverage, became more critical of the media and grew more likely to say the pandemic was being exaggerated. They also appeared to adopt less favorable views of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and other public health officials.

Conversely, Democrats’ responses on those issues – which in most cases differed from the Republicans’ – remained largely unchanged over time.

Takeaway #1: Republicans’ attention to COVID-19 news dropped over time

Partisan divide in attention to news about the pandemic grew over time

For Republicans, attention to news about the COVID-19 outbreak diminished throughout the year.

The percentage of Republicans paying very close attention to that coverage dropped modestly from mid-March to late April – from 48% to 43%. And by early June, there was another decrease, as the share paying very close attention slid to 35%. When surveyed again in early September, even fewer Republicans (26%) were paying very close attention to news of the outbreak. That’s roughly where the number remained, with 27% of Republicans paying very close attention in early October and 28% doing so in late November, even as the country was experiencing a serious spike in new cases.

Democrats’ overall level of attention to COVID-19 news remained much steadier, with modest dips. From the 53% who were following coronavirus coverage very closely in March, the percentage fell slightly to 49% in April and registered at 44% in June and September. In October and November, about half of Democrats (47%) were following news about the outbreak very closely.

Takeaway #2: Over a period of six months, Republicans’ views of media coverage of the pandemic turned notably more critical

Republican approval of COVID-19 media coverage declined over time

Many surveys have revealed that, in general, Republicans hold more negative views of the media and how journalists do their job than Democrats. That is also the case with assessments of pandemic coverage in 2020, although Republicans’ views of that coverage changed substantially more than Democrats’ over time.

At the outset of the outbreak in March 2020, 59% of all Republicans (including independents who lean Republican) said the media were covering the outbreak “very well” (25%) or “somewhat well” (34%), numbers that remained similar into June. But by September, fewer than half of Republicans (45%) said the media were doing their jobs very well (10%) or somewhat well (35%) covering the outbreak.

Democrats (including Democratic leaners) offered much more positive – and consistent – assessments of the media’s performance. In March, 80% of Democrats said news organizations had done very well (35%) or somewhat well (44%) on the COVID-19 story. In September, the portion of Democrats saying the media had done at least somewhat well was still high, at 81%, although the share who said the media had done very well slipped slightly, to 28%.

Takeaway #3: In spring 2020, Republicans became more convinced that outbreak was exaggerated

One question asked on several occasions in 2020 was whether the COVID-19 pandemic had been made into “a bigger deal than it really is,” had been made into “a smaller deal than it really is” or had been “approached about right.”

When that question was first asked in late April, Republicans already were more inclined to say the pandemic had been overblown (47%) than to give any other response. But as the year went on, the percentage of Republicans saying the outbreak had been exaggerated jumped even higher, to 63% in June and 66% in September. In November, with coronavirus cases surging, the share of Republicans who saw the pandemic as overblown dropped, but most (58%) still took this position.

Once again, Democrats’ views on this issue were very different and more stable. Throughout the year, the vast majority of Democrats either said that the pandemic had been made into a smaller deal than it really was (ranging between 34% and 46%) or that it had been approached about right (between 40% and 48%).

As pandemic played out, most Republicans took the position that it was overblown

Takeaway #4: Republicans grew more skeptical of public health officials over time

Republicans’ sense that CDC exaggerated risks of COVID-19 grew over time

There also is some evidence that Republicans’ views of the coronavirus response by public health officials soured over time.

In mid-March 2020, about a quarter of Republicans (26%) said that public health officials at the CDC had “greatly” or “slightly” exaggerated the risks of the coronavirus outbreak. When asked again in late April, that percentage had grown to 38%.

Democrats, for their part, moved a bit in the opposite direction, with 16% saying public health officials had exaggerated the risks in March and that number dropping to 11% in April.

In March, Republicans were more confident than Democrats in CDC

Similarly, back in March, fully 87% of Republicans said they were “very” or “somewhat” confident that public health officials at the CDC were doing a good job responding to the pandemic. That was even higher than the percentage of Democrats who agreed (80%) – with 48% of Republicans very confident, compared with 33% of Democrats. Within the GOP, confidence in the CDC was about on par with confidence that Donald Trump was doing a good job responding to the outbreak (82% were at least somewhat confident).

After the November elections, in a somewhat different question, respondents were asked to grade the job done by a number of key players in the pandemic. But by then, Republicans’ assessments were far more negative than Democrats’: 58% said public health officials such as those at the CDC had done an “excellent” or “good” job, compared with 75% of Democrats.

Landscape – Where to now for Vietnam after Trong?

Author: Alexander L Vuving, APCSS

Full link: https://www.eastasiaforum.org/2021/02/27/where-to-now-for-vietnam-after-trong/?utm_source=subscribe2&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=postnotify&utm_id=333113&utm_title=Where%20to%20now%20for%20Vietnam%20after%20Trong%3F

Events over the past year have brought major long-term trends in Vietnam’s domestic and foreign policy to the surface. The country will be less aligned with China. In the next decade, it will likely have its first non-conservative leader since the Cold War’s end but its leaders continue to value the Leninist state model.

Vietnam's General Secretary of the Communist Party Nguyen Phu Trong
speaks at the opening ceremony of the 13th national congress of the ruling
communist party of Vietnam is seen at the National Convention Center in Hanoi,
Vietnam, 26 January, 2021 (Photo: VNA/Handout via Reuters).

Despite the high density of its population and traffic with China, Vietnam’s COVID-19 infection rate was one of the lowest in the world. The suppression of the virus enabled Vietnam’s economy to grow an estimated 2.9 per cent in 2020, higher than China’s estimated 2.3 per cent amid a global recession in which most other economies contracted.

With labour hours and investment decreasing, the growth of Vietnam’s gross domestic product owes much to growth in total factor productivity, which partly reflects the country’s dizzying digital transformation. Vietnam’s government has long recognised that digital transformation is key to achieving the goals of modernisation and industrialisation. The pandemic turned this slogan into a necessity.

During 2020, 13,000 new start-ups joined an existing 45,000 businesses in Vietnam’s budding digital economy. According to an analysis of 90 economies, Vietnam is — along with Azerbaijan, Indonesia, India and Iran — behind China only in its digital evolution momentum.

Yet while transparency and competence were key elements of Vietnam’s approach to the COVID-19 pandemic, Vietnam’s leaders are unwilling to apply this approach to other areas of governance. As they seek to preserve the Leninist state, they are afraid of transparency and begrudge the talent.

As the ruling elite was selecting new leaders in the run-up to the 13th Congress of the Communist Party of Vietnam (CPV), information about the new leaders was classified ‘top secret’. At the Congress, the CPV refused to promote the hero of Vietnam’s battle against COVID-19, Deputy Prime Minister Vu Duc Dam, to Politburo member. It waived the age limit of 65 for the third time and granted conservative General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong (aged 77) an unprecedented third term in violation of the CPV’s own constitution.

While Trong’s re-election signifies the triumph of regime conservatives for the moment, it marks the beginning of the end of Vietnam’s conservative-led reform era. Since the 1989 collapse of Communist regimes in Eastern Europe, only three years after the launch of Vietnam’s doi moi (reform), all general secretaries of the CPV have been regime conservatives. This time Trong failed to promote his preferred successor.

His favoured choice, the conservative former executive secretary Tran Quoc Vuong, trailed far behind others despite Trong’s strong support. With no better conservatives to support, Trong resorted to the nuclear option — he stood for the top post despite it forcing the CPV to break its own rules.

Trong’s re-election was part of a larger deal. The other top leadership positions of the country — the president, prime minister and National Assembly chair — are set to be filled by Nguyen Xuan Phuc, Pham Minh Chinh and Vuong Dinh Hue, respectively, who are pragmatists rather than doctrinaire. Below these ‘four pillars’, the fifth senior position in the party-state, that of the CPV executive secretary, was given to Vo Van Thuong, a middle-of-the-roader, neither a conservative nor a reformer.

So while Trong may stay for a half or full term, his likely successor among these top leaders would be the first non-conservative to lead the VCP since 1989.

Vietnam’s regime conservativism was often associated with anti-Westernism. But China’s deployment in 2014 of the HYSY-981 oil rig in Vietnam’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ) — crossing Hanoi’s red line — was a turning point in Vietnamese foreign policy and put an end to the anti-Western policy current. Since 2014, Vietnam has veered farther away from China and closer to the United States, albeit gradually.

The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated this trend while also widening the gap between China and the United States. Whereas Beijing took advantage of the time of trouble to encroach on Vietnam’s EEZ, Washington sent an aircraft carrier to visit Vietnam. Hanoi recognised, in the words of Deputy Minister of Defence Nguyen Chi Vinh, ‘who a close friend and who a mere partner is’.

In April 2020, Vietnam participated in talks with the informal US-led Quad grouping, which includes Washington’s closest friends in the Indo-Pacific, to discuss the restructuring of regional supply chains out of China and to prevent over-dependence on this market. During the pandemic, high-level Chinese envoys visited all ASEAN members except Vietnam. The aim of these trips was to prevent a counter-China coalition and pull them into the Chinese sphere of influence. Vietnam may have been seen as a lost cause or punished for its involvement with the Quad.

Vietnam is one of only three Asian economies to exclude China’s Huawei from its 5G networks — the other two being Japan and Taiwan. Vietnam has also stayed away from China’s ‘One Belt One Road’ despite paying lip service to the initiative.

Vietnam is emerging as a bulwark against China with a rapidly digitalising economy and a pragmatist leadership clinging fast to CPV rule.

Alexander L Vuving is Professor at the Daniel K Inouye Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies, Honolulu.

Note – Blooloop’s Weekend News Roundup

In the news

Disney’s new CSR report highlights environmental goals for 2030
Christie laser projectors deliver visuals for Dam Sen Park lake show
Semnox Solutions self-service kiosks arrive at Loveland Laser Tag
Thinkwell Group releases 6th Annual Guest Experience Trend Report
Red Sea Project seeks technology partners
Merlin teams with Hasbro on world’s first Peppa Pig Theme Park
Saudi Arabia’s PIF launches SDC to create new $3bn destination
Taylor Swift countersues Evermore for playing her music on grounds
ACME Technologies uses open APIs to create super-platform
Showtime Entertainment Production prepares stunt vehicles for brand new show
Six Flags reports drop in revenue but is “confident” about 2021
Ballast VR’s DIVR experience on offer at three Welk Resorts properties
Underwater attractions: sunken sculpture parks, submerged museums, and undersea dining
COVID-19: Imagineering the battle to win the war
Storyland Studios welcomes Disney & Universal veteran Jason Surrell
Ambani family plan to build world’s largest zoo in India
Smithsonian reopening Arts and Industries Building with FUTURES
Black Country Living Museum starting work on £30m Forging Ahead project
Mack Rides presents HybridTrain upgrade
Ambitious plans revealed to reinvent London’s Oxford Street District
Herschend takes over as operator of Kentucky Kingdom
Smart Monkeys partners with ZeeVee to offer distribution solution for themed installations
Occupy White Walls: democratising art at Birmingham Museums
Beamish receives government grant for Remaking Beamish project
Virgin Galactic appoints former Disney Imagineer Joe Rohde
Disney World celebrating 50th anniversary with ‘Beacons of Magic’
Genting Malaysia shares first-look video of Genting SkyWorlds
Walltopia announces new equipment lease financing program
IAAPA releases study detailing impact of COVID-19 on US attractions
American Wave Machines announces PerfectSwell Shizunami
Aquarium at the Boardwalk: inside Missouri’s unique new attraction
Shopping mall 2.0: forget the latest architecture and start focusing on the guest experience
ProSlide brings new water ride technology to CYAN in Saudi Arabia
Christie RGB pure laser projectors used in FlyRide at Wisconsin’s Wilderness Resort
Falcon’s Creative Group unveils ON!X Theater
Toy Association unveils top toy trends for 2021
Bitcoin: Kiklabb, Dubai, first government entity to accept cryptocurrency
Lego, Universal Music Group unveil AR music video experience Lego Vidiyo

In depth

Underwater attractions: Boeing 747s, sculpture, … MORE
Occupy White Walls at Birmingham Museums MORE
Aquarium at the Boardwalk, Missouri MORE
Shopping mall 2.0: Focus on the experience MORE

Note – McKinsey: When you tell your team to speak up, you have to mean it

This week, what leaders need to know about the link between psychological safety and higher performance at work. Plus, why internal carbon pricing is all the rage, and how “less is more” is the new trend in fashion.

circle of chairs illustration
Employee happiness. The Shortlist has written many times about what it takes to create and maintain a satisfied workforce. Of course, that involves the obvious—financial fulfillment, good healthcare, opportunities for career growth. But what about psychological safety, a well-being factor that has jumped the queue in this pandemic era?
Key to innovation. Employees who feel psychologically safe at work feel more comfortable asking for help, sharing suggestions, or challenging the status quo. That’s good for the team. But it’s also a boon for companies: studies have shown a link between this sort of well-being and creative performance, which can lay the groundwork for innovating quickly, realizing the benefits of diversity, and adapting well to change. The catch, alas, is that those workplaces are in the minority. Just 43 percent of the respondents in a McKinsey Global Survey reported a positive climate within their team. And business leaders often do not demonstrate the behaviors that can instill this climate in their workforce.
It doesn’t have to be so. Although the pandemic has heightened many employees’ fears for their physical safety, they may still bond with colleagues over a sense of mission at work. In fact, employees may form a closer relationship with colleagues over shared concerns. According to an interview with experts that McKinsey conducted over the summer, what’s required for psychological safety is an absence of interpersonal fear; this emboldens employees to speak their minds.
Top down. Not surprisingly, fostering the safety to speak up starts at the top, and some leadership styles are more conducive to this than others. The classic authoritative, command-and-control management style was detrimental to psychological safety in workplaces, according to the McKinsey Global Survey. By contrast, two other styles—support and consultation—help promote it. The real magic happens when teams with support or consultation models in place encourage workers to aim higher than they think is possible, the so-called challenge style. That creates a “flow state,” in which employees feel energized and able to complete their work, taking risks in the process. The flip side—no support or consultation—usually results in workplace apathy.
What’s next. Fostering psychological safety requires leaders at all levels to learn and demonstrate the behaviors that help their employees thrive. Getting there requires more than one-off training programs—it calls for immersive leadership-development experiences and frequent check-ins with managers.
Last word on stress. Where does stress fit into all of this? For individual employees or leaders, sustained stress may get in the way of performance. But it’s a natural response that can also boost problem solving and growth. Here’s a look at some misguided views of stress, the downsides of not recognizing or managing it, and some keys to harnessing “optimal” stress.
Carbon charges: Is the pricing right?
More and more companies are experimenting with internal carbon pricing, setting a charge on the amount of carbon dioxide emitted from assets and investment projects so that they can see how, where, and when their emissions could affect their profit-and-loss statements and investment choices. The practice is more prevalent in the energy, materials, and financial-services industries, followed closely by the tech and industrial sectors.
Use of carbon pricing by industry sector exhibit

As COVID-19 surges, the top 10 players own 20 percent of the online-education market in the US

exhibit: As COVID-19 surges, the top 10 players own 20 percent of the online education market in the US

the Shortlist

McKinsey & Company

Note – Fisher: On Rising Rates and Stocks

By Fisher Investments Editorial Staff

Full link: https://www.fisherinvestments.com/en-us/marketminder/on-rising-rates-and-stocks?fiut=p

Our take on the recent jump in long-term Treasury yields—and their likely impact on stocks looking ahead.

Thursday, US 10-year Treasury yields continued a recent jump higher, hitting 1.49% at the close—their highest level in a year.[i] Many blame this jump for the day’s -2.5% S&P 500 selloff—and worry there is more to come.[ii] But in our view, this is an extremely hasty conclusion to reach. For one, we don’t expect yields to end 2021 much higher than current levels, and they may even give up some of the recent rise. But even if they do climb from here, the idea this is automatically a problem for stocks is bogus logic.

First, stay cool. Short-term volatility is part and parcel of even the best bull market years. Getting carried away and extrapolating recent rate-and-stock swings forward is a common investing error too many folks make. Yes, last August, 10-year Treasury yields hit a record low 0.5% before rising to 0.9% at 2020’s end.[iii] Yes, consensus expectations were for another small rise in 2021, with the median forecast eyeing a 1.2% 10-year yield at year end.[iv] Yes, rates are above that level now. But projecting much more from here based on this move is risky business.

Part of the reason why: The recent jump looks mostly like a sentiment-based move—one unlikely to last or extend from here. We don’t see a sudden, material change in bond supply and demand fundamentals. On the supply side, there is currently a dearth of long-term Treasury issuance. Although Uncle Sam’s borrowing exploded in 2020, more than 80% of its record-breaking $21 trillion worth of debt sales were for one year or less and over 90% for five years or less.[v] Some speculate this will reverse with the government selling more longer-dated bonds. But judging by the Treasury Borrowing Advisory Committee’s recommended financing tables for Q1 and Q2, issuance is set to stay concentrated at the short end for the foreseeable future.[vi]

Meanwhile, demand for long-term Treasurys remains plentiful. The last 10-year Treasury note auction on February 10 sold $41 billion worth of debt at 1.155%, slightly lower than January’s auction and with a bid-to-cover ratio over 2.4, meaning it was more than twice oversubscribed—same as last month.[vii] While many point to a 7-year Treasury auction as a likely culprit for Thursday’s rate pop—as the bid-to-cover was well below the recent trend—it was still over 2.0 and only one data point. We don’t think it constitutes a trend. Consider: Developed market sovereign yields outside America are mostly below zero. Any high-quality bond in positive territory, therefore, is likely to attract buyers. Moreover, the Fed continues snapping up long-term Treasurys in secondary markets for its quantitative easing (QE) program—a steady demand source amid dwindling supply. Despite commonplace chatter arguing the recent up move amounts to a 2013-esque “taper tantrum,”[viii] it has given no indication QE is about to stop.

At any rate,[ix] rising bond yields don’t automatically upset markets. Exhibit 1 shows 10-year Treasury yield increases lasting at least seven months (like the current upturn in rates) and the S&P 500’s annualized total return during those periods. There are a few times when rising bond yields coincided with stock market downturns, most notably the Great Depression’s onset. But overall, rising yields have historically coincided with rising stocks. That holds even when those moves have been one or multiple percentage points. Recent volatility notwithstanding, that has been true since 2020’s low as well.

Exhibit 1: Rising Long Rates Typically Don’t Upset Stocks


Source: Multpl.com and Global Financial Data, Inc., as of 2/26/2021. 10-year Treasury yield and S&P 500 total return index, January 1926 – February 2021. *In percentage points. **So far. ***Not annualized.

Some of these rate upturns start or end in bear markets, like the November 2008 – March 2010 one, which began nearly a year into the financial crisis and ended a year into a new bull market. Similarly, February 1971 – August 1975’s move started in the wake of one downturn and persisted through the entirety of another—and well into the ensuing recovery. But therein lies the point: Obviously, a long-term interest move wasn’t related to cyclical shifts.

This time may be different, but it is far from clear Treasury yields’ recent rise augurs ill for stocks. In our view, bond movements don’t necessarily have any impact on them. Stocks move mostly on how well corporations’ 3 – 30 month future earnings reality is likely to match prevailing expectations. Bond yields may have some influence on earnings’ outlook—particularly for rate-sensitive sectors—but there generally isn’t a huge overlap overall and on average. Besides, rising rates very often signify an improving economy, which is usually a good thing for stocks. This is why they are uncorrelated assets. Both can move together, or separately, for their own fundamental and independent reasons.

Although we think bond market fundamentals will likely keep a lid on long rates this year, that isn’t to say they won’t rise ever. One potential longer-term risk we think investors should be aware of: If long rates keep rising, it could steepen the yield curve much further. That would be worth watching for its impact on lending and velocity—how fast money changes hands economy wide—which could lead to higher inflation. Higher inflation itself may be a fine thing. But it raises the likelihood the Fed reacts—and possibly errs and overreacts, ending this expansion. We don’t think that is a risk for stocks in the here and now—more like one potential way this bull market could eventually end. In the meantime, as history shows, stocks’ direction doesn’t generally depend on where bond yields go.


[i] Source: FactSet, as of 2/26/2021.

[ii] Ibid.

[iii] Source: Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, as of 2/26/2021. 10-year Treasury yield, 8/4/2020 – 12/31/2020.

[iv] Source: FactSet and Fisher Investments Research, as of 1/12/2021.

[v] Source: SIFMA, as of 2/26/2021.

[vi] Source: Treasury, as of 2/3/2021. TBAC Recommended Financing Table, Q1 and Q2 2021.

[vii] Ibid., as of 2/10/2021. 10-year Treasury note auction results, 2/10/2021.

[viii] In which people (wrongly) feared the Fed would stop buying bonds after some nebulous comments by then-Fed head Ben Bernanke.

[ix] Literally!

FISHER INVESTMENTS ® MARKETMINDER DIGEST

Note – Investopedia: The Market Sum: Offense-Defense

By Caleb Silver

Alternate text
Image courtesy GettyImages/Patrick Smith/Staff

1/ 

Markets End a Wild Week with Mixed Results

A wild week for U.S. equity markets ended with yet another reversal as industrial stocks slipped, while tech stocks staged a slight recovery. The DJIA fell 1.5% and closed at session lows after touching record highs on Wednesday. The Nasdaq closed 0.5% higher today, but it posted its worst week since October as investors continued to rotate from technology stocks to industrials, financials, and energy stocks given the improving economic outlook. All three major indexes closed lower for the week, with the Nasdaq losing 4.9%.

The yield on the 10-year U.S. Treasury backed off of recent highs set Thursday, but its steep rise over the past two weeks threw some volatility into play and pushed some investors to make more defensive moves. Higher rates are a sign that investors believe in the economic recovery, but they could also be a harbinger of even higher rates and inflation ahead.

U.S. household income rose 10% in January as many Americans banked those $600 stimulus payments. They also boosted their spending by 0.3%, lightly ahead of forecasts. U.S. House Democrats are likely to pass President Biden’s $1.9 trillion stimulus plan tonight, although it won’t have the $15 an hour minimum wage provision in it. Still, it is likely to pass in the Senate in the next two weeks, which means more stimulus ahead. More stimulus, more savings, and more spending mean higher rates and higher inflation are highly likely. The question is what that will mean to all the momentum that was behind the global stock market in the past three months.

Chart courtesy YCharts

2/

Not So Defensive

It may have felt as if investors were getting more defensive this week as stocks backed off of record highs as government bond yields climbed. What we actually know to be true is that investors have been rotating into more defensive sectors like energy, industrials, and financials for several months as the economic outlook improves. That’s what we would expect to see in a cyclical bull market, and this has not disappointed. 

Playing real defense, however, usually means big investors start hiding out in traditional safe havens like Treasurys, gold, and the Japanese yen. As JC Parets at AllStarCharts.com points out, those are all making new lows. Gold, which soared last March and April, has been fading since the summer when the recovery was officially under way. When money starts moving into these areas, or back into cash and money markets, that’s when we should pay attention.

Chart courtesy AllStarCharts/Optuma

3/

No Quarter for Earnings

Back in more predictable times, if a company reported strong earnings and a solid outlook, investors would bid up its stock. On the flip side, a big earnings miss would result in a selloff and questions about the company’s direction and leadership. These are not predictable times.

Stocks appear to be driven more by emotion and overall market sentiment lately, according to Bespoke Investments’ analysis of share price performance for companies the day they report their quarterly results. Over the past three months, companies reporting earnings have seen their worst one-day share price reactions in a decade. Ironically, more than 80% of the companies reporting results from the S&P 500 have beaten analysts’ estimates. 

Chart courtesy Bespoke Investments

4/

What to Expect Next Week

After a choppy week for stocks — especially tech stocks — investors can look forward to more earnings results next week from popular companies including Zoom Video Communications (ZM), Chinese electric vehicle maker Nio (NIO), Snowflake (SNOW), and Lemonade (LMND), among others. These have been among the story stocks for the past several months that captured investors’ attention and capital in 2020. The thrill has faded, but the companies are still widely held and followed.

On the economic front, we’ll get another picture of the health of the U.S. labor market on Friday when nonfarm payrolls are released for February. Weekly claims are trending lower, but how strong is hiring, and where are the jobs being added?

We’ll also get the Purchasing Managers’ Index reports from China on Sunday, and the U.S. and Europe next week, to give us a temperature check on the economic recovery around the world.

Here are the returns for major asset classes and Bitcoin so far this year:

Bonus Chart

Because it’s Friday, and I thought this chart was cute and interesting, we are adding it in as a kicker. Sean Brown, our pal at YCharts, posted this today:

If three years ago you had a choice to invest $10K in one of the following:

  1. An equally weighted portfolio of tech titans Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Netflix, Tesla, Alphabet, and Microsoft (FAANTAM)
  2. Chipotle
  3. Crocs

Which one would you have picked?

Chart courtesy YCharts
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Note – DealStreetAsia: The Week That Was

The equities market rally in the US could be coming to an end if rising bond yields are any indicator.

Yet, the buoyant market, driven by easy monetary policy, has already attracted scores of companies eager to tap capital markets flush with liquidity.

There were nearly 500 IPOs that raised $174 billion last year – half of the listings were SPACs, or special purpose acquisition companies. That trend has accelerated in 2021, with no signs of slowing. There have already been 190 SPACs listed on US stock exchanges this year, with more to come.

In Southeast Asia, Indonesia’s MNC Vision Networks was reported this week to be looking to merge its video streaming business with Malacca Straits Acquisition, the blank-cheque vehicle led by Ark Pacific Capital Management’s Kenneth Ng.

Southeast Asia is a prime hunting ground for SPACs, given the crop of tech unicorns that are seeking public listings, as this list of potential targets shows.

In light of the SPAC frenzy, DealStreetAsia held a webinar on Friday where panellists expounded on the suitability of the SPAC as an alternative to IPOs for the tech companies that can demonstrate a clear path to profitability.

The panellists were Ravi Thakran of Aspirational Consumer Lifestyle Corp, Jun Hong Heng of Crescent Cove Advisors and Helen Wong, partner at Qiming Venture Partners. The panellists noted that the current batch of sponsors and companies should put to rest the patchy reputation that has plagued SPACs.

Among the latest potential SPAC sponsors are Gaw Capital Advisors. The Hong Kong-based private equity group is said to be considering launching a SPAC to target technology companies in Asia.

Another avenue for investors keen on capitalising on tech IPOs are secondaries, particularly in late-stage, pre-IPO companies, according to investment platform Xen Capital.

Meanwhile, Warburg Pincus-backed real estate group ARA Asset Management is reported to be considering returning to the public markets in a $1 billion dual listing in Singapore and Hong Kong.

ARA was delisted from the Singapore Exchange in 2016 in a $1.3 billion leveraged buyout led by Warburg Pincus in a consortium that included ARA’s founder John Lim, The Straits Trading Company, and Cheung Kong Property Holdings. Warburg Pincus is the largest shareholder in ARA with a 48.7% stake.

Even as stock markets seem detached from economic reality, the impact of the pandemic has begun to bite.

BQ, the Spanish electronic devices maker majority-owned by a unit of Vietnam’s Vingroup, has filed for bankruptcy. VinTech acquired a 51% stake in BQ in December 2018 to boost its smartphone manufacturing capability.

Canadian pension fund OMERS reported an annual net loss, its first since the 2008 global financial crisis. The widespread pandemic-related restrictions had hit OMERS’ investments in real estate, energy, and financial services.
Fund news   
Despite pandemic doldrums, our latest report on private equity activity showed stronger-than-expected fundraising in 2020.

Four Southeast Asia-focused PE funds recorded final closes in 2020, raising a total of $1 billion. Three of the funds were closed in the second half of the year. In the previous year, five funds recorded final closes to raise a total of $1.3 billion.

This bodes well for funds being launched this year.

Malaysian pension fund EPF has launched a $600 million private equity fund.

It will be the world’s first Shariah-compliant PE fund and have both direct and co-investments managed by BlackRockHarbourVest Partners, and Partners Group.

China’s Boyu Capital, which counts Temasek Holdings, GIC, The New York Common Retirement Fund, and Li Ka-shing as investors, is reported to be raising as much as $6 billion for a new China-focused fund. It last raised $3.6 billion in 2019.

Boyu Capital, whose founders include Alvin Jiang, the grandson of former Chinese premier Jiang Zemin, was also reported to have relocated part of its operations to Singapore from Hong Kong.
Southeast Asia deals   
Among the most significant announcements this past week was Singapore video-sharing service Lomotif selling an 80% controlling stake to a group of investors, including former MoviePass Chairman Ted Farnsworth, for $125 million.

Singapore sovereign wealth fund GIC is taking a stake in Indonesia’s Bank Jago. The digital banking player was last in the headlines after ride-hailing unicorn Gojek’s investment. GIC will invest $222 million in Bank Jago via a rights issue.

Meanwhile, Astra Ventura has invested an undisclosed sum in edtech startup Ngelesin. Astra Ventura, the VC arm of Indonesian conglomerate Astra Internasional, has also made multiple investments in transport tech and waste tech, according to president director Jefri Sirait. The VC has previously focused on offering financing to SMEs.

Also this past week, two social commerce firms have raised fresh funds.

Malaysian startup AVANA, which also has operations in Indonesia and is expanding to Taiwan, raised an initial part of its $15 million Series A target from existing investor Gobi Partners.

Singapore-based Raena closed a $9 million Series A round co-led by Alpha Wave Incubation and Alpha JWC Ventures.

Staying in Singapore, plant-based meat startup Next Gen raised a $10 million seed round from investors including Temasek Holdings, K3 Ventures, and Switzerland’s Blue Horizon.

Singapore-based Jungle Ventures has topped up its investment in Saltmine, the digital workplace design platform, that raised $20 million in a Series A round.

Meanwhile, Singapore-based restaurant reservation app Chope has raised $10.6 million in a Series E funding round from investors including Square Peg Capital and Singha Ventures. This comes more than three years after its last fundraising when the 10-year-old company secured $13.6 in a Series D round led by Square Peg.

Till we see what next week brings,
Michelle Teo
Managing Editor, DealStreetAsia
editor@dealstreetasia.com

Note – AngelList: The crypto collectors

Collectors rush to non-fungible tokens

Nyan Cat YouTube

Fungible (adj.) — able to replace or be replaced by another identical item; mutually interchangeable.

An explosive new segment of the crypto market has art collectors worldwide reaching for the closest dictionary. Sales of non-fungible tokens (NFTs) exploded in 2020, surpassing $250M, and show no sign of slowing. 

NFTs act as blockchain equivalent of a certificate of authenticity for any piece of digital media imaginable (GIFs, videos, tweets, games, celebrity selfies). They’re particularly popular among art collectors and sports fans looking to build digital collections.

Since its beginning in 2017, the “newest speculative game in town” has provided artists with a new way to support their craft. One artist, who goes by Beeple, made $3.5M by selling 20 pieces in December alone. (Naturally, Christie’s auction house wants in on the action.) 

Not unlike the #wallstreetbets/GameStop saga, though, things are getting a little … bananas. Lindsay Lohan sold a photo of herself for $17k — and then juiced the price by tweeting her support for DeFi. People are bidding hundreds of dollars for tweets from Elon Musk and Mark Cuban, who recently declared that the “Store of Value Generation” is here to stay. A clip of LeBron James blocking a shot sold for $100k last month.

Some artists point out that the hottest new crypto trend isn’t such great news for the environment. One calculated that the release of one piece of art with NFT led to more carbon emissions than her entire studio emitted in 18 months.

Also falling victim: baseball card collectors. Turns out, one of the first videos posted on the now-defunct platform Vine might have been a better bet.

Funding and acquisitions

Credit card company Petal secured $126.6M in debt financing backed by Silicon Valley Bank and Trinity Capital. The company aims to make financial services more accessible to the masses, especially those overlooked by traditional banks. Petal amassed 100k customers in five years. The company previously secured more than $300M in debt and raised more than $100M.

Dispoa no-frills photo-sharing app co-founded by YouTube star David Dobrik, raised a $20M Series A led by Spark Capital. The company amassed 10k users and plans to release its first Android app. 

Burrow raised a $25M Series C led by Parkway Venture Capital to support the expansion of its line of modular furniture. The products are designed to fit in a variety of spaces. The company, a Y Combinator alumnus that previously raised $30M, launched 19 new products in the past year, including a modular shelving system. 

AngelList Logo

Note – Bloomberg: The Weekly Fix: The Bonds Are Revolting

Message from Asia

Australia’s markets have a message for policy makers globally — who knows when they’ll get it? 

Possibly the biggest monetary policy challenge of a generation is unfolding first in the country best known for its laid back vibe, long sandy beaches and off-the-charts cuddly and/or terrifying wildlife. 

It’s all playing out in the bond market. A mounting conviction that the success of vaccines could see life returning to normal sooner than anticipated, and bring demand roaring back, has lifted rates on government borrowing globally. And now we’re seeing the pressure growing on central banks, which have pledged to hold interest rates low to ensure a full economic recovery.

The Reserve Bank of Australia’s strategy to do so was more explicit than most, so the strain of the global reflation trade is showing clearly here. This is one of the few countries to have explicitly implemented yield curve control, designating a target for the three-year at 0.10%. 

The yield has traded above that level pretty consistently this year as expectations of a sharper recovery in many major economies have propelled global yields higher. But this week Australia’s curve appeared to slip the leash altogether, with the three-year trading as high as 0.15%, and the 10-year — which the short end is supposed to help curb — surging as high as 1.93%.

The breakout is a test for the RBA, and forced it to step in to defend its yield target for the first time this year, with three rounds of purchases that finally brought the market more or less to heel.

And it’s not only Australia — Bank of Korea this week was also moved to announce more bond purchases. And consider Japan, where yields have been so supine the central bank has worried about how to get them moving at all. As the 10-year rate gravitated to the top of its trading band Friday, Finance Minister Taro Aso warned: “It’s important that yields don’t suddenly jump up and down. We need to make sure not to lose the market’s trust with fiscal management.”

Markets are really starting to question the viability of policy “set at pandemic-fear levels” when economic conditions appear to be improving dramatically, said National Australia Bank economist Tapas Strickland.

Australia’s policy makers may need to do more to convince investors that they’re serious about keeping rates on hold at least until 2024. Similarly, in the U.S., a stronger statement may soon be necessary. Strickland says the Fed’s emphasis on patience and a long road to recovery may look inconsistent with any improvements in economic data, particularly given Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen’s comment last week that the U.S. “could be back to full employment next year.”
 

The Fed is not worried.

We’d love to stop talking about the reflation trade but we can’t. 

As noted above, the big difference from the past few weeks is that it’s not just the skittery long end of the curve that’s climbing faster. Yields on shorter-maturity bonds — which central banks have so far succeeded in keeping pinned with the assurance that they’re not raising interest rates any time soon — are on the rise.

The global rates selloff doesn’t seem to have raised too many hackles at the Fed just yet. The central bank is holding its line that the rise in yields reflects optimism about the recovery, and the latest comments from current voters on central bank policy — James Bullard and Esther George — suggest they’re are sticking to the script.

That hasn’t stopped traders in U.S. rates markets positioning more aggressively for policy tightening, and sooner than the Fed currently envisages. At the height of this week’s bond-market turmoil, Eurodollar futures were almost fully priced for a quarter-point hike by the end of next year. 

And while the steepening yield curve has hogged a lot of attention lately, less has been paid to the front end. The two- to five-year segment has moved pretty dramatically as those suspicions about policy tightening spilled into parts of the market that volatility forgot.

There’s no clear cause for alarm, however. While the speed of the moves is disconcerting, financial conditions remain relatively comfortable. The rise in yields hasn’t so far triggered a very deep capitulation in risk assets, and stock market losses for now have been more pronounced in the tech sector, with areas more geared to cyclical recovery relatively resilient. 

Moreover, the Fed can be reassured that the market has strong conviction in a critical function of the central bank, which will determine its success in steering the economy through a recovery from this crisis. There’s been a lot of buzz about inflation, as breakeven rates — which are derived from the difference between yields on Treasury notes and their inflation-protected counterparts — have reached multiyear highs.

But for all the palaver, the market’s main gauge of price pressures shows a path very much in line with the Fed’s objective. 

Looking at the breakeven curve below — which shows the current curve in green relative to last month’s shape in yellow — it’s clear how the main recent boost in inflation-adjusted yields has been in the five-year sector. This suggests traders see the consumer-price index peaking over a five-year horizon, and then subsiding to just above 2% over the longer time line. 

The U.S. breakeven curve reflects confidence in the Fed’s inflation strategy

Photographer: Bloomberg

And according to Michael Pond, head of global inflation strategy at Barclays, that’s a vote of confidence in the Fed’s ability to keep price pressures anchored, while allowing them to run a little hotter throughout the recovery.

“We have the Fed not only saying they’re willing to allow inflation to rise, they’re actively looking for above-target inflation. But long term the Fed’s 2% average inflation regime is still in place. Even though they’re looking for an overshoot, it’s a temporary one. So breakevens should be pricing in above target inflation, but not forever.”


Hence the market isn’t pricing in an inflation surge and it’s got a lot of faith in the Fed’s ability to address it. Or it believes in secular stagnation, which must be a consolation for the theory since Larry Summers dumped it. 

Bonus points

Rate volatility! It’s back! U.S. and European measures of bond market turmoil have picked up to their highest levels in many months…

…. Stodgy government bonds are giving U.S. equities a run for their money now…

Gender hostilities are out in the open in the field of economics

Treasury Secretary Yellen has said it before and just said it again, she isn’t a fan of Bitcoin.

Bitcoin consumes as much electricity as the entire population of Pakistan, by DB’s reckoning.

Mel Brooks, an inspiration for revolutions everywhere

Bloomberg

Info – How To Spot Fake News

Full link: https://www.visualcapitalist.com/how-to-spot-fake-news/

How to Spot Fake News

“Fake news” used to be a relatively uncommon problem, but over the last decade, and especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, increasing consumption of news and articles has caused misinformation to run wild.

Far from a new concept, misinformation and cherry-picked stories have been used throughout history as a form of propaganda or information warfare. However, the rise of social media as a hub for sharing articles has spread “fake news”—false or misleading information presented as legitimate news—all over the internet.

Fueled further by increasing polarization, as well as the use of the term by former U.S. President Donald Trump to also refer to negative coverage (whether legitimate or misinformed), it seems more difficult than ever to separate trustworthy from misleading sources.

With this in mind, we combined guidance from non-profit journalism project First Draft News and the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) to create this guide for understanding “fake news” and how to spot it.

The Different Types of “Fake News”

In order to spot fake news, you have to know the many forms misinformation can take.

Not all fake news is created equal, or even with the intent to deceive. Some start as opinions or jokes that become misunderstood, twisted over time, and eventually turn into misinformation. Others begin with the sole purpose of deception.

Online Misinformation From Least Intentional to Most

  • Satire/Parody
    Articles or videos created to mock or laugh at an issue. If created without being an obvious parody, these types of articles can still fool readers and be shared as “real.”
  • False Connection
    Stories with headlines, visuals, and captions that don’t support the content. Sometimes the cause is an honest mistake or poor journalism, but other times the false connections are deliberate to draw more attention.
  • Misleading Content
    Misleading use of information to frame an issue or individual, especially one not involved in the story. This can be caused by poor journalism or political influence, but is also caused by opinions being shared as news and the increasingly blurring line between the two.
  • False Context
    Genuine content that is shared with false contextual information, such as an incorrect date or a misattributed quote. This type of misinformation can still appear on news sites with poor fact-checking or opinion-based reporting, but is clearly driven by an agenda with an attempt to influence.
  • Imposter Content
    When genuine sources are impersonated in order to deceive the audience. Though this type of misinformation is used in parody, it is also used for profit and propaganda purposes, such as by sites disguised to look like news organizations or using fake credentials.
  • Manipulated Content
    The deliberate manipulation of information, such as digitally altering an image or making up quotes. This type of misinformation is easily proven fake with some research, but can spread too far before it is fact-checked.
  • Fabricated Content
    Newly created false content designed to deceive and do harm. These include deepfake videos and sites posing as legitimate news organizations.

Despite many types of misinformation appearing to be obvious at a glance, it’s harder to discern when browsing online. In a 2019 global survey on social media by Ipsos, 44% of people admitted to being duped by fake news at least once, while others may have been duped unwittingly.

How To Tell If An Article is “Fake News”

With many types of misinformation to contend with, and trust in media organizations falling in the U.S. and around the world, it might seem like you’re surrounded by “fake news,” but there are a few things you can check to be sure.

  • The Source
    Investigate the site to make sure it’s legitimate, and check its mission and its contact info to understand if it’s news, satire, or opinion.
  • The URL
    Be wary of unusual top-level domain names, like “.com.co” that are designed to appear legitimate, such as ABCnews.com.co.
  • The Text
    Does the article have spelling errors or dramatic punctuation? This can be an easy find for simple fabricated content, as most reputable sources have high proofreading and grammatical standards.
  • The Information
    Read past click-baity headlines, note who is (or isn’t) quoted, and verify the information on other sites. This is also a good way to separate opinion pieces from news.
  • The Author
    Check the author’s bio and do a quick search on them. Are they credible to write about their story? Are they real?
  • Supporting Sources
    Click on the supporting links, and perform reverse searches on images. Do they actually support the story, or are they irrelevant (or worse, manipulated).
  • The Date
    Sometimes older news stories are shared again and gain traction because of current events, but that doesn’t mean they’re relevant or accurate.
  • Your Bias
    Especially with the rise of opinionated journalism and websites profiting from polarization, consider the intended audience for this story and if your own beliefs could affect your judgement.
  • The Experts
    If a story feels flimsy, or doesn’t seem to be properly cited, consider asking an expert in the field or consulting a fact-checking site.

More than anything, consider that outrageous misinformation has an easier time spreading on the internet than boring real news. An MIT study found that false stories on Twitter were 70% more likely to get retweeted than accurate news.

But armed with knowledge about what “fake news” looks like, and with increased pressure on news organizations, the tide can be turned back in the favor of accurate news.