Week InReview
Friday | Feb 19, 2021
Desperately Seeking Distraction.
Benjamin Davis's painting of Philadelphia Flyers mascot, Gritty.
Photo courtesy of the Philadelphia Flyers
There is a new masterpiece in the city of Philadelphia — but don’t expect to see this classical nude hanging on the walls of the Barnes any time soon. Why? Because it’s a portrait of Gritty, the beloved NHL mascot for the Philadelphia Flyers.

During last week’s loss to the Boston Bruins, Gritty stayed on the sidelines, dramatically casting off a white robe while the sounds of Nelly’s “Hot in Herre” bumped through the arena. He spent the next 90 or so minutes reclining on a black leather coach, clad only in his hockey helmet, to pose for 28-year-old artist Benjamin Davis.

— Art World
let's recap...
The Charging Bull statue in New York's financial district.
Photo: Associated Press
Moody’s Analytics chief economist Mark Zandi says that the biggest risk to our recovery from the coronavirus crisis isn’t the runaway inflation that has many experts sounding alarm bells but a dangerous surge in asset values. (Forbes | Feb 15)

The Securities and Exchange Commission is expected to become more directly involved with the Treasury market this year, saying it will likely target transparency and structural changes. "I think the U.S. Treasury market has historically been governed by the [Federal Reserve] and the Treasury [Department], and it looks like the Securities and Exchange Commission is looking to take on a more hands-on approach," said Bloomberg Intelligence's Larry Tabb. (The Desk | Feb 15)

Inflation will rise in the coming months, but will it be sustained? Investors are bullish in America, where a huge stimulus package is in the works. In the euro area and Japan, though, inflation is expected to stay subdued. (The Economist | Feb 13)

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen is giving Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell a bit of a headache when it comes to managing the money markets. Already low short-term interest rates are set to sink further, potentially below zero, after the Treasury announced plans earlier this month to reduce the stockpile of cash it amassed at the Fed over the last year to fight the pandemic and the deep recession it caused. (Bloomberg Economics | Feb 16)

The Federal Reserve said it would test the ability of the largest U.S. banks to weather a hypothetical recession in which markets seize up and unemployment jumps above 10%. The so-called stress test, conducted annually to see how banks would react to dramatic market and economic shocks, will feature a scenario in which a severe global recession leads to “substantial stress” in commercial real estate and corporate debt markets, the Fed said. (The Wall Street Journal | Feb 12)
Economy 'far from' ideal, easy policy likely to remain, Fed minutes show
Photo: Leah Millis/Reuters
(Feb 17) — Federal Reserve officials in January expected it would be “some time” before conditions to scale back massive bond purchases were met, leaving open the question of whether any tapering could start before 2022. The account reinforced the dovish message from Fed Chair Jerome Powell, who said last week that the U.S. is “very far from a strong labor market whose benefits are broadly shared." While some regional Fed presidents have raised the possibility of paring bond purchases later in 2021 if the economy performed better than expected, Powell has called such talk premature. Still, it’s only a question of time before the discussion resumes — and that might not be a bad thing.
the cyber cafe
A 'friendly' warning for hackers
Dutch police played a crucial role in "Operation Ladybird," the Emotet takedown. Now they have posted "friendly" messages on two of today's largest hacking forums warning cyber-criminals that "hosting criminal infrastructure in the Netherlands is a lost cause."
— ZDNet

Suspected Russian hackers used U.S. networks, official says
A sprawling cyber-attack that compromised popular software created by Texas-based SolarWinds Corp. was executed from within the U.S., a top White House official said, though the government believes Russia was responsible. The federal investigation of the hack will take several months, Deputy National Security Advisor Anne Neuberger said in a briefing for reporters on Wednesday.

Russia’s Sandworm tied to a multiyear hacking spree
A French security agency warned that the Russian military hackers known as Sandworm, responsible for everything from blackouts in Ukraine to NotPetya, the most destructive malware in history, have stealthily hacked targets in that country by exploiting an IT monitoring tool called Centreon — and appear to have gotten away with it undetected for as long as three years.
binge reading disorder
Illustration: Keith Ward/Mother Earth News
The best emergency gear to keep at home
The thing about emergency gear is that once you need it, you won't be able to get it. Even if you resign yourself to a soul-sucking panic run to Walmart with the rest of the hordes, you'll be in stiff competition for the limited remaining stock. So plan ahead so you have everything on hand in advance. From flashlights to water purifiers, here are a few essential that can be of immense help in case of a natural disaster or power outage.

What Shakespeare can teach us about empathy
The renowned literary critic Harold Bloom asserted that Shakespeare “invented the human,” reflected in the rich interior lives of his characters. But it’s not just that Shakespeare’s characters are recognizably human; it is that the plays are constructed to make us more human. They elicit empathy for people whose backgrounds, situations and bodies are different from our own — characters we might otherwise dismiss, dislike or even abhor.

What's next for the workplace?
A remote work prognosticator, who wrote a book about leveraging technology and working from wherever, talks about what work will look like post-pandemic.
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