Four years ago today, I shared this news story on Facebook with the comment “Isn’t this how Contagion started?”
We had no idea. It begins:
A never-before-seen virus that sparked an outbreak of viral pneumonia in the Chinese city of Wuhan has now killed one person and spread to Thailand via a sick traveler.
On Saturday, January 11, officials in Wuhan reported that a 61-year-old man died January 9. Testing indicated he was carrying the virus, which researchers have confirmed is a novel strain of coronavirus.
McSweeney’s gives us All the Types of Science Fiction in convenient list form.
Don’t miss #7, #11, #22, and (god help us) #25.
Here is a photo by Richard Avedon of a 16-year-old basketball player in 1963:
The player’s name at that time was Lew Alcindor.
I think it’s common knowledge now — or SHOULD BE — that Pyrex hasn’t been Pyrex in a long time. The old promise of Pyrex — that you could take it from the stovetop to the freezer without fear of thermal shock — was abandoned when Corning sold the brand in 1998. One must go elsewhere for actual borosilicate glass (which is what made the Pyrex of old Pyrex).
BUT! Here comes a new let-down. Outdoorsy folks the world over trust something called GoreTex, but the truth of the matter is this: Gore-Tex isn’t Gore-Tex anymore, either, because the OG version of Gore-Tex had Teflon in it, and Teflon isn’t something you really want to be selling in the 21st century.
Instead, the “Gore-Tex” you buy today is probably exactly the same breathable, waterproof membrane that Gore’s competitors were using before Gore’s patent ran out 25 years ago. Gore-Tex only maintains its market position because, candidly, Gore is super vindictive and protective of their now-meaningless brand, and punishes outerwear makers who stray too far from the light.
Canadian motorcycle retailer Fortnine covers this (as relates to moto jackets but it cross-applies to any other kind of jacket) in this video, which is pretty fascinating and worth your time. (10 minutes, but it works fine at 1.5x.)