As we all wind our way around this dark, dark bend, we can see the lights just ahead. We have been among the most decimated of industries, and so we have been buried in reporting of the Covid crisis. But some stories we may want to share with clients as they get ready to go out there again have been underreported. Let's give those stories their due today:
Sacrifices have been required all over the world but nowhere more painfully than in Belgium. You see, the country has had a glut -- an estimated 750,000 tons -- of unsold potatoes due to sharp reductions in food exports. So Belgians have been urged to do their part by government minister Hilde Crevits. She has urged them to double or even triple their intake of french fries to help save the nation's economy. I somehow remember the french fries in Brussels fondly, and if I am in the city anytime soon I shall help them fight the glut.
You may not have heard about the Airbnb imitator Kasoku. The Japanese startup has a coronavirus wrinkle: It is renting apartments to Japanese couples on the cusp of divorce so they can have some "alone time" during lockdown.
Covid-19 may be changing food presentations when our clients next visit Italy. Valerio Braschi is a top chef in Rome who won the coveted Masterchef Italia award when he was only 18. But inside dining at restaurants is challenging, and some chefs have too much time on their hands. Which may be why his 1978 Restaurant in the Trieste section of Rome now serves lasagna "toothpaste." It comes in a tube, and diners squeeze it onto an egg pasta toothbrush. Something to try at home with the relatives.
The past two or three months have led to speculation about the long-term employment outlook in our industry. But no one has identified the biggest threat to our collective futures as humans who help our clients make better decisions. I think that might be Neuralink, a seldom-discussed startup of Elon Musk. Recently, the company announced that it had successfully given a monkey a wireless brain implant. Musk reported that the monkey is now able to play video games using his own logic and thoughts. Yeah, but can he put together an FIT on Guam?
Visiting local schools is always something I suggest that my clients do; the resulting back-and-forth Q&A can be truly insightful. So it was with great interest that I read that the Chinese government has used the pandemic lockdown to introduce a component to their educational system. Male ex-athletes are being hired to promote the "masculine spirit of yang" -- as in yin yang -- to combat "the feminization of male youths." Si Zefu is an influential government advisor who is concerned that Chinese boys are becoming too timid because they are taught by female teachers while consuming culture that includes music by "pretty boys."
And finally, we missed the really big story out of England. Yes, we're all mini-experts on the virus, and we all know about droplets and how to try to avoid them when we travel. We will forever be watchful. But just how big are these coronavirus particles? Well, British mathematician Kit Yates has figured it out -- sort of. He has calculated that all the Covid-causing virus in the world right now could easily fit inside a can of Diet Coke.