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It feels like the world is burning, doesn’t it? It’s hard to care about the struggles of silly scooter start-ups.

Some young tech companies are being crushed as customers shelter at home during the coronavirus pandemic, and they’re laying off workers at lightning speed, as my colleague Erin Griffith writes.

This can be devastating to people who work at start-ups, although the layoffs are a small number compared with the speed and scale of America’s job losses. For the rest of us, these start-ups matter in ways that we can’t always see.

Many of us have come to rely on what these companies provide. There is an economy of homeowners and others who rely on income from Airbnb.

Greg Bensinger, a member of The Times editorial board, said our reliance right now on big companies like Amazon and Walmart should not override questions about whether they mistreat workers or unfairly muscle out rivals.

Forced by the pandemic to drop in-person performances for online ones, classical music has become more accessible and charming, writes The Times’s Joshua Barone. (But Peter Gelb, the general manager of the Metropolitan Opera, says webcasts are a pale imitation of live performances.)

Frank Bruni, the Times Opinion columnist, is in Gelb’s camp about the limits of online activities, including the use of emoticons and emojis. “There’s not a one of them, no matter how colorful, that has the melting warmth of a flesh-and-blood smile that’s happening right in front of me.”


  • A pandemic is the perfect time! To become bakers, or fitness buffs! Everyone online seems to be using enforced at-home time to become more productive. But truly, it’s fine if we just muddle through instead of trying to optimize our lives, says our internet culture writer Taylor Lorenz. I tried and failed to read a single page of a book last night. I’m not sorry.

  • OK, but maybe we can be a teeny bit productive? Here’s a helpful, manageable task: Digitize your important paper documents and mementos, like birth certificates and family photos. My colleague J.D. Biersdorfer walks you through how to do this.

  • The video-meeting app Zoom has become a fixture of quarantine life, which makes it a target for horrible people to break into calls and harass others. One fix the company can make is to change settings, as it has done for schools, to not let people share what’s on their screen without the host’s permission, and to require the host to approve any attendees.

    Consumer Reports also has a good guide to the information Zoom collects on people using its app. The company said it turned off a data-gathering feature after my Times colleagues asked about it.

May I present: the celebrity chef Ina Garten and a martini glass the size of a toddler. She posted this video Wednesday, before 10 a.m. (Thanks to the Briefings writer Melina Delkic for showing me this gem.)


Take care of yourselves and those around you. And please let us know what we could do to serve you better. We’re at [email protected].

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source: nytimes.com

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