This week's staff picks
Every week, the ASBMB staff shares what we’ve been reading, listening to, watching and doing. As we all weather the COVID-19 pandemic and our new normal of social distancing, we look for ways to cope, connect and entertain ourselves.
AWOL on the Appalachian Trail (David Miller, Audible and Mariner Books)
Dreaming of a hike on the AT in the near future, I wanted to learn more about the trail. Discovered this book on Audible. I loved the writer’s story of how he accomplished hiking all of the AT.
— Robin Crawford, senior meetings coordinator
There is nothing like a good British murder mystery to take one's mind off today's troubles. An added bonus is if the location is in a beautiful part of the world. Watching the BBC's Shetland (available on Netflix, Amazon and Britbox as well as PBS) is a great escape. It's a rugged, windy, beautiful place. So while we are all staying at home, I'm planning a trip to the Shetland Islands one day when travel is more easily accessible. Apparently, you can tour the places that are highlighted in the series.
Never go back to the office (Juliette Kayyem, The Atlantic)
This piece by a former U.S. Department of Homeland Security staffer touches on a number of precautions and adaptations employers, in particular employers of office workers, will need to contend with as states and localities begin to reopen in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic. For example: the CDC’s recommendation that telework continue whenever possible; how to stagger shifts for people who usually work 9 to 5-ish; who will take their temperatures upon entry; whether there’s enough money in the bank to make ventilation systems safer; how to modify shared workspaces; and whether businesses and their executives will be held financially liable if workers get sick on the job. But the larger issue the author raises is whether it even makes sense to go to all the trouble and fork out all the money to do all those things when your business is running OK with employees working from home. Indeed, many companies are finding that they simply don’t need all that overhead. Sure, making working from home permanent means managers can’t hover over workers or feel powerful at the head of the boardroom table. But that’s not what leadership is about. She writes: “If you run an organization whose employees are more or less getting their work done at home, listen to that little voice in your head. Return to the office now? That’s crazy talk. I’m only telling you what you already know.”
— Angela Hopp, director of communications
The bumper Toby Morris & Siouxsie Wiles Covid-19 box set (Morris & Wiles, The Spinoff)
Disclaimer: You won’t receive an actual boxed set of animated public-safety comics if you click on the link. But you may wish you could! These charming visual explainers by a microbiologist/cartoonist duo from New Zealand have gone viral worldwide for explaining how actions individuals take can mitigate the spread of the coronavirus. They’re straightforward, they’re visually appealing and, most of all, they’re empowering. I’ll sign off as the creators do: Be Kind. Stay Safe.
— Laurel Oldach, science communicator
Frozen fruit smoothie recipe (Food Network)
I found a blender in my kitchen, and figured I couldn’t NOT test it out. To clarify, I love my little rental house, and I’ve had lots of different roommates over the years. Some have moved out to get married, another to start med school, so I’ve gotten some pretty neat (and very random) hand-me-downs over the years. A recent discovery is a blender. So, I found this recipe and picked up the supplies. It’s a tasty and refreshing summertime snack!
— Ally Frick, multimedia and social media content manager
My quest for movement continues, but I have no bike, I'm not a runner and my home-rigged outdoor ballet barre only works when the weather is just right. Searching for a workout I can do at home in a reasonable amount of time, I found an old workout DVD. I didn't even know I had a DVD player, but once the idea was in my head I couldn't get it out. I used to do this workout on those rainy days when a half-hour class was just the thing. Gin Miller is a very in-shape lady, with a fun sense of humor, and I do enjoy her workout. It's just right — not too tough but you will have a bit of a burn after it’s over.What I never knew until recently is that Miller actually invented Step Aerobics (remember that — lots of people in the gym moving to the music?) and partnered with Reebok. I've never been a gym person per se, but I did try it out and it was a pretty good workout. Gin is apparently still going strong, and my too-much-time-in-the-chair-lately self appreciates it. Thanks Gin!
— Lisa Schnabel, senior designer
Making a Negroni (Stanley Tucci, Instagram)
Cooking Your Way Through the Pandemic (Stanley Tucci, The Atlantic)
It all started with the Negroni. Looking insanely well-groomed for a person in quarantine, Stanley Tucci talks his way through making a cocktail for his wife. It’s very soothing and sexy so, of course, it went viral. Then I found this article in The Atlantic describing Tucci’s life cooped up with two small children and four young adults as well as the aforementioned wife (who really deserves that cocktail). It’s part “Lifestyles of the Rich & Famous,” part “Celebrities – they’re just like us.” With recipes, no less. Tucci’s life sounds pretty great, but as my daughter pointed out, it’s nice to know that even if you’re a famous actor, your two-year-old will lie to you about pooping.
— Comfort Dorn, ASBMB Today managing editor
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Having weathered the devastating COVID-19 outbreak in Italy, biochemistry professor Maurizio Crestani proposes a worldwide investment in basic research.