Black Workers Are More Likely to Be Unemployed but Less Likely to Get Unemployment Benefits

What Makes California’s Current Wildfires So Unusual ; Scientists Find 200,000-Year-Old Beds Made of Grass ; and More Picks

Unemployment benefits, inequality, race, pandemic, labor
The authors write, “For the first time, thanks to the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program, part-timers, independent contractors, and gig workers qualify for unemployment payments. Black workers are overrepresented in these nontraditional positions, which in the past has contributed to making them less likely to receive unemployment payments than other groups. Yet despite the expansion of eligibility, a smaller percentage of unemployed Black workers are receiving unemployment benefits than white workers during the pandemic, according to national survey data from NORC at the University of Chicago.” Photo credit: Ed Brown / Wikimedia
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What Makes California’s Current Major Wildfires So Unusual (Dana)

The author writes, “It’s not just the size of the fires that’s so concerning; some of the blazes are in coastal areas that don’t burn very often, threatening the state’s iconic redwoods. The blazes were ignited by a massive dry lightning storm. … Wildfires are nothing new for Californians, and many are wearily growing accustomed to the heat, smoke, and evacuations as fires reignite in areas torched in the recent past. But this week’s blazes stand out for their scale, timing, locations, and intensity, even among recent record-breaking fire seasons.”

What Happened in Room 10? (Bethany)

From the California Sunday Magazine: “The Life Care Center of Kirkland, Washington, was the first COVID hot spot in the U.S. Forty-six people associated with the nursing home died, exposing how ill-prepared we were for the pandemic — and how we take care of our elderly. This is their story.”

Ai Weiwei’s Latest Film Is a Chilling Look at Life Under Lockdown in Wuhan (Dan)

From Artnet News: “Streets are empty and deserted. Cleaners in hazmat suits hose down surfaces—and each other—with sanitizer. Alarms sound as medical workers shuttle tightly wrapped bodies on gurneys and stretchers. These are just a few of the apocalyptic images that greet viewers of Chinese-born artist Ai Weiwei’s new documentary film Coronation, a look at life under lockdown in Wuhan, China. … The film looks at the city through the lens of Chinese state control over the course of the coronavirus lockdown. Ai … remotely directed and produced the film from his home in Berlin. The film was shot and submitted by ordinary citizens living in Wuhan.”

An Oil Company Wants to Use Giant Chillers to Refreeze the Ground That Climate Change Is Thawing in Order to Drill for More Oil (Peg)

The author writes, “ConocoPhillips, one of the nation’s largest oil companies, might soon be forced to face symptoms of a problem it helped create — melting permafrost wrought by climate change. In a planned project in northern Alaska, where global warming is causing the frozen soil to thaw, the company said it would use chillers to keep the ground beneath key infrastructure frozen, according to an environmental impact statement published by the Bureau of Land Management. … The oil-drilling infrastructure, itself, could also exacerbate the thawing of the ground, the agency said.” 

Scientists Find 200,000-Year-Old Beds Made of Grass (Mili)

The author writes, “Archaeologists working in South Africa have discovered something that would delight a stone-age Ferris Bueller: 200,000-year-old beds made of grass and ash. The archaeologists say the archaic beds show early humans had a desire to organize surfaces for sleeping and working. Evidence found surrounding the beds also suggests these early peoples were quite hygienic. (Unlike Mr. Bueller.)”

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