Daily Bread for 5.11.20

Good morning.

Monday in Whitewater will be partly sunny with a high of fifty-two.  Sunrise is 5:34 AM and sunset 8:07 PM, for 14h 33m 03s of daytime.  The moon is a waning gibbous with 79.9% of its visible disk illuminated.

Today is the one thousand two hundred eightieth day.

The Whitewater School District’s distinctions committee meets at 10:30 AM via audiovisual conferencing.

 On this day in 1997, Deep Blue, a chess-playing supercomputer, defeats Garry Kasparov in the last game of the rematch, becoming the first computer to beat a world-champion chess player in a classic match format.

Recommended for reading in full —

Aaron Davis report In the early days of the pandemic, the U.S. government turned down an offer to manufacture millions of N95 masks in America:

It was Jan. 22, a day after the first case of covid-19 was detected in the United States, and orders were pouring into Michael Bowen’s company outside Fort Worth, some from as far away as Hong Kong.

Bowen’s medical supply company, Prestige Ameritech, could ramp up production to make an additional 1.7 million N95 masks a week. He viewed the shrinking domestic production of medical masks as a national security issue, though, and he wanted to give the federal government first dibs.

“We still have four like-new N95 manufacturing lines,” Bowen wrote that day in an email to top administrators in the Department of Health and Human Services. “Reactivating these machines would be very difficult and very expensive but could be achieved in a dire situation.”

But communications over several days with senior agency officials — including Robert Kad­lec, the assistant secretary for preparedness and emergency response — left Bowen with the clear impression that there was little immediate interest in his offer.

“I don’t believe we as an government are anywhere near answering those questions for you yet,” Laura Wolf, director of the agency’s Division of Critical Infrastructure Protection, responded that same day.

“We are the last major domestic mask company,” he wrote on Jan. 23. “My phones are ringing now, so I don’t ‘need’ government business. I’m just letting you know that I can help you preserve our infrastructure if things ever get really bad. I’m a patriot first, businessman second.”

In the end, the government did not take Bowen up on his offer. Even today, production lines that could be making more than 7 million masks a month sit dormant.

Don Lee reports Coronavirus sends unemployment rate to 14.7%:

Large-scale layoffs since mid-March have affected every major sector of the economy, with restaurant, retail, health services, manufacturing and local government all taking big hits in April. Unemployment rates rose sharply higher for Latinos, blacks, teenagers, part-time workers and those without any college education.

“Clearly, less-educated and low-wage workers have been crushed by this downturn, even more than usual,” said Harry Holzer, a former chief economist at the Labor Department and now a public policy professor at Georgetown University.

Holzer said that besides the 16 million workers who became unemployed last month, another 6.4 million people dropped out of the labor force. In addition, almost 6 million workers went from full time to part time due to the falloff in economic demand.

When such workers are included, a broader government measure of joblessness reached 22.8% last month — close to the peak unemployment of 25% at the height of the Great Depression in 1933.

(Emphasis added.)

 Jupiter looks like a ‘jack-o-lantern’ in high-res infrared views from the ground:

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