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Celerity's Journal
Celerity's Journal
April 7, 2020

US blocks millions of N95 face masks headed for Canada

US officials stop shipment at 3M factory after Trump invoked Defense Production Act to stop exports to Canada and beyond


US officials have stopped nearly three million specialized masks from being exported to Canada’s most populous province, amid mounting fears that Ontario will run out of supplies for medical staff battling coronavirus by the end of the week. Donald Trump on Friday invoked the 1950 Defense Production Act giving the government “any or all authority” to stop 3M exporting N95 respirators to Canada and Latin America. The masks, which filter out 95% of airborne particles, are seen as a critical tool for frontline healthcare workers in the fight against Covid-19.

But as supply shrinks, countries and local governments are locked in a desperate battle to access whatever equipment is available. At a press conference on Monday, Ontario premier Doug Ford said the 500,000 masks had been cleared for release, but nearly three million masks were intercepted by US officials at 3M’s South Dakota Facility. “We know that the US isn’t allowing supplies across the US border,” Ford said. “The hard truth is, our supplies in Ontario are getting very low and the more new cases we get, the more demand there is on our resources.”

3M initially resisted the president’s executive order, warning in a statement the move would have “significant humanitarian implications” for countries desperate for safety equipment. Over the weekend, Trump harshly criticised the company, warning it would have “a big price to pay”. “We need the masks. We don’t want other people getting it,” Trump said in a Saturday briefing to reporters. “That’s why we’re instituting [the] defence production act. You could call it retaliation because that’s what it is: it’s a retaliation. If people don’t give us what we need for our people, we’re going to be very tough.”

3M has not directly responded to the president’s remarks or say whether it intended to continue exports of protective equipment. But it issued a statement on Sunday saying it would “continue to maximize the amount of respirators we can produce for heroic healthcare workers in the US and worldwide”. As Ontario scrambles to source new equipment, Ford said the province is “desperately” counting on orders placed through the federal government’s bulk purchasing program to bridge its short-term needs until a sustainable supply can be found. The order from Trump has come as a blow to Canadians, many of whom prize the close relationship between the two countries.


April 7, 2020

Wisconsin's Supreme Court rules along partisan lines to require the state to hold its election Tues.

Wisconsin’s plan to hold an election in the middle of a pandemic is back on.


On Monday, Democratic Gov. Tony Evers attempted to reschedule an election the state is planning to hold on Tuesday, handing down an order suspending in-person voting until June 9 “unless the Legislature passes and the Governor approves a different date for in-person voting.” On a party-line vote, however, the Republican-controlled state Supreme Court struck down Evers’s order, meaning that the state is now on track to hold its election as originally scheduled.

The vote was 4-2, with Justice Daniel Kelly, a staunch conservative, recused because he is a candidate in Tuesday’s election. Republicans have fought tooth and nail against nearly any effort to delay the election or to make it easier for voters to cast mail-in ballots, and the state Supreme Court is dominated by Republicans. Last week, Evers called the state legislature into session and asked it to delay the election. But the Republican-controlled legislature ended that session a few seconds after it was convened.

Republicans also rejected Evers’s proposal to automatically mail ballots to every voter in the state, and they’ve fought hard in federal court — including in the US Supreme Court — to prevent ballots from being counted after the original April 7 election date. On Monday evening, the US Supreme Court ruled against a lower court judge’s order extending the deadline for receiving mail-in votes. Nearly a dozen states have chosen to postpone presidential primary and local elections as most Americans remain at home to avoid spreading the coronavirus.

Wisconsin’s election is shaping up to be a trainwreck

With the coronavirus pandemic raging, most poll workers had refused to work Tuesday’s election, leading Evers to call up the National Guard in order to staff the polls. But this stopgap measure appears to have done little to prevent mass poll closures. In Milwaukee, for example, local election officials announced that there would be only five polling locations open — instead of the typical 180.


April 6, 2020

Ironic or Fate: Claude VonStroke's Newest Addictive Track "I'm Solo"


Welp, whether it’s a dirty trick or the cosmos laughing at us, right now, we’re all solo, that’s for sure. If you’re part of the super secret private fan club for Claude VonStroke, then you’ve been dancing in your underwear at home to this track for weeks. But now, everyone can enjoy “I’m Solo” because, hell, we all are, aren’t we?

What started out as a demo made for his private fan club a few months ago, 'I'm Solo' has taken on a whole new meaning in recent weeks. Claude VonStroke delivers a timely in-house groover with a signature vocal for Pandemic living. The track goes along with a thematic music video shot, edited and starring Claude VonStroke by himself. The incredible art by Birdcap also drives the vibe home, where everyone is now living 24/7.

RELEASE DATE 2020-04-03

April 6, 2020

The Reflex Revisions - MASTERTAPES [Episodes 1 to 7] (one of the planet's best soul/funk remixers)

The Reflex
Real Name:
Nicolas Laugier
French producer and remixer based in London, UK. He is devoted to re-edits of mostly funk / soul


Herbie Hancock - Rock It [The Reflex Revision]
Rafael Cameron - Boogie's Gonna Get Ya [The Reflex Cosmic Dub Revision]
Instant Funk - I Got My Mind Set Up [The Reflex Revision]
Skyy - Let's Celebrate [The Reflex Revision]
Mystery Revision #1
Candido - Dancin' & Prancin' [The Reflex Revision]
Mystery Revision #2
Mystery Revision #3
Mystery Revision #4


Paul McCartney - Maybe I'm Amazed [The Reflex Revision]
The Temprees - Come On Ya'll [The Reflex Revision]
Emotions - As Long As I Got You [The Reflex Revision]
Isaac Hayes - Do Your Thing [The Reflex Revision]
Blackbyrds - Spaced Out [The Reflex Revision]
Carpenters - We've Only Just Begun [The Reflex Revision]
Shirley Bassey - Light My Fire [The Reflex Revision]
The Spinners - It's A Shame [The Reflex Revision]
The Supremes - Bad Weather [The Reflex Revision]
The Spinners - I'll Be Around [The Reflex Revision]
Johnnie Taylor & Carla Thomas - Keep On Loving Me [The Reflex Revision]

'MASTERTAPES [Episode 3]

Earth,Wind & Fire - In The Stone [The Reflex Revision]
Kid Creole & The Coconuts - My Male Curiosity [The Reflex Revision]
Barry Manilow - Copacabana [The Reflex Revision]
Loleatta Holloway - Papa Won’t Mama Don't [The Reflex Revision]
McFadden & Whitehead - Ain’t No Stoppin’ Us Now [The Reflex Revision]
Michael Jackson - Burn This Disco Out [The Reflex Revision]
Chaka Khan - I’m Every Woman [The Reflex Revision]
Henri-Pierre Noel - A Fifth Of Beethoven [The Reflex Revision]
Donna Summer - Bad Girls [The Reflex Revision]
Diana Ross - Love Hangover [The Reflex Revision]
Eddie Kendricks - Date With The Rain [The Reflex Revision]

'MASTERTAPES [Episode 4]

Level 42 - Starchild [The Reflex Revision]
George Benson - Love X Love [The Reflex Revision]
Janet Jackson - When I Think Of You [The Reflex Revision]
Rafael Cameron - All That's Good To Me [The Reflex Revision]
Modern Romance - Can U Move [The Reflex Revision]
Temptations - Papa Was A Rollin' Stone [The Reflex Revision]
Mystery Revision #5
Phreek - Weekend [The Reflex Revision]
Mystery Revision #6
Talk Talk - It's My Life [The Reflex Revision]

'MASTERTAPES [Episode 5]

Kid Creole & The Coconuts - My Male Curiosity (The Reflex Percapella)
Blondie - Rapture [The Reflex Revision]
L'Imperatrice - Odyssée [The Reflex Absolut Remix]
Joey Negro & The Sunburst Band - The Secret Life Of Us [The Reflex Vocodub Revision]
Simply Red - Shine On [The Reflex Unreleased Dub Mix]
Bo Saris - Little Bit More [Mousse T Mix / The Reflex Revision]
MF Robots - The Night Is Calling [Percapella + The Reflex Revision]
Rafael Cameron - Boogie’s Gonna Get Ya [The Reflex Revision]
Opolopo - Staying Power Ft Pete Simpson [The Reflex Revision]
Omar - Vicky’s Tune [The Reflex Unreleased Dub Mix]
Noel Gallagher’s HFB - Black Star Dancing [The Reflex Revision]
Key Tronics Ensemble - House of Calypso [The Reflex Edit]
Nina Simone - My Baby Just Cares For Me [The Reflex Edit]

'MASTERTAPES [Episode 6]

Earth, Wind & Fire - Shining Star [The Reflex Revision]
Stevie Wonder - Tuesday Heartbreak [The Reflex Revision]
Archie Bell & The Drells - Strategy [The Reflex Revision]
Bee Gees - Stayin' Aive [The Reflex Mostly Instrumental Revision]
Bobby Thurston - I Know You Feel Like I Feel [The Reflex Revision]
Stevie Wonder - I Wish [The Reflex Revision]
Kool & The Gang - Jungle Boogie [The Reflex Revision]
Fred Wesley & The Horny Horns - A Blow For Me, A Toot For You [The Reflex Revision]
Bar-Kays - Holy Ghost (Reborn) [The Reflex Revision]
Cerrone - Hooked On You [The Reflex Revision]

'MASTERTAPES [Episode 7]

Hello all, been a while since the last Mastertapes... so here's Episode 7 for you, with several big exclusives as always, strictly multitrack business.. Tracklist to follow...

Enjoy and keep safe x
April 6, 2020

The Whale: Marine protection through design

Project name: The Whale | Location: Andenes, Norway | Completed: expected 2022


Danish architecture studio Dorte Mandrup has been announced as the winner of the international design competition to design a new attraction on the island of Andøya in northern Norway. Andøya is known as one of the best places in the world to spot whales and The Whale will tell the tale of the creature through art, science and architecture.

Dorte Mandrup herself says of the project: “Right here on the edge of the ocean, we will be making a mark in a magnificent and ancient landscape. This opportunity comes with a great responsibility, which is extremely motivating and inspiring.”

The Whale grows out of the landscape, rising naturally as a soft hill on the rocky shore. The curved roof will be covered with stones that will weather over time, underlining the connection between the Norwegian landscape and the building. Not only does The Whale fit in with the landscape, it enhances its character.

The project’s design is focused on blurring the boundary between the interior and the exterior landscape. Large windows that open towards the archipelago underline the connection between landscape and building, creating a visual connection between the exhibition spaces and the vast natural surroundings. This connection is further explored by exposed rocks in multiple positions within the building.

April 6, 2020

Austrian short-time work model: a labour-market policy for the many, not the few

Job retention plus well-compensated short-time work is better for employers as well as employees than redundancy. Maybe after the crisis we can reopen the debate about working time.


A growing number of countries are facing unprecedented disruptions to everyday life. The rapid spread of the coronavirus has led to a shutdown of vital functions of economies around the world. While the countermeasures to reduce infections are largely undisputed among experts, the ways to deal with the economic crisis are manifold. In particular, skyrocketing unemployment poses a major challenge for most countries. But in Austria, the social partners have negotiated a new model of subsidised short-time work which could become an international exemplar.

Relationship maintained

The short-time work model allows a reduction in working hours while maintaining the employment relationship and granting almost full wage compensation. It even includes the possibility of a temporary reduction to as few as zero hours. Employees only have to carry out on average 10 per cent of their normal working time over a period of three months and it is possible to work that as a block, for instance at the end of the period. After these three months, it is possible to prolong short-time work for another three months if necessary. Depending on the former income level, the model grants compensation of between 80 and 90 per cent (including special remunerations).

Thus, the short-time work grant from the Public Employment Service Austria (AMS) is much higher than regular unemployment benefits, which comprise 55 per cent of previous net income. In comparison with other countries, the Austrian short-time work model seems to be very attractive, as the replacement rate is high and the same across all sectors. In Germany, the net replacement rate varies between the regular benefit payment of 60 per cent and up to 67 per cent. In Norway, workers can be put on leave and receive full payment for the first 20 days and then between 80 and 62 per cent depending on the salary. In Ireland, the net replacement rate equals 70 per cent, in Denmark 75 per cent and in the United Kingdom about 80 per cent.

Fully insured

Every company in Austria, independent of its size or branch of activity, can implement this short-time work model. The public sector will refund all additional costs and the company will only pay for the actual working time. Employers also benefit because the wages and the social-security contributions for the lost hours are omitted, beginning with the first day of short-time work, while employees continue to be fully insured. To reduce windfall effects and to prevent misuse, all applications to the AMS have to be approved by the social partners. If there is an elected works council (Betriebsrat) in the applicant company, a plant-level agreement (Betriebsvereinbarung) specifying details of the short-time work is required. Otherwise, employers have to reach an individual agreement with each employee. All agreements on reduced working hours stipulate a minimum retention period of one month after the reduced hours. The retention period after short-time work applies only to those employees who were affected by short-time work, not to all employees of the company.


April 6, 2020

How his 'Brexit' project explains Johnson's dithering on Covid-19

Paul Mason explains how Boris Johnson’s idiosyncratic initial response to the coronavirus stemmed from his particularistic empire nostalgia.


On March 19th, even as its health service came under growing pressure from the coronavirus, the British government flatly refused to take part in a European Union joint-procurement scheme for vitally needed ventilators. The reasons are shrouded in obfuscation: the prime minister, Boris Johnson, first claimed the United Kingdom was going it alone ‘because it has left the EU’, but later he blamed an administrative error. By then, the UK was two weeks into its disastrous ‘herd immunity’ strategy, whereby it refused to impose movement restrictions and—as we now know—spurned the mass testing advocated by the World Health Organization. Some people have assumed that—as with the US president, Donald Trump, at the same stage—Johnson was prepared to sacrifice lives on a large scale to save the economy. But it’s even simpler and more cruel than that. The entire month of February was wasted to save his ‘Brexit’ project.

Breaking commitments

Though Downing Street made no official announcement on the coronavirus until March 3rd, it was on Johnson’s mind as a threat to Brexit exactly a month earlier. In a florid speech, set amid the splendour of Britain’s 18th-century naval college in Greenwich, he announced the UK would effectively break the terms of the Political Declaration co-signed with the European Union in October 2019. London would not honour its commitments to a ‘level playing field’, on social, environmental and employment regulations, and would not accept any form of joint jurisdiction, Johnson indicated. And if the EU didn’t like it, preparations for a no-deal Brexit would begin as early as June. Far from mirroring and matching the regulations of its closest trading bloc, the UK would now become a country single-handedly committed to breaking up all trading blocs, aggressively reordering world trade—just as during its naval sway in the days of Robert Clive and Horatio Nelson.

Public experiment

Most people missed it at the time, but the entire narrative was framed around a response to the coronoavirus. ‘When there is a risk that new diseases such as coronavirus will trigger a panic and a desire for market segregation that go beyond what is medically rational to the point of doing real and unnecessary economic damage,’ Johnson said, ‘humanity needs some government somewhere that is willing at least to make the case powerfully for … the right of the populations of the earth to buy and sell freely among each other.’ The UK was to be that country. And, in the name of avoiding ‘unnecessary economic damage’, Johnson then subjected the entire British population to an experimental public health strategy which—until it was corrected on the advice of Imperial College researchers—might have killed a quarter of a million people. While other European countries imposed legal population lockdowns, testing tens of thousands a day, Johnson’s initial aim was to ‘take it on the chin’—allowing 80 per cent of the population to catch the disease. He feared—rightly as it turns out—that Covid-19 would be yet another nail in the coffin of trade and financial globalisation, and thus the negation of the premise of his Brexit project.

Threat unsustainable

Though the ‘herd immunity’ strategy has been abandoned, so far Johnson is sticking to the threat of a no-deal Brexit. Yet a glance at the realities of the world economy show that it is unsustainable. Numerous ‘sudden stops’ are under way, both on the demand and supply sides of the real economy. In response there is capital flight from two key sectors: emerging markets and developed-country commercial paper. And as investors scramble for short-dated government debt, as a cash equivalent, even the market for government bonds has been in turmoil. According to the ratings agency Fitch, it is likely that global gross domestic product will fall by 1.9 per cent for the whole of 2020, with the UK and the eurozone seeing year-on-year declines of 3.3 and 4.2 per cent respectively. And these projections are being made before we know the extent of any secondary financial aftershocks.The best-case
scenario is a V-shaped recession, with GDP back to its pre-crisis levels only in late 2021. If central banks and treasuries cannot stave off financial chaos, a longer, U-shaped recession becomes likely. If, on top of that, austerity-addicted politicians decide to attack wages and public spending in the budget rounds of 2021, it is possible parts of the world will experience a Greek-style, L-shaped recession, during which some governments go bust.


April 6, 2020

10 Insanely Fun Board Games You Should Play Right Now


If you've ever said, "Board games? More like bored games!" you should probably close this tab and go back to arguing in r/runescape. Not that some board games aren't boring. Anything that requires reading a 14-page instruction manual is off the table. And everyone's spent too much hard time with Monopoly and other family-gaming-night classics to get hugely excited about playing those in adulthood. (Except Clue. Clue rules.) You probably already know about great, modern classics like Settlers of Catan and Cranium. Here are 10 even more recent board games that every household should have in stock, boredom not included.

How to Rob a Bank

Number of players: 2-4
Play time: 30+ minutes
Who it’s for: Fans of Secret Hitler and Baby Driver
Why it’s great: It satisfies strategists by requiring cooperation, foresight, and friendly competition.
What it's about: One person's the bank, everyone else is a robber. Can the criminals successfully execute a heist without the bank interfering? Over the course of three rounds, the robbers have to get a certain number of money bags into the getaway car in order to win, all while dodging alarms, evading security guards, and trying not to get tackled. How to Rob a Bank won't teach you applicable skills for the real world, but it will teach you that pitting people against one another can have costly consequences, and that's perhaps a better lesson.
Buy it here

Machi Koro

Number of players: 2-4
Play time: 30 minutes
Who it’s for: Fans of Monopoly Deal and The Big Short
Why it’s great: For a brief moment, your hunger for power will be celebrated.
What it's about: This popular Japanese game moves fast. Your goal is to turn the town of Machi Koro into the bustling metropolis of your dreams by establishing businesses, making profits, building landmarks, and stealing business from other players who have their own plans in mind. On each turn, you roll the dice and hope that it matches the number on one of the buildings you own. If it does, you can take the action on that building's card, earn money, and invest in future structures. The first player to finish building all of their landmarks wins the game.
Buy it here


Number of players: 2-5
Play time: 30-45 minutes
Who it’s for: Fans of Risk and Sid Meier’s Civilization
Why it’s great: Players can build off opponents’ work to steal their points, making it anyone’s game right up to the end.
What it's about: Drawing inspiration from France's fortified city Carcassonne, this game requires players to build a countryside, one tile at a time. As players place tiles, they create an elaborate map full of fields, rivers, roads, cities, and monasteries -- the question now is who will stake claim of each feature as it's completed. Carcassonne is anyone's territory, and players will have to disrupt their opponents' plans if they want to come out on top. May the most ruthless builder win.
Buy it here


Number of players: 2-4
Play time: 45 minutes
Who it’s for: Fans of Outbreak and Contagion
Why it’s great: Pandemic tosses you into a parallel world where humanity works together when problems come their way. Plus, you learn geography.
What it's about: You don't need a rulebook to tell you that the only way to stop a pandemic is by working together to minimize its spread. This cooperative strategy game removes competition from the equation -- you either prevent a pandemic together by controlling outbreaks and building research stations, or you go down together if it takes over. After you've mastered the classic Pandemic game, move on to its spinoffs -- the elaborate Pandemic Legacy seasons are a strategizer's dream.
Buy it here

April 6, 2020

Over 300 Breweries Are Making a Beer With the Exact Same Name to Help Hospitality Workers


The list of unknowns in the hospitality industry is long. Unfortunately, it doesn't look like things will get clearer soon. Nonetheless, the community around the industry has shown a lot of love in recent weeks from finding ways to support each other on a local level to larger projects like the one recently created by Brooklyn's Other Half Brewing Co.

The brewery came up with a recipe for what it calls All Together IPA, a global collaboration that has been taken up by more than 300 breweries globally. Every brewery is using the same recipe (or tiny twists on it) and selling the beer to raise money for workers and causes local to each brewery.

"Everyone is affected, whether you're a hostess, server, or hotel worker," Other Half co-founder Andrew Burman told Thrillist by phone. "We wanted to do something that was local and supported the people that were there [in the community]. We didn't want to say that you were giving to a national charity. If a small brewer needed this to keep the lights on or pay an employee for a couple of weeks longer, that's what it's for. If a homebrewer wanted to brew it just to shoot the shit with his friends and make life easier for a couple of days, that's great."

Any brewer can grab the recipe, brew it, and package it with a twist on a similar label designed by Stout Collective. Other Half just asks that "a portion of the proceeds go to supporting hospitality professionals in each brewery's own community. The rest should be donated to keeping the brewery in business to weather this storm." It was almost instantly taken up by breweries across the globe with more and more signing up still.

April 6, 2020

Trump's Narcissism Turns Deadly, And The Post COVID World Order


The Post-COVID 19 World, And The Acceleration of Geopolitical Trends

How will the future world look geopolitically post this pandemic? The analogy of us “driving in heavy fog” is apt for the current moment, with so many things changing so fast, it is hard to make solid predictions. No doubt many of the below predictions will look very misguided, even in several months. However historical accounts of past pandemics show that they accelerate trends which had started prior to the outbreak.

The trends which were happening as the crisis hit included:

* Huge strain on the EU structure as populism took hold

* Geopolitical rivalry and tension between the US and China as the latter continued its rise

* Internal political polarisation in most parts of the West between the rich/poor, metropolitan/rural, liberal/conservative

* Increasingly distributed companies working across many countries and increasingly treating its users/customers as its citizenry

This is an initial attempt by me to predict how a new normal geopolitically may unfold.

The EU

Will this crisis be the springboard required for the much need reforms? Will the continent finally be able to create solidarity among fellow Europeans, or will this prove to be a sham, and the final nail in the coffin of the European Dream (or delusion) which so many have predicted? The current moment is undoubtedly existential for the EU. The response to the crisis has been very much centred around nation states, and there has been precious little solidarity between countries as the crisis has unfolded. It is poignant that Italy is getting more medical supplies and advice from China than from Germany at the moment. What will this mean? Will it be final disintegration of the EU into a more traditional nation state system of alliances, or will this be the springboard to create a new meaningful structure and to create a European federal state of nations. In my view it will. most likely will be a bit of both, with an internal core of countries federalising fast into deeper union, and a periphery.

Geopolitical realities will mean most Europeans will see the necessity and importance of scale in a new global order. It is likely that an escalation of geopolitical rivalry between the US and China, and the acceleration of the end of Pax Americana and NATO will mean that Europeans will see having an army as essential to protect the continent, and economies of scale mean that the pooling of resources (and sovereignty) will be critical for this. Small countries will need to give up a veto, as a more proportional representation method of governing will become a non negotiable to prevent gridlock and credible decisions. For some like the Baltic states, the decision will be easy, for others, perhaps seeing what other options will be on the table before making any decisions. The relative weakness of Russia will make the decision easy, and China is not there yet as a credible alternative.


Profile Information

Gender: Female
Hometown: London
Home country: US/UK/Sweden
Current location: Stockholm, Sweden
Member since: Sun Jul 1, 2018, 06:25 PM
Number of posts: 40,891

About Celerity

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