Why it’s greased lightnin’: this week on Fresh Powder

Why it’s greased lightnin’.

A thousand years ago, when Zoom was basically nothing, who did the company think its product was for? It doesn’t matter now, as more than 100,000 U.S. school districts and about half of our higher-ed are using the videoconferencing platform. Whatever Zoom thought it was, it has had to virtually reinvent itself on the fly — not unlike its consumers — by asking the only question that matters: What would teachers do? “I found myself holding up my paper copy of the periodic table, and then another paper copy of another reference sheet, and then moving the computer to face my physical white board when solving a chemistry problem. It would be easier if I could toggle between these documents quickly through Zoom, and even be able to have a cursor on them.”

. . . Fast Company’s series on “Reinventing Education,” which includes the article above, is a worthwhile read.


Memorably, Ben Smith’s first column as an employee of The New York Times was about The New York Times being bad for the journalism business — gutsy, but just one of many examples of why the Times hired him. “Times traditionalists may be right to be spooked by Smith,” a recent profile by Clare Malone in New York Magazine reads, “If there’s one marked characteristic of his short tenure as columnist, it is his compulsive desire to make hamburger out of sacred cows.”


The U.S. Open tennis tournament missed having fans but had a great story to tell. ESPN’s D’Arcy Maine: “Victoria Azarenka hadn’t won a match in more than a year before she came to New York. Tsvetana Pironkova hadn’t played in a tournament since 2017. Now both are perhaps the unlikeliest players in the quarterfinals at the US Open. Azarenka, 31, and Pironkova, 32, have made incredible comebacks — all while finding a way to balance playing tennis with parenting young children during a pandemic.”