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Hey there,

Monday is the winter solstice and our days will slowly start getting longer again. In the meantime, I've been giving in to TV binges on these long dark nights. I was "watching" before, but now I'm REALLY going for it. We're about to be done with the current season of "The Crown" and it's so good. In my humble opinion, a great form of escapism is to watch fancy people have problems. And as a bonus, I learned that you can do a solid Charles impression by just saying the word "years" instead of "yes." I've been reading articles that fact-check the Diana storyline and even listened to a multi-part podcast called You're Wrong About: Princess Diana. (Surprisingly entertaining! I highly recommend.) 

Announcements

-You're the Expert. After a very, very long hiatus, we're back with a video episode where Wyatt Cenac, Maeve Higgins, and Karen Chee compete to understand why a scientist dosed an entire lake in northern Canada with the birth control pill. We're hoping to find a partner and funding to make more of these remote episodes in the future. But in the meantime, you can watch this one for free here

-New TED podcast! I'm excited to finally get to announce the show I've been working on for the past few months. TED hired me to host a new podcast called "How to Be a Better Human" where I will be interviewing very smart people about how to... well... be a better human. The first episode comes out on January 11th and we'll be covering everything from social media to climate change to how to change your uncle's political positions. Official TED announcement here

This week's list

GREAT:
John Mulaney is one of the most famous standup comedians in the world. You would not expect him to take a relatively low-ranking writing gig behind the scenes on a TV show. But for the past few months, he's been working as a staff writer for Seth Meyers. Here's a very funny interview where he talks about needing a job and structure for his mental health (and is open about how his jokes have missed the mark more in quarantine since he can't really run them by live audiences for feedback.) Who's The Boss: John Mulaney (h/t Mollie)


FUNNY:
This is an incredible prank and a perfect mystery. I love that the artist got paid but that we know almost nothing else about the situation. Salute the glory of Peoria, Illinois' Communist Cookie Monster. Cookie Monster Mural Puzzles Artist and Enrages Property Owner


INTERESTING:
Timnit Gebru is a celebrated researcher and one of the leading thinkers around ethics in artificial intelligence. She's also one of the most prominent Black women in the field. Google recently fired her after attempting to censor her research on the risks to the environment and marginalized communities of deploying some specific forms of AI. This is a person who was one of the first to expose the ways that AI discriminates, a person who developed solutions that allowed for AI models to be audited and documented, and a leader who organized a nonprofit where civil rights activists, scientists, and industry could work together. Her firing is not okay. In the coming years, we're all going to have to deal more and more with the fact that algorithms and AI are not "objective" or "unbiased." Hopefully the uproar over Dr. Gebru's firing will give more oxygen to that conversation rather than chilling it. (h/t TerrynGrams)


That's it for this week. Thanks for reading! If you're enjoying these emails, please forward to a friend or spread the word. If someone forwarded you this email but you're not yet on the list, you can subscribe here.

Sending this from my winter estate,
Chris

WAIT...WHO ARE YOU?
I'm Chris Duffy, comedian, TV writer, creator/host of You're the Expert, spoon enthusiast, a former fifth grade teacher and former fifth grade student.
Copyright © 2020 Chris Duffy, All rights reserved.


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