Posts tagged with "coronavirus"

Rita Azar for use by 360 Magazine

Travel Tips During the Holidays

Travel Preparedness Expert Cheryl Nelson has generated a few travel tips to keep you and your family safe during the holidays! Let’s break down these travel tips.

Packing

Nelson encourages holiday travelers to not overpack! Ensuring that you and your traveling party have not overpacked can save a lot of time, stress and even money. Make sure that you only pack what you really need and know you will use! If you are traveling by plane and must check a bag, know your airline’s weight restrictions prior to check in. If you’re traveling with a roller bag, make sure that you can lift that bag into the overhead bin by yourself. If you also plan on buying more items on your trip, make sure to save extra space in your suitcase.

Another specific tip that Nelson has is to roll your clothes when packing them instead of folding. This surprisingly saves a lot of room!

When packing your medications, try not to pack every single medication or supplement bottle. Pack your pills in a pill container or small bags and label them. Nelson recommends keeping a cold shortening product with Zinc on-hand, such as Zicam, to deliver general health while traveling.

Vaccination cards

Travel expert Nelson recommends having your physical vaccination card on hand when traveling this holiday seasons. Some states and even restaurants (like New York City) require proof of vaccination, so it’s best to do your research on the area you’re traveling to beforehand. Definitely make note to bring your vaccination card when traveling outside of the U.S. Nelson also urges travelers to make copies of both the front and back of the card, and to also keep a spare copy in your luggage as well as at your home. Another smart tip would be to take photos of the card to keep on your smartphone.

Nelson suggests keeping your card in a sleeve like this to ensure its protection. She also advises to not laminate the card as there is a potential to add to the card with future booster shot information.

Read the updated CDC guidelines

Continue to consider the plans of your travel leading up to the anticipated dates of travel. Evaluate the amount of people you may be around, if there are COVID-19 outbreaks in the location and if there are specific restrictions in your place of travel. Although traveling by air is not risk-free, Nelson believes that traveling on a commercial airline to be safe. The cabin’s air is run through a HEPA filter and refreshed every few minutes, and airlines also still require masks as protection tactics.

Be mindful of others around you

Prioritize good personal hygiene throughout your trip. Wash your hands in warm water for at least 20 seconds, carry hand sanitizer and use it after touching common surfaces. If you are vaccinated and still feel more protected by wearing a mask, wear a mask. Throughout the duration of your trip, continue to make time for rest. Drink a lot of water and don’t forget to exercise, even by just walking. Remember that it is OK to give yourself a mental break! Nelsons encourages travelers to relax, and

Art by Mina Tocalini for use by 360 Magazine

Scientists Mapping Next Pandemic

An international team of scientists has created a powerful new resource to speed the development of vaccines and treatments to battle the next pandemic.

University of Virginia School of Medicine researcher Wladek Minor, PhD, and collaborators in China and Poland have developed an Internet information system, called virusMED, that lays out all we know about the atomic structure and potential vulnerabilities of more than 800 virus strains from 75 different virus families, including SARS-CoV-2, influenza, Ebola and HIV‑1. Several of the collaborators, including the lead investigator, Heping Zheng, are former students and members of Minor’s lab at UVA. 

This new panorama of the proteins of potential threats will help scientists respond quickly and effectively against the next pathogen poised to wreak havoc on humanity. Minor and his collaborators compare the resource to Google Maps, in that it organizes and annotates major points of interest on a virus that scientists can use as a roadmap in drug and vaccine development.

“The battle with COVID-19 is not over yet, but we cannot wait to start preparing for the next pandemic. VirusMED is a step towards an advanced information system that brings together researchers with diverse expertise to tackle complex biomedical challenges,” said Minor, the Harrison Distinguished Professor of Molecular Physiology and Biological Physics at UVA. “The information contained in virusMED will help viral researchers from many disciplines, especially those working on drug design or anti-viral therapies. We provide novel structural analysis and integrate pertinent information from various resources to provide a comprehensive picture of the proteins’ most important and vulnerable regions.”

Virus Hotspots

By quickly unlocking the SARS-CoV-2 virus mechanism of action, scientists were able to develop safe and effective vaccines for COVID-19. Minor’s new database aims to put that type of critical information at scientists’ fingertips in one convenient location.

VirusMED contains extensive information on virus species and strains, hosts, viral proteins and antibodies, as well as drugs that have already been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, among other important scientific data. The researchers call the points of interest on a virus its “hotspots,” and these hotspots make for strong starting points for drug and vaccine development.

“One of the most promising strain-indifferent antibody therapies developed for the treatment of COVID-19 used this type of information to improve upon a unique antibody isolated from a survivor who was infected by the SARS virus back in 2003,” said David Cooper, PhD, research faculty in Minor’s lab. “People who are surprised by rapid drug and vaccine design don’t realize that researchers today are building upon decades of previous research.”

One of virusMED’s major advantages is that it brings together the extant knowledge about viruses in one location, Minor said. Previously, that data was spread across multiple resources and often “siloed” so that it was not easily accessible. With virusMED, researchers can browse the information by virus or by their hotspot of interest.

The free and accessible database can be found HERE.

“One of the goals of my lab is to make tools that other scientists can use. We look at the forest and find ways to help others focus on the trees,” Minor said. “Resource generation is not glamorous, but the ultimate goal of science is to make life better. One of the anonymous peer-reviewers of the paper claimed they instantly became an enthusiastic user of the system. We expect virusMED to really make a difference.”

Findings Published

The researchers have published their findings in the scientific IUCr Journal. The work will be featured on the journal’s cover. The research team consisted of HuiHui Zhang, Pei Chen, Haojie Ma, Magdalena Woinska, Dejian Liu, Cooper, Guo Peng, Yousong Peng, Lei Deng, Minor and Zheng. .

To keep up with the latest medical research news from UVA, subscribe to the Making of Medicine blog.

Art by Mina Tocalini of 360 Magazine for use by 360 Magazine

Fabtech Conference 2021

By: Skyler Johnson

Coronavirus affected every single aspect of society, including factory labor. The Fabtech 2021 conference showcased the top metal forming brands in Taiwan, discussing the unique ways they were able to adapt to Covid-19. 

Mechalogix was the first company that spoke. They designed a system designed to lower labor costs through computers that actually monitor the performance of the machines and send back statistics to the operator, allowing the user to gain statistics from the strength of a saw blade to overall performance. If something needs to be replaced, the user will know, and a mechanic can be sent to the machine. But, no one needs to be watching the machines, which allows for a decrease in labor costs.

SEYI has developed a computer program that allows for users to interface with a lot of different aspects of the press, figuring out the analysis of the machine, including operation analysis and downtime analysis. Like with Mechalogix, the technology is able to send messages immediately to maintenance personnel.

Tailift has implemented a system to help in decreasing the time between taking orders and delivering products by using different web services that cut out the middleman between taking orders and delivering products, and have secured high speed internet and a strong firewall to do so. The company has also invested in technology including utilizing robot arms which help to increase efficiency and decrease maintenance costs

Da Jie is utilizing automated technology in order to avoid human cluster as a result of the pandemic, thus leading to more efficiency in production and 50% of the material being saved. SImilar to Tailift, the company uses robotic arms and other devices in order to save on cost. 

Ultimately, metal forming companies have implemented a lot of changes in order to deal with the pandemic, making their systems smarter and more efficient in the process. The pandemic has hurt everyone, but these factories were able to adapt.

illustration by Mina Tocalini for use by 360 Magazine

DELTA VARIANT PUTS NORMAL BACK-TO-SCHOOL SEASON AT RISK

By: Clara Guthrie

There was a period in the late spring and early summer of this past year in which it seemed America’s COVID-19 struggles were nearing some long-awaited conclusion: the last few moments of breathlessness before a collective sigh of relief. At that time, students and their parents looked forward to a seemingly normal back-to-school season. Yet, the recent rise in the Delta variant has introduced a new wave of doubt.

On August 8 alone, The New York Times reported 36,068 new Covid-19 cases and a seven-day average of 110,360 total cases in the United States. Covid-related deaths are also on the rise, with a seven-day average of 516 deaths. This figure has risen from a weekly average of 188 deaths only one month prior, on July 6. Experts attribute these rising numbers to the highly contagious Delta variant overlaid with low vaccination rates in certain areas across the country. When asked about these trends in mid-July, Dr. Rochelle Walensky, Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), said, “This is becoming a pandemic of the unvaccinated. We are seeing outbreaks of cases in parts of the country that have low vaccination coverage because unvaccinated people are at risk.”

Unfortunately, as the Delta variant continues to run rampant throughout unvaccinated communities, people who are fully vaccinated are also being infected. Although, it is far rarer. These “break-through” cases speak mainly to the wild infectiousness of the Delta variant, coupled with the facts that no vaccine is 100% effective and that our knowledge of how long immunity lasts after vaccination is still quite murky. According to CNBC, however, “break-through” cases still represent fewer than 0.08% of those who have been fully vaccinated in the United States since the start of the year.

With that being said, the Delta variant is impacting the hopes of a normal back-to-school season in two distinct ways. The first, perhaps more obvious way, is that parents and teachers are fearing for students’ health. This fear suggests a potential return to online learning and more strict social distancing and mask mandates enforced within schools.

It is important to note that COVID-19 poses a far lesser threat to young children than to adults; the risk of becoming severely ill from the virus increases for those over the age of 50 and only grows with age. According to the CDC, the risk of serious illness or complications from COVID-19 for children is actually lower than that from the flu. However, children under the age of 12 are not yet eligible for any form of vaccination. This restriction is raising concerns about how susceptible younger age groups are to becoming sick, even if that sickness does not lead to any serious complications.

Thus, many parents and school districts are pursuing a range COVID-19 precautions to ensure the safety of students. Time Magazine shared a story last week of a school board in Des Moines, Iowa that has already decided to offer a virtual learning option for elementary school students. The ability to transition to in-person learning is available whenever the family feels comfortable enough to do so. This move was, in part, forced by the recent ruling of eight states, including Iowa, to ban schools from being able to require masks – despite the CDC’s recommendation that all students should wear masks inside schools, regardless of whether or not they are vaccinated. “Had we been able to follow the CDC recommendations that everyone in school is masked, regardless of their vaccine status—if we were able to mandate that, then I think we’d be having a different conversation here,” Phil Roeder, a spokesperson for Des Moines’ Polk County public schools, said.

Other counties are having similar struggles, even without the imposition from state governments to ban mask mandates within schools. For example, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced in May that all online learning would be eliminated come fall, a decision that he has not yet reversed. But many parents are now petitioning for online options for their children as safety concerns continue to rise. One parent, Farah Despeignes, who is the president of the Bronx Parent Leaders Advocacy Group and has two middle-school-aged sons, said, “When you think about the conditions of the schools with old buildings, with not enough ventilation, that are co-located, that are overcrowded—for us, in the Bronx, in underserved communities, it’s not as simple as, ‘Well, let’s just get back to school.’”

In California, options for students are equally limited. According to The Los Angeles Times, the state has done away with “hybrid learning, ”a combination of in-person and online learning. As a result of such, Los Angeles County parents had until August 6 to choose between either solely in-person or online learning for their children. The latter option is expected to take the form of an independent study, rather than the supportive online learning of last school year. On August 6th, L.A. Unified School District reported that only 10,280 of their almost 665,000 students opted for the online option.

The second prominent way in which the Delta variant is affecting back-to-school season is through the shopping behavior of students and their families. Back when the hopes of a normal school year were still high, The National Retail Federation predicted that consumers with children K-12 would spend a record-breaking 37.1 billion dollars this year. Furthermore, it was predicted that back-to-college spending would reach 71 billion dollars. These predictions were due to the excitement associated with a long-awaited return to the classroom after over a year away, when items like lunchboxes and backpacks seemed superfluous.

However, according to a recent poll by First Insight, many consumers are feeling anxious about returning to stores, trying on clothing in dressing rooms and making big purchases due to the risk of the Delta variant. In fact, 56% of respondents said they are actively cutting back their spending at retailers. The CEO of Bath Bed & Beyond, Mark Tritton, told CNBC that their stores have observed people delaying their back-to-school investments, and that peak spending may extend further into September than usual.

As many students return to their classrooms and the Food and Drug Administration continues to work on improving vaccines for individuals under the age of 12, it will become more and more clear how great of a mark Covid-19 has left on the American schooling system and the children within it.

Illustration by Alex Bogdan for use by 360 Magazine

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo Resignation

By: Emily Bunn

Amidst searing scandal, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo has resigned. Many have supported this decision after Cuomo’s many scandals came to light. First there were sexual harassment allegations, then a report exposed the Governor’s use of state resources to aid in the writing of his memoir. Cuomo was also pinned for undercounted nursing home related deaths during the COVID-19 pandemic. After that, tragically, even more sexual harassment charges against Cuomo were reported. The investigation in these charges has now been concluded to determine that he did sexual harass multiple women, violating state and federal law. Politically ostracized and facing the grim reality of impeachment, Gov. Cuomo decided to resign on Tuesday.

Also on Tuesday, Mayor Bill de Blasio remarked on Cuomo’s circumstance in a statement: “It is beyond clear that Andrew Cuomo is not fit to hold office and can no longer serve as Governor. He must resign, and if he continues to resist and attack the investigators who did their jobs, he should be impeached immediately.” Many politicos in New York have also agreed with Cuomo’s departure. Hakeem Jeffries, Gregory Meeks and Tom Suozzi issued a joint statement saying, “the time is right” for Cuomo to resign.

After this statement was issues, each of New York’s 19 congressional Democrats called for their governor to resign. A lawyer for two of Cuomo’s sexual harassment accusers, Alyssa McGrath and Virginia Limmiatis, added: “My clients feel both vindicated and relieved that Cuomo will no longer be in a position of power over anyone. Taking things a step further, some Democratic lawmakers are requesting for Cuomo to be impeached. The governor is currently the subject of an impeach inquiry in the state assembly, reports The Hill.

Taking this place is current lieutenant governor and Buffalo native, Dem. Kathy Hochul. In 2011, Hochul ran for a congressional seat in a special election, in a Republican leaning district between Buffalo and Rochester, NY. Hochul ran against Rep. Jane Corwin at the time and won by 47% of the vote. She held the seat until 2012. In 2015, she became the lieutenant governor and before that, spent more than a decade on the Hamburgh Town Board. Now, Hochul looks to set up into the political arena. Hochul, 62,  is set to become the first female governor of the state of New York.

illustration by Alex Bogdan for use by 360 Magazine

LOLLAPALOOZA × DELTA VARIANT

By: Clara Guthrie

Public health experts are warning that the crowded Lollapalooza music festival in downtown Chicago this past weekend may lead to a dramatic surge in Covid-19 cases, especially given the increasing risk of the Delta variant. Festival organizers estimate 100,000 people attended the event each of the four days, and neither social distancing nor mask wearing (for vaccinated attendees) was enforced.

Despite concerns from medical professionals and a steady rise in Delta variant cases leading up the festival, both the Chicago Department of Public Health and Lollapalooza’s health experts approved the production of the festival as planned ahead of time.

Although operating at full capacity, the festival did have certain security measures in place in order to protect its guests; to enter, people had to show either their Covid-19 vaccination card or proof of a negative Covid-19 test from the preceding 72 hours. According to the festival’s website, they also required those who are unvaccinated to wear a mask.

In a statement released Monday by festival organizers, it was revealed that 91% of the attendees showed proof of vaccination, and 8% showed negative Covid-19 tests. The last 1% were denied entry due to a lack of proper documentation.

These statistics are complicated, however, by a claim from a Chicago Tribune photo intern, Vashon Jordan Jr., that fake vaccination cards were being used at the event. On August 1st, he tweeted, “Fake Covid-19 vaccination cards are 100% a thing at Lollapalooza in Chicago. You can get it with a single-day wristband for $50. I have confirmed that it does work.” In a separate tweet he clarified, “And by ‘fake’ I mean it doesn’t belong to the holder.” Jordan Jr. also recorded maskless concert goers dancing in large crowds and boarding public transportation—where masks are explicitly required—after the day’s events.

According to Dr. Tina Tan, a professor at the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine who specializes in infectious diseases, the precautions taken by Lollapalooza were simply insufficient given the prevalence of the Delta variant. Tan said that a safer event would have maintained smaller crowds, enforced social distancing and masks, and only allowed vaccinated individuals to attend. “When you have 100,000 or more people who are in a fairly enclosed space and there’s no social distancing, the vast majority are not wearing masks, you are going to get some transmission of the Covid-19 Delta variant,” she said.

As of August 2nd, Chicago was reporting an average of 206 new cases each day, and many of those who are being hospitalized for Covid-19 are not vaccinated. These data reflect a recent and definite uptick in cases as the Delta variant poses a serious threat across the globe. Given the roughly two to 14 day incubation period for Covid-19, it is currently unclear just how Lollapalooza will affect these numbers in Chicago and its surrounding areas. According to Dr. Robert Citronberg, an infectious disease physician with Advocate Aurora Health, “The next couple of days you could potentially see cases. I think by next weekend we’re probably going to be having a good idea about how much transmission occurred because of Lollapalooza.”

What experts already know with certainty is that any transmission from Lollapalooza will not only affect Chicago and its suburbs but also the areas that people return home to after the festival, seeing as thousands of people travelled to Chicago just for the weekend. “The real problem is not so much that a bunch of young people who come into Chicago getting COVID at this event. The real problem is them taking it back to places that have very low vaccination rates,” Dr. Emily Landon, executive director for infection prevention and control at the University of Chicago Medical Center, said.

According to the New York Times, roughly 70% of American adults have received at least one shot: a goal that President Biden set for the country to hit by July 4th but that took almost an extra month to achieve. And many individual states are struggling to vaccinate their population and thus are grappling with new Covid-19 cases and Covid-related hospitalizations. Alabama and Mississippi have the lowest vaccination rates in the country, at 43.2% and 44% respectively. Illinois falls somewhere in the middle with 59% of its adults being fully vaccinated.

Lollapalooza’s controversy did not stop at Covid-19 concerns. On Sunday, the final day of performances, rapper DaBaby was pulled from his headlining spot after festival organizer caught wind of his previous homophobic comments. While performing at the Rolling Loud festival in Miami on July 25, DaBaby made discriminatory and incorrect comments about gay men and HIV, which he later defended in a series of 19 videos on his Instagram stories. “What I do at a live show is for the audience at the live show,” he said. “It’ll never translate correctly to somebody looking at a little five, six-second clip from their goddamn crib on their phone. […] Me and all my fans at the show, the gay ones and the straight ones, we turned the fuck up.”

Lollapalooza officials tweeted to announce DaBaby’s removal, saying, “Lollapalooza was founded on diversity, inclusivity, respect, and love. With that in mind, DaBaby will no longer be performing at Grant Park tonight.” Fellow rappers Young Thug and G Herbo took his place. On Monday, DaBaby took to Instagram to apologize “for my misinformed comments about HIV/AIDS and I know education on this is important.”

Looking beyond the festival’s drama, Rolling Stone took a moment to celebrate the most positive and powerful moments from Lollapalooza, saying, “it was full of life-affirming musical moments.”

graph via Mina Tocalini for use by 360 Magazine

Survey Reveals Customers Prefer In-Person Shopping

Beautyque NYC unveiled its consumer survey results assessing “Beauty Consumer Survey: Has the Pandemic Changed Beauty Retail Forever?”. Key results included concerns over safety in-store protocols with testers and sanitary issues, increases in online shopping, and a profound desire for in-store purchasing ability. To see full survey report, click HERE

“Over the past year, the pandemic has changed the way we do almost everything—including shopping for our favorite beauty products. We were interested to see how beauty consumers have adapted their shopping habits, and gauge their overall opinions and experiences when it comes to shopping online vs. shopping in physical stores,” explains Beautyque NYC Founder & Owner Sonia Khemiri. “We asked our community of beauty lovers to complete a survey, and we were able to extract some interesting key insights using the data submitted by 229 respondents.”

One of the most interesting takeaways of this survey was learning the beauty consumer’s feelings toward being able to physically see, feel, and test a product before deciding to purchase it. An overwhelming 80.4% of respondents indicated that being able to physically experience a product before buying is extremely important to them.

“Contrary to a lot of the buzz we’ve been hearing about how brick and mortar retail is dead, the consumers themselves are telling us otherwise,” says Sonia.

“The pandemic has caused me to enjoy shopping in a physical store more than before. I love being able to see, feel, smell and sample the products I purchase,” says survey respondent Jennifer G.

According to the Beautyque survey responses, the top 3 reasons why consumers like shopping for beauty products in physical stores include:

  1. Being able to see, feel, and try on products in person before buying
  2. Getting a product immediately rather than waiting for delivery
  3. Requesting a product sample to take home

However, concerns were expressed about sanitary efforts of retail stores. A significant amount of people indicated that they would only use product testers if they were sanitized before their use.

Just over 40% of survey respondents said that they will only be using product testers if they are fully sanitized immediately before use; 33.5% said they will avoid using testers altogether for the foreseeable future; and 24% said they will continue using product testers as they always have.

“I don’t feel very safe/clean touching using testers. I am okay with sealed products. I still do like going in person so I can see how big the product is, the actual colors and just the overall environment,” according to survey respondent Jenny N.

Beautyque also assessed whether the pandemic changed the shopping habits of beauty consumers? And if so, will this change in habits outlast the pandemic and continue indefinitely?

“We asked beauty shoppers how often they shopped for beauty products in physical stores before, during, and after the pandemic,” Sonia outlines.

Approximately 62% of respondents indicated that before the pandemic, they shopped in physical stores often or all the time; by no surprise, that number dropped to 12% during the pandemic; and now, after the pandemic, that number has crawled upward to 27%.

“These results show us that people are definitely not shopping for beauty products in physical stores as often as they did pre-pandemic—maybe because the pandemic isn’t fully over, maybe because they found that they enjoy shopping online more, or maybe a combination of many factors—but the reality stands that consumer shopping habits have changed for the long haul,” Sonia believes.

The Beautyque survey also inquired about beauty shoppers who online purchased before, during, and after the pandemic, to compare the results. Just over a third (34%) of respondents indicated that before the pandemic, they shopped for beauty products online often or all the time; that number jumped up to 53% during the pandemic; and has decreased just slightly to 46% after the pandemic.

According to survey results, the top 3 reasons consumers like shopping for beauty products online include: 

  1. Being able to shop from anywhere, at anytime
  2. Seeing product reviews and ratings
  3. Searching for brands/products quickly and easily

Survey respondents also indicated their favorite features that have improved the online shopping experience for beauty products.

  1. Personalized quizzes to find your perfect shade match, formula, etc.
  2. Ability to live chat with beauty specialists or brand representatives
  3. Virtual try-on technology

“I’ve grown to enjoy [shopping for beauty products online] much more. Being able to read reviews and engage with others online replaces the questioning that may occur in store,” survey respondent April P. says.

An interesting takeaway from the survey is that, although online shopping rose during the pandemic and although products bought online were more likely to be returned than those bought in-person, returns were still lower during the pandemic than before. Having said that, most people preferred to shop online than in physical stores, although the difference was slim. A significant amount of consumers also preferred to browse for products online, then buy them in-person, indicating a balance between the preferences.

“Many consumers feel there are elements of online shopping that retail shopping cannot compete with. The luxury of shopping from the comfort of their home, finding things through their keyboard and browsing other customers’ reviews — many consumers feel these affordances are more valuable than what in-person shopping allows,” Sonia says.

Beautyque NYC is a disruptive retail marketing platform conceived by US-based female entrepreneur and indie brand founder Sonia Khemiri. In addition to the first ever beauty 3D storefront, Beautyque NYC provides an in-depth and interactive marketing platform for its more than 25 brands and 10000 consumers.

In addition to taking its own polls with its beauty enthusiasts, Beautyque NYC also spearheads Brand Evaluation Programs for its brand members to provide them direct product feedback from a focus group testing process.

Survey respondents include 229 consumers, ages 18 and older provided insight to how and if their beauty shopping habits changed during the pandemic.

To learn more, click HERE.

Photo via Lucas Jones of Polity Press for use by 360 Magazine

Q&A WITH AUTHOR DAVID THEO GOLDBERG

A pervasive sense has taken hold that any and all of us are under suspicion and surveillance, walking on a tightrope, a step away from erasure of rights or security. Nothing new for many long-targeted populations, it is now surfacing as a broad social sensibility, ramped up by environmental crisis and pandemic wreckage. We have come to live in proliferating dread, even of dread itself.

In this brilliant analysis of the nature, origins, and implications of this gnawing feeling, author David Theo Goldberg exposes tracking capitalism as the operating system at the root of dread. In contrast to surveillance, which requires labor-intensive analysis of people’s actions and communications, tracking strips back to the fundamental mapping of our movements, networks, and all traces of our digitally mediated lives. A simultaneous tearing of the social fabric – festering culture wars, the erosion of truth, even “civil war” itself – frays the seams of the sociality and solidarity needed to counter this transformation of people into harvestable, expendable data.

This searing commentary offers a critical apparatus for interrogating the politics of our time, arguing that we need not just a politics of refusal and resistance, but a creative politics to counter the social life of dread.

David Theo Goldberg is Director of the University of California Humanities Research Institute.

Interview by: Heather Skovlund-Reibsamen

To begin, when did you realize that you first wanted to be a writer?

Quite young. I liked to write as a teenager, fifteen or sixteen, won a prize at high school for English writing. Looking back, I was not nearly as compelling as I fantasized. In training to be an academic I started attending closely to my technical writing. While at graduate school in New York I was involved in making independent films and music videos. I co-wrote the outline and voice-over text for an experimental film on apartheid South Africa which I also co-directed. The film won some international film festival awards. My early published academic writing was dense. I worked hard at getting myself to be clearer, cleaner, more concise. Like all art, writing requires endless attention to its detail, rhythm, flow.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?

I have a couple. I lap swim quite seriously early every morning. When I am struggling with an idea, or even to articulate a sentence, the quiet solitude of pulling through water on one’s own unbothered by anything around often leads one, or even a whole sentence or two. The challenge, of course, is to recall accurately   enough what I thought so great to be able to write it down at swim’s end. Until injuries caught up with me a few years ago I surfed extensively, and for many decades. I would travel to some surf spots further afield as much to be able, between surfs, to write uninterrupted by day-work at home as to enjoy the great surf and culture at hand.

When I have things pouring out of me and I am writing fast I tend to plug into fast jazz. The likes of the great Cuban jazz pianist Gonzalo Rubalcaba or Japanese pianist Hiromi. Or the big band Snarky Puppy, with Hammond organist Cory Henry, who are fun. Writing has rhythms and I hope some of the music has rubbed off in my writing. There are times, nevertheless, when I like to write in silence, completely alone with my own thoughts.

What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?

It depends on the book: I usually read extensively regarding the subject matter until I feel saturated and an argument thread for the book is mostly in place. Jacques Derrida, the great French philosopher, was once asked by the documentary filmmaker, Amy Ziering, if he had read all the books in his enormous personal library. “I have read only four,” Derrida responded. He then added, the crease of a smile at the corners of his mouth, “But I have read them very well.” The challenge is to read whatever one is engaging to find insights and ideas with which one can think.

I also find it thought-provoking to observe cultural, technological, political and economic trends and changes at work around us. My writing itself is as much an unfolding of the argument line, often enough surprising me in the writing, through where the writing takes me.

Edward Said, the great intellectual of the late twentieth century, wrote a book, Beginnings, which is about how challenging it can be to open a book, to write the first sentences. But also how to end, to bring it to a close in ways that will linger with the reader. Whether creative or analytic writing, not that it is always easy to distinguish the two. Said’s book has stuck with me through much of my writing career.

How many books have you written? Which is your favorite?

Ten sole or co-authored monographs; another ten edited or co-edited books. Naming a favorite, especially publicly, is like saying who among your children are your best ones. Tough to do. There are two books that stick out because they have both expressed key developments in my thinking and have been impactful in scholarly debates around these questions.

The first is The Racial State (2002), about how the modern state since the 17th century was founded on racial structures, structuring into its very formation the elevation of Europeans/those of European descent at the expense of all others. Obviously these structures transformed over time, and from one place to another,  but the driving principle has largely remained in place. The key argument is that modern states become modern by taking on the technologies of race as structuring mechanisms.

The second is The Threat of Race: Reflections on Racial Neoliberalism (2009). This book traces the ways the neoliberalizing of polities globally—the financialization of everything; the divorcing of contemporary social, economic, and political conditions from the historical forces that produced them; the complete personalizing of responsibility for one’s standing and experience in society, no matter the social structures and challenges one has faced–has sought to empty the concept of racism and its affiliated racial conceptions of any critical charge or meaning.  The conservative attacks we are currently witnessing on critical race theory have their foundations in this neoliberalizing turn starting in the 1980s. Conservatives of this stripe find discussions, analysis, and engagement of racial issues threatening precisely because they challenge their view of the world.

What inspired you to write Dread: Facing Futureless Futures?

In 2016 family, friends, and colleagues were waking up each day with a sense of anxiety, some calling it a sense of doom. The rise in authoritarianism here in the U.S. but also across a widening range of societies was in part fueling this sense. I was feeling it too. I started by trying to put my finger on what this feeling was, what it amounted to, to name it. “Dread” was the concept I came up with to best express this sense. When I mentioned it aloud, others would exclaim, “That’s it!” What followed was the urge to write a book exploring the underlying conditions prompting this generalized sense, and the implications.

What is the significance of the title?

Dread is a socially produced pervasive anxiety the basic cause(s) of which it is difficult fully to identify. Like Kierkegaard in the 19th century, I contrast dread with fear. Fear is a feeling the object of which one can usually identify, name concretely. The object of dread is a feeling of anxiety and unsettlement the sources of which I cannot concretely or precisely articulate.

“Facing Futureless Futures,” the subtitle, speaks to the ways in which we have created or collectively allowed to be created social conditions that threaten our very wellbeing, if not existence. That some are talking about “the sixth extinction” exactly expresses this heightening anxiety about the survival not just of lifestyle but of life, of the world that supports life itself.

Can you tell us about the book?

I wanted to account for the conditions prompting this pervasive sense of dread, of uncontainable anxiety. The authoritarianisms that seemed to be taking hold, the unhinged statements and expressions struck me as symptomatic of something deeper, structurally more pervasive and difficult to address. So I was concerned to string together an analysis of those conditions, to offer a language of analysis for what is happening to us, what we are doing to ourselves and over which we think we have little if any control.

These include the pervasive emergence of algorithmic culture, the ways algorithms are structured increasingly into and order our everyday activities, the overwhelmingly instrumentalist mode of thinking it insists upon, often in increasingly intrusive ways (the “internet of everything”). This pervades not just how we order consumer goods, how we invest, how we learn at school and college but how we run our homes and businesses, increasingly how cars drive, how and with whom we interact, how we relate to each other, indeed, the quickening pace of worker and work function replacement by robots. Everything we do when electronically connected is now being tracked—where we go, who we interact with, what we consume, how we vote, our medical conditions, our work habits, everything! And that in turn becomes the basis for shaping and reshaping our desires but also the (narrowing of) possibilities presented to each of us.

Increasingly, chips are being inserted into human beings, for a variety of purposes, from medical reasons to consumption accessibility (we are in the early process of being turned into walking credit cards), to tracking productivity, and government control. The digital is transforming the very nature of the human into the techno-human.

The anxiety all this is producing, consciously or not, includes the sense of lost privacy and transparency, depersonalized desire, and undermined self-control. This is readily exacerbated by events and even structures over which we take ourselves to have little or any control, like the pandemic and the impacts of climate change, the conditions for the production of both of which have been dramatically over-politicized. And all of this has laced through it structurally produced differentiations of class, race, and gender, further intensifying the concerns. The outcome of all of this, I suggest, is the ramping up of “civil war,” less conventionally understood than as more or less violent contestations over how we should all be living in the world.

Did you learn anything while writing the book?

One cannot address a dominant set of social concerns without first understanding it. The given is not indelibly cemented into place. What looks like natural conditions is often, at the very least, socially arranged. That means what we have made with debilitating effect we can unmake.

Above all, this invites a relational mode of analysis. It involves seeing—in the sense of looking at the world—in its deeply relational constitution. What we do in one place both affects and is affected by what others are doing elsewhere. Like the weather, environmental impacts and pandemics know no national boundaries or borders. Tracking is at once individually isolating and, less visibly, deeply relational. Racial ideas circulate globally, even if taken up and expressed differently in one place from another, just as racisms in one place are shored up and sustained by racisms elsewhere. For example, critical race theory was originally formulated and fashioned in American law schools but both its application and of late its facile condemnation have been taken up as far afield as Britain, France, and Australia.

And second, I found myself reaching a more hopeful conclusion, if not ending. I suggest that those societies that have taken seriously infrastructures of care for members of the society at large are far better able to address collective challenges such as pandemics and the impacts of climate change, or indeed racisms, at least in principle. Societies that fared better in quickly addressing the pandemic and saving their populations from rampant infection and death have been those that have invested more readily and enduringly in social infrastructures of care.

What is the purpose of the book?

To elaborate an analysis and vocabulary for understanding the debilitating social and ecological conditions we have created and face, and how we might address the challenges in creatively relational ways.

What are you wanting your readers to take away from the material?

Three insights: that we have created a world that in all it gives us is undermining the very conditions of possibility for sustaining those affordances; that the technological apparatuses so completely transforming our worlds and who we are in them,    especially tracking technologies, enable possibilities not previously available. But at the very same time they have proved debilitating, socially, ecologically, and increasingly politically; that a completely self-regarding disposition to the world, individually and nationally, is in stark contrast with one that recognizes our deeply relational condition socio-ecologically; the deeply relational ways in which socio-ecological worlds are constituted become key to addressing the challenges we are facing interactively.

What were the key challenges you faced when writing this book?

The conditions unfolding across the world were transforming remarkably quickly. The pandemic took hold in the middle of writing the book, shutting down much of what we had taken for granted. It revealed deep socio-economic  disparities, racially indexed, exacerbating the impacts.  These were further ramified by the George Floyd murder, among others, and the protests that followed. While I was already lacing racial analysis into the analytic contours of the book, the series of police killings and protests as well as the attacks on Asians, especially women, needed to be referenced. Nor could one write a book about dread without addressing the pandemic. So I added a chapter devoted to Covid and its social impacts and implications pretty much in situ.

What was the highlight of writing this book?

Being in sustained conversation with close intellectual friends and colleagues about the range of conditions I address in the book. This was especially productive and meaningful given our extended collective remoteness as a pandemic consequence. But also, because I was thinking and writing in the midst of an unfolding of the very conditions which I was addressing.

Is there anything that you would like to add for the readers?

The world we have inherited and from which we make ourselves today has furnished us with extraordinary possibility. But in being less mindful of the cumulative impacts of the many generations of this making we have just begun to understand that our world also is in advanced process of radically undermining the conditions making its enduring sustainability possible. The book is about our present circumstances with a view to understanding some of what it will take to have futures to which to look forward. I very much hope it is read in this spirit.

Vaughn Lowery illustration by Allison Christensen for his book Move Like Water x Be Fluid produced by 360 MAGAZINE

Move Like Water × Be Fluid

By Katrina Tiktinsky

Vaughn Lowery, founder and publisher of 360 MAGAZINE, is set to release his first book this month. Move Like Water × Be Fluid is a stunning memoir documenting the author’s journey from a childhood in the Detroit’s subsidized, section 8 housing to a successful career in fashion and media. The arc of this remarkable passage twists and turns in surprising ways, ensuring readers will believe in the concept that this life truly is what you make it. The text will debut as an exclusive multi-volume installation within 360 MAGAZINE and marks the inception of the brand’s foray into publishing.

This provocative coming-of-age story explores the power of branding strategy, a technique the writer developed at an early age and carried with him throughout his lifetime. Lowery, from the time he was a young child, is able to comprehend that one’s innate, individual self is their greatest commodity in life. Through the highs and lows that inform his experience, he stays true to that ideal. Lowery puts forward a raw and compelling narrative of a child, and later a man, who repeatedly picks himself up, reimagines his life, and finds innovative ways to move forward. The self-empowerment so emblematic in Lowery’s character and story promotes readers to adopt the author’s tactics in their own lives.

The influence of prominent civil rights leader Joseph Lowery, the writer’s grandfather, is prevalent in this work. A beacon for both hope and progress during the Civil Rights Movement, the legacy of Joseph Lowery weighs heavily on the narrator. This, along with his upbringing and existence as a black man in America, make Lowery both introspective and contextually aware when it comes to race. Moreover, draws parallels between the movement his grandfather championed and led, and the Black Lives Matter movement of today, exposing the failures of our system and calling for meaningful, systemic change. Both Joseph and Vaughn Lowery are members of the first intercollegiate historically African American organization Alpha Phi Alpha. Lowery simultaneously considers the work he can do, as a singular human being, to forward social justice causes in his day-to-day life and interactions with others. 

In 1920, his grandmother, Agnes Christine Moore Lowery (the little girl in the blue dress, also a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha), came with her grandmother to become the first black to vote in Tennessee. The kids’ book, The Big Day, depicts their journey the day she voted, now available on Amazon here.

Photo of LaJUNE by Armon Hayes for 360 Magazine

Photo: Armon Hayes, Talent: LaJUNE

360 Magazine is also now selling one of a kind home goods via Chairish, a curated marketplace for the best in vintage and contemporary furniture, decor and art. Check out this piece designed by 360’s founder Vaughn Lowery.

In the year 2020, which has been afflicted with an overwhelming amount of change, there has never been a timelier moment for insight from a man like Lowery. As mentioned, Lowery’s deep ties and connections to racial justice in America feels incredibly relevant, as do his thoughts on digital media, something Lowery pioneered years before COVID-19 forced the world hurriedly online. Constantly at the forefront of social change, Move Like Water × Be Fluid offers an understanding of the current moment, yet looks forward to the possibility of an evolved, cosmopolitan world. One that Lowery aspires to through all his works, including this installation and 360 MAGAZINE.

As we follow the author through grade school, high school and on through Cornell University, we collect advice from a myriad of powerful secondary characters. From all walks of life, these secondary support systems offer Lowery the push he needs to continue on striving towards something better. We watch Lowery model the work ethic of his admired older sister, gain confidence from an encouraging teacher, change the trajectory of his life due to a neighborhood mentor, and learn from the critique of a Residential Advisor. This self-help-book stands apart for never failing to appreciate the importance of an individual’s support system. Fittingly, while the book catalogues Lowery’s journey to success, it inspires and encourages readers in the same way Lowery’s community uplifted him – to take action towards a meaningful life.

Comparable titles to Move Like Water × Be Fluid include other stories of individuals who later turned to publishing their experiences in self-help books. Numerous celebrity examples include Becoming by Michelle Obama, Shoe Dog by Phil Knight, or The Path Made Clear by Oprah Winfrey. These titles, as well as Lowery’s first book, all feature introspection and explanations regarding the course of the authors’ lives. 

The following descriptions outlines the chapter-by-chapter journey within Move Like Water × Be Fluid.

Chapter 1: The beginning of Lowery’s journey is marked by his complicated childhood in Detroit, distinctly connected to his sense of place and community. Financial struggles and surroundings reminiscent of the song “Gangsta’s Paradise,” as well as the author’s early experience with assault contextualize the course of Lowery’s life.

Chapter 2: A childhood mood, coupled with the realization of his intelligence, swiftly changed the direction of Lowery’s life. Following a move to New Jersey to live with his older sister, Lowery’s early experiences of racism shine a light on his passion for racial justice today. The opportunity to participate in an honored education program again changes the trajectory Lowery follows.

Chapter 3: This chapter offers insight into the ups and downs of high school, a narrative many are familiar with. Yet, Lowery’s poised observations throughout the chapter reflect his early understanding of the world.

Chapter 4: After a remarkable yet complex journey through high school, Lowery achieves the first of many dreams by gaining the chance to attend Cornell University in New York. At Cornell, he is able to expand his understanding of self and what he hopes to accomplish.

Chapter 5: Saks Fifth Avenue recruits Lowery to work in their corporate office, marking Lowery’s first foray into the world of economics and fashion. The advice he gains from mentors in the field prompts him to shift towards a career in acting and modeling, supplemented by working in the Medicare Department of U.S. Healthcare.

Chapter 6: New York, in all its hectic nature, pointed Lowery west towards California where he could further capitalize on his talents in the entertainment industry.

Chapter 7: This chapter details one of the events in Lowery’s life for which he is best known: his commercials as “Joe Boxer Guy” that overwhelmed the nation. Following ups and downs in Los Angeles, this success cemented Lowery’s understanding of his own talents as well as his ties to L.A.

Chapter 8: Following an offensive home invasion, Lowery pivots to continue embracing what life throws at him with appearances on NBC’s “Scrubs” and “America’s Next Top Model.”

Chapter 9: With plenty of capital and the space to complement his next steps, Lowery founded 360 MAGAZINE in 2008, powering through the tidal wave that was the recession all due to his own brains and the belief in his product and brand.

Chapter 10: After another painful reminder of the inadequacies of the justice system in America due to an unjust prison stay, Lowery’s comprehension of what is truly important is once again realigned. Despite his negative experiences, his magazine is able to be on the cutting edge of the Los Angeles scene.

Chapter 11: The number 360 is ubiquitous to Lowery – one embodies the other. His appreciation for both his own capabilities and expertise, as well as the ones of others, assures his magazine and brand are constantly evolving. 

Chapter 12: Thinking on the future following the tragic death of a friend, Lowery is nowhere near finished and is more than ready to continue is many metamorphoses. He now exists in a space where he strives to empower others, all around the world. 360.

Move Like Water x Be Fluid, by Vaughn Lowery, is available this month exclusively on the 360 MAGAZINE’s website. 360 MAGAZINE has received numerous accolades, and has recently been featured on Dancing with the Stars. Stay in touch by following both Lowery (@vaughnlowery) and 360 (@360magazine)

Additionally Vaughn has an audio book titled, “Say Uncle: The Story of Vaughn Lowery” which loosely based on his childhood. It is available for here on Amazon Music. For additional info on Vaughn Lowery visit Wikipedia and IMDb.

Now available in all formats at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Google Books, Blurb, Walmart and Audible.

Signed copies of Vaughn’s memoir, Move Like Water × Be Fluid, are available in our shop.

Coachella illustration by Sara Davidson for use by 360 Magazine

Keeping Believing: A Farewell Festival

By: Emily Bunn 

On Friday July 2nd, The Trolley Car Café, in collaboration with GoBelieve Culture Network and Music of the Covenant, hosted Keeping Believing: A Farewell Festival. The long-standing Trolley Car Café, a treasured establishment nestled on South Ferry Road in East Falls, Philadelphia, permanently closed on Wednesday June 30th. The café’s General Managers, Emily-Rachael and Jasmine, organized the festival in commemoration of the much-loved eatery, and many staff members and café regulars came out to revel in the festivities. Emily-Rachael, who is involved with both the café and GoBelieve, spoke with 360 Magazine about her original envisioning behind the festival.

Emily-Rachael explained that the café’s owner wanted to give someone the opportunity to do something new with the space as a last hoorah before closing. As Emily-Rachael is starting her own business and Jasmine is moving to Florida to be with family, the General Managers wanted to come together before parting ways and starting new business ventures.

Trolley Car Café was involved in a lot of community service programs and non-profits. It was one of GoBelieve’s sponsors throughout the whole last year, and were one of the main reasons that [GoBelieve] was able to make it through coronavirus.”

Some of the specific charitable organizations that the Trolley Car has worked with in the past include GoBelieve, Helping Hands, local little league teams, and the East Falls Development Corporation. Trolley Car has hosted community events, such as the Fringe Festival, open mic events, and salsa nights. The adored establishment functioned as a community center in East Falls, bringing together local residents with lively entertainment and mouth-watering eats. Emily-Rachael continued explaining how the Trolley Car Café was a community landmark in East Falls:

The Trolley Car was very much about the people. In honor of all that Trolley Car has done, we threw this Farewell Festival just to commemorate the good times. 

We just had a GoBelieve concert during corona, it sold out on [the café’s] patio. The Trolley Car was our sponsor [then], it was really fun and great. Most of the people you see here [tonight] were there, but some had got turned away because of covid-restrictions. At the time, we could only sell 50 tickets. But [tonight’s] event sold about 67 tickets and there are 25 people on the guest list.   

We invited all of the staff from the Trolley Car to come out and celebrate all that we’ve accomplished together. It’s been a fun time and we just want to bring some life and energy to the world now that its back open. [Farewell Festival] is a good chance for everyone to come out and see how important community is and how much you can do, even just with one restaurant.”

The community based event featured performers TooKnow, Gobbana, Goldmine, and Josh Ketchum. Aside from Ketcham, the event exclusively featured local musicians, many of whom were long time customers of the Trolley Car Café.

360 Magazine had a fantastic time at the Friday night festival, as we were immediately greeted by friendly event staff upon arrival. Though some rain caused a delay to the beginning of the festivities, the venue grounds featured family fun for all before the live music. Activities featured included a water balloon toss, dart games, giant connect four, ring toss, and a merchandise tent. The merchandize included t-shirt selections from performers GobbanaTooKnow, and the event’s sponsor, GoBelieve.

As media at the event, 360 was afforded the privilege of attending as VIP guests. The VIP ticket included bottle service in an exclusive tent for other VIP attendees, a drink ticket for the bar, arcade tokens, and a festival photo station ticket. In the tent, covered tarps allowed us to stay dry from the participation in the beginning of the night. We enjoyed the VIP area’s large selection of alcohol, which included Fireball, Screwball, Rose, Jim Bean, Gray Goose, and a fruity rose. Outside of the VIP area, the festival’s bar served beers including Corona Premier and Yuengling Lager, hard seltzers, and wine. Additionally, house made cocktails, including rum punch and spiked blueberry lavender lemonade were available.

For dinner, we enjoyed a vegan vegetable risotto and chicken strips. The meal was warm, delicious, and most importantly, served with a smile as the community bonded over the restaurant’s famous hospitality and home-cooked entrees.

One of the highlights of Farewell Festival was the photo station. Guests could post in front of a tower of balloons and take commemorative festival flicks. Positioned in front of the Schuylkill River, the photo station showed off the festival’s stunning waterfront views.

Once the weather cleared up, the festival began with a bang as the audience participated in interactive dances. Featuring iconic dance bops like the “Cupid Shuffle” and the “Wobble,” the event’s staff, guests, and even the performers themselves unleashed their moves on the outdoor dance floor. The tight knit community of the Trolley Car Café regulars stomped, shook, and boogied the evening away, creating a strong sense of community at the festival.

After the audience got their groove on, the first performer of the night TooKnow electrified guests with a suave, coordinated hip-hop performance. The four members of the group were adorned in matching outfits, and moved as one while performing with effortless flow and rhythm. The hip-hop group’s performance even featured some performance art, as members of the group engaged in a fake confrontation while on stage, illustrating the story behind their lyricism.

Following the evocative performance of TooKnow was rap duo Goldmine. With fluid flow and fresh freestyles, Brian Golden and Hue Hinton energetically took the festival stage. The rap group became involved with the fest as they had won a music competition hosted by Gobbana. Golden and Hinton exchanged bars during their performance, collaborating to create an auditory experience for Farewell Festival’s audience.

The third act of the night was Josh Ketchum, who had travelled from Connecticut to perform at the festival. The solo artist graced the event’s stage with his soulful acoustic guitar and poignant lyricism. His setlist included a passionate cover of Nirvana’s “Come As You Are,” stirring up a sense of 90’s nostalgia within the Farewell Festival’s audience.

Headlining the festival, the final performance of the night featured rap star Gobbana. The enthralling performer captivated guests with his dynamic ability. TooKnow again returned to the grandstand at the beginning of Gobbana’s performance, the two groups masterfully melding together as they delivered flowing choruses. Later in his set, Gobbana enraptured the audience independently with his constructed rhymes. During the final song of the rapper’s performance, he invited his girlfriend on stage as his illustrious lyricism told the story of their growing family.

The festival ended on a strong sense of family and unity- two sentiments that were echoed throughout the production of the entire night. Farewell Festival brought together energetic Philadelphians who are passionate about supporting their community, non-profits, and local musicians. While rain originally delayed the night’s events, the community dancing and music continued long into the evening, even after Gobbana’s performance. Reminiscent of a block party, Music of the Covenant’s Farewell Festival celebrated unity within East Fall’s diverse coterie of music lovers. As this festival was the final event to be hosted by the Trolley Car Café, it truly commemorated and encapsulated how the venue has long supported and brought together Philadelphians.

Music of the Covenant's Keep Believing: A Farewell Festival image via Emily Bunn for use by 360 Magazine