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Home Screen - UwU

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Home Screen - UwU
By The Verge • Issue #8 • View online
It’s Friday again, and you know what that means. Time to SCAT:

📡 Major Tomcat To Ground Control
Cats have always been a risk factor to human systems, but now that even more of us are working from home, their attack surface has dramatically widened.
Amber Straughn
Actually discussed in a virtual meeting today: how to keep cats from accidentally commanding spacecraft while this work is going on in people's homes on laptops instead of inside a cat-free #NASA building 🤣🐱 #catsofquarantine
(Amber told Verge space reporter Loren Grush that the tweet is just a joke, and NASA isn’t at risk of feline interference. But Loren expects a phone call if someone’s cat shuts off NASA’s Jupiter probe.)
📹 Li-ions, Tigers, and Bears!
It’s hard to get out to America’s breathtaking backcountry, so I’m a big fan of animal webcams. The National Park Service’s legendary bearcam has been a Verge staff favorite for years, and its popularity led to an entire week devoted to fat bears. Sadly, the bears are just waking up for the year, and we’re out of season for bearcam.
Fortunately, it’s now big cat season, thanks to the Smithsonian’s National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute in Virginia. You can now get a live look at Echo the cheetah, who gave birth to four cubs on April 8th.
The real Tiger Kings are the people who watch safely, and respectfully, from a distance.
⭐ Ey, I'm Walkin' Ova 'Eah
🎨 Please, Don't Chew The Art
Not everyone needs to create masterpiece while they’re stuck at home, but I certainly appreciate those who are trying their best. So let’s clap for Filippo Lorenzin and Marianna Benetti, who built a museum for their pet gerbils.
“This was their first time in a museum,” Filippo and Marianna told Hyperallergic. “They much enjoyed the display and paid close attention to the quality of the gallery’s props.”
🎷 One Weird Bird
If you need a long weekend read, you really should check out this lovely profile of Weird Al Yankovic at The New York Times. Weird Al has burned brightly in our culture, but never at the center (he is, after all, weird) — but in this moment, it seems more critical than ever to share the light of our gentler giants.
You should read the whole profile, which is incredibly-well written and humanizing. This passage, though, really stood out to me:
If, in the superhero narrative of Weird Al Yankovic, there is a radioactive spider-bite moment, it has to be open-mic night at Cal Poly in 1977. Imagine the scene: a bunch of longhaired idealists with banjos and acoustic guitars, ready to shock the world with the beauty of their fingerpicking. And then Weird Al steps onstage. He brought with him not only his accordion and his large glasses and his little mustache but his whole awkward chaotic energy. Miller set up his bongos, and together the pair launched into the exact opposite of earnest folk music. Yankovic played “Wipeout” and “Also Sprach Zarathustra” and a 10-minute medley that he claimed covered every song ever written in the history of the world.
Before that night, Yankovic’s public performances included childhood accordion competitions and a cousin’s wedding. Now he was sharing his own music, the essence of himself, with a roomful of strangers. The odds were high that he would bomb, then disappear back into his tiny room forever.
Instead, the opposite happened: The crowd went crazy. Weird Al’s ridiculous music got a standing ovation. The applause would not stop. People hollered for more.
Napoleon Dynamite was real. His name was Weird Al Yankovic.
🏡 Welcome Home
Readers! You’re great! Please continue to share your work from home setups (and pets) with us by emailing us at
First, Adrian from Seattle shared a portrait of his two colleagues. There’s no desk or computer here, but that’s okay.
Next, we’ve got a very cozy corner from Tomas, a “business transformation head” currently in Prague.
“I am normally based in Hong Kong, but due to the virus situation and nationwide lockdown I am now in our new house in Prague, Czechia,” Tomas tells me. “So I’ve used this opportunity to set up my little home office.”
Finally, we’ve got a simple but effective setup from Mario, a K-12 technology coordinator in a small Montana town. “I really don’t need much to do my work, and I’m naturally lazy, so I like hanging out on my couch in front of my TV all the time,” Mario says. “I’ve been grateful that I haven’t been sick and that I still have a job that needs me now more than ever as teachers and students are working remotely.”
I’m having a blast doing this little newsletter for you three times a week. I’ll see you again on Monday.
If you have tips or suggestions, feel free to email me:, or tweet at me: @chillmage.
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