November 3, 2020

Election Day

It's election day!

  • The Cleveland Clinic and the Bipartisan Policy Center have put together a helpful guide on health safety measures for those heading to the polls in person; if you’re not registered to vote, you can check here if your state has same-day voter registration
  • If you haven’t yet dropped off your mail-in ballot, you can do so today at an official drop box or your county election office

This is it. You’ve read the case for each candidate and our final polling update (here’s also a neat tracker from the WSJ of what the candidates have said about the issues); all that’s left is to count the votes. If you’re like most people (TFS team included), you’re probably relieved that it’s over, if somewhat anxious about the outcome.

Over the next few days, there will be many ‘hot takes’ that’ll become irrelevant within a few hours, and worse, there may be significant amounts of misinformation and disinformation that'll take time to sort out. The election won't be decided any faster or differently if we're frantically refreshing Twitter and/or election results pages; we may, however, give ourselves an ulcer.

In that vein, we’re going to spend the rest of the week offering alternatives selected by TFS team to get your mind off of the election, whether that means waiting for votes to be counted or coming to terms with the results. We hope you’ll indulge us in our foray into the unknown. As always, please reach out any time with thoughts / questions / feedback.

[If you can't tune out entirely, here’s a Twitter list of election officials in swing states compiled by MIT Tech Review. And here’s FiveThirtyEight’s assessment of when we can expect results from each state.

For faculty and teachers (and anyone who can use a civics 101 refresher!), the Campus Election Engagement Project has put together a helpful set of FAQ. For a deeper dive, Ballotpedia’s Election Help Desk is an excellent resource.

For those looking for community and grounding, Braver Angels is offering religious and secular 15 minute gatherings between 7:00 pm and 2:00 am Eastern Time tonight. Led by a diverse array of religious and secular leaders, anyone is invited to join these gatherings during the night--as often as you need or feel moved.

Lastly, for those looking to reflect individually or within their own social group, Citizen University has curated a playlist, meditation guide, and selections from speeches and pieces of writing from across American history that continue to be a source of inspiration.]

What to Stream

Monty Python and the Holy Grail (Netflix, Amazon Prime):

Flesh wounds and rabbit stew abound in this classic, satirical, and comedic take on the legend of King Arthur and the quest for the Holy Grail. Monty Python leads a group of loyal knights to secure the Grail before a competing unit of French troops do the same. Along the way, they encounter rebellious serfs, a cave monster, and questions about swallow-to-coconut weight ratios, all of which assemble to create a journey of hysterical proportions.
- Joe Vigliotti

History on Fire (Podcast):

Author and historian Daniele Bolelli narrates this podcast with epic tales from humanity’s past. Some episodes focus on events, some on individuals, and some on ideas. Bolelli is a gripping storyteller who combines meticulous research and personal insight to explore human nature and bring history to life.
- Spenser Dopp

Dr. No (Amazon Prime):

Sean Connery (RIP) stars in the first James Bond movie. Bond discovers a plot to disrupt the upcoming space launch, and of course saves the day (and the world) with his notorious panache.
- Jihan Varisco

Hidden Figures (Disney Plus, Amazon Prime):

Strong female characters + dramatic arc that’ll have you on the edge of your seat + SPACE! What more can I say?
- Annafi Wahed

What to Read

The Wizards of Armageddon, by Fred Kaplan (Amazon, Bookshop):

Captivating narrative of the strategists - both academics and government officials - who shaped US nuclear policies following the end of WWII. Based on declassified documents, published papers, and direct interviews, Kaplan weaves a fascinating account of the challenges confronting policymakers in a world with nuclear weapons.
- Jihan Varisco

Into the Wild, by Jon Krakauer (Amazon, Bookshop):

In one sense the book is about a young man who leaves behind the comfort of his “normal” American upbringing to explore great American wildernesses, but that leaves out so much of what makes the story so compelling. Call it heroic or tragic, call it reckless LARPing or a spiritual journey, it’s probably all of these things and more.
- Brian Bellinger

Perfume: The Story of a Murderer, by Patrick Süskind, translated by John E. Woods (Amazon, Bookshop):

As a young orphan, Grenouille travels throughout 18th-century France, distinguishing objects from a great distance by smell alone. With time, this savante of scent unlocks the component elements of every person's unique body smell - only to learn that he himself has no humanizing odor. Grenouille follows his obsession to craft the perfect recipe for a unique body scent, occasionally the product of orange rinds, dung, and murder. This is a must read for anyone curious about enfleurage for scent extraction and the animalistic forces that motivate human behavior.
- Monica Felix

What to Do

Settlers of Catan (Board game):

A fun (if at times extremely frustrating) expand-and-conquer style board game. The gameplay is fairly simple once you figure out all the rules, but what makes it really great is the interaction with fellow players; you can play repeatedly with the same group and have a new outcome every time. Having to rely on your opponents for necessary supplies makes for dynamic gameplay where you’re half cooperating, half sabotaging, and constantly competing to win. There are also multiple expansion packs and other versions of the game, so if your group gets weary of the original landscape, you can take to the seas or to space to change things up.
- Brian Bellinger

Geoguessr (Quiz):

This geography game is a lot of fun, and you won't find anything else like it on the Internet. Basically, you're plopped down on a random road somewhere in the world, in Google Maps Street View. Then you have to click and move around to try to discover where you are from reading street signs, looking at buildings and landmarks, and so on. When you think you know, you drop a pin on a world map. The closer you are, the more points you get.
- Owen Clarke

Arnold Schwarzenegger’s home fitness program (Activity):

Also known as what I *won't* be doing today.
- Annafi Wahed

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