Remembering George Floyd


Greetings, QuickTake readers! In this edition: Hong Kongers defy police at Tiananmen vigil, oil spill stains Siberia, and scientists learn how sea critters make palaces of snot.

Minneapolis bids Floyd farewell

Hundreds of mourners gathered in Minneapolis on Wednesday to honor the memory of George Floyd at a memorial attended by Hollywood stars, musicians, political leaders, and human rights advocates. Floyd's family and their lawyer Ben Crump decried the oppression of black Americans at the service—the first of several over the next week—and Rev. Al Sharpton delivered a fierce eulogy followed by an 8:46 pause, the length of time Floyd was pinned under a white police officer's knee before he died.

These were the top moments:

  • "It was not the coronavirus pandemic that killed George Floyd, but the pandemic of racism and discrimination," Crump said.
  • Crump urged mourners to "fight for the unknown George Floyds of the world," before invoking Eric Garner, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and other people of color killed by police.
  • "All these people came to see my brother," Philonise Floyd said in awe and recounted their childhoods playing catch and eating banana-mayonnaise sandwiches.
  • During his eulogy, Sharpton declared: "It's time for us to stand up in George's name and say, "Get your knee off our necks!'"
  • Sharpton vowed to "keep going until we change the whole system of justice," saying: "Time is out for you making excuses! Time is out for you trying to stall! Time is out for empty words and empty promises!"


  • A judge on Thursday set bail at $750,000 apiece for three ex-Minneapolis officers charged with aiding and abetting Floyd's killing.

$ignificant figures

1.88 million. That many Americans filed for unemployment benefits for the first time last week, according to the Labor Department, bringing the total who've filed new jobless claims during the pandemic to 42.6 million.

20,000. Russian President Vladimir Putin declared a state of emergency in Siberia after that many tons of diesel fuel spilled from a power plant storage facility and polluted waterways.

1,092. Mexico reported a new one-day high of Covid-19 fatalities Wednesday, due in part to its improved documentation of cases, making the country's daily death rate worse than the U.S.'s.

Highly quotable

"China wants us to forget what happened 31 years ago." Thousands in Hong Kong defied a ban on congregating to hold a vigil for the victims of the bloody military crackdown in Tiananmen Square in Beijing.

"Time to break up Amazon." What Tesla CEO Elon Musk tweeted while tagging CEO Jeff Bezos and adding "monopolies are wrong," escalating his feud with another billionaire investing in space exploration.

"No, no. Really not." Germany's Angela Merkel "very firmly" rejected suggestions she might seek a fifth term as chancellor after pledging in 2018 to step down when her current government leaves office.

This is not normal

Hazard zone. Pregnant women who live near oil and gas wells are 40% more likely to have low birth weight babies, according to the first broad-based study to examine the health impacts of drilling in California.

The future is now

"Snot palaces." Scientists are working to crack the architectural code of tiny sea critters' complex homes made from their mucus to protect against predators and filter food, which could help humans learn to build in space.

What's good

"A moment of light." An art dealer who had planned to sell Bartholomeus Spranger's 1587 painting, "Body of Christ Supported by Angels," donated it instead to Amsterdam's Rijksmuseum as a tribute to Covid-19 victims.

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BTW: Meghan Markle, in a speech to grads at her former high school, said she felt moved to speak out about George Floyd but wrestled with what to say until she realized, "the only wrong thing to say is to say nothing."

Thanks for reading!
-Andrew Mach


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