Pandemic-driven lifestyle changes that have put the internet at the center of seemingly everything proved a financial boon for Amazon and Google in the final three months of last year.

Google-parent Alphabet and the Seattle-based e-commerce colossus reported large earnings Tuesday on thriving internet advertising and the booming market for online shopping.

“We are proud that people continue to choose Google’s products to stay informed connected and comforted during uncertain times,” chief executive Sundar Pichai said on an earnings call with analysts.

Alphabet said its quarterly profit rocketed some 50 percent to $15.2 billion at the end of last year as its digital ad business thrived.

Alphabet revenue in the final three months of last year hit nearly $57 billion, compared with $46 billion in the same period in 2019, according to the internet titan.

The strong quarter “was driven by Search and YouTube, as consumer and business activity recovered

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It was negative 13 degrees Celsius (8.6 degrees Fahrenheit) when Lorelou Desjardins took a break from her workday to take a walk on the frozen lake near her home in Oslo, Norway. She was accompanied by her husband, who had recently been on four months of paternity leave, and their infant son.



a group of people standing next to a body of water: A youth prepares to jump into cold water at the Oslo harbor.


© Tobias Schwarz/AFP/Getty Images
A youth prepares to jump into cold water at the Oslo harbor.



a man riding a snow board on a body of water: Two men skate on an icy lake in Trondheim, Norway.


© Gorm Kallestad/AFP/Getty Images
Two men skate on an icy lake in Trondheim, Norway.

Not only was she encouraged by her employer to take this walk — she is paid one hour per week to exercise or spend time outdoors. It’s one of the several times she goes outdoors during the workday.

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Other times are to put her 1-year-old out for a nap, wrapped up in blankets outdoors, like they do with him and the other babies in day care,

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“When I moved to Norway, I was kind of a workaholic. And so, coming here and having my boss tap my shoulder at 5 or 6 p.m. and tell me, ‘What are you still doing at work? Go outside, it is nice weather,” she said. “It’s kind of this spirit of ‘OK, work is great, but we have a life out there, that life involves being outside.'”

Contrary to American “hustle culture,” Desjardins said overworking and sacrificing your personal life isn’t considered a good thing in Norway. It’s considered an inability to prioritize in one’s work to Norwegians.

While Americans may not be able to ask their employer for a paid walk in the forest, Desjardins said there is much to be gained from adopting these practices — and people can do it in any natural area near where they live and work.

People in Norway don’t have some magical

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How essential is an artist?

Art, you’ve noticed, has been idle.

The artist, in pandemic Chicago, has been stripped of stages, classrooms, materials. Many, who were already working two or three jobs for supplemental income, were stripped of second and third jobs. Some, seeing little light at the end of the COVID tunnel, have probably given up already.

Even a starving artist can last only so long.

And yet, remarkable as it may be seem in 2020, there was a moment, about a decade long, when this country and its White House, eager to get Americans to work, considered its artists essential.

You live everyday with that legacy.

Consider the South Side Community Art Center, an 80-year old institution in a 130-year old Classical Revival house. It rests in an unassuming lot on book profits South Michigan Avenue. It is tall and austere, warm and a bit removed from its

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