October 29th – The Day’s Most Fascinating News

The Family Joules

“The question as to whether you can coax one of these very hot gasses into making serious amounts of fusion energy from my point of view is pretty clear: You can do it.” That’s how Rob Goldston, who directed Princeton’s plasma physics lab for a decade, sees the future for nuclear fusion. And he’s not alone. Recently, the National Ignition Facility in California “reached a milestone by producing more energy in a fusion reaction than was needed to start that reaction.” And public companies aren’t the only ones competing in this updated version of the nuclear arms race. Millions of venture dollars are pouring into private companies. One investor explains part of the attraction: “It’s an investment to potentially bring something about that would really transform the world.” And who knows? One of these companies could one day have a valuation as high as Snapchat.


Waiting on a Cloudy Day

“I no longer love blue skies. In fact, I now prefer grey skies. The drones do not fly when the skies are grey.” A 13 year-old Pakistani boy, who was injured by a drone strike, tells Congress what it’s like to live under unfriendly skies.


Spy Agency Accused of Spying

The White House says they didn’t know about the NSA spying on allies until this summer. Some intelligence officials say the White House signed off on the spying a long time ago. The New Yorker thinks it would be scary if Obama didn’t know what was going on. And some spies don’t see the big deal. That’s what they do. They spy. The former head of French intelligence explains: “I can’t believe anyone is terribly surprised. I mean, every government in the world tries to collect the best info that it can and that’s true of the German, American, British, French and countries all over the world.”


The Dentathlon

Olympic athletes are some of humanity’s finest physical specimens. But that can change once they smile. According to a new study, they have a whole lot of dental issues. What gives? Some researchers think that sports drinks are the culprit.

+ Here’s another theory: Maybe their teeth are just chattering too much during all those ice baths.


Screen Rage

Disney is set to debut several episodes of a new show aimed at preschoolers on tablets first. And that probably makes sense. That’s where the kids are. According to a new study, 75% of kids under the age of 8 use mobile devices. And more than a third of kids under the age of two have used them.

+ While kids are playing, adults at game companies are watching. And the main goal of those adults is to get the kids to play longer and spend more.

+ Pediatricians are suggesting that parents set limits on their kids’ screen time. Most parents I know have trouble limiting their own screen time. Do as I say, not as I swipe.

+ “Anyone who’s been within a thousand miles of one can tell you … There is no tantrum like a Put-Down-the-iPad Tantrum.” Here’s a piece I wrote on this topic: Screen Rage is the New Road Rage.


Running Dry

Even an optimist would have to see the current wine industry glass as being half empty. We’re drinking more. Vineyards are producing less. And the global wine shortage could soon be upon us.


Banksy Deposits

The anonymous street artist known as Banksy is in the midst of a month-long residence program in NYC where new works of art are popping up all over the place. Some people are treating it like a city-wide gallery showing. Others are scrubbing the walls.

+ Alan Taylor of InFocus has put together a great collection of Banksy pieces from around the city. Seeing how people interact with the art — posing next to it, taking photos, painting it over — is a integral part of the installation.


Kiss and Tell

So you thought kissing was about sexual arousal? Apparently, that’s not it at all. In the beginning it’s an interview. Later it serves as emotional upkeep. The NYT has all the latest research explaining why a kiss is not just a kiss.


Just in Time

Ever notice that your phone seems to stop working well just about the time a new version comes out? Marketing types call this “planned obsolescence.”

+ A gas station clerk in Winter Garden, Florida definitely needs a new cellphone. His old one blocked a bullet.


The Bottom of the News

Ben Crair is becoming well known for his disgust with the standing desk movement. So he decided to create a different kind of workstation. He worked from bed.

+ Here are two questions that we need to answer. Number one: have we reached peak pumpkin spice? And number two: have we reach peak juicing? Somewhere in Brooklyn, both peaks are being reached at once.

+ New Uber promotion. For twenty bucks, they’ll bring a kitty to you and let you pet it for 15 minutes. Cupcakes are included.

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