January 6th – The Day’s Most Fascinating News


My friend Mordy wouldn’t walk the block from his Chicago apartment to his favorite Starbucks to feed his impressive caffeine addiction this morning. It’s that cold. His region, along with a huge and growing swath of the U.S., is not expected to top zero degrees today. The North Pole has sent a polar vortex across much of the Midwest where weather forecasters have been left to compare local temperatures to those on Mars. The weather pattern — which is creating some of the coldest weather in decades — is now moving east. If you’re in New York, you could see a sixty degree temperature drop in the next day.

+ How cold is it? Schools were closed in Minnesota due to weather for the first time in seventeen years.

+ The question of the day: How is wind chill calculated? In California, it’s measured by the number of people who find it necessary to change from regular shorts into Bermuda shorts.

+ Update: Mordy went to Starbucks and returned with this report: “My skin hurt. My eyes were tearing up. i coughed when I breathed in. And my body was saying ‘make it stop, make it stop.’ I dont think I’ve been in a situation before where my body was screaming this is wrong, get the hell out (a weather situation, I should say).”


High Anxiety

“An astonishing portion of my life is built around trying to evade vomiting and preparing for the eventuality that I might throw up.” In a very revealing Atlantic cover story, editor Scott Stossel details his lifelong struggle with anxiety. Sleep was the big personal health topic in the media last year. This year, I think we’ll see a ton of coverage related to anxiety (which happens to be right in my wheelhouse…).

+ “Many people think I am so confident and able; even my close circle of friends have no idea how I struggle with anxiety.” Atlantic readers chime in with their own stories about anxiety.

+ Stock tip: When the market goes down, hospital visits go up.


Altared States

The Supreme Court has officially halted same-sex marriages in Utah while state officials challenge an earlier appeals court ruling that allowed the unions. It’s looking like the issue might make its way back to the top court once again. Meanwhile, 17 states already allow same-sex marriage.


Up, Up and a Weigh

You’d think that upward mobility would result in better health. It turns out that “those who do climb the ladder, against the odds, often pay a little-known price.” Income goes up. So does weight. And health can deteriorate.

+ NPR: Overweight people in developing world outnumber those in rich countries.


A Dog Eats Man Story

Last week, there was a story circulating that suggested that North Korea’s Kim Jong Un fed his uncle to a pack of ravenous dogs. It turns out that the story started out as a social media joke.

+ Unfortunately, the story about Dennis Rodman bringing a team of former NBA players to North Korea is all too real. Dennis Rodman is the Jenny McCarthy of North Korean relations.


Let’s Make It

They are the people “who like making their own toys, instruments, and weapons; tinkerers and mechanics who like to customize household objects by outfitting them with sensors and Internet connectivity; and appreciators of craft who prefer to design their own objects and then have them manufactured on demand.” (They are also known as gentiles.) The New Yorker’s Evgeny Morozov takes a look at the maker revolution.


Snort Reform

Slate’s Erik Vance on the reasons why cocaine is evil: “There’s no such thing as cruelty-free cocaine. You can’t buy sustainable crack at the farmers market.”

+ Rolling Stone’s Matt Taibbi: HSBC settlement proves the drug war is a joke. (I thought the drug war itself proved that already.)


The Finder

Michelle Gomez is 4’11” and just over 100 pounds. And if something is lost, she’s just the person to find it. From Wired, here’s a look at the world’s best bounty hunter, and how she hunts.


What to Watch

“Netflix possesses not several hundred genres, or even several thousand, but 76,897 unique ways to describe types of movies.” Alexis Madrigal on how Netflix reverse engineered Hollywood (and you still can’t find a decent movie to watch).


The Bottom of the News

Oh, you’re too pitchy dawg. But don’t worry. There’s a pill for that. A Harvard researcher is working with a drug that might allow adults to develop perfect pitch.

+ Quora: What are activities that people are doing wrong every day but don’t know it?

+ Body odor and a lack of personal hygiene can inspire pity and generosity (and in Silicon Valley, often a lot of equity.)

+ Playing hide and seek? Don’t hide in a washing machine.

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