July 15th – The Day’s Most Fascinating News

With Friends Like These…

I was sharing some witty banter with my good friends George Clooney, Brad Pitt, and Jon Hamm when we started talking about the fact that not only do we tend to look a lot like our close friends, we also resemble each other genetically. According to a recent study, “our friends are as similar to us genetically as you’d expect fourth cousins to be.” My fourth cousin Ryan Gosling will totally get a kick out of that.

+ Don’t trust you genes to pick the right friends? You could take the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, which among other things, can serve as “a powerful framework for building better relationships.” The only problem according to Vox is that the test is totally meaningless.


The Undocumentarian

An undocumented immigrant was detained by border patrol officials at McAllen-Miller International Airport today. Ordinarily that wouldn’t be big news. But in this case, it was America’s most well-known undocumented citizen and a loud voice for immigration reform. Journalist and documentarian Juan Antonio Vargas just became the poster-adult for America’s child migrant crisis.

+ Here’s Vargas’ 2011 piece in NYT Magazine: My Life as an Undocumented Immigrant. And you can follow Vargas on Twitter.


Lull, Bye

A proposed ceasefire in the Middle East lasted all of four hours before it was rejected by Hamas’ military wing. Following the rejection and the continuation of rocket strikes on Israel (where the first civilian fatality was reported), Israel resumed its attacks.


Parental Guidance

A recent study may shed light on a key way parents can reduce their stress. It turns out that mothers who work full time report less stress than those who work part time who report less stress than those who don’t work at all. Surprise: Your kids are stressing the hell out of you. (Bring them to work and let your boss deal with them.)


The Moonies

“Do we believe there is life beyond Earth? I would venture to say that most of my colleagues here today say it is improbable that in the limitless vastness of the universe we humans stand alone.” NASA scientists say they’re closer than ever to finding habitable planets and life beyond our planet. (Good, because we’re getting bored with destroying the Earth.)

+ Slate’s Gregory Benford on how to terraform the moon and make it habitable and a lot like Florida. That’s an idea that can make an entire galaxy cringe.


School Deform

“I’m not going to let the state slap them in the face and say they’re failures … I’m going to do everything I can to prevent the why-try spirit.” The New Yorker’s Rachel Aviv on the school that went to great lengths to ‘leave no child behind.’ Lengths that included a razor blade, a lighter, and a copy machine. In an era of high-stakes testing, a struggling school made a shocking choice.


Half and Half

“In elections up and down the ballot, each party now relies on voter coalitions that overlap remarkably little with each other in their demography, geography — or priorities.” Ron Brownstein explains why it’s become almost impossible to be the president of the entire United States.

+ They hate political parties, but they like Congress more than the rest of us. They want to cut spending and spend more. They think government is wasteful but want more government. In other words, Millennials’ political views don’t make any sense.

+ Some scientists think our biology determines our politics.


Dough Piercer

Want to see the new and critically acclaimed sci-fi movie Snowpiercer? You can go to one of a handful of theaters or you can watch it from your couch. This could be the new model of movie distribution where straight to video is the quickest way to take it straight to the bank.

+ Yahoo tries to get relevant in the streaming video game with a daily series of live concerts. The more the big players compete, the more they’ll be playing our tune.


Heavy Mettle

A heavy metal band that gained popularity via YouTube just signed a record deal worth nearly $2 million. And they’re in eighth grade. This is why I always let my kids rock out on their guitars when they’re taking a break from coding a messaging app.

+ Forget practice. You get to Carnegie Hall with talent.


The Bottom of the News

Whenever I call customer service, I warn them that the call may be recorded for quality control. Journalist Ryan Block should have done the same as he recorded the already infamous Comcast service call from hell.

+ What makes one design cool and another uncool? Here’s FastCo on the science of cool. And here’s BoingBoing on the history of weird.

+ A brief history of houses built out of spite.

+ And how a church ended up on George Carlin Way.

Copied to Clipboard