July 31st – The Day’s Most Fascinating News

Drawing a Blank?

Having trouble staying focused during a meeting or class? Finding it difficult to understand new ideas or remember what you heard during a presentation? Here’s a two-word piece of advice: Just Doodle. According to the WSJ’s Sue Shellenbarger, “Recent research in neuroscience, psychology and design shows that doodling can help people stay focused, grasp new concepts and retain information.” Now if I could only remember where I left my pen.


The End of the Spectrum

According to many psychiatrists and brain experts, about one in 10 autistic children sheds symptoms before adulthood. Duke researcher Geraldine Dawson explains that “there is this subgroup of kids who start out having autism and then, through the course of development, fully lose those symptoms.” Now they just have to figure out why. From the NYT Magazine: The Kids Who Beat Autism.


Tunnel Vision

Israel has called up an additional 16,000 reserves, and Netanyahu vows to destroy all the tunnels to Israel, “with or without a ceasefire.”

+ “You have to think through what comes next. You don’t want to actually administer Gaza and you don’t want someone worse taking over.” From The Daily Beast: You Can Keep Your Rockets.

+ “Mossad agents confronted Meshaal in Jordan and injected or sprayed poison into his ear.
It might have ended right there. But Jordan’s King Hussein, who had a peace treaty with Israel, threatened to break off relations unless Mossad delivered the antidote to the poison. And they did.” CNN provides a look at who’s who in Hamas.

+ In Politico, Dennis Ross provides an interesting of overview of how to think about the current crisis and the new Middle East.


One Dose

“A dose of experimental serum arrived in Liberia to be tried on a U.S. charity worker struggling for her life — but there was only enough for one of the two infected workers.” High stakes and increasing concerns on the front lines of the fight against Ebola.

+ Vox has a series of facts, figures and explainers about the deadliest Ebola outbreak in history.


DC Comics

The CIA has issued a formal apology to Senate leaders after confirming that “some employees acted in a manner inconsistent with the common understanding reached.” The understanding reached was that they wouldn’t penetrate the computer servers being used by a Senate Intelligence Committee that was investigating them.

+ And here’s a look at why the House just voted to sue President Obama. It’s great timing since he doesn’t have much on his plate these days.


The Disintermediation of Louie De Palma

We were promised flying cars, jetpack-powered commutes, and teleportation. What we got was a lot of new ways to hail a cab. NY Mag examines high tech’s traffic jam: Hail Storm.



“Eccentric, exacting, and self-destructive — Alex Rodriguez is baseball’s Howard Hughes. He didn’t just shoot steroids or rub on cream like his predecessors, he took his banned substances intravenously while breathing from an oxygen tank, or while laying in a hyperbaric chamber.” Tim Elfrink and Gus Garcia-Roberts with the untold and insanely weird story of A-Rod’s doping habits.

+ “Dear Greg: Lance won’t say it but I will. I apologize.” Mark McKinnon published a belated, open letter to Greg Lemond.

+ “I made the biggest mistake of my life.” As Ray Rice apologized for the violence against his fiancee (now wife), I wondered about the connection between pro football and domestic violence. FiveThirtyEight looks at the numbers.


Tis the Seasonal Affective Disorder

We usually associate the doldrums of seasonal affective disorder with the winter months. But for some, summer can be the depressing season.

+ When you get down about the weather, remind yourself that it could be worse. We could be experiencing (another) rainstorm of asteroids that would melt the Earth and boil the oceans. (On the plus side, that would almost certainly wipe out the Sharknado.)

+ If you want to improve your mood and your health, you might want to move closer to trees. “New research says the closer you can live to trees, the better off you are.”


Playing Homeless

We’re rolling … and … Action!: “California gubernatorial candidate Neel Kashkari — a former investment banker who headed up the federal bank bailout, worked for investing giant Pimco, and now lives in a $10 million house in Newport Beach — spent a week on the streets of Fresno pretending to be homeless.” And … Cut! (I’d rather do that than spend a week pretending to be a gubernatorial candidate.)


The Bottom of the News

Robinson Meyer in The Atlantic: I drank a cup of hot coffee that was overnighted across the country.” Yes, it was a PR stunt (and a good one), but it also provides a look at the complicated, pervasive intersection of logistics and culture. (But sadly, they forgot the cream.)

+ This is the era of advertising as content, when it takes a lot to stand out as a brand. How much? Well, you can start with Bret Michaels singing a cover of Endless Love to a van (and meaning it).

+ In Seattle, one police officer wrote 80 percent of the tickets for consuming marijuana in public this year. (Some folks will do anything for a contact high.)

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