May 22nd – The Day’s Most Fascinating News

Give Me Some Space

It’s not like we haven’t attempted space treaties before. The last time was back in the 1970s when there was an effort to keep individual nations from claiming celestial bodies as their own. Every nation without a space program signed the treaty, and every country that could actually get to space told those people where they could go (to infinity and beyond). But times have changed and more private companies are looking to the heavens for the next big profit center. In Quartz, Tim Fernholz provides some context and a look at the Congressional bills that have space experts worried about an extra-terrestrial land grab. May the Force Majeure Be With You.


In Ruins

“It makes Rome blush. When you approach the site, it rises out of the desert like some sort of a mirage out of a fairy tale.” That’s how one archaeologist describes the Roman-era ruins in Palmyra. And ISIS just took over the city. The LA Times with 5 reasons why Palmyra’s ruins are so important.


Weekend Reads

“Hello, everybody, I’m Huang Xi. Huang like a cucumber, Xi like a watermelon … That wasn’t a joke.” NYT Mag’s Christopher Beam looks at the state of stand-up comedy in China, where it’s catching on, even if people still aren’t sure quite when to laugh. (So our cultures have more in common than we thought…)

+ “It’s a place that forces me to reach for comparisons from fiction: It’s Lord of the Rings, I tell people. It’s Mordor crossed with the Shire.” In SB Nation, Eva Holland takes you on a climb that can best be described as Unclimbable.

+ “Today he stands alone as the record-holder for most retractions by a single author, at a breathtaking 183, representing roughly 7 percent of all retracted papers between 1980 and 2011. His story represents a dramatic fall from grace, but also the arrival of a new dimension to scholarly publishing.” From Nautilus: How the Biggest Fabricator in Science Got Caught.

+ “My guest today is me.” Here’s a weekend listen. Mark Maron interviews Terry Gross on Fresh Air.


All Warm and Fuzz

“Our community has been completely transformed. The fact that these officers are out here, with these kids, every week, makes the difference.” Let’s take a brief detour from the onslaught of negative stories about police-community relations and head to Fresno where those relations are better than ever.


Let Them Eat Water

Even if you live a long way from California, our drought is still your drought. “California farmers produce more than a third of the nation’s vegetables and two-thirds of its fruits and nuts. To do that, they use nearly 80 percent of all the water consumed in the state.” So if I’m gonna convince my kids to take shorter showers, you’re gonna have to ease up on the almonds. From the NYT, here’s a guide to your contribution to the California drought.


Ceci n’est pas une Wallet

The Eiffel Tower was closed to the public for six hours while workers staged a walkout to protest the rampant surge in pickpocketing gangs.

+ “It’s scandalous to see bleach being poured into supermarket dustbins along with edible foods.” In France, it will soon be illegal for large supermarkets to throw away edible food.


A May-Decemberists Romance

“Everywhere, the line between fan and performer was paper-thin. The approach was anarchic and participatory: the idea (at least theoretically) was that anyone could get a band together, learn to play, and maybe even press a record and take the show on the road” The Atlantic’s Deborah Cohen on geeks with guitars and how indie rock changed the world.

+ This makes me remember ten things about the night I brought my 7-year old son to see the National at the Greek Theater in Berkeley


Do As I Say?

Following a report that he molested several young girls as a teenager, reality-television star Josh Duggar apologized and quit Family Research Council. It just goes to show you that you can try to raise your kid right — with 26 siblings, religious extremism, and reality TV cameras everywhere — and they’ll still have issues…


The Third Degree

Earlier this week, Tanishq Abraham earned 3 college degrees. And that’s a pretty notable achievement considering that he’s only 11 years old. He calls the degrees baby-steps towards his real goal. “If all goes according to his plans, the boy will grow up to become a Nobel Prize-winning doctor and medical researcher, then a U.S. president.” With all those degrees, you’d think he’d be smart enough to avoid politics.


Bottom of the News

Dogs are known as man’s best friend. But according to some recent research, they might also be our oldest friends. It turns out that dogs’ ancestors may have split from wolves as much as 40,000 years ago. (Cats didn’t want to start hanging out until there was the possibility of going viral.)

+ Pac-Man still looks young, but it just turned 35. (It pays off to eat all that fruit.)

+ Shake Shack thrills the market with the possibility of Chicken Shack.

+ Ever wonder how doctors train to give prostate exams? (And just like that, I’m fine with the robots taking our jobs.)

+ From The Wrap: Are Kanye West’s Ties to the Kardashian Clan Destroying His Brand? (Of course. Why should he be any different than the rest of us?)

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