October 21st – The Day’s Most Fascinating News

The Bully Pulpit

Here’s an interesting and consistent finding from research on bullying. When it takes place in urban areas, it’s easier to escape because the victim often has options when it comes to avoiding harassment: Different schools, different social groups, different neighborhoods. In rural areas, there aren’t nearly as many options. As Maria Konnikova explains in The New Yorker, the Internet has created the ultimate homepage on the range: “In some ways, when it comes to bullying, the Internet has made the world more rural. Before the Internet, bullying ended when you withdrew from whatever environment you were in. But now, the bullying dynamic is harder to contain and harder to ignore.”


Shooless Joe

After weeks and months of anticipation, Joe Biden has finally decided that he will not make a run for the White House. “Unfortunately, I believe we’re out of time, the time necessary to mount a winning campaign for the nomination.” It’s interesting that 13 months is too little time. That’s why elections drive you crazy. How can more than a year not be enough time to run for office when you’re already the Vice President (which means you have name recognition with at least half of all Americans)?

+ FiveThirtyEight on why Biden made the right call. (I’m guessing a lot of late night comedians disagree…)


Bumbling BiBi

“I see no reason to change our view of history in any way. We know that responsibility for this crime against humanity is German and very much our own.” That was Germany’s official response to Benjamin Netanyahu’s claim that Hitler got the idea to kill Jews from a Muslim cleric named Haj Amin al-Husseini.

+ For the first time in four years, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad felt bolstered enough to leave his own country. Where did he go? To Russia for a meeting with Putin.


A Dear Jon Snow Letter

“To understand why dry air makes us ill, you need to understand the peculiar dynamics of our coughs and sneezes.” As flu season looms, scientists are getting a better understanding of the real reason germs spread so well in the winter.


Arc of a Diversity

Recent studies show (again) that diversity in schools is not a detriment to the test scores that white kids earn. “White student achievement in schools with the highest Black student density did not differ from White student achievement in schools with the lowest density.”

+ “If you went to anybody who’s in education, you say PE versus instruction, they say instruction every time. But what we’re trying to show is that more movement equals better grades, better behavior, better bodies.” WaPo on the Charleston schools where children are seen, and heard, and always active.

+ Ahmed Mohamed (the clock making kid) and his family visited the White House. Hours later, they announced that they are moving to Qatar. (Must have been a pretty bad White House visit.)


WTF Stops Here

For those not from San Francisco, let me give you a brief overview of the situation that faces cyclists and drivers. It’s too crowded. The city wasn’t designed for bikes. And everything is terrible. And I’m guessing it won’t get any better if the city approves legislation that will make rolling stops the rule of the road. I’m also guessing it won’t make things any worse. But even though I’m not taking any clear position, this blurb will enrage both bikers and drivers.


Queue Tube

As YouTube gets set to introduce its subscription service Red, it might seem like they’ll have to get in line behind all the other pay services from Apple, Amazon, Netflix and others. But YouTube has a whole lot to offer. No ads. Music. Audio content. Customer exclusives. And a massively popular platform. That’s what makes it easy. And that’s what makes it complicated. Ben Popper with an inside look at YouTube’s new ad-free subscription service.


Queen of the Drones

“If drones aren’t to be just another boy toy, they’ll have some serious lifting to do.” Buzzfeed’s Zara Stone on efforts to disarm the drone gender gap before it gets too far out of hand. (My seven year-old daughter got pretty interested in drones once she learned about their offensive military capabilities.)


You Don’t F the Future

It’s October 21, 2015, otherwise known as Back to the Future Day. NatGeo takes a look at what the movie got right about the future. (It never predicted we’d be spending all day talking about Star Wars.)

+ 19 surprising facts about Back to the Future.


Bottom of the News

“His commute from a parking spot on the periphery of Google’s campus is a few seconds on foot, rather than a few hours sitting in San Francisco traffic.” BusinessInsider on a 23-year-old Google employee who lives in a truck in the company’s parking lot. (Dave Eggers is going to need to write The Circle 2; the first one is already outdated.

+ 14 facts about the Brooklyn Bridge.

+ In the world of Curling, there is a backlash against high tech brooms. (In my house, there’s a backlash against all cleaning implements.)

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