Thursday, November 5th, 2015


Thwart Some Coke

Mexicans enjoy a nice, cool bottle of soda. In fact, it's possible that they enjoy it more than any other humans on Earth -- their top three daily sources of caloric intake are all some form of sugary drink (they also lead in the area of chronic diseases related to that liquid intake pattern). The Guardian's Tina Rosenberg puts this drinking problem into perspective: "Excessive consumption of soda kills twice as many Mexicans as trade in the other kind of coke that Mexico is famous for." As you'd suspect, Mexico is an incredibly important market for the soda industry and its web of lobbyists and marketers. It's also a country that recently passed a soda tax that is cutting consumption. How did the world's biggest consumer of soda become a petri dish for testing the effectiveness of a tax that the industry went to great lengths to prevent? Here's the story of how one of the most obese countries on earth took on the soda giants.

+ Mexico also just took a huge step toward legalizing marijuana.


Ups and Downs

"We can have an intellectually honest debate about whether we should legalize something that is bad and dangerous, but don't call it medicine -- that is a joke." The head of the DEA is not a big believer in pot as medicine. Vox takes a look at what the science says so far.

+ "Who wouldn't be tempted by a drug that might make it easier to keep up in a world that runs at overwhelming speed?" From FiveThirtyEight: College students aren't the only ones abusing Adderall.


Displacement Formula

"Nearly 60 million people are currently displaced from their homes by war and persecution -- more than at any time since World War II. Half are children." NYT Magazine shares an interactive look at some of their stories: The Displaced.

+ UK Prime Minister David Cameron says that it's "more likely than not" that a bomb took down the Russian airliner that disintegrated over the Sinai on Saturday. Russian and Egypt are not so sure.



When we think about companies that are dominating the digital revolution, we usually think about online tech companies first. But Starbucks is adapting the new world like a company that is as wired as its customers. At a moment when mobile payments are still struggling to take hold, customers are already buying 5 million coffee drinks a month using the company's app. (I sometimes use the app just because I feel like too much of an idiot saying "Venti" out loud in public.)

+ While some companies are anxious to get their customers online, others are working overtime to prevent bad online reviews -- and to punish those who post them.


Little Town Blues

"It's a much -- it's a tougher life in these places now. I think a lot of this has to do with the decline of small manufacturing in these places. Tougher rural life." PBS Newshour talks to experts about the shocking lifespan decline among some white, middle-aged Americans: Is despair the root cause of the trend?


Pulp Friction

"When I see murder I cannot stand by. And I have to call the murdered the murdered and I have to call the murderers the murderers." Quentin Tarantino has taken heat for comments he's made about the police (several law enforcement unions have already called for a boycott of his upcoming film). He finally made his first public comments about the situation. And here's the thing: He didn't apologize. I'm noticing a trend here. People who are in the public eye, when faced with a PR crisis that usually calls for an apology, are refusing to issue one. Not apologizing is the new apologizing.


Down with TPP?

President Obama has released the full text of the Trans-Pacific Partnership; it promises to be a prologue to the last key fight of his second term. It's thirty chapters and hundreds of pages. (Maybe editors should be part of the agreement...)


Boy Ploy

Want to increase the number of baby boys in your region? Just host a global sporting event. For some reason, doing that results in a higher percentage of boys being born nine months later. (It also seems to provide a pretty decent excuse for getting laid.)


Remote Possibilities

If you were one of those people who found it difficult to operate the VCR, things are only going to get worse. The Hollywood Reporter takes a look at the pros and cons of the top ten streaming services. The bigger story here is that there are so many services and so much content spread throughout the corners of the Internet; watching a show is becoming a research project.


Bottom of the News

Everyone hates filling out forms on the web. But trust me, it's even worse when your last name is Null.

+ Americans speak 320 different languages at home. Here's a list.

+ More excellent shots from the NatGeo Photo Contest.

+ Picking the right cheese for a grilled cheese.

+ It's a bird. It's a plane. Nope, it's two guys with jet packs flying next to a giant airliner.

+ Need some motherly advice? Try renting a mom.