November 6th – The Day’s Most Fascinating News

Keystone Flops

It’s often hard to predict which political issue will rise above the din and become a flashpoint for a seemingly endless (and often furious) debate. The Keystone Pipeline was one such issue. I remember hearing an administration insider say that “everywhere the president goes, all anyone wants to talk about is Keystone.” And that was almost seven years ago. Nearly two presidential terms later, the world’s most contested pipeline has gone down the tubes. President Obama made the announcement on Friday and took a jab at the overinflated nature of the discourse: “This pipeline would neither be a silver bullet for the economy, as was promised by some, nor the express lane to climate disaster claimed by others.” Now thousands of activists and lobbyists have a weekend to come up with something new to fight about.

+ Maybe the next big environmental brew-ha-ha will be over kangaroo gas.


Gods and Monsters

A study that involved professors from seven universities found that religious children are meaner than their secular counterparts: “Children from households identifying as either of the two major world religions (Christianity and Islam) were less altruistic than children from non-religious households.”

+ Quartz: Over half of Canada’s newly appointed cabinet skipped the So help me God part of their oaths.


Weekend Reads and Listens

On my podcast with Phil Bronstein, we focused on the adrenaline culture — people and journalists so anxious to publish the answer, they have no time for facts or context. The podcast is getting pretty good: Listen on our site, or subscribe to the podcast in your favorite app: What Hurts: The Need for Speed.

+ From a new publication called Stat: Meet one of the world’s most groundbreaking scientists. He’s 34.

+ Mark Adams in Men’s Journal: Years of poaching have pushed Africa’s Black rhinos to the edge of extinction. A determined conservationist aims to reverse that — one 3,000-pound airmail delivery at a time. (Free shipping for Prime members…)

+ “He grew up just 13 miles from here, in Riviera Beach, a working-class town that defied its name. Everyone called him Buddy.” You know him as Burt Reynolds. And he once spent five years as the top box office draw.

+ Buzzfeed: One last ride with the cop at the end of the world.


Bomb Theory Not Going Away

Russia has halted flights to Egypt as more signs point to the possibility that last weekend’s airline explosion was caused by a bomb. And as Slate’s Daniel Byman explains, if this really was the work of ISIS, it’s a whole new (and much scarier) ballgame.

+ “Egypt still has a very large conventionally oriented, war-with-Israel military, which is odd, given the kaleidoscope of problems they have around them.” In an interview with Jeffrey Goldberg, Defense Secretary Ashton Carter explains that the states in the region need to get in the fight against ISIS.


Pyramid Scheme

“The then-17 year old was introduced in 1969 to Gen. William Westmoreland, who had just ended his command of U.S. forces in Vietnam, and the two dined together. That meeting, according to Carson’s telling, was followed by a ‘full scholarship’ to the military academy.” Ben Carson’s campaign now admits that this story was fabricated. Even Donald Trump couldn’t talk his way out of this one.

+ WaPo: Ben Carson’s troubled effort to prove that he was, in fact, a juvenile delinquent. (This is the weirdest campaign ever.)

+ There’s the stabbing story, the West Point scholarship story, and the even weirder contention that the Pyramids were used to store grain — all candidates make some stuff up, but how weird and made up is too weird and made up?

+ Oh, and about that Pyramid mystery


The Dog Ate My Passport

Arlet Burciaga has an interesting commute to school every day. She lives in Mexico, but she attends school in El Paso. Don’t forget your homework, or your passport. PRI takes us along for the ride.


Pics or It Didn’t Happen

Ray Rice was banished from the NFL for one reason: The video. Greg Hardy is guilty of crimes that were probably more violent and on-field behavior that is definitely worse. But without the addition of some visuals, the stories about Hardy haven’t kept him from being a huge NFL star. Deadspin has collected many of the photos from the night Greg Hardy was arrested for assaulting his ex-girlfriend. These images have not been very public before.


Bug’s Life

“From a microbiological perspective, toilet seats and pillowcases look strikingly similar.” (I remember a couple nights in college when they were one and the same.) From The New Yorker’s Emily Anthes: Our Dust, Ourselves.


Seed Investing

We know American Pharoah is a great racehorse. But do we know he’ll make a great stud? Not yet. But that’s not stopping breeders from setting the price at two hundred grand per mating session. (That’s about what I charge, but my price includes parking.)


Bottom of the News

Alanis Morissette’s Jagged Little Pill was the biggest selling album of the nineties and it’s celebrating its 20th anniversary. Howard Stern is the greatest interviewer of our time. So yeah, here’s Howard and Alanis, songs included.

+ “It consisted of cigarette butts, empty champagne bottles and confetti.” So is it that surprising that a janitor thought this art installation was garbage and threw it away?

+ And just in time for its latest installment, here’s a tally of everything you need to know about James Bond.

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