Tuesday, January 26th, 2016


What’s Your Major?

Does your college major really matter when it comes to your career? A recent study suggests that it can at least give you some key insights into your personality type. For example, "arts and humanities majors ... are in the unenviable position of being anxious, but not very organized. They were less conscientious than students in fields like science, law, or engineering. They also tended to score higher on neuroticism." Maybe that's true, but they also can be pretty handy with a pun and are known for being masterful lovers.


The Hole Truth

"How can we subject prisoners to unnecessary solitary confinement, knowing its effects, and then expect them to return to our communities as whole people? It doesn't make us safer. It's an affront to our common humanity." President Obama announces a ban on the use of solitary confinement for juveniles in federal prisons.

+ Here's Obama's Op-Ed on the topic.

+ "It crushes your spirit and weakens your resistance more effectively than any other form of mistreatment." That's a quote on solitary from John McCain from an old New Yorker piece from Atul Gawande: Hellhole.

+ The Supreme Court has opened the door to parole for juveniles who have been given life sentences.


When Rouhani Met Armani

"The Great Race -- for what a Western ambassador in Tehran described as 'the last gold mine on Earth' -- has begun. With eighty million people, Iran is the largest economy to return to the global marketplace since the Soviet Union's demise, a quarter century ago." The New Yorker's Robin Wright on how the lifting of Iranian sanctions represents an opportunity for nearly every nation except the United States.

+ The shopping spree just got started in Rome.


Mosquitoes Coast

Terrorism gets all the headlines. But history has shown that one of humankind's longest running wars is against mosquitoes. And the latest threat comes by way of the resurgent Zika virus. The Economist charts its spread throughout the Americas.

+ Brazil is deploying everything from troops to insect repellant to fight Zika as its health minister states that the country is "badly losing the battle."


Not According to Planned

In Texas, a grand jury set out to investigate a Planned Parenthood office accused of illegally selling fetal tissue. But they ended up leveling "criminal charges against the anti-abortion activists behind a series of undercover videos." From WaPo: The charges against anti-Planned Parenthood filmmaker, explained.


Attention Detail

"Not only do kids with ADHD need exploration, but exploration needs them ... Attentional mutants everywhere have saved the human species, and they may yet spare us the death of adventure." In Outside Magazine, Florence Williams explains why ADHD is fuel for adventure.


The Danish Hurl

This is not a good look for Denmark. The Danish parliament just approved legislation that enables "immigration authorities to seize jewelry and other personal valuables from refugees." But don't worry. Wedding rings and other items with sentimental value will be off limits ... "unless they have considerable value."


Salad Days Are Here Again

During months like this, when the stock market becomes a pinball machine, it's often difficult to explain the key causes behind the ups and downs of an individual security. That's not the case when it comes to Weight Watchers' stock price which, now more than ever, is directly tied to corporate investor and spokeswoman Oprah Winfrey. In a recent video, Oprah proclaimed: "I lost 26 pounds, and I have eaten bread every single day." The company's stock went up more than twenty percent. Maybe there are broader market forces at work. I've gained a few pounds this year and my entire portfolio is in the toilet.


Hair Apparent?

He's pretty funny. He can't win, it's just entertainment. He's doing well now, but he's got no real shot. His decline should come any day now. Well, this is lasting longer than anticipated. Um, he's still here. Holy crap, could he win? The many stages of reactions to Donald Trump are coming to a head as we enter the last week before Iowa. While the coverage has been up and down, the bottom line is this: Trump has now led the GOP race for about six months.


Bottom of the News

She's one of the more famous stars in adult entertainment. But these days, she may be even more popular in another field. The Guardian on Lisa Ann: how one of adult entertainment's biggest stars transformed into a fantasy football guru. (This gives new meaning to the Carolina Panthers' team slogan: Keep Pounding.)

+ "A Best Buy in Maryland may not seem like a tourism hotspot, but to fans of the juggernaut true crime podcast Serial, it's the Taj Mahal." (I will never understand the allure of crime tourism.)

+ The much-beloved actor Abe Vigoda has passed away.

+ "There is no safer place for her." Meet the Spanish matador taking heat for bullfighting with five month-old baby. (Full disclosure: I once took my kids to Target on a Black Friday.)

+ And the day's scariest headline: Why a National League Designated Hitter Is Inevitable.