February 25th – The Day’s Most Fascinating News

Why So Angry?

We’ve been told over and over that the ascent of Donald Trump and the enthusiasm for Bernie Sanders are both connected to one key American emotion: Anger. Depending on where you’re reading this, you might be wondering what Americans are so angry about at a moment when unemployment is down, the stock market is up, and times seem generally good. But that’s only one America, where everyone has a decent education, there’s a line of people waiting to overpay for your house, and the biggest concern is that some Internet unicorns could prove to be slightly over-valued. There’s another America (that could be just a couple miles away) made up of people living in counties that have been completely bypassed by post-recession employment and income boom. From the NYT: Poorest Areas Have Missed Out on Boons of Recovery.


The Fix is Out

“In January, Ruthie’s dad Ethan asked her whether she wished that her parents had corrected the gene responsible for her blindness before she was born. Ruthie didn’t hesitate before answering — no. Would she ever consider editing the genes of her own future children to help them to see? Again, Ruthie didn’t blink — no.” Nature’s Erika Check Hayden asks a question that is sure to be fiercely debated in the coming years: Should you edit your children’s genes? (I’d be surprised if my kids even let me edit their newsletters.)


Closing Sesame

Apple isn’t just fighting the FBI’s efforts to get access current versions of your iPhone’s software. They’re also working to make sure that any backdoors, if allowed, won’t work on future models. The excellent John Gruber explains.

+ Apple just hired the lead developer of Ed Snowden’s favorite messaging app.

+ Good explainer piece from Wired’s Brian Barrett: The Apple-FBI Fight Isn’t About Privacy vs. Security. Don’t Be Misled.

+ FastCo: Journalist gets hacked while writing Apple-FBI story.

+ Kevin Roose in a Fusion video piece: “I decided to stage an experiment that, in hindsight, sounds like a terrible idea: I invited two of the world’s most elite hackers to spend two weeks hacking me as deeply and thoroughly as they could.”


Robe Trotting

“Members of the worldwide, male-only society wear dark green robes emblazoned with a large cross and the motto ‘Deum Diligite Animalia Diligentes,’ which means ‘Honoring God by honoring His creatures.'” From WaPo: Justice Scalia spent his last hours with members of this secretive society of elite hunters. (Let’s not get all conspiratorial. As Greg Knauss suggested, “Maybe Scalia would just show up anywhere people were wearing ceremonial robes…”)


Doing Bonding Time

“I don’t have much. But with what I have, I will do my best to support him. I cannot accept him as my son and then abandon him.” The LA Times with a story that is simultaneously devastating and hopeful: An unlikely bond forms between O.C. jail escapee and his hostage.


Stones and Stones

“It turns out we let our electoral process devolve into something so fake and dysfunctional that any half-bright con man with the stones to try it could walk right through the front door and tear it to shreds on the first go. And Trump is no half-bright con man, either. He’s way better than average.” Rolling Stone’s Matt Taibbi explains how America made Donald Trump unstoppable.

+ There’s a notion in the media that Trump supporters are in on the joke and aren’t really responding to the bigotry and hate. That’s probably wishful thinking. From WaPo: In Iowa, fans chant ‘Trump! Trump!’ at a racially diverse high school basketball team.

+ Vicente Fox, not paying for the wall.

+ “Ask for the $27 Bernie Special and get spanked for 15 minutes straight. Safe words are: I feel the Bern!” Apparently, dominatrices are offering promotion to Wall Street workers and donating proceeds to Sanders. (Life has basically turned into an episode of Billions.)


Stalled Legislation

Social policy battles somehow always make their way to the schools. From The Atlantic: “Last year, states across the country considered 17 bills that would’ve regulated transgender people’s use of sex-segregated spaces such as bathrooms. None of them passed. But the reality is looking a lot different this year.” The power struggle over transgender students. (I avoided all school restrooms until seventh grade, and I still have PTSD from the day I broke my streak.)



Amazon just agreed to pay Woody Allen $15 million for his next movie. The deal is worth more than three times his usual take. Welcome to the content accumulation wars where Internet prices are being paid for Hollywood’s wares.

+ The Conversation: How Netflix and ‘original’ series TV are rescripting the business of television

+ Slate: Netflix’s new comedy, created by Girls writer Lesley Arfin and produced by Judd Apatow, is extraordinarily bingeable. That doesn’t mean it’s good.


Habit Trail

“Habits — good or bad — were once a matter of ethical seriousness. Are they now just another technology of self-absorption?” Aeon takes an interesting look at how the ancient art of self-help has changed over the years. (Today, every bad habit is just swapped for an addiction to an app that “cures” that habit.)


Bottom of the News

“Viral pressure and old-fashioned teenage one-upsmanship have created a promposal arms race. Every teen knows that in America’s high schools, it is no longer good enough to simply ask your crush to prom with flowers or chocolate. You have to go over the top.” (I think I would have done better in this scenario. I wasn’t made for the era when you were required to walk up and talk to someone.) From Fusion: An ode to teen promposal videos, the best things on the Internet.

+ What Does It Take to Be a ‘Best-Selling Author’? $3 and 5 Minutes.

+ Smithsonian Magazine’s 2015 Photo Contest.

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