March 14th – The Day’s Most Fascinating News

Youth No Longer Wasted?

You’ve got to fight for your right to party. Those Beastie Boys lyrics represent a bygone era, as today’s young people are less likely to drink and more likely to fight for a top spot on their company’s FitBit leaderboard. The Guardian’s Zoe Williams thinks that limited financial prospects and health obsessions have ended the party. “Health has got to them all, like a cult: they are also less likely to smoke, and the evidence of our own five senses gives us young people in hordes jogging, climbing, journeying eternally from one institution of wellness to another, serious-faced in Lycra, taking responsibility, counting footsteps, living the dream.” If selfie sticks and social media are any indicator, maybe today’s teens don’t need recreational substances because they’re already high on themselves.

+ NY Mag: For 80 years, young Americans have been getting more anxious and depressed, and no one is quite sure why.

+ Why all the focus on the young? Well, for one thing, there are a lot of them. Somini Sengupta breaks it down in the NYT: The World Has a Problem: Too many young people (and not enough jobs).


Love in the Time of Cable News

“To the casual viewer, this was a coupling as sacrilegious as a match between the Montagues and the Capulets. It was as if the Crips and the Bloods joined forces to sell a line of multicolored bandanas.” How can politically opposed pundits fall in love when their followers can’t even stand the sight of each other? Because something went wrong. I try to explain what in my post, A Picture is Worth a Thousand Trolls (Or, How We Got Here).

+ “There is a chance — or at least a hope — that the violence witnessed at recent rallies for Donald Trump will subside. And that those most inclined to physical confrontation might step back from the brink.” NPR: The Intersection Of Outrage And Violence.

+ If this WaPo headline is any indication, maybe our kids are learning from political speech: Catholic school supporters say anti-Jewish chant at game followed anti-gay slurs.


Practicing Safe Slavery

“It is a particularly modern solution to a medieval injunction: According to an obscure ruling in Islamic law cited by the Islamic State, a man must ensure that the woman he enslaves is free of child before having intercourse with her.” From Rukmini Callimachi: To Maintain Supply of Sex Slaves, ISIS Pushes Birth Control. This is a brutal but important story. Sex, both its repression and its violent outbursts, is an absolutely fundamental aspect of the rise of terrorism.


Marine Layers

“After a flawed sexual assault investigation, a Naval Academy instructor fights to prove he has done nothing wrong. But did he?” John Woodrow Cox goes deep with an interactive piece: A Marine’s Convictions.


It’s Not About Search Anymore

“While the world is riveted by the showdown between Apple and the FBI, the real truth is that the surveillance capabilities being developed by surveillance capitalists are the envy of every state security agency. What are the secrets of this new capitalism, how do they produce such staggering wealth, and how can we protect ourselves from its invasive power?” Harvard Business School’s Shoshana Zuboff shares some of the secrets of surveillance capitalism. It’s about watching. And driving changes in your behavior.


Block Buster

They “were unhappy. Symptoms of depression and anxiety, including increased self-criticism and reduced excitement and pride at work, were elevated … symptoms of obsessive-compulsive disorder, such as repetition, self-doubt, procrastination, and perfectionism, also appeared, as did feelings of helplessness and ‘aversion to solitude.'” The New Yorker’s Maria Konnikova on the root causes of Writer’s Block, and how to overcome it.

+ Maybe you should just try the new writing app that deletes all your work if you stop typing.


Twilight Zone

Richard Simmons called the Today show to explain that “No one is holding me hostage.” Why did he feel it necessary to make such a statement, and why do many of those closest to him doubt its veracity? Read the unusual story in the NY Daily News: The Haunted Twilight Of Richard Simmons.


Strained Relations

“It was an Israeli, Rafael Mechoulam, who first isolated the active psychoactive chemical in cannabis back at the Weizmann Institute in 1964.” And today, Israeli researchers and entrepreneurs hope to turn the land of milk and honey into the tech hub for the world cannabis industry. At last, a trend that might actually lead to peace in the Middle East.


Your Replacement is Here

“There’s no question that artificial intelligence is poised to uproot and replace many existing jobs, from factory work to the upper echelons of white collar work.” Is that OK? The answer is complicated. From Gizmodo: Everything you know about artificial intelligence is wrong.

+ Wired: Why the final game between AlphaGo and Lee Sedol is such a big deal for humanity. (Because it is humanity’s last chance to chalk up a win?)


Bottom of the News

“Outside forces, ones that play on some of our worse instincts, are driving people to buy cars that make no sense for them, satisfy only desires implanted by dishonest social conditioning, and, in the end, make them less happy.” In other words, you should just let yourself buy a minivan.

+ Scientific American: The Long Search for the Value of Pi. I hear if Trump is president, he plans to change the value of Pi to 4. He likes to round up… It’s possible. After all, there was that time Indiana tried to change Pi to 3.2.

+ FiveThirtyEight: has released their interactive March Madness predictions.

+ How much would it cost to buy one of everything on Amazon?

Copied to Clipboard