March 21st – The Day’s Most Fascinating News

Why are today's young people so stressed out? Obama goes to Cuba. Hulk Hogan wins big. And why smart people want to be left alone.

Hey, what’s with all the young people? That seems like a fair question about a generation that’s replaced rebellious party drugs with Xanax and Zoloft. Consider some of these stats from a recently published paper: “High school students in the 2010s were twice as likely to see a professional for mental health issues than those in the 1980s; more teens struggled to remember things in 2010-2012 compared to the earlier period; and 73% more reported trouble sleeping compared to their peers in the 1980s.” From Quartz: Why are our kids so miserable? Cheer up kids. You’re supposed to have fun and make your parents feel miserable. (All kidding aside, it could be the screens, folks. It really could be the screens.)

+ “Wish we could turn back time, to the good ol’ days, when our momma sang us to sleep but now we’re stressed out.” Those are the lyrics of a song called Stressed Out (by the great Twenty One Pilots) that has quickly become what The Atlantic calls an Anthem of Millennial Anxiety. (It’s pretty weird to hear my kids, 7 and 9, sing those lyrics.)


Hogan, Hero?

On Friday, a jury awarded Hulk Hogan $115 million in damages after Gawker published a video of Hogan having sex with a friend’s wife. (The video, which was taken with a hidden camera, represents the first time Hogan performed with a co-star who wasn’t faking it.) As Vox points out in this handy explainer on the case, “In addition to arguing that Hogan exempts himself from some privacy expectations by virtue of the fact that he’s a celebrity, Gawker makes the case that posting the video of him and Heather Clem ultimately served the public’s interest.” It is absurd to suggest that publishing a sex tape benefits some greater good. (At least unless the participants were a lot hotter.)

+ From the NYT: “In many ways, the Gawker that posted the video — an aggressive and unpredictable news and gossip site — has already passed into memory. So, too, has an era of the web in which Gawker thrived.” I don’t know if that’s true. But I do know it’s dangerous and reckless to use arguments about the first amendment and the public’s interest to justify posting this crap.


Havana Twist

“For more than half a century, the sight of an American president in Havana would have been unimaginable. But this is a new day. Un nuevo dia.” So said President Obama has became the first U.S. president to visit Cuba in nearly 90 years. Cuban President Raúl Castro called for a lifting of the embargo and insisted there are still “profound differences that will not disappear over our political model, democracy, human rights, social justice, international relations, peace and stability.”

+ Back home, Cuban Americans are split over Obama’s trip.

+ Jeffrey Goldberg’s very interesting piece on the Road to Havana: “Nelson Mandela’s funeral opened the way for Obama’s historic Cuba visit.”

+ And here are some photos and videos from the historic visit.



“For these voters, Trump’s presidency will be measured not against history, but against other forms of televised entertainment. And by that standard, there’s little doubt this will be the highest rated show on TV.” I just published a post on the Three Types of Trump Voters (and how worried you should be about each of them…). You might be sick of all the Trump coverage. But it’s a bad idea to ignore those who support him.

+ “Covering a Jeb event meant freely mingling with 40 people sitting calmly on folding chairs. Covering a Trump event is like watching a 1970s Black Flag concert from inside a shark cage.” Slate’s Seth Stevenson spends a week on the trail with the ‘disgusting reporters’ covering Donald Trump.


Spring Backwards

Tunisia was the scene of “the first sprout of the Arab Spring.” And, as is the case elsewhere in the region, the new freedoms led to results both positive and extremely violent. The New Yorker’s George Packer takes us to the scene of the Arab Spring’s beginnings to find out how a place that inspired revolutions across the Middle East became the leading exporter of jihadis?


Smarty Party of One

“The effect of population density on life satisfaction was therefore more than twice as large for low-IQ individuals than for high-IQ individuals.” Research suggests that population density and social interaction raises the level of happiness for almost everyone. Everyone except really intelligent people. WaPo on why smart people are better off with fewer friends. (My motto has always been, “Fewer friends, more subscribers.”)


Still Here

“I’m the luckiest unlucky person in the world. No one wants to be the last man standing.” The SF Chronicle’s Erin Allday on Last Men Standing. They had the remarkable luck to survive AIDS, and the brutal misfortune to live on.


Fear of Flying

“One of the reasons flying can be so terrible is that airlines are cramming passengers into ever smaller spaces to wring the most profit out of each flight. And given the airlines’ current research into unorthodox seating arrangements, the trend is likely to continue.” A few thoughts on why flying is awful.

+ An aerospace company called Boom thinks it can fly you places around the world more than twice as fast for the same price as a 777 business class ticket. Their engineers may be top notch. But I’m not too sure about their branding company. An airline company named Boom?


Gold, Silver, Bronze … and Green

“I used it when I competed at the X Games. It helps with the stress, with the anxiety. And then, afterwards, as a relaxing agent and pain reliever. When your body is all tensed up, if you’ve got a pinched nerve or something, chron helps with that. I wouldn’t think about not using when I ski, because I don’t really know anything else.” Tanner Hall and the Athlete’s Case for Cannabis.

+ If weed’s not your thing, you may want to improve your performance using these new brain-zapping headphones. (Take the weed…)


Bottom of the News

Ten years ago today, Jack tweeted his first tweet. About five seconds later, someone tweeted back some advice on how to fix the product. “More than any other tech company, Twitter was invented by its users.” The Verge helps Twitter celebrate its tenth birthday. And here’s a 10 year birthday QandA with the very same Jack.

+ Say ‘Hello’ to the Era of the One-Word Song Title.

+ Kraft was worried about changing their Mac and Cheese recipe and then undergoing a New Coke-like revolt. So they changed to a more healthy recipe and didn’t tell anyone about it, until after the first 50 million boxes or so. (Similarly, almost no one noticed when, about a month ago, I completely stopped using verbs.)

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