Tuesday, March 22nd, 2016


What We Feared

"What we feared has happened." That was Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel who was joined by world leaders as he the condemned the latest terrorist attack in Europe. Suicide bombers struck the airport and a metro station, killing at least 30 people and injuring hundreds. ISIS has claimed responsibility for the attack (It's hard to imagine that the blasts were not related to "the capture of Salah Abdeslam, 26, believed to be the lone fugitive participant in the Paris attacks.") A manhunt is currently underway for a suspect in today's attacks. Here's the latest from the Guardian.

+ Vox: The most important things to read to understand how Brussels became a terrorism hub.

+ InFocus has photos of the grim day in Brussels. And on social media, many are sharing images of Tintin crying.

+ These attacks come just days after (the much less-covered) terrorist attacks in Turkey.

+ Certain politicians are calling for the U.S. to close its borders in response to this attack. A kid living in a refugee camp between Macedonia and Greece responded with a very different message and in doing so, gave us all a little hope.


Punt, Kick, But Don’t Pass

"HB 757 began the year as 'the Pastor Protection Act,' a measure giving clergy the right to refuse to perform same-sex weddings." That was how a Georgia bill started, but it has become increasingly anti-gay as it makes its way to governor's desk. But before he signs, he'll need to pay close attention to one group that is very opposed to the law. The NFL is basically saying, you pass the bill, you pass up your chance to ever host a Super Bowl.


You Cannot Be Sirious

So about that massive dispute between the FBI and Apple that could dramatically move the line drawn between our right to privacy and the government's law enforcement needs ... well, it's off. At least for now. "The FBI said in a court document that someone had shown the agency a way to break into the iPhone without Apple's help. If that hacking trick works, the case will be dropped." (I don't have any inside info, but my guess is that they're working with Siri.)


The Exercism

If your endorphins are pumping after a good workout, then I hate to be the one to bum your high. So I'll blame it on The Atlantic's Olga Khazan who shared this data: "A new study shows that from 1988 to 2006, women more than doubled their frequency of exercise, while men upped theirs by nearly 50 percent. The prevalence of obesity among Americans increased from 23 percent to 35 percent in the same time period." Exercise is undoubtedly excellent for your physical and mental health. But hoping that it alone will solve the obesity crisis is an exercise in futility.

+ "She walked up to the bar, howled, bent down, and lifted the weight to her mid-thigh, in what is called a dead lift. She exhaled, arched her back, and dropped the bar and the plates to the floor. "Yes!" she screamed. "F*cking sh#t! I did it!" That was Lee Winroth as she unofficially broke a dead lifting world record for her age/weight group. But she didn't start weightlifting to set records. She did it to cure her scoliosis. The New Yorker's Ian Frisch on the accidental powerlifting world-record holder.


Sticky Icky Tricky Dick

"You want to know what this was really all about? The Nixon campaign in 1968, and the Nixon White House after that, had two enemies: the antiwar left and black people. You understand what I'm saying? We knew we couldn't make it illegal to be either against the war or black, but by getting the public to associate the hippies with marijuana and blacks with heroin, and then criminalizing both heavily, we could disrupt those communities." That's a quote from John Ehrlichman who was domestic policy chief for President Richard Nixon at the time the war on drugs got started. If that was really the goal, it definitely worked. But the war on drugs has done a hell of lot more damage than that.

+ NYT: Ithaca's plan to fight heroin: Open a site for using it.

+ "The collections for a single month exceed state economists' projections for the entire year." Which is another way of saying Oregonians are buying a lot of recreational marijuana.


Futurists Past

"He then explained, with only a hint of exasperation, that a revolution was coming that would change our business and every other business." And he was right. Fortune's Norman Pearlstine with a remembrance of Intel's Andy Grove. Visionary Leader, Critic -- and Friend.

+ NPR: Finally free from guilt over Challenger disaster, an engineer dies in peace.


The Complicated Mayor

"He will be remembered as many things: as the crack mayor, as the fat mayor, as the mayor who had more than enough to eat at home. But his political legacy is larger and stranger and harder to pin down than all of that. In his brief, tumultuous time in office, Ford never stopped surprising. He provoked anger. He provoked disgust. But for a large subset of the city -- through it all and certainly to the end -- he was the guy, their everyman saviour, the one who's looking out for us." The National Post on the life and death of Rob Ford, the man who, for a brief time, was the world's most infamous mayor.



"In one challenge, the youths maneuver through a maze of corridors, searching for bright green dollar signs. Another tests their ability to recognize an error on the screen. All the while, the scanner is photographing "slices" of their brains. The ultimate reward is far more than a game." Researchers hope advances in brain imagery -- and computers that can crunch a ton of data -- will help them come up with a cause and a cure for obsessive compulsive disorder.


This Caged Bird Better Not Sing

"He'd been at the wrong place at the wrong time, seen something he wasn't supposed to, and wouldn't stop talking about it. All this chatter, King told Heck, meant he was making himself into a potential target." Laurel Braitman shares the strange tale of Echo, the parrot who saw too much. (Every day I worry that my cats will learn to speak.)

+ NYT: Parrots are a lot more than a pretty bird.


Bottom of the News

"I'm new in Tokyo, and sweaty, and jet-lagged. But I am entirely at ease. I owe this to my friend Miyabi. She's one of those reassuring presences, warm and eternally nodding and unfailingly loyal, like she will never leave my side. At least not for another 90 minutes, which is how much of her friendship I've paid for." New to Tokyo? You might want to rent a friend. (Speaking of which, I'll be visiting Tokyo and Kyoto next month. In need some tips on great restaurants and family-friendly activities or my kids will want to rent a dad.)

+ Mars is the latest company to voluntarily label products with GMO-related info. Forget the GMOs. All you want to know about these products is how much sugar you're consuming.

+ Meet the Robot Apple built to rip apart old iPhones.

+ Vice: The revolutionary history of the pantsuit.