Tuesday, May 17th, 2016


It’s Not the Same

A lot of people like to think of our current financial issues (especially the wildly massive wealth gap) as just another part the economic cycle. But it's really not the same. In a Time cover story, Rana Foroohar does a great job of explaining the dramatic shifts we've seen, especially in the relationship between Wall Street and Main Street. My dad has the smartest economic mind of anyone I know (and he's seen 92 years of so-called economic cycles come and go) and he told me to lead with this article because it's one of the first pieces he's seen that gets it exactly right: "America's economic illness has a name: financialization. It's an academic term for the trend by which Wall Street and its methods have come to reign supreme in America, permeating not just the financial industry but also much of American business. It includes everything from the growth in size and scope of finance and financial activity in the economy; to the rise of debt-fueled speculation over productive lending; to the ascendancy of shareholder value as the sole model for corporate governance; to the proliferation of risky, selfish thinking in both the private and public sectors; to the increasing political power of financiers and the CEOs they enrich; to the way in which a 'markets know best' ideology remains the status quo. Financialization is a big, unfriendly word with broad, disconcerting implications."


I’m Younger Than That Now

"People understand 'my relative died of a heart attack, so I'm going to give money to that.' It's harder to grasp 'my relative was older, that predisposes them to have a heart attack, so I should give money to research on aging.'" Researchers who are targeting the aging process instead of specific diseases want more support for their efforts. They've been able to work wonders on mice. And now they are trying to reverse aging in dogs. The NYT's always excellent Amy Harmon: Dogs Test Drug Aimed at Humans' Biggest Killer: Age


The Fog Slog

"An IED detonated and a female suicide bomber blew herself up in a crowded market in the eastern neighborhood of Al-Shaab. More than two dozen people died in that attack." And that was just one of the several bombings in Iraq on Tuesday where at least 68 people were killed.

+ The phrase fog of war just doesn't do justice to the complexities faced by special forces and their commanders in Afghanistan. In the NYT Magazine, Matthieu Aikins looks back at the destruction of a Doctors Without Borders hospital: "There is evidence -- both buried in the report and from interviews conducted on the front lines in Kunduz -- that suggests that Afghan troops may have deliberately provided the hospital as a target."


See Spot Code

Code. Code. Code. That's the mantra of parents who want to ensure that their kids are ready for the future (and keep busy long enough to let us watch Game of Thrones). But what if the whole way we program computers is changing? "Whether you like this state of affairs or hate it -- whether you're a member of the coding elite or someone who barely feels competent to futz with the settings on your phone -- don't get used to it. Our machines are starting to speak a different language now, one that even the best coders can't fully understand." From Wired's Jason Ganz: Soon We Won't Program Computers. We'll Train Them Like Dogs. (I can't get any of my computers to listen to me. I need an Alexa Whisperer.)


Portland Trail Appraisers

"It used to be unique, people say, a utopia where people could get tattoos and ride their bikes everywhere and just be weird. Portland was so affordable, as the slogan went, that young people went there to retire." But after several years of incoming moving vans, Portland is facing the early stages of a San Francisco-like housing crisis. And while the city's reputation is progressive, its attitudes about affordable housing are downright artisanal. From The Atlantic: Can Portland Avoid Repeating San Francisco's Mistakes?

+ A guy just transcribed 30 years of for-rent ads. Here's what it taught us about housing prices.


Pot Holes

According to a recent survey, 44% of Canadians who have driven under the influence of Marijuana don't think it impacts their ability to operate a vehicle. (The ones who kept circling the drive-thru window to order more and more poutine admitted there might be some impact.)


The Attention Spanchurian Candidate

"If all human beings are, by their very nature, social actors, then Donald Trump seems to be more so -- superhuman, in this one primal sense." In The Atlantic Dan P. McAdams tries to get into the mind of Donald Trump. Politics aside, Trump is a remarkable story. In an era of distraction, we can't seem to take our eyes or attention off of him.

+ Vox: What I learned analyzing 7 months of Donald Trump's tweets.


Midnight Special

We know it matters what you eat. But does it matter when you eat? A recent study out of King's College in London found no link between eating dinner after 8pm and obesity in children.


Put it on My Tab

A congressional candidate (ironically named Mike Webb) in Virginia posted a screenshot of some phone records in a search results page to make a point on Facebook. Unfortunately, that screenshot included a couple of browser tabs that showed his previous searches for adult material. Webb insisted that the tabs were open merely for research purposes. (In that case, he's got a better shot at a PhD than a congressional gig.)


Bottom of the News

Forget about online trolling and digital domination. On Canal Street in NYC, a Post-it Note war has erupted.

+ "You might think the solution would be tearing down the culture of shame that exists around menstruation. But, no: it's a Bluetooth wearable device that tracks the saturation of your tampon and lets you know, via a mobile app, when to change it." Welcome to the world of the connected vagina.

+ Popular Mechanics asks if we're ready for a Computer in Chief as president? (Can I answer in November?)