Thursday, June 30th, 2016


The Canuck Stops Here

The massive number of worldwide refugees has triggered a spike in nationalism, protectionism, and racism. But thousands of Canadians are meeting the crisis with another wildly unexpected ism: altruism. "Much of the world is reacting to the refugee crisis -- 21 million displaced from their countries, nearly five million of them Syrian -- with hesitation or hostility ... however, the Canadian government can barely keep up with the demand to welcome them." From the NYT Mag: Refugees Encounter a Foreign Word: Welcome. These folks definitely deserve an eh for effort.


Gene Hack, Man

"I find it surprising that groups that are very supportive of science when it comes to global climate change, or even, for the most part, in the appreciation of the value of vaccination in preventing human disease, yet can be so dismissive of the general views of scientists when it comes to something as important as the world's agricultural future." From WaPo: 107 Nobel laureates sign letter blasting Greenpeace over GMOs. (Without a bit of genetic modification, Greenpeace would actually be closer to Chartreusepeace.)

+ "Greenpeace calls GMOs 'genetic pollution.' But if GMOs are to be completely out of the picture, it might mean there are no vegetables enriched with cancer-fighting chemicals, drought-resistant corn, allergen-free peanuts, and bananas that deliver vaccines." NatGeo on what a world without GMOs would look like.



"We don't want barriers unrelated to a person's qualification to serve preventing us from recruiting or retaining the soldier, sailor, airman or marine who can best accomplish the mission. We have to have access to 100% of America's population." And with that, the U.S. military ended its transgender ban.

+ "I knew I was needed after 9/11. I know I'm needed now." The LA Times on a proud member of the military as a man, and maybe once again as a woman.

+ According to the latest figures, about 1.4 million American adults identify as transgender.


Tracking Terror

The latest on the investigation into the Turkish airport bombing from the BBC: "The three men who carried out Tuesday's deadly attack on Istanbul's Ataturk airport were all from parts of the former USSR."

+ From Reuters: U.S.-led strikes pound Islamic State in Iraq, kill 250 fighters.

+ "This data could affect a person's ability to be lent money by a bank, their employment opportunities, and even influence the people who do business with them -- simply based on a designation." ZDNet: Inside the global terror watchlist that secretly shadows millions.


Divided We Brawl

The Atlantic's Ron Brownstein explains how culture is replacing class as the key political divide. "Democrats now rely on an urbanized coalition of Millennials, minorities, and socially liberal college-educated and single whites (especially women). Republicans thrive among older, non-college educated and religiously devout whites, especially outside of major cities." Cities vs suburbs. Just as the Internet appears to make geography a non-factor, it is becoming a bigger factor than ever.

+ FiveThirtyEight has launched its always-updating chart predicting the winner of the general election. As of today, they're giving Hillary an 80% shot to win.

+ 13% of Americans say they would rather vote for a giant meteor hitting the earth than Trump or Clinton.


You Sound Pitchy, Dog

"A growing body of evidence suggests that an array of mental and physical conditions can make you slur your words, elongate sounds, or speak in a more nasal tone. They may even make your voice creak or jitter so briefly that it's not detectable to the human ear." Several companies and lot of researchers are looking to develop ways to diagnose various ailments by listening to the sound of your voice. (Hopefully they perfect this before my next prostate exam.)


The Grim Pleader

"One had a poster from the movie Tombstone on his office wall with Justice is coming emblazoned on it; another used a miniature model of an electric chair as a paperweight; a third, dubbed the Queen of death, said she was "passionate" about judicially killing people and described the emotion of watching an execution as a 'non-event.'" The Guardian on America's deadliest prosecutors: five lawyers, 440 death sentences.

+ "In 2013, the Gretna police department made 6,566 adult arrests, or a little more than one arrest for every three of Gretna's roughly 18,000 residents." Fusion's Mark Gimein pays a visit to the arrest capital of the United States.


What’s Up Glock?

We've seen several reports that ISIS and other modern forces use drugs to get their fighters in the right mindset. But the use of drugs for this purpose is anything but new. In Aeon, Peter Frankopan looks back at the history of war, on drugs.

+ The New Yorker: From trumpets at the walls of Jericho to pop songs as torture in the Iraq War, sound can make a powerful weapon. (Now I don't feel so bad about surrendering to my kids' latest playlist.)


Justin Case

You were on your way to drop off Adele for a playdate with Drake and Elsa, when it occurred to you that pop culture might play a part in the names we choose. The Hollywood Reporter on the rise and fall of 100 Hollywood-inspired baby names. (I prefer to stick with tech-inspired names; my cats are Pixel and Emoji.)

+ Rhett Allain explains why, at some point, everyone might be named Rhett.


Bottom of the News

The NYT's latest trend piece is here to inform you that "most women prefer to go bare, citing hygiene (and baffling doctors)." The piece includes a lede that is the verbal equivalent of a cold shower: "For years, gynecologists have had a bird's-eye view on a phenomenon that is now so popular as to be almost commonplace: female genitalia, bereft of hair."

+ At the age of 48, Tony Hawk tries to land another 900. (And I was pretty psyched when I could read a restaurant receipt without my iPhone flashlight...)

+ Add this to the list of places I'd most like to avoid: The World's Largest Mosquito Factory.

+ Coor's Water? Colgate Kitchen Entrees? Consumerist with 17 commercial failures from brands with spectacularly bad ideas.