Tuesday, July 26th, 2016


Don’t Enhance Me, Bro

In general, Americans are quite confident when it comes to the possibility that technology will dramatically improve medicine. "Roughly two-thirds (66%) of Americans say scientists will probably or definitely cure most forms of cancer within 50 years." And we're bullish on the effectiveness of brain chip implants and synthetic blood when it comes to increasing our concentration, intellectual prowess, and physical performance. But as individuals, we don't want these advances coming anywhere near us. "Most Americans say they would not want to improve their cognitive or physical abilities with brain chips or synthetic blood." It's easy to say that now. But look at every sport where enhancements have been used. Once one person does it, the rest of the pack tends to follow along. In the meantime, this quart of coffee will have to do the trick.


Michellin Star

The key takeaway from night one of the DNC: Maybe everyone should plagiarize Michelle Obama. She gave a remarkably tight and effective speech that seemed to bring together a decidedly divided crowd. "That is the story of this country, the story that has brought me to this stage tonight, the story of generations of people who felt the lash of bondage, the shame of servitude, the sting of segregation, but who kept on striving and hoping and doing what needed to be done so that today, I wake up every morning in a house that was built by slaves -- and I watch my daughters -- two beautiful, intelligent, black young women -- playing with their dogs on the White House lawn." Here's the speech.

+ While the day ended well for the Dems, things got of to an unusually divisive start. Here's a look at the good and bad stuff from day one, and the day's winners and losers.

+ "If you didn't see this coming, you haven't really been spending a lot of time online this election season." From Wired: This Insane DNC Is the Convention the Internet Made.

+ I'm old enough to remember when conventions were boring. A few reflections on 2004 in Boston, the week when bloggers ruled the world (and history was altered).

+ Buzzfeed: The first day of the DNC as told by Bill Clinton's facial expressions

+ "A former president who wants to be first man extolling the virtues of a former first lady who wants to be president. Only the Clintons." Social media sites might want to add a few servers for Bill Clinton's address tonight.


Olympic Mettle

"The soldiers were coming. So Biel and his mother, two sisters and younger brother rushed out of their home, five more drops in the human flood rushing into the scrubby forest outside the town of Nasir, in the northeast of what would soon become South Sudan." In Sports Illustrated, S.L. Price reports on the Olympic refugee team. The Longest Run.

+ NY Mag: Is watching gymnastics worse than being an NFL fan?

+ Bloomberg: From boxing gloves to compression pants, here's how America's best suit up for competition. (They actually dress pretty much the same as the middle aged men on weekend bike rides in my neighborhood.)


Cornered But Dangerous

"They forced [him] to his knees. He wanted to defend himself, and that's when the tragedy happened. They recorded themselves. They did a sort of sermon around the altar, in Arabic. It's a horror." In France, a priest was forced to kneel as he was murdered by two people who pledge allegiance to ISIS.

+ The NYT on how ISIS' losses on the battlefield are impacting their terror strategy: "The Islamic State's latest suicide attack in Baghdad, which killed nearly 330 people, foreshadows a long and bloody insurgency, according to American diplomats and commanders, as the group reverts to its guerrilla roots because its territory is shrinking in Iraq and Syria."


Copy Stats

"As a string of gun rampages continues in America and beyond, more evidence is emerging that copycat mass shooters are on the rise—a danger amplified and accelerated by social media" MoJo on the chilling rise of copycat mass shooters. I was thinking about this after the Munich mall shooting. These days, lunatics who want attention can get it from across the globe almost instantly.


Short People

We're shrinking. That seems to be the finding of a new study on human height: From the NYT: "Average adult heights in many countries appear to have peaked 30 to 40 years ago and have declined slightly since then, according to a new study that the authors say is based on the largest set of such data ever gathered."

+ Need someone to look up to? Try Dutch men and Latvian women.


The More You Know

"As the futurist Ray Kurzweil put it, it's not that violence is getting so much more common in the U.S., but rather that the information about it is more accurate." The Atlantics' Derek Thompson tries to explain why news junkies are so glum about politics, economics, and everything else.


A Tough Chill Pill to Swallow

"If you think it's hot here, try 124 °F in India. Globally, 2016 is poised to be another record-breaking year for average temperatures. This means more air conditioning. Much more." From Quartz: The global environmental impact of air conditioning is big and will get even bigger.

+ The terrible beauty of Californian wildfires, as seen by photographer David McNew.


It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World

"There's no emotion we ought to think harder and more clearly about than anger. Anger greets most of us every day -- in our personal relationships, in the workplace, on the highway, on airline trips -- and, often, in our political lives as well. Anger is both poisonous and popular." In Aeon, Martha C Nussbaum explains why anger is also a pretty stupid way to run one's life.


Bottom of the News

"His attorney argued that his client was caught speeding, trying to redeem the bottles, and that the police couldn't prove where he was going with the bottles, or what he intended to do with them. Maybe he was going to recycle them, or throw them into a lake out of spite." Consumerist on the guy (perhaps inspired by an episode of Seinfeld) who tried to return bottles and cans to Michigan for a bigger pay day (and who now might face jail time).

+ "The six-year-old has a garbage truck bedspread and pillow. He has garbage truck toys. He's had a garbage truck birthday party." AP on the Northern California boy who will be a garbage man for a day.

+ NatGeo: Christmas in July -- Inside a Santa Summer Camp. (They must get some pretty good care packages.)

+ McSweeney's: Why i'm supporting the demonic creature that emerged from the depths of hell in this year's presidential election.