Monday, August 1st, 2016


The Fight of Your Life

The medical community has come up with a weapon to fight cancer, and in some cases, it's working extremely well. The weapon: You. "Immunotherapy's aim is to prompt the immune system, which is often stymied by cancer, to attack tumors with the zeal and sophistication that it attacks other diseases. The concept, at least in a primitive form, stretches back more than a century, but only in recent years have therapies been developed that show its true promise -- and, for now, its limitations." The NYT's excellent Matt Richtel examines the remarkable possibilities and the remaining challenges of Immunotherapy by telling the story of his friend's battle with Hodgkin's lymphoma.

+ Also from the NYT: Harnessing the immune system to fight cancer.


Khan vs Con

Here's John McCain on the exchange of words between Donald Trump and Khizr Khan (the Muslim father of a soldier killed in Iraq): "In recent days, Donald Trump disparaged a fallen soldier's parents. He has suggested that the likes of their son should not be allowed in the United States -- to say nothing of entering its service. I cannot emphasize enough how deeply I disagree with Mr. Trump's statement. I hope Americans understand that the remarks do not represent the views of our Republican Party, its officers, or candidates. While our party has bestowed upon him the nomination, it is not accompanied by unfettered license to defame those who are the best among us." Paul Ryan issued a similar statement. Neither of them has pulled his endorsement.

+ A related thought from me: No.

+ The US constitution became Amazon's bestseller following Khan's speech.

+ In entertainment circles, The Voice is a top reality show. In politics, The Voice refers to Hillary Clinton. Are the complaints about her public speaking style just another case of gender bias? Or does she really have bad mic technique? And would you like her more if she sounded different? A lot of politicians (and plenty of the rest of humanity) need to understand that you don't need to yell into a microphone. That's the whole purpose of the device.

+ Election coverage is America's most popular show as the two sides battle it out to decide which candidate speaks for America. But how much of America actually cast votes to get us to this point? According to the NYT, about nine percent.


Have Bombs, Will Travel

WaPo on America's airstrikes on Libya and the new front in the war on ISIS: "While U.S. and allied war planes have been conducting strikes for two years in Iraq and Syria, its actions against the group's Libya affiliate, which officials have described as its most powerful branch, have been limited to a small number of targeted airstrikes since last year."


Oh No You Didi

"The biggest existential threat to Uber over the last two months was that in China they were losing capital in a way that potentially threatened the rest of their worldwide operations." Uber has sold its China operations to its rival Didi Chuxing. Didi is now valued at $35 billion and Uber at $68 billion. Those are some hefty valuations being determined by the private market. Hitchhiking used to be free. Now it's a part of global economy worth a few hundred billion dollars. Progress!


Five Ring Circus

Let's begin our Olympics coverage by covering the most important story of our era. From The New Republic: To understand global inequality, you have to understand Brazil's inequality.

+ Courtesy of this interactive video series from Google, step inside the unexpected world of Rio's favelas.

+ ESPN: "Increasingly, medal standings are being altered based on the contents of refrigerators in Lausanne, Switzerland." Bonnie Ford explains why the finish line is sometimes only the start of the modern Olympic odyssey, where performance-enhancing drug cases can keep medals in flux for years.

+ 100 athletes to watch in Rio. And a photographic look at competitors getting ready for the games.

+ Athletes who trained for a lifetime and are braving the bad conditions and the threat of Zeka have arrived in Rio only to be greeted by this alarming setback: There's no way to play Pokemon Go.


A Pillar of Desalination

"We are standing above the new Sorek desalination plant, the largest reverse-osmosis desal facility in the world, and we are staring at Israel's salvation. Just a few years ago, in the depths of its worst drought in at least 900 years, Israel was running out of water. Now it has a surplus." From Scientific American: Israel proves the desalination era is here. So we finally have a potential solution to oceans rising due to climate change. We just have to drink faster.


Their Money or Your Life?

"A few years ago, that glass of water might have come from your local government. Today, it could be courtesy of a private equity firm. It may taste the same, but there's a good chance your bill has gone up." From the NYT: This Is Your Life, Brought to You by Private Equity.


The Sun Also Sets

"In Japan, there's not even a term for 'work-life balance.' What there is, though, is a word for 'death by overwork.' It's 'karoshi,;' and it's considered such an inevitable result of Japan's notoriously grueling work culture that it's hardly even discussed." From WaPo: Do Japanese really work themselves to death? In some cases, yes.

+ From PRI: "Is it possible to market malaise? In Japan at least, the answer is yes. Meet Gudetama, the anthropomorphic embodiment of severe depression." (This is essentially what I'm going for with all of my user avatars.)


You Make Me So Lonely, Baby

"The idea neatly summed up something percolating at that moment in America: an inchoate sense of alienation and ennui, particularly among the young, that was about to coalesce and then explode with the rock & roll revolution" Rolling Stone's Randy Boswell on the man who inspired one of rock's most influential hits: Solving the Mystery of Heartbreak Hotel.


Bottom of the News

Over the weekend, Luke Aikins jumped out of a plane at 25,000 feet. Without a parachute. On purpose. And he survived. This is pretty amazing, although I'm not quite sure natural selection is working as intended.

+ Join nearly 9,000 other people and take a look at the surreal life aboard the world's biggest cruise ship.

+ Oh, I love the off-gassing of more than 200 potentially harmful chemicals. I mean, oh, I love that new car smell.