Monday, August 15th, 2016


The Sausage Party’s Over

I don't want to be an alarmist, but there's a chance we're running out of swear words. Over the years, our language has become more coarse, and dropping F bombs and other profanities has been fully integrated into our daily exchanges. As use of the words becomes more acceptable, they lose their power. Then what? As MacClean's Brian Bethune explains: "If English should lose its surprisingly small profane vocabulary set through overusage, we would be forced to invent new obscenities. That would be no easy task, given the polished perfection of what biology, time and chance has already bequeathed us." (Are we ready for a world in which shit doesn't happen?)


Face the Face

"The team is called the super-recognizers, and each member has taken a battery of tests, administered by scientists, to establish this uncanny credential. Glancing at a pixelated face in a low-resolution screen grab, super-recognizers can identify a crook with whom they had a chance encounter years earlier, or whom they recognize from a mug shot." The New Yorker's Patrick Radden Keefe on the detectives who never forget a face. (I'd like to bring these guys with me to social events.)


Blind Faith

"Are disaffected people who understand Shariah more prone to radicalization? Or are those with little knowledge of Islam more susceptible to the group's radical ideas that promote violence? The documents suggest the latter." Exactly how much do terror groups like ISIS actually draw from Islam? Well, here's a clue. They tend to recruit those people who really don't know much about the religion. From AP: Islam for Dummies.


Trouble Brewing in Milwaukee

Milwaukee suffered through a couple violent nights during the weekend following protests over a fatal shooting by a police officer. "Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett said Sunday he had seen a still photo from the footage which he said 'demonstrates, without question, that [Smith] had a gun in his hand.'"

+ The Atlantic: The aftermath of the Milwaukee protests.

+ NPR in 2015: Here's a breakdown of how -- and why -- being black in Brew City carries a heavy burden.


Five Ring Circus

Usain. Yes, yes. Biles. Of course. Ledecky. Sure. There are plenty of historic performances that will mark the Rio games. But perhaps the single most amazing moment is Wayde van Niekerk's 400 meter win in 43.03 seconds. That number is crazy enough, even without considering that he is coached by his 74-year-old, white-haired Namibian great-grandmother.

+ The NYT with a really cool series of graphics that pit Usain Bolt against the fastest men in the world since 1896 – on the same track.

+ Bolt not only won his third straight 100m gold. He also gave new meaning to the phrase, photo finish.

+ The Internet has been picking on Gabby Douglas. As if we didn't already think the Internet was a complete jerk.

+ FiveThirtyEight: Hosting The Olympics Is A Terrible Investment. Everything about the IOC and the hosting of the Olympics is terrible. If you're watching the Olympics, you need to watch the epic look the IOC from Real Sports on HBO.

+ So one diver won a silver medal. And then a fellow diver proposed to her. In other words, he interrupted her medal ceremony to share the spotlight. This will evolve into the biggest fight in marriage history.


These Are Not Droids You’re Looking For

"According to this new analysis, those who view Trump favorably have not been disproportionately affected by foreign trade or immigration, compared with people with unfavorable views of the Republican presidential nominee. The results suggest that his supporters, on average, do not have lower incomes than other Americans, nor are they more likely to be unemployed." WaPo on a massive new study that debunks a widespread theory for Donald Trump's success. (We know race and ethnicity are at the center of so many issues in American society. And yet we like to pretend they're not at the core of Trump's support.)

+ "Just like in the Cold War, we must define the ideological terms of our struggle and prevent the admission of those who oppose our values." Trump outlines his plans to fight ISIS.

+ Yuval Rabin on the assassination of his father: "Politicians were quick to condemn the assassin as a lone wolf. They conveniently ignored their role in creating a poisoned environment that led someone to believe that taking a life was a justifiable political act."


A Tax of Nature

"Not long after it became clear that the robust winds that blow down from the Rocky Mountains and across the sea of sagebrush here could produce plenty of profit in a world that wants more renewable energy, some of the more expansive minds in the Wyoming Legislature began entertaining a lofty question: Who owns all of that wind?" The answer they came up with: Wyoming does. Introducing the wind tax.


Enemy of the State

"Saboteurs behind our lines are unleashing a series of brilliant and overwhelming attacks. In the past few months alone, our foes have used a firestorm to force the total evacuation of a city of 90,000 in Canada, drought to ravage crops to the point where southern Africans are literally eating their seed corn, and floods to threaten the priceless repository of art in the Louvre. The enemy is even deploying biological weapons to spread psychological terror." TNR's Bill McKibben argues that we're under attack from climate change -- and our only hope is to mobilize like we did in WWII.


Get a Grip

"The average 20-to-34-year-old today, for instance, was able to apply 98 pounds of force when gripping something with his right hand. In 1985, the average man could squeeze with 117 pounds of force." It turns out that today's men are not nearly as strong as their dads were. (My son is half-Samoan. So I'm guessing he'll buck that trend.)


Bottom of the News

A bunch of a students at University of Texas are planning to protests the school's open carry laws by bringing dildos onto campus. Either way, seriously, don't shoot...

+ Getting bored by some of the Olympic events? Maybe they should bring back a few of these crazy sports.