Thursday, August 25th, 2016


This Medicine Won’t Go Down

I'll be off on important business tomorrow (Family, Vegas). Have a good weekend.

Let them avoid cake. That seems to be the message to kids from the American Heart Association's latest recommendations for sugar intake. The organization suggests "kids should consume no more than six teaspoons (roughly 100 calories) of added sugar a day, which is less than one-third of the sugar children consume now. For some perspective, six teaspoons roughly amounts to a serving of flavored yogurt or a handful of caramel popcorn." I'd like to be able to sugarcoat that news for my kids. But then they'd have to skip the yogurt.

+ Berkeley's soda tax seems to be cutting the consumption of sugary drinks.


No Place is Safe

As students return to class, University of Chicago Dean of Students John Ellison makes it clear that there will be no safe spaces on his campus: "Our commitment to academic freedom means that we do not support so-called 'trigger warnings,' we do not cancel invited speakers because their topics might prove controversial, and we do not condone the creation of intellectual 'safe spaces' where individuals can retreat from ideas and perspectives at odds with their own." (Luckily, we still have cable news for that.)

+ Stanford bans (some) hard alcohol on campus.


Wall Flowers

According to the latest numbers from Pew, the rabid negativity spewed in the direction of immigrants (legal and especially illegal) is not necessarily reflective of the views held by the general population. "Large majorities of those surveyed said they believe that undocumented immigrants fill jobs U.S. citizens don't want, are as honest and hardworking as U.S. citizens and are no more likely than U.S. citizens to commit serious crimes." And fewer people are in favor of a border wall between the US and Mexico today than when Trump made it a centerpiece of his campaign.


Anaphylactic Sticker Shock

After facing a ton of criticism in the news and on social media, Mylan is cutting the cost of EpiPens. But not by that much.

+ A pharma company heavily marketing and then hiking the price of a top-selling medicine is hardly a man bites dog story. So why are we hearing so much about this example? The NYT's Tara Parker-Pope explains how parents harnessed the power of social media to challenge EpiPen prices. (If these parents can use technology this well, the ones I interact with can definitely stop hitting reply-all on school related emails!)

+ We've seen how scandals and social media pressure can drive a sponsor to drop a celebrity from its roster. It turns out the reverse can happen too. Sarah Jessica Parker just dumped Mylan.

+ Nature: A non-profit organization is proving that new drugs don't have to cost a fortune. Can its model work more broadly?


Burkini Meeny Miny Moe

"Prime Minister Manuel Valls told BFM television that burkinis represent 'the enslavement of women,' but said enforcement of the bans must be handled respectfully." The much-discussed Burkini bans in France are now facing legal challenges. The Burkini is troubling. The ban is troubling.

+ "The government's defense of the burkini ban rests on worries about religious tension and public order after recent terrorist attacks, coupled with two underlying principles. The first is laïcité, a strict form of secularism enshrined by law in 1905 after a struggle against authoritarian Catholicism ...The other principle is women's equality." The Economist explains why the French keep trying to ban Islamic body wear.

+ "The political and cultural debates over Muslim immigrants long predated the global struggle against Islamic terrorism and the 9/11 attacks. Concerns over wearing of the hijab in school were a political issue in France as far back as the 1980s." Bloomberg: The Serious Purpose Behind France's Silly Burkini Ban.

+ Quartz: The woman behind the burkini says 40% of sales are to non-Muslims.


Tweetage Wasteland

"They'll get the notification that you liked it, and if your name is missing from their list of likes, they'll know you tried to undo the damage. When you have tools with which to stalk everyone all the time, the most seemingly aloof person wins." Wired's Mary H.K. Choi got some teens to answer her questions about the way they use the Internet. Like. Flirt. Ghost: A Journey Into The Social Media Lives Of Teens. (The other day, I overheard my two young kids comparing the number of likes they got on their videos. I was gonna give them a speech about what really matters in life, but then I decided to just tweet about it instead.)


At Least I’m Enjoying the Ride

In The New Yorker, Alan Burdick reflects on the newest names on our growing list of potentially habitably planets. "Sit with that for a moment. In the coming decades, we will discover exoplanets by the tens of thousands and will come to know them, from afar, in intimate detail. Yet the nearest one is an eighty-thousand-year drive away." (That's roughly as long as it took me to get to my SF office this morning.)


Chicken Coup

"So, imagine my surprise when a list of 11 herbs and spices was plucked from a Sanders family scrapbook and placed into my hands. Crazy, right?" A Chicago Tribune writer was shown a piece of paper with the one of the most secretive recipes of all time. Is this really the Kentucky Fried Chicken recipe?

+ First We Feast: How Chicken Conquered the American Dinner Plate. (I hate to be a stickler, but I'm pretty sure it was the other way around.)


The Brit Empire

"When the aliens come, don't be surprised if they don't care about us taking them to our leaders when they could meet Britney Jean Spears instead." From Vox: Britney Spears has been a pop icon for 20 years. To understand her, you need to understand her hair.

+ Vice: The Resurrection of Britney Spears.


Bottom of the News

"HigherDOSE uses heaters that emit infrared light waves that create heat in the body rather than heating the air. The idea is that one can stay in them much longer, and sweat all the more." If I'm reading this NYT trend piece correctly, the young and hip have decided it makes sense to basically microwave themselves.

+ Ryan Lochte is going to be on Dancing with the Stars. Please don't let him Samba. The Brazilians have suffered enough.

+ I'll be off on Friday, but if you need some extra content and missed yesterday's installment, I put it up on Medium. The Internet was particularly generous yesterday. (Unlike most days when I'm forced to write my way around its shortcomings...)