Monday, September 12th, 2016


Sugar Smacks

Back in the sixties, a couple of Harvard studies downplayed some of the health risks associated with sugar, as researchers "tore apart studies that implicated sugar and concluded that there was only one dietary modification -- changing fat and cholesterol intake -- that could prevent coronary heart disease." It only took about five decades for us to find out that those researchers were funded by the sugar industry. (Full disclosure: This blurb was sponsored by bacon...)

+ Vox: How the sugar industry distorted science.

+ I'm pretty sure this is related: Introducing Organic Gatorade.


North Face

"They've greatly increased the tempo of their testing -- in a way, showing off their capabilities, showing us images of ground tests they could have kept hidden. This isn't something that can be ignored anymore. It's going to be a high priority for the next president." According to the NYT, North Korea will have the skills to make a nuclear warhead by 2020

+ After its latest nuclear test, there's been a push to prevent North Korea from sending workers abroad where they earn money, much of which is sent back to the regime.


Cease and Insist

Syrian President Bashar Assad's assertion that he would "reclaim every area from the terrorists" seemed like an odd way to ring in the latest ceasefire. But the plan is to try to get the various sides to hold fire for a week, after which Russia and the US would begin a new airstrike campaign against terrorist groups.


Head Scratchers

"Gun to my head, I would probably vote Trump because of my feelings about Hillary, and my -- I just want to see what happens. But if I were to talk to you tomorrow, I'd be like, "Ugh! I've gotta vote for Hillary!" Yes, while it's hard to believe, America's most sought after voters even exist in this especially divisive election season. GQ takes you inside the mind of the undecided voter. (Come on in. There's plenty of room.)

+ And as you may have heard a few thousand times, Hillary Clinton has pneumonia and will take it easy for a few days after a fainting scare in NYC on Sunday. (I don't know how she lasted this long. This campaign made most of us sick a long time ago.)

+ WaPo: The secret history of presidential disease, sickness and deception. Maybe this helps explain why some people are sure that Hillary is using a body double?


From Humble Beginnings

"Ikea is one of the world's largest consumers of lumber. It sells a set of its Billy bookcases every 10 seconds, and it's said that one in 10 Europeans is conceived in an Ikea bed." The NYT Style Magazine on the remarkable influence of a single brand. Ikea Forever.


Looking Back at 9/11

"He is, fifteen seconds past 9:41 a.m. EST, the moment the picture is taken, in the clutches of pure physics, accelerating at a rate of thirty-two feet per second squared. He will soon be traveling at upwards of 150 miles per hour, and he is upside down. In the picture, he is frozen; in his life outside the frame, he drops and keeps dropping until he disappears." Esquire's Tom Junod looks back at 9/11 with an examination of one of its most enduring images: The Falling Man.

+ "You had an unreal sense of time that whole day. I don't know whether it was 10 seconds or two minutes. Then he said, 'You have my authorization.' Then he listens for a while longer. He closes off the conversation. He turns to us and says that he's just authorized the shoot-down of hijacked airliners." The strange, harrowing journey of Air Force One, as told by the people who were on board.


Class Dismissed

"It's extremely disturbing. It's completely incompatible with federal law. It looks as if they're actually punishing districts that meet the needs of kids." The Houston Chronicle on how Texas created an arbitrary cap on the number of special needs students it will serve.

+ "No matter what the technology might be doing to the brain, it's become increasingly clear to me as a teacher that learning is impaired." A teacher at B.U. wonders about the limitations of teaching in a wired classroom: And their eyes glazed over.


Are You Ready for Some Anthem?

Tonight when the 49ers host the Rams on Monday Night Football, all the focus will be on what happens before the game. And that's only partly because both teams look pretty bad. The National Anthem is the new must-watch attraction in pro sports. From The Atlantic: The New Normal of Colin Kaepernick's Protest. I'm gonna go contrarian on this one for a second and argue that the whole controversy actually helps the NFL because the players are protesting about something other than the league's disregard for their health.


These Stories are Insane!

Greta Friedman has died at the age of 92. You probably don't recognize the name. But you will definitely recognize her photo.

+ And Eddie Antar has died at the age of 68. You might not recognize that name either. Unless you put the word "crazy" in front of it.


Bottom of the News

"Observational learning is the cornerstone for our ability to change behavior. It's human nature to want to learn from other people's mistakes rather than commit your own." Scientists have identified Schadenfreude brain cells. (How great would it be if they made a mistake and the whole study turned out to be wrong?) As anyone who uses social media knows, every human brain cell is a Schadenfreude brain cell.

+ Call me old school, but I just don't want to see another actor playing the role of the world's most interesting man. Five bucks says they bring back the original within a year.

+ California's voter guide is 224 pages long and will cost $15 million to produce.