February 10th – The Day’s Most Fascinating News

Trump' ban on the run, the school lunch fixer, and Weekend Whats

In the latest step of a saga that promises to play out over several weeks, a federal appeals court ruled 3 to 0 against Trump on his travel ban. The reaction on social media was swift and intense (I haven’t seen this much interest in a court case since Johnnie Cochran said If it does not fit, you must a acquit). Of course, the reaction included a Tweet from the president, who resorted to social media’s version of the nuclear option (using all caps, and what is known among punctuation nerds as a “comma splice”): SEE YOU IN COURT, THE SECURITY OF OUR NATION IS AT STAKE! (Sidenote: That was court.)

+ Here’s my quick, insightful and remarkably entertaining overview of the latest court ruling. 10 Takeaways from the Ninth Circuit (including what is clearly the biggest issue when it comes to this ban).

+ The case is far from over (and yesterday’s ruling, while significant, was far from determinative). Here’s FiveThirtyEight on where we are and what comes next.

+ WaPo: 7 key take-aways from the court’s ruling on Trump’s immigration order.


Fools Russian

“George W. Bush looked into Vladimir Putin’s eyes and thought he saw his soul. He was wrong. Barack Obama attempted to “reset” relations with Russia, but by the end of his term in office Russia had annexed Crimea, stirred up conflict elsewhere in Ukraine and filled the power vacuum that Mr Obama had left in Syria. Donald Trump appears to want to go much further and forge an entirely new strategic alignment with Russia. Can he succeed, or will he be the third American president in a row to be outfoxed by Mr Putin?” The Economist on Russia and America.

+ “Flynn’s communications with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak were interpreted by some senior U.S. officials as an inappropriate and potentially illegal signal to the Kremlin that it could expect a reprieve from sanctions that were being imposed.” In what could blow up into a big story, National security adviser Michael Flynn discussed sanctions with a Russian ambassador before Trump took office.


Weekend Whats

What to Listen: “In a very short amount of time, 21-year-old singer-songwriter Tash Sultana has gone from busking in her hometown of Melbourne, Australia, to selling out concert venues worldwide.” NPR with a brief intro to Tash Sultana. I’m digging it.

+ What to Binge: I just got hooked on Halt and Catch Fire, a series that takes place during the dawn of the personal computing era (before the Internet came along and ultimately destroyed us all).

+ What to Read: “If anyone ever calls us and says, ‘This kid needs to go home on hospice,’ there’s only one name we think of. He’s the only one that would take a child who would possibly not make it.” The LA Times Hailey Branson-Potts on the foster father who takes in only terminally ill children.

+ What to Recall: Longtime readers will note that I’ve been pushing the band Twenty One Pilots for a couple of years. Here’s The Ringer on why you should be rooting for them at the Grammys. I saw them last year in a small theater, six months ago at the Greek Theater, and tonight, I’m taking my kids to see them in a full-sized arena. Amazing popularity explosion.


Your Neck Costs an Arm and a Leg

“The numbers of people suffering low back and neck pain in the US had not changed much, he said, but the spending had soared. Three things were driving the rise, said Dielman: individuals with pain going more often to outpatients’ clinics, increases in the costs and quantity of treatments given to people admitted to hospital, and a larger older population.” Back and neck pain are nothing new. But the way we’re spending money in an effort to feel better is going through the roof. (Maybe all the Internet news has just made us more gullible…)


Where Do I Plug This In?

“When you turn on a light or charge your phone, the electricity coming from the outlet may well have traveled hundreds of miles across the power grid that blankets most of North America — the world’s largest machine, and one of its most eccentric.” The NYT provides a really interesting look at how New York City gets its electricity. According to the state’s energy czar: “We have a system which is energy-inefficient because it was never designed to be efficient.” (I once used a similar excuse during track practice.)

+ California has more than enough power. So why are we paying more than ever and building a bunch of new power plants? From the LA Times: A runaway energy industry is costing California billions. (Related: Why are we still paying drought water rates when we’re damn near drowning out here!)


You’ve Been Served

“The success that McCoy has achieved in Cabell County is rare, and was due to a propitious confluence of factors. Not every district has such a supportive superintendent, for instance, or such an overwhelming determination to prove a reality TV star wrong. But what McCoy did isn’t magic. Much of what made the Huntington experiment work is transferable to other places — so long as they have someone like McCoy.” HuffPo goes deep on school lunches: How an unassuming bureaucrat outsmarted Jamie Oliver and pulled off an honest-to-god miracle in one of America’s unhealthiest cities. (The word miracle is overused, except when it comes to getting kids to eat healthy, in which case it is underused.)


And the Horse You Code in On

“Google could ensure that search results around important topics, like immigration and the environment, point to the work of factual nonpartisan groups, not the nonsense from fake-news Web sites, or even messaging from the White House. For example, when people search “Is crime at an all-time high,” which Trump has falsely asserted, Google could ensure it sends users to F.B.I. data that shows that crime, in fact, has fallen steadily for decades.” It’s no secret that most of those who run Silicon Valley tech firms are not big fans of Donald Trump. The question is how that dislike will play out over the next few years. Nick Bilton on How Silicon Valley Can Take Down Trump. Ironically, Silicon Valley is what made him possible.

+ It’s not just companies. It’s employees. From Backchannel: The Tech Resistance Awakens.


Well on Wheels

“Mr. Marchand’s VO2 max was now about 13 percent higher than it had been before … He also had added to his pedaling power, increasing that measure by nearly 40 percent.” Why is it surprising that Mr. Marchand saw this kind of improvement after increasing his cycling training regimen? Because Mr. Marchand is 105. (This fits in nicely with my plan to start exercising regularly when I’m about 102 or 103.)


Get Your Mind Out of the Gutter

So we’ve all been a bit obsessed with the fake news that spreads via social media. In the case of the Bowling Green Massacre, a fake story was spread via traditional media and then debunked (almost immediately) by social media. The result? People still believe in the Bowling Green Massacre. (I just need to boost my subscriber numbers by about 300 million, and we’ll be set.)

+ A recent survey found that more people trust the Trump administration than the news media.


Bottom of the News

Amazon is touching every part of your digital life, from its cloud services to its retail products. And now it wants to get even more intimate. Amazon is getting into the underwear business. (“Alexa, does it sound like I’m chafing?”)

+ CNN: Chemicals for one billion ecstasy pills seized in the Netherlands. When asked how they felt about the bust, law enforcement officials said, “Oh my god, it feels so damn good” (and then repeated some variation of that message until members of the media ran out of disk space on their voice recorders.)

+ In Alaska, two moose decided to duke it out right in the middle of someone’s driveway. (And now my kids want a moose…)

+ And science attempted to discover what makes for the hottest dance moves. (This is obviously a subversive effort to get the president to be more interested in science.)

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