Monday, March 27th, 2017


I’m Gonna Live Forever

"We just need to restore tissue suppleness, replace cells that have stopped dividing and remove those that have grown toxic, avert the consequences of DNA mutations, and mop up the gunky by-products of all of the above. If we can disarm these killers ... we should gain thirty years of healthy life, and during that period we'll make enough further advances that we'll begin growing biologically younger. We'll achieve longevity escape velocity." The New Yorker's Tad Friend gets the lowdown on a remarkably common topic of conversation (and research) among many in the tech community: Can billions of dollars' worth of high-tech research succeed in making death optional? This is Silicon Valley's Quest To Live Forever. Hey, we solved photo sharing and figured out a way to enable your weird acquaintance from junior high to comment on every picture of your kids that you post to Facebook. So we ought to be able to solve this.

+ "Few smoke, nearly all of the men are lean, and centenarians have high levels of the 'good cholesterol.' Studies show that whatever their stress level, they manage its well." From Newshour: Want to live past 100? These centenarians share their secrets.

+ According to the NYT, a positive outlook may be good for your health. (I wonder if it counts that I view the glass as half full ... with fake news.)

+ This seems like the perfect moment to listen back to Irene Cara's 1980 hit: I'm gonna live forever. (Let's see your fancy news algorithm do that...)


Don’t Writ Where You Eat

"If you look at a law, whether or not you agree with it or don't agree with it, there are going to be positive effects and negative effects. Virtually everything we know about (HB2) are the negative effects. Even anecdotally I don't know any positive effects." There are plenty of states that have morally questionable (to say the least) laws on the books. But few such laws have garnered the national attention of North Carolina's bathroom bill. The AP took a fairly conservative approach to adding up the bill's cost to the state (from canceled concerts to halted corporate expansions) and came up with a pretty big number. $3.76 billion.


Putin One Foot in Front of the Other

"Vladimir Putin won his first presidential election on March 26th 2000. Exactly 17 years later, tens of thousands of Russians across the country came out to protest the corruption that has come to define his tenure." The Economist on the anti-corruption demonstrations that swepts across Russia over the weekend. Here are some photos of the marches.

+ "The mayor's office warned people that protestors alone would bear the responsibility for any consequences of attending what they deemed an illegal demonstration. But despite those warnings and despite the fresh memory of some three dozen people being charged -- many of whom did prison time -- for a protest in May 2012 that turned violent, thousands came out in Moscow." Julia Ioffe: What Russia's Latest Protests Mean for Putin.


Red Kush

"All Americans, regardless of their political views, can recognize that government stagnation has hindered our ability to properly function, often creating widespread congestion and leading to cost overruns and delays. I promised the American people I would produce results, and apply my 'ahead of schedule, under budget' mentality to the government." So said President Trump as he announced an executive-led SWAT team to fix government with business ideas. The White House Office of American Innovation will be led by Jared Kushner. (He should have stuck with fixing the Middle East. It's less complicated...)

+ NYT with a reminder of the cloud that seems to shadow every White House announcement: Senate committee to question Jared Kushner over meetings with Russians.

+ The story of House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes going to the White House to share information with the president just got weirder. It turns out he was also at the White House the day before, where he got the information he'd share the next day.

+ Meanwhile, the White House is still reeling from last week's shocking health care bill defeat. Sean Spicer said his boss "left everything on the field." What he left on the field was his homework. Here's my take on the story: The Emperor Has No Scrubs.

+ A reminder that not everyone sees Trump's mamagement and communication styles in the same way. "He's ruffling every feather in Washington that he can ruffle. These guys are scrambling. So: yeah! I like it. I think it's a good thing. I want to see them jump around a little bit." The Toronto Star on the voters who like Trump's lies.


AI Yai Yai

"Here's the nagging thought you can't escape as you drive around from glass box to glass box in Silicon Valley: the Lords of the Cloud love to yammer about turning the world into a better place as they churn out new algorithms, apps, and inventions that, it is claimed, will make our lives easier, healthier, funnier, closer, cooler, longer, and kinder to the planet. And yet there's a creepy feeling underneath it all, a sense that we're the mice in their experiments, that they regard us humans as Betamaxes or eight-tracks, old technology that will soon be discarded so that they can get on to enjoying their sleek new world. Many people there have accepted this future: we'll live to be 150 years old, but we'll have machine overlords." Maureen Dowd in Vanity Fair: Elon Musk's Billion-Dollar Crusade To Stop The A.I. Apocalypse.


Jarring Your Memory

"One weekend every March, almost every resident in this town crowds the tan-and-gray bleachers of the local armory to watch their friends and neighbors beat each other bloody. The boxing-brawling event ... draws more than 2,000 spectators a night in a 3,000-person city nestled so deep in the mountains that your cellphone won't ring. The winners leave with a trophy, a jacket and a check for $1,000 -- the same take-home as a few weeks of soot-covered work in the local mines." WaPo's Wesley Lowery takes you to the Rough N Rowdy, where a forgotten town dukes it out once a year. "On weekends, and many weeknights, people gather around 30-packs of beer in their garages; there's no bar and the nearest watering hole is nearly an hour's drive."

+ "From coal to broadband to Trump's budget, The Daily Yonder reports on rural life for the people actually living it."


Aren’t You Glad You Use Dial

"Intentionally dialing wrong numbers is a labor-intensive way to find a girlfriend. But it is increasingly common in a range of countries — Morocco, Papua New Guinea, Bangladesh and India are examples — where traditional gender segregation has collided head-on with a wave of cheap new technology." From the NYT: India's Phone Romeos Look for Ms. Right via Wrong Numbers.


Formula For Success

"While new mothers may debate what they believe to be long-term benefits, a new study published in the journal Pediatrics finds that breastfeeding has little impact on long-term cognitive development and behavior." From CNN: Study shows no long-term cognitive benefit to breastfeeding. (My failure to reach my potential is evidence that there's not much cognitive benefit to formula either...)


Why Rock is Reelin’

After the many tributes following his recent death, you know that Chuck Berry was a very important figure in the history of rock. But do you know why? From the NYT, an interactive look (and listen) to music Before & After Chuck Berry.


Bottom of the News

Twitter is proof that there are people who are mad at just about everyone and everything. Here's The Outline on the people who spend their time yelling at the Mars Curiosity Rover.

+ "As anyone who lives in a city knows, public sidewalks these days are a free-for-all of pedestrians staggering along, zombie-like, staring intently at the screens of their phones. As well as infuriating other pedestrians, there's some evidence that this behavior increases our chances of being hit by a car. To avoid that fate for its smartphone-addicted residents, a Dutch town is trying out a pilot program to put traffic lights where everyone is already looking. On the pavement."

+ "I rise blissfully at 4:30 am, thanks to my Tibetan singing bowl alarm clock. After 20 minutes of alternate nostril breathing, I start my day with a three-minute cold shower. This I follow with twenty minutes of stream-of-consciousness journaling, then another twenty minutes of gratitude journaling." McSweeney's: My fully optimized life allows me ample time to optimize yours.