April 13th – The Day’s Most Fascinating News

To increase your lifespan, hit the track.

Stop what you’re doing. Drop everything. And start running. That seems to be the conclusion one should draw after a “new study found that, compared to nonrunners, runners tended to live about three additional years, even if they run slowly or sporadically and smoke, drink or are overweight. No other form of exercise that researchers looked at showed comparable impacts on life span.” (So as you run, the finish line gets farther away.) From the NYT’s Gretchen Reynolds: An Hour of Running May Add 7 Hours to Your Life. (Before I actually start running, I’m gonna need to know which seven hours…)


Make NATO Great Again

NATO was obsolete, but it’s no longer obsolete. China is not a currency manipulator. The Federal hiring freeze is no longer needed. The export-import bank is no longer unnecessary. In the course of a few hours, President Trump flip-flopped on several of his core campaign positions and moved from nationalist ideals to a more globalist view. But the reversals that might surprise his base the most are economic. From the NYT: Trump Reversals Hint at Wall Street Wing’s Sway in White House. From WaPo: Trump backs off fiscal pledges and adopts centrist policies that he once fought. And from The Atlantic: President Trump Reverses on Candidate Trump’s Economic Views.

+ “He then went into the history of China and Korea. Not North Korea, Korea. And you know, you’re talking about thousands of years … and many wars. And Korea actually used to be a part of China. And after listening for 10 minutes I realized that not — it’s not so easy.” David Graham on The Education of Donald J. Trump.

+ Many of Trump’s policy changes can be connected back to the story that has enraptured DC insiders. The fall of Steve Bannon. A few weeks ago, Trump critics referred to Bannon as the real president. Now, many are wondering how long he’ll keep his White House gig. From WaPo: Inside Bannon’s struggle: From ‘shadow president’ to Trump’s marked man: “The mercurial president has a long history of turning quickly on subordinates, and the political hit late Tuesday in the New York Post was trademark Trump, using the friendly Manhattan tabloid to publicly debase his chief strategist. The president said Bannon was hardly the Svengali of his caricature, but rather ‘a good guy’ who ‘was not involved in my campaign until very late.'” (Of course, given the recent reversals, all the bad news about Bannon could mean he’s actually about to get a promotion.)


Throw Mamma From the Plane

“A GBU-43/B Massive Ordnance Air Blast Bomb (MOAB), nicknamed the ‘mother of all bombs,’ was dropped at 7:32 pm local time, according to four US military officials with direct knowledge of the mission. A MOAB is a 21,600-pound, GPS-guided munition.” Targeting ISIS tunnels, the US dropped its largest non-nuclear bomb in Afghanistan. (Maybe it takes a story on the mother of all bombs to remind Americans that we’re still fighting in Afghanistan.)

+ LA Times: U.S. military says misdirected airstrike in northern Syria killed 18 allied fighters.


The Fundamentals of Violence

“It is too often forgotten that suicide terrorism and organisations such as al-Qaida and Isis are new in the history of the Muslim world, and cannot be explained simply by the rise of fundamentalism. We must understand that terrorism does not arise from the radicalisation of Islam, but from the Islamisation of radicalism.” In The Guardian, Olivier Roy takes an interesting look at the intersection between fundamentalism and violence: Who are the new jihadis?


The Purge

“At least once a day, Adam’s captors attached metal clamps to his fingers and toes. One of the men then cranked a handle on a machine to which the clamps were linked with wires, and sent powerful electric shocks through his body. If he managed not to scream, others would join in, beating him with wooden sticks or metal rods.” From The Guardian: Chechens tell of prison beatings and electric shocks in anti-gay purge. And like many of the world’s current atrocities, this one has a connection back to Vladamir Putin.


Timing is Everything

We forget that the Russia election hacking story is a bipartisan issue. Buzzfeed’s Hayes Brown looks back at How Russia Hacked Obama’s Legacy. “When we rolled that out on Oct. 7, we thought this would get a huge amount of pickup and play and be a catalyzing moment for the country, when the United States government — the intelligence community and DHS — announced jointly that Russians were trying to hack our election … A colleague of mine at another department was on the phone with a reporter, who was asking him questions about the statement. My colleague then recalled hearing from the reporter, ‘Oh my god. I’ll have to call you back.'”

+ What news broke on the same day that Obama’s national security team released information about Russian hacking and caused that reporter to say, “Oh my god?” Hint: It was the day locker room talk became Oval Office talk. I recently wrote about this case of really bad news timing: The Day Pussy Won.


But Never at Dusk

“Using a sample of first- and second-year college students at the University of Nevada-Reno in the US and Britain’s Open University, a group of researchers analyzed students’ cognitive performance throughout the day and found that the best learning happened in classes that began later in the morning.” From Quartz: New research says starting university classes at 11am or later would improve learning.

+ Nautilus: Darwin Was a Slacker and You Should Be Too.


Just Wynn Baby

“Davis had accomplished the impossible: He had turned one of the most ruthless billionaires in America into a sympathetic figure around Vegas. ‘How could Mark Davis do this?’ Steve Wynn asked an associate.” ESPN’s Seth Wickersham and Don Van Natta Jr. track the somewhat amazing (and entirely Raider-ish) story of how Mark Davis (who makes Donald Trump look like he has a great head of hair) — with a little luck, his own brand of genius and an assist from Jerry Jones — outflanked power brokers to put the Raiders in Las Vegas.



“The plan will make Canada only the second country in the world to fully permit the retail sale of pot, after Uruguay. Other countries, like the Netherlands, have permitted selling marijuana in certain circumstances, while some regional governments, like Alaska, Colorado, and Washington, have also legalized.” Vice on Justin Trudeau’s plan to legalize weed by 2018. (I’ll share more thoughts on this topic once I’ve crossed the border and secured a giant bowl of Poutine.)


Bottom of the News

“The trick goes like this: It starts with a thick, milky O about a foot in diameter, expelled from the Vape God’s mouth. Then he blows a smaller, faster O no larger than an Entenmann’s doughnut through that, which unravels and envelops the original loop in a sheen of translucent smoke. But that’s not enough. This is a goddamn double lasso, so an even tinier smoke doughnut is threaded through the first two, which creates a resplendent Turducken of filthy-sweet dankness.” GQ: How the Internet Birthed a Young Vape God.

+ Vox: Leftovers fans already know the name Carrie Coon. Pretty soon everyone else will too. (She’s so awesome in The Leftovers which coming back for its final season. And she’s also in the upcoming season of Fargo…)

+ WaPo: What happens to political satire when the real world goes mad?

+ “How did an 8-year-old learn to drive?… YouTube videos.” An eight year-old boy drove his sister to McDonald’s for a cheeseburger. (My kids are about the same age, and if they promised not to fight during the drive, I’d hand them the keys right now…)

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