April 14th – The Day’s Most Fascinating News

The future is here. And you're still looking for parking.

Sometimes I worry that I will miss the future while I’m looking for a parking space. It might seem surprising that, as we enter the age of self-driving car, remote workers, and virtual reality, that we’re still focused on finding a place to park. But parking is still a dominant feature that drives where and how we live. Just take a look at this description of Apple’s soon-to-open futuristic campus: “The main building resembles a flying saucer with a hole in the middle. Through its large, gently curving windows, workers will eventually look out on a wood containing some 7,000 carefully chosen trees. It is as though a race of high-tech beings has landed on a pristine planet. And then, unfortunately, there’s the car park. For 14,000 workers, Apple is building almost 11,000 parking spaces … in all, the new headquarters will contain 318,000 square metres of offices and laboratories. The car parks will occupy 325,000 square metres.” From The Economist, an interesting look at how parking shapes our cities: Parkageddon – How not to create traffic jams, pollution and urban sprawl.



“The United States and South Korea and North Korea are engaging in tit for tat, with swords drawn and bows bent, and there have been storm clouds gathering. We urge all sides to no longer engage in mutual provocation and threats, whether through words or deeds, and don’t push the situation to the point where it can’t be turned around and gets out of hand.” That was China’s foreign minister, Wang Yi, warning that tensions on the Korean Peninsula could spin out of control.

+ “Threats and bluster are part of a familiar and long-running game of brinksmanship between Washington and Pyongyang, but this time, it has been made more dangerous by two volatile new players.” From the LA Times, North Korea: A potential train wreck in motion

+ The Afghan defense ministry says 36 militants were killed after the “mother of all bombs” was targeted at a tunnel complex used by ISIS. “I have grown up in the war, and I have heard different kinds of explosions through 30 years: suicide attacks, earthquakes different kinds of blasts. I have never heard anything like this.”

+ “What I do is authorize my military.” The bomb is big. But, as The New Yorker’s Robin Wright explains, so is the way its use was authorized.


Weekend Whats

What to Newsletter: I’m a big fan of both the content and voice featured in the Quartz Daily Brief. The team at Quartz provides a quick, clear look at the most important and interesting news from the global economy each morning. It’s one of my daily tools. I’ll think you dig it too. Sign up here.

+ What to TV: I should spend my weekends avoiding news, especially politics. But (lucky for you) I’m a sick addict. And each Sunday, I look forward to watching Halperin, Heilemann, and McKinnon wrap up the week with a unique look at what the hell just happened in DC. On Showtime: The Circus: Inside The Biggest Story On Earth.

+ What to Bid Farewell: The final episode of Girls will air this weekend. As WaPo’s Hank Stuever writes: Girls goes out as the one thing it always wanted to be: A good TV show. Sidenote: Aside from showers, I almost never disrobe (I wear jeans to the beach). Meanwhile, Lena Dunham’s character on Girls has spent much of the past six seasons sans clothes. At this point, I seriously think I’m more familiar with the various parts of her body than my own.


Who’s Really Well Endowed?

Fox News host Tucker Carlson recently described the NEA as an agency that provides “welfare for rich, liberal elites. That’s who consumes the products that they produce.” While that statement is largely political, it’s probably a view shared by most people on both sides of the aisle. It’s also not accurate. From WaPo: Where do your NEA dollars really go? What we learned on an Indiana road trip.


Secret Societies

“None of the teachers’ actions were reported to the police. In some cases, teachers were allowed to resign after being confronted with evidence of misconduct, and administrators wrote letters of recommendations for teachers who were fired.” From the NYT: Sexual Abuse at Choate Went On for Decades.

+ This is just one of the latest disturbing reports of institutionalized sexual abuse that has come out since the Boston Globe’s Spotlight report: Private schools, painful secrets. Like these, most of the stories are from past decades. But it’s hard to believe similar scandals are not taking place within private and closed systems.


Crabs in a Bucket

You may not give much thought to the regular bleeding of up to 500,000 Horseshoe Crabs a year. In fact, you may never have even heard of a Horseshoe Crab (or perhaps, mistaken it for a menu item). But as Popular Mechanics reports: “Every man, woman, and child and domestic animal on this planet that uses medical services is connected to the Horseshoe Crab … Components of this crab blood have a unique and invaluable talent for finding infection, and that has driven up an insatiable demand.”


Crack and the Armor

“Post-truth was a hallmark of his administration. He peddled in falsehoods (for example, a repeatedly disproved claim that he’d saved the city a billion Canadian dollars) and flat-out lies (he claimed not to have smoked crack, even though the video had been seen by numerous journalists, police, and others who described it in detail), and reiterated them loudly and unashamedly. Efforts to debunk his lies were dismissed by Ford as nothing more than the jealous desperation of the liberal elites.” David Sax with an interesting look at what Toronto knows about Trump after living through Rob Ford.

+ NPR tracks a week of dramatic policy changes in the Oval Office. What do Trump’s shifting positions say about what he believes?


While I Have You Here

“There is no escape: as the CEO of Gas Station TV puts it, ‘We like to say you’re tied to that screen with an 8-foot rubber hose for about five minutes.’ It is an invention that singlehandedly may have created a new case for the electric car.” Wired’sTim Wu on The Crisis of Attention Theft — Ads That Steal Your Time for Nothing in Return. (I manage to foil these attempts by never looking away from my phone…)


Clap Off

“Outdoor lights are strictly forbidden; blackout shades are required in every window of every house; and nighttime driving is discouraged. Most residents don’t want to be bothered with driving at night anyway: they’re too busy scanning the skies.” The Guardian takes you to a community where people share a common passion, and where there is really only one important rule. “Turn off your goddamned lights.” (I’ve been trying to get my kids to turn off their lights for years, and I can attest to the fact that it takes a village…)


Bottom of the News

“When you think of New York housing, you probably either picture the typical real-life version — a hovel that can barely fit the rats that infest it — or the popular TV version: a sprawling, sun-drenched paradise.” From I Love Lucy to Girls, WaPo does a deep analysis to answer the question: How realistic are New York apartments on TV shows? (Probably no more unrealistic than the way all of us depict our homes and lives on social media…)

+ It can’t be easy being named Isis Harambe.

+ West Virginia’s governor brought a plate of actual bullshit to the state capitol. (This must be what happens when one runs out of metaphors…)

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