July 10th – The Day’s Most Fascinating News

Climate's worst case scenario, Donald is back on town (and he brought his tweets), and Goats are taking your jobs.

In recent years, the rising temperatures associated with climate change have boiled America down to two types of climate science observers. Those who believe it, and those who, inexplicably, don’t. Well, we might need to add a third category. Those who believe the science and are worried about the future — but who are not nearly worried enough. In NY Mag, David Wallace-Wells explains why cities engulfed by rising seas might be just a warm-up. “No matter how well-informed you are, you are surely not alarmed enough. Over the past decades, our culture has gone apocalyptic with zombie movies and Mad Max dystopias, perhaps the collective result of displaced climate anxiety, and yet when it comes to contemplating real-world warming dangers, we suffer from an incredible failure of imagination.” The Uninhabitable Earth: Famine, economic collapse, a sun that cooks us: What climate change could wreak — sooner than you think. (In fairness, we still can’t be entirely sure to what extent humans are implicated in the rising tempera… blub, blub, blub…)

+ It’s worth noting that some climate scientists think the NY Mag forecast is entirely too extreme and bends all evidence to its worst case scenario. Either way, at least we know the G-19 is on it.

+ According to a recent study, just 100 companies are responsible for 71% of global emissions.

+ “Utilities argue that rules allowing private solar customers to sell excess power back to the grid at the retail price — a practice known as net metering — can be unfair to homeowners who do not want or cannot afford their own solar installations.” The NYT on how utility lobbyists have used some pretty laughable arguments to effectively convince states to roll back incentives associated with installing solar panels.

+ China just built a solar power array that looks like a panda.


I Can See For Aisles and Aisles

“Much has been written about what happens when the corporate giant opens up in an area, with numerous studies recording how it sucks the energy out of a locality, overpowering the competition through sheer scale and forcing the closure of mom-and-pop stores for up to 20 miles around. A more pressing, and much less-well-understood, question is what are the consequences when Walmart screeches into reverse: when it ups and quits, leaving behind a trail of lost jobs and broken promises.” The Guardian’s Ed Pilkington takes you to in McDowell County, West Virginia to find out what happened when Walmart left.

+ Households with Amazon Prime are nearing the number with cable TV.


Losing Ground

“The loss of the city would mark a major defeat for the Islamic State group, which has suffered a series of major setbacks over the past year.” Iraq’s Prime Minister Iraqi PM declares ‘big victory’ over ISIS in Mosul. The retaking of Mosul cost many lives, both among Iraqi troops and civilians. And as these images make clear, Mosul is in ruins.

+ Mosul has been liberated. The “Syrian militia has penetrated the Old City section of Raqqa.” In terms of holding territory, ISIS is now near defeat. The New Yorker’s Robin Wright on what comes next for ISIS.


You’ve Got to Be Putin Us On

“Partnering with Putin on a ‘Cyber Security Unit’ is akin to partnering with Assad on a ‘Chemical Weapons Unit.'” That was Marco Rubio’s entry into what quickly erupted into a doing this would be like doing that comparison competition; a chain reaction that took place in response to President Trump’s post G20 tweet that might have been his most unthinkable idea yet: “Putin & I discussed forming an impenetrable Cyber Security unit so that election hacking, & many other negative things, will be guarded.” Thankfully, after hearing the near-uniform opposition to the idea, Trump backtracked.

+ Upon his return from Europe, the president and his team were greeted by this NYT story: “President Trump’s eldest son, Donald Trump Jr., was promised damaging information about Hillary Clinton before agreeing to meet with a Kremlin-connected Russian lawyer during the 2016 campaign, according to three advisers to the White House briefed on the meeting and two others with knowledge of it.” (Kellyanne, your summer vacation just ended…)

+ David Remnick: “It is wrong to get ahead of the reporting. But the question of collusion is hardly the closed matter that Trump has proposed.”

+ “I’m tired of hearing about the Russia thing. Let it go and move on. The media is the one that’s propagating it. They just won’t let it die.” From Vox: I asked Trump voters in Michigan about the Russia investigation. They said it’s fake news.


Code Blue

Rolling Stone’s David Kushner looks at the case of a programmer that shut down a hospital website and wonders, “what are the bounds of protest in the digital age?” It’s a riveting and though-provoking article, as depicted by this opening paragraph: “One afternoon in a modest, hilltop home in West Hartford, Connecticut, Linda Pelletier, a sandy-blond mother of four, opened a greeting card from her 15-year-old daughter, Justina. To her surprise, a small, intricately folded piece of paper slipped out from inside. It was an origami fortune teller. Pelletier poked her thumbs and forefingers under the flaps, spread them apart, then unfolded the flap that faced her. A chill shot through her as she read the message, written as tiny as her daughter’s handwriting would allow: ‘I’m being tortured.'” The Hacker Who Cared Too Much.


Do Not Pass Bro

These days, it’s not easy to stand out as a particularly odious troll. But Martin ‘Pharma Bro’ Shkreli has managed to do that. And some observers think he may pull off an even more challenging feat: getting away with lying to his investors. “At the heart of his team’s legal argument is this question: Is his alleged wrongdoing worth a criminal conviction if his investors did not lose money?”


Bullet the Blue Sky

“Witnesses thought it may have been a seizure and immediately called for an ambulance, but at the hospital, it was learned Noah was struck from a falling bullet that was shot into the sky by someone in the nearby community.” Noah Inman, a little league all-star player, died from his wounds after being hit by a bullet that fell from the sky outside Chicago.


Derby Daze

As the MLB All Star festivities get underway, the league is faced with a bit of an issue. This year, the Home Run Derby is, well, a little redundant. The entire season has been a home run derby. Is it juiced balls? Is it bad pitching? Is it the return of ‘roids? The leading theory is that hitters are just trying to hit the ball higher. Seriously. (Props to my San Francisco Giants for being contrarians and bucking this season’s trend.)


What Goes Up

Anyone who watches NFL games with their kids has likely noticed that every other commercial is for pharmaceuticals that help men rise to the occasion in the bedroom. As one of those parents, it comes as somewhat of a relief to me that those pill-makers will no longer be buying ad time during games. But it’s likely causing a lot of distress at the NFL and the networks. Ad Age goes full pun with Deflategate 2.0. (Once, when the TV displayed two people holding hands across two outdoor tubs, I asked my son if he ever wondered what these commercials were advertising. He just said, No and left it at that. Great kid…)


Bottom of the News

You’re justifiably worried that computers and AI are going to take your job. But for today, let’s focus on a more immediate threat: “The 400-member American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees has filed a grievance contending that the work the goats are doing in a wooded lot is taking away jobs from laid-off union workers.”

+ Let’s ride on the back of a bald eagle, shall we?

+ Want to report on the Speaker of the House? Better cover your shoulders.

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