Friday, September 1st, 2017


Nine to Forever

At lunch at the Sizzler (a few decades ago), my dad pointed to a guy talking on one of those old, giant cell phones, and warned me never to take employment that would require me to be connected to the office during lunch. Times have changed -- and you'd need to pause and enter what I call a Cell Phone Time Machine to recall just how much they've change. Tech has made us always-on and always connected, and the lines between our work and personal lives have disappeared. Working many hours (especially in the tech industry) is considered a badge of honor. As Dan Lyons explains in the NYT: "A century ago, factory workers were forming unions and going on strike to demand better conditions and a limit on hours. Today, Silicon Valley employees celebrate their own exploitation." In Silicon Valley, Working 9 to 5 Is for Losers.

+ "Maybe the good life is not about trying to achieve some sort of illusory balance. Instead, maybe it's about pursuing your interests fully, but with enough internal self-awareness to regularly evaluate what you're not pursuing as a result." In the NYT, Brad Stulberg suggests that maybe we all need a little less balance. (I'm not sure I could have any less balance. My favorite hobby is opening news tabs...)


Every Five Minutes

"The situation in Yemen is a disgrace that brings shame to our global community. More than 20 million Yemenis are in need of emergency assistance, and a child dies every five minutes. Yet few Americans know about the daily bloodshed, near-famine conditions and a raging cholera epidemic." Nicholas Kristof on The Photos the US and Saudi Arabia Don't Want You to See.

+ PRI: One-man NGO tries to save starving kids in Yemen.


Weekend Whats

What to Stream: The War on Drugs has been highly effective. Not the US government policy. The band. The acclaimed group is out with its much anticipated new album, and it sounds good. Listen to A Deeper Understanding on Spotify or your music service of choice. And here's the band playing a few of their tunes, recorded live at KEXP a couple days ago.

+ What to Watch: Halt and Catch Fire is a solid series about a group of folks living and working at the cutting edge of the early computer and internet eras. The fourth and final season is in progress on AMC. But you can warm up with the first three seasons on Netflix. The show gets better with each season.

+ What to Freeze: While you're listening to music and watching TV (or even going outside) this weekend, enhance the experience with my new favorite snack. Frozen Watermelon. I use an ice cream scooper and put the chunks into a freezer bag. Trust me.


Hey, Leave Them Kids Alone

It will be a long weekend for Dreamers and their families as the Trump administration says it will announce the president's decision on Tuesday. Meanwhile, many CEOs called on the president to preserve DACA: "More than 97 percent are in school or in the workforce, 5 percent started their own business, 65 percent have purchased a vehicle, and 16 percent have purchased their first home. At least 72 percent of the top 25 Fortune 500 companies count DACA recipients among their employees." Paul Ryan and other Republicans have also urged the president to preserve the program. But "ten conservative states have threatened to sue the administration in order to kill off the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program."

+ McClatchy reports that Trump will halt Obama's program but allow some Dreamers to stay temporarily.

+ Digg has a good roundup of the twists and turns in the DACA saga.


Flood is Thicker Than Water

As the water recedes, people across Texas are beginning to assess the damage of what could be one of America's most costly natural disasters. Around the country, many people are still wondering where they can donate funds. Here are a few articles to guide you: Where to Donate to Harvey Victims (and How to Avoid Scams), How you can put your money to good use, and want to give to Harvey victims? 5 things to consider first.

+ Bloomberg: Houston's sudden labor crisis tests the politics of immigration. (Reality has a way of spoiling political arguments.)

+ Here are some more amazing photos from the storm, and at the end of a long week, a resident returning home to his flooded house found that his piano still played, so he found (and shared) some beauty in all the suffering.


The Computer Will See You Now

"The computer-based algorithm was able to correctly predict if a person would develop Alzheimer's disease up to two years before he or she actually displayed symptoms. It was correct 84 percent of the time." From US News and World Report: Artificial Intelligence Could Predict Alzheimer's Years Before Doctors.


Draft King

"The letter, which was first reported by the New York Times, as well as internal White House communications before Comey's ouster, could now become key evidence for Mueller as he examines whether the Comey firing was part of an effort to obstruct the Russia investigation." WaPo: Mueller examining Trump's draft letter firing FBI Director Comey.

+ "This unit -- known as CI -- is one of the federal government's most tight-knit, specialized, and secretive investigative entities. Its 2,500 agents focus exclusively on financial crime, including tax evasion and money laundering." The Daily Beast: Mueller Enlists the IRS for His Trump-Russia Investigation. (And one expects that this very real audit will be a lot more thorough than the imaginary one Trump referred to during the campaign...)

+ John McCain goes Op-Ed on Trump: "Congress must govern with a president who has no experience of public office, is often poorly informed and can be impulsive in his speech and conduct."


The Louse Always Wins

The gambling industry knows that poor people and people who used to gamble a lot are ideal customers. And thanks to the data collected on everyone these days, they have a way of targeting those groups.


Middle School

If your cat falls from a low window, it will survive. If it falls from a really high distance, it will likely survive. But if it falls from an in-between distance (or what dog owners might call, just right), it might be curtains for kitty. To save you and your feline the trouble of running tests yourself, Wired explains the physics behind cat falls.

+ Outside: Stop faking service dogs.


Bottom of the News

Is America ready for its first meat-free fast-food chain? Well, it's coming to a neighborhood near you. Well, near me first. But then, near you.

+ Even the Pope went to therapy. (Maybe he had Mother Mary issues?)

+ Baby's got backhand: Serena Williams just gave birth to a baby girl. (Tickets for the 2033 US Open Mommy/Daughter final go on sale soon.)