September 8th – The Day’s Most Fascinating News

How can your shirt be so cheap, the latest on Irma, and Weekend Whats...

Question: How can you pay $13 for a nice, new shirt without someone getting hurt? Answer: You can’t. The LA Times provides an in-depth look at the way (often remarkably) inexpensive clothes get made, who’s doing the work, and how sweatshop workers can get paid $4 an hour, right here in America, without your favorite cheap store being held accountable. “Sweatshop wages are the hidden cost of the bargains that make stores like Forever 21 impossible to resist for so many Americans.”

+ “The goal is to build a network of more productive, better-run factories — with happier, healthier employees and lower rates of costly absenteeism and turnover. ” From Fortune: Can Levi’s Make Life Better for Garment Workers? (And if they do, will you pay the price?)


The Wind Beneath My Things

Irma has already left her mark on several Caribbean islands, and she’s now headed towards Florida where she’ll follow a path that forecasters worry will represent the worst case scenario. Here are the latest Irma updates from The Guardian.

+ A scientist from the National Hurricane Center summarizes the statements of many experts: “This hurricane is as serious as any I have seen. No hype, just the hard facts. Take every lifesaving precaution you can … I have little doubt Irma will go down as one of the most infamous in Atlantic hurricane history.” (In related news: Jose just reached Category Four.)

+ With some weather events, the challenge is convincing people to evacuate. This time, it’s figuring out how to make room on the roads for every who wants out.

+ Scientific American: “High-resolution images from satellites and the dramatic ‘hurricane hunter’ flights into the category 5 storm get all the glory. But … it is the old-fashioned weather balloon — a stalwart of the meteorological world since the 1930s — that can provide some of the most detailed, reliable data.”

+ “‘She need the generator,’ said Santiago, whose first language isn’t English. ‘It’s OK. No worry for them.'” Ahead of the storm, a shopper gives a stranger a store’s last generator.

+ While everyone was focused on hurricanes, tsunami warnings were triggered by a massive quake hit off the coast of Mexico. There are reports of many deaths.


Weekend Whats

What to Hear: Nothing But Thieves is one of the best young bands out there (singer Conor Mason is amazing in studio and on stage), and I’ve been looking forward to their latest release all summer. It arrived today. Check out Broken Machine on Spotify or your music service of choice. And catch Nothing But Thieves on tour. I’m guessing it will be your last chance to see them playing small venues.

+ What to Book: “This is a book about 10 objects. You may not have seen these objects before, but they’ve already changed the way you live.” Quartz always does an excellent job of clearly explaining topics on the Internet. And now they’ve taken their skills offline with The Objects That Power the Global Economy. The topics are dead on, and the book looks great. I ordered my copy yesterday.

+ What to Read: Narratively has been one of the better sites for longreads for the last five years, and they’re celebrating by sharing the top best pieces from each year of Narratively’s existence.


Reporting From the Brink

“Brinkmanship, according to Thomas Schelling, the Nobel Prize-winning economist who pioneered the theory of nuclear deterrence, is the art of “manipulating the shared risk of war.” In 1966, he envisaged a nuclear standoff as a pair of mountain climbers, tied together, fighting at the edge of a cliff. Each will move ever closer to the edge, so that the other begins to fear that he might slip and take both of them down. It is a matter of creating the right amount of fear without losing control. Schelling wrote, ‘However rational the adversaries, they may compete to appear the more irrational, impetuous, and stubborn.’ But what if the adversaries are irrational, impetuous, and stubborn?” The New Yorker’s Evan Osnos went to Pyongyang to get a North Korean perspective on the escalating nuclear standoff, and to try answer the question of the moment: Could Kim Jong Un and Donald Trump goad each other into a devastating confrontation?

+ NatGeo: Six Things You Didn’t Know About North Korea.


Equifax Machine

“All told, the number of American consumers affected constitutes about 44 percent of the U.S. population.” Equifax just reported a multi-week hack that accessed some of the most sensitive information about a cool 143 million people.

+ Bloomberg: Your Social Security Number Now Looks Like a Time Bomb. It Is.


Search and Destroy

“Having started out looking for help with her alcoholism, she ended up getting a lesson on the complex, opaque web of treatment centers and marketing operations that use the internet and high-pressure telemarketing techniques to profit off a booming market: addicts in America.” If you’re looking for help getting sober, you might not want to start with a Google search.


There’s Someone In There

“They may open their eyes, grunt and groan, and occasionally utter isolated words. They appear to live entirely in their own world, devoid of thoughts or feelings. Many really are as oblivious and incapable of thought as their doctors believe. But a sizeable number are experiencing something quite different: intact minds adrift deep within damaged bodies and brains. We have even figured out how to communicate directly with such people.” Adrian Owen explains how science found a way to help coma patients communicate.


Chickpeas in the Middle East

The NYT shares the odd story of two Beirut falafel joints, right next to each other, both with the same name and same menu. (This sounds like a good issue to add to Jared’s portolio.) In Land of Many Rivalries, New One Bubbles Up: Falafel vs. Falafel. “‘My brother? I want him to stay away from me,’ says Zuheir Sahyoun, the elder of the Falafel Sahyoun brothers, his chef’s shirt opened midway to his belly, on a steamy afternoon … ‘I don’t have a brother anymore,’ says Fuad Sahyoun, the younger, next door.” (Spoiler alert: Peace in the Middle East doesn’t happen this time either.)


The Nose Have It

“In a study published this week in Proceedings of the Royal Society B, researchers found that when it comes time for a pack of wild dogs to determine whether to move, the group engages in a bout of sneezing to see how many members are ready.” NPR explains how wild dogs participate in Democracy by Sneeze. (Finally, we have a reasonable explanation for the 2016 election: It was cold and flu season…)


Bottom of the News

Over the last few weeks, it seems like we’ve been surrounded by disasters from wind, to floods, to fire. I guess that helps explain why these golfers — when confronted with the flames of a massive fire in the Pacific Northwest — decided to play through.

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