Friday, September 15th, 2017


Horse and Buggy Software

"If you can just look it up on the internet, you're not thinking. The more people rely on technology, the more we want to sit behind a desk. But you can't build a house sitting behind a desk. My concern for our future, for our own children is that they lose their work ethic." That was a woodworker named Levi lamenting the impact computers and mobile phones have on the kids (and adults) in his community. His opinion is hardly an unfamiliar refrain. But it's coming from an unexpected place. From the NYT: In Amish Country, the Future Is Calling. You knew things were changing in Amish country when they started raising barns that featured exposed brick, co-working spaces, and cold brew on tap.


Mind the Crap

"The blast, at Parsons Green station on a District Line train from Wimbledon, is being treated as terrorism. Twenty-nine people have been treated in hospitals, mostly for burns, though at least eight have now been discharged. A hunt for the person who placed the device is under way and the area around the station has been evacuated." An explosion on a Tube train that injured more than 20 people is being investigated as a terror attack.

+ President Trump didn't wait for details before responding to the incident by attacking three of his favorite targets: London, Obama, and losers. Trump claimed more anti-terror progress in the last "nine months against ISIS than the Obama Administration has made in 8 years," and warned that the fight against terrorism must be "proactive and nasty." (Or maybe he was talking about his Twitter strategy...)

+ Theresa May took time out of what became a very busy day to rebuke Trump for his tweets.


Weekend Whats

What to Read About What to Watch: There's never been more good television to watch. And it's never been harder to figure out what to watch next (and where/how to watch it). The NYT's Watching newsletter has become one of my favorite tools for picking shows. Give it a try.

+ What to Watch: It's rare for a show to get better in its third season. Narcos is not just better. It's in a completely different class. And you don't need to have watched the first two seasons to enjoy it. Watch Narcos on Netflix.

+ What to Doc: Earlier this week, I put together a collection of resources that frame America's opioid epidemic, including a short documentary, a book, and a few articles. It's here if you missed it: The Pain Killers.



"Today, she has had more than 10 billion conversations with people, most of them about private matters. Six million have posted their conversation on social media. This could be the largest Turing test in history." From Nautilus: Your Next New Best Friend Might Be a Robot. (That's actually makes for a nice replacement. My old best friend was a Juicero.)

+ "Futurists predict a rapture of machines, but reality beat them to it by turning computing into a way of life." Ian Bogost in The Atlantic: You Are Already Living Inside a Computer.


Becoming Woke About Sleep

"The National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute recommends that teenagers get between nine and 10 hours of sleep. Most in the United States don't. It's not their fault." The Upshot's Aaron Carroll with the economic case for letting teenagers sleep a little later. (I'm pretty sure I could make a case for sleeping through one's entire adolescence.)


Water Views

"Built half a century ago on what had been rice fields, it totals more than 2,000 spacious homes, many with swimming pools, all set amid unfurling green lawns. In 1955, Vice President Richard M. Nixon attended the development's ribbon-cutting. Michael Dell, the billionaire computer entrepreneur, grew up here. 'Driving through Meyerland, it's easy to envy those who are able to live in the neighborhood,' the Houston Press noted in a 2014 profile of the subdivision." Three years and three major floods later, Meyerland residents are asking themselves a question that recently would have been unthinkable. Is rebuilding their neighborhood even worth the risk?



"Mr. Trump told Mr. Sessions that choosing him to be attorney general was one of the worst decisions he had made, called him an 'idiot,' and said that he should resign." From the NYT: Trump Humiliated Jeff Sessions After Mueller Appointment.


Riding Shotgun

"The bullet exploded from the gun's barrel, spiraling through cool night air toward a gray SUV's back passenger-side window. Carter 'Quis' Hill was perched in his car seat on the other side of the glass, and as it shattered all around him, the round burrowed into his head, an inch above the right temple. From the boy's hand slipped a bright-red plastic Spider-Man mask he'd gotten for his 4th birthday, nine days earlier." A rare occurence? If only. "Almost two dozen kids are shot every day in the US." WaPo's latest article in their series on kids and guns: Children under fire.


Can I See Your Papers From Plastic?

"We wanted to come up with a way to ensure world leaders can't ignore it anymore, a way to stick it under their noses, literally." A petition has been launched to recognize the Great Pacific Garbage Patch as a country, with its own passport, currency, and flag.


Bottom of the News

"An 11-year-old kid who wrote President Trump last month asking him if he could mow the White House lawn got his wish granted on Friday by the administration." And Frank, as it turns out, is one hell of a focused worker. (Too bad there's no way this kid's getting paid...)

+ The contentious physics of Wiffle Ball.

+ Some of the best wildlife photos of the year.