Tuesday, September 19th, 2017


Oh, Grow Up

"Between 1976 and 1979, 86 percent of high school seniors had gone on a date; between 2010 and 2015, only 63 percent had ... During the same period, the portion that had ever earned money from working plunged from 76 percent to 55 percent. And the portion that had tried alcohol plummeted from 93 percent between 1976 and 1979 to 67 percent between 2010 and 2016." According to a new study, teens increasingly put off traditional markers of adulthood. Is it the internet? Well, these trends started before the internet really took off. Is it more homework or a busy after-school schedule? No, teens today spend less time on homework. Is it some cultural trend attributable to race, gender, or socioeconomic status? Actually, it seems to cut across all groups. Maybe teens just decided adult life wasn't all it's cracked up to be.


Many Sides

"When students were asked whether the First Amendment protects 'hate speech,' 4 in 10 said no. This is, of course, incorrect. Speech promoting hatred -- or at least, speech perceived as promoting hatred -- may be abhorrent, but it is nonetheless constitutionally protected." Here's a little more confirmation that college students don't necessarily get the gist of free speech. This is one issue where people tend to talk out of both sides of their mouth. (Or even "many sides" ...)

+ From NY Mag: It Took Twitter Only 90 Minutes to Track and Knock Out a Nazi.


Hold Me Closer Tiny Handser

Breaking News: Honky Cat challenges Rocket Man. World extinguishes like a candle in the wind. SAD! Songs Say So Much. During his first major UN address, President Trump delivered tough talk to Iran and North Korea, again referring to Kim Jung Un as "Rocket Man" and declaring that: "The United States has great strength and patience, but if it is forced to defend itself or its allies, we will have no choice but to totally destroy North Korea." Here's my issue with the bombastic North Korea talk: First, it's worth noting that, so far, the citizens of North Korea are Kim Jung Un's primary victims. Totally destroying them has been his family's specialty. It shouldn't be ours. Second, a core strategy of the Kim dynasty has been to manufacture a threat from the US and use the fears of that threat to maintain power and justify the starving of their own people. Talk of fire, fury, and total destruction plays right into that narrative. You may see it differently, but to paraphrase another Elton John line: Don't Shoot Me, I'm Only the Internet Editor.

+ Benjamin Netanyahu was a big fan of the speech. Here's more reaction and moments from the rest of the day at the UN.

+ "UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres warned the world's leaders Tuesday that the threat of a nuclear attack is at its highest level since the end of the Cold War and 'fiery talk can lead to fatal misunderstandings.'"

+ Evan Osnos: Why China Won't Pressure North Korea as Much as Trump Wants.

+ NPR: Some analysts say time may be right for a rethink on North Korean nuclear crisis.


Mexico and Maria

A week after a magnitude-8.1 earthquake struck off the coast of the country and on the anniversary of a major 1985 quake, Mexican officials are reporting a 7.4 magnitude earthquake that has caused damage and power outages in Mexico City.

+ The damage looks pretty widespread. Here are some scenes from Buzzfeed.

+ "So far the winds have swept away the roofs of almost every person I have spoken to or otherwise made contact with. The roof to my own official residence was among the first to go and this apparently triggered an avalanche of torn away roofs in the city and the countryside." Hurricane Maria has battered Dominica. Puerto Rico and other islands still coping with Irma are now bracing for Maria.

+ BBC reporters have been on the ground since Irma devastated several islands. Here's a video report from the scene.


Brick and Mortality

"The company doesn't plan to close stores and says its locations across the globe will continue normal operations." Toys 'R' Us is the latest big box retailer to declare bankruptcy. The company faces increasing pressure from Amazon and Walmart, and online purchasing in general. But this bankruptcy is also about crushing debt.

+ NYT: Best Buy's secrets for thriving in the Amazon Age.


Welcome to Zuckerberg

"The point is that Facebook has a strong, paternalistic view on what's best for you, and it's trying to transport you there. 'To get people to this point where there's more openness – that's a big challenge. But I think we'll do it,' Zuckerberg has said. He has reason to believe that he will achieve that goal. With its size, Facebook has amassed outsized powers. 'In a lot of ways Facebook is more like a government than a traditional company,' Zuckerberg has said. 'We have this large community of people, and more than other technology companies we're really setting policies.'" Franklin Foer on Facebook's war on free will.


The Race to Bangladesh

"Of a total of 1.1 million Rohingya that remained in Burma despite repeated waves of violence since the late 1970s, more than 420,000 have fled to neighboring Bangladesh in just the past month. New arrivals are building makeshift settlements near established camps where hundreds of thousands of Rohingya refugees from previous exoduses already live. Most are women, children and the elderly. Conditions are dire. Food is scarce. Aid agencies are worn thin. The monsoon rain is torrential." WaPo provides a look at the ‘ethnic cleansing' of the Rohingya, and we got here.


Gerds of a Feather

"By looking at when different foods found peak favor and comparing their rises and falls, key moments can be isolated in the story of American eating." From Bloomberg: If You Are What You Eat, America Tastes Like Chicken.

+ PopSci: Is there a single food that you can survive on forever? Potatoes are probably your best bet. (I've found that it's a good idea to try to mix in some fries.)


A Simulation Within a Simulation

"While isolated, the crew members wore space suits and travelled in teams whenever they left their small dome living structure. They ate mostly freeze-dried or canned food." A Mars research crew has emerged after 8 months of isolation. Once they get an update on world news, they'll be begging to get back into isolation.


Bottom of the News

"The Navy got together and they asked a bunch of J.O.s and junior guys, ‘What can we do to make your life better? And one of the things that came out is the controls for the scope." The U.S. Navy's most advanced submarines will soon be using Xbox controllers. (This means my son has been spending a couple hours a day on basic training...)

+ "I'm not sure if this is a particularly illuminating observation, whether it says something profoundly terrible about humanity and where it is headed, or whether this is something we should find solace in. I change my mind about it a lot." From Outline: Smokers Are The Last Nice People Online.