Tuesday, March 6th, 2018


This is Gonna Hurt

By now, we're all well aware of the enormous damage that opiates can do. But it turns out that we know a lot less about the good they can do for those who live with chronic pain. Now, a first-of-its-kind study has "compared opioids to non-opioid drugs in patients with persistent back pain or hip or knee osteoarthritis. Its results are devastating." From Vox: Finally, proof: opioids are no better than Tylenol for treating some chronic pain. "The striking result was that the patients on opioids did no better than those taking the opioid alternatives — despite the much higher risk profile of opioids. At one year, the opioid takers even reported being in slightly more pain compared to the non-opioid group."

+ "What do orangutans do when their arms and joints hurt? Borneo being short on physical therapists, orangutans, especially adult females, have been known to chew the leaves of a local plant and rub the resulting paste onto the painful area." We're not the only ones (often desperately) looking for ways to ease the pain: This is How Wild Animals Self-Medicate.


War of the World

"The deaths have reignited a longstanding argument in Washington over the sprawling and often opaque war being fought by American troops around the world. It is a war with sometimes murky legal authority, one that began in the embers of the Sept. 11 attacks and traveled to Afghanistan and Pakistan. It was expanded to Yemen, Somalia and Libya before arriving in Niger, a place few Americans ever think of, let alone view as a threat." A very detailed and interesting report from the NYT: An Endless War: Why 4 U.S. Soldiers Died in a Remote African Desert.


Rocket Manners

"North Korea made clear its willingness to denuclearize the Korean peninsula and the fact there is no reason for it to have a nuclear program if military threats against the North are resolved and its regime is secure." So said the head of a South Korean delegation following a meeting with North Koreans on Monday. NPR: In Possible Breakthrough, North Korea Open To Talks With US On Denuclearization.


The Sam Cam

If your phone rings today and you don't recognize the number, make an exception and answer it anyway. It's probably Sam Nunberg. At this point, he's called just about everyone else. "I won't venture a guess as to which theory best explains his actions. But as anyone who's known Nunberg for a while can attest, his behavior Monday doesn't necessarily require special explanation. He's been pulling stunts like this for years—this is just the first time he's gotten the kind of audience he's always craved." Sam Nunberg was the latest former Trump aide to get his fifteen minutes of fame. But in Nunberg's case, it went on for about six hours. And cable news was there for every second. McKay Coppins on Sam Nunberg's Spectacular Stunt.

+ What Was Sam Nunberg Up To Yesterday? Here Are Some Theories.


Ban on the Run

"His great feat—being the first to run a mile in under four minutes—was of a different order than, say, Joe DiMaggio's hitting streak or Wilt Chamberlain's hundred-point night. Bannister was the most ordinary of athletes. He was a medical student at the time of his record run, in 1954. He trained during his lunch hour ... The claim that typically accompanies a feat of athletic genius—that it may never be equalled—was never said of Bannister's four-minute mile. The point of his race was exactly the opposite." Malcolm Gladwell on The Ordinary Greatness of Roger Bannister. (Bannister passed away over the weekend at the age of 88.)

+ Ian Crouch: Roger Bannister's Solitary Pursuit of the Four-Minute Mile.


The Ball is in Your Court

In recent years, the debate over whether or not to let a kid play tackle football has dominated plenty of dinner table discussions. But for one family, the argument has extended all the way to a courtroom. While the venue is unique, the debate points are common. From Ken Belson: Football's Brain Injury Crisis Lands in Family Court.


To Sir With Gov

"I wish it wouldn't have come to this and that I was still in school, but I want the teachers to get the wages that they deserve, so I'm all right with it." After a teacher-walkout led to nine-consecutive days without school in West Virginia, lawmakers have finally reached a deal to give striking teachers pay raise.

+ Now, eyes turn to Oklahoma and Kentucky. From Bloomberg: Could Wildcat Teachers' Strikes Spread to Other States?


Son Rise

"Thanks in part to more enlightened attitudes about gender and parenting, it is hard not to see male entitlement and aggression as toxic forces degrading our culture. But it is also hard not to notice that the world is now run by the aggressive and the bullying." Will Leitch's essay is part of an NY Mag weeklong series on How to Raise a Boy.


We Gotta Get Out of This Place

"Politicians inevitably vow to rebuild, to make their city stronger than before. But in the coming years, as the climate gets hotter, the seas keep rising and storms grow more intense, those vows will become less and less credible. Climate change is going to remap our world, changing not just how we live but where we live." Rolling Stone: Welcome to the Age of Climate Migration.

+ The Economist: Why climate migrants do not have refugee status.


Bottom of the News

I'm convinced that the voices used by mapping software to provide turn by turn directions have saved many marriages. My wife and I used to yell at each other when driving somewhere for the first time. Now, we yell at Siri instead. And, it looks like this anger transference might extend beyond the car's interior. Consider this: "Of six crash reports involving robot cars filed in California so far this year, two involved a human approaching the car and attacking it."

+ The oldest message in a bottle was found on Western Australia beach, almost 132 years after it was thrown into the sea. (Wouldn't it be weird if it had a hashtag?)

+ Check out the winners of The 2018 Sony World Photography Awards.