March 16th – The Day’s Most Fascinating News

Your mapping software is ruining my life, HR is Wanted in HR, Weekend Whats and Feel Good Friday!

Admit it. When you’re alone in your car with your windows rolled up, you’ve always been pretty selfish. Don’t feel bad, almost all of us are guilty of the same trait. And now we have help. Directed by our mapping software, we’re all taking the optimal routes to get where we’re going. While these software-determined paths are ideal for the individual, they can create more traffic in more places, and end up being being terrible for everyone else. As The Atlantic’s Alexis Madrigal explains: “A new information layer is destroying the nudging infrastructure that traffic planners built into cities. Commuters armed with mobile mapping apps, route-following Lyft and Uber drivers, and software-optimized truckers can all act with a more perfect selfishness.”


HR, You’re Wanted in HR

The White House hasn’t confirmed it, but WaPo is reporting that national security adviser H.R. McMaster will be the next member of the administration to be shown the door. While this is a particularly sensitive and important job, turnover at the White House is nothing new. But the WaPo story has some pretty incredible quotes, even by Trump-era standards. “Some in the White House have been reluctant to oust McMaster from his national security perch until he has a promotion to four-star rank or other comfortable landing spot. They are eager to show that someone can serve in the Trump administration without suffering severe damage to their reputation.” And, “Trump has sometimes expressed confusion about what agencies and secretaries are in charge of what duties.” And, [Senior Aides] “appear almost as characters in an absurdist farce — openly joking about whose career might end with the next presidential tweet. White House officials have begun betting about which staffer will be ousted next, though few, if any, have much reliable information about what is actually going on.”

+ Meanwhile, the WSJ reports that the president has declared a truce … with his own Chief of Staff (North Korea, by comparison, should be a breeze.)

+ Meanwhile, the lawyer for Stormy Daniels said she was “threatened with physical harm as part of the effort to keep her quiet.” And Trump is finalizing opioid plan that includes death penalty for dealers. (I’d be happy if they just didn’t name museum wings after them…)


Weekend Whats

What to Joe: “Many times in my life I’ve been in danger and somehow survived … I’ve known luxury but also have had to scrounge for potatoes to keep from starving. Much happiness has come my way and yet nothing can make up for what I lost. And for all my daring, and independence, I’m actually quite shy. I have even been of two minds about telling the story. Most of the time, I’ve wanted to keep it locked up inside me.” For three reasons, this an excellent day to read my dad’s book about his life, miraculously surviving the Holocaust, fighting with the partisans, and succeeding wildly in America. First, we just published an updated version. Second, it’s sad but undeniable that we’re witnessing a spike in antisemitism in Europe and elsewhere, so it’s worth remembering exactly what its extreme version looks like. And third, this is one amazing dude. Check out Taking Risks. Available in paperback or Kindle.

+ What to Watch: Dag is what you would call an old ultra-marathoner. At least, that’s what you’d call him if he believed in age. He doesn’t. He doesn’t believe in houses either. He’s not interested in you. But you’ll be interested in him. If you can find him. It turns out his man-cave is the forest. A cool, short doc from The Atlantic: The Most Elusive Man in North America.

+ What to Wear: The second I saw Trump in front of those silly wall prototypes talking trash about my home state, I emailed my friend Eric Rewitzer and told him, “It’s time for the Bear.” So he put his California Rising t-shirt up for sale. I got mine. Get yours now.


Utility Player

“New computer screenshots released by the Department of Homeland Security on Thursday made clear that Russian state hackers had the foothold they would have needed to manipulate or shut down power plants.” Nicole Perlroth and David Sanger in the NYT: Cyberattacks Put Russian Fingers on the Switch at Power Plants. (Great, now my kids have another excuse to leave the lights on in their rooms. The Russians will turn them off…)



“People constantly say to me, ‘I can’t imagine what you’re going through. Well you should. You should try to comprehend your daughter — who you are so proud of, and who was just beginning to live her life – being riddled by bullets. Being told, when the medical examiner gives the body back to the funeral home, ‘You can’t see her. We have to spend days working on her body. And maybe, maybe you’ll be able to see her then.’ Think about that. And then come tell me why we can’t do things to keep our kids safe.” After a week when we were inspired by student walkouts, a reminder of the underlying tragedy that launched the movement. NPR: After Daughter’s ‘Unimaginable’ Death, Parkland Family Moved To Action.


Video or It Didn’t Happen

“The killing of Mondragon – who was pregnant and unarmed – was as shocking and tragic as many of the fatal police shootings that have sparked viral hashtags, national protests and widespread media coverage in recent years. But her death in March last year in Hayward, California, barely made headlines outside local news.” Why? No video, no story. The Guardian: Police shot a pregnant California teen – but with no video, the case dried up.



“The sport of slacklining lifts you above the earth and carries trouble from your mind. Sonya Iverson leads a band of practitioners who take the sport to children who need it, wherever they are, whoever they may be.” Popular Mechanics: The Lost Kids on the Line.


You Don’t Know Squat

“This position—in contrast to deep squatting on your toes as most Americans naturally attempt instead—is so stable that people in China can hold it for minutes and perhaps even hours …” Why Can’t Everyone Do the Asian Squat?



“Some skiers jumped and others were flung from the chairs, which jammed together at the bottom of the slope.” In Georgia, Skiers were forced to jump from a chairlift that started going backwards, and really fast.

+ For a more pleasant winter sport story, check out these photos of surfers in sub-zero temps.


Feel Good Friday

A lot of birds die each year because they flying into buildings. It turns out that you can design buildings that are bird friendly. You just have to be pretty damn nice. Which brings us to Canada. How to stop birds smashing into windows.

+ Father cheers on man running 10K race with son’s donated heart.

+ This cheap 3D-printed home is a start for the 1 billion who lack shelter.

+ Waffle House waitress gets $16K scholarship after act of kindness goes viral. (You had me at waffle…)

+ Even if you haven’t paid attention to college hoops all season, March Madness is always good news because of the amazing buzzer-beating upsets, like this one as Loyola-Chicago took out Miami. Even Barry “The Bracket” Obama was pleased.

+ GQ: Why Parenting (a Little) Stoned Isn’t So Bad After All. (Editor’s note: A little?)

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