June 7th – The Day’s Most Fascinating News

What sent teachers to the streets? Plus, a carbon dioxide sucker bet, and Preparation H (bomb).

“American teachers are angry. They have taken to the streets in West Virginia, Oklahoma, Kentucky, Arizona, Colorado — and more recently in North Carolina. Dissent is building in Louisiana and Nevada, too.” The protests have been recent, but the seeds of anger were planted during the last recession, when per-pupil spending (that had increased for decades) began a downward trend. While the economy has turned around, spending on education has not. The NYT Upshot with an interesting look at the numbers that explain why teachers are in revolt. (Issues like these almost always come down to simple math…)


Sucker Bet

There’s a sucker born every minute. At least that’s our hope. “A team of scientists from Harvard University and the company Carbon Engineering announced on Thursday that they have found a method to cheaply and directly pull carbon-dioxide pollution out of the atmosphere.” From The Atlantic: Climate Change Can Be Stopped by Turning Air Into Gasoline.


Preparation H Bomb

“I don’t think I have to prepare very much. It’s about attitude. It’s about willingness to get things done.” AP: Trump says outcome of Kim summit depends on attitude.

+ “Trump’s ad hoc approach to talks with Kim, with whom he has traded threats of nuclear war, partly reflects the disorder that has always gripped the Trump White House — itself a reflection of the commander in chief’s management style.” Politico: Trump and Bolton spurn top-level North Korea planning.

+ “Just as Pompeo has become Trump’s right-hand man on the Korean talks, twice meeting with Kim Jong Un this year, Andrew Kim has found himself in a similar role for the secretary of state.” Andrew Kim has been preparing for this moment for a long time. Bloomberg: Mystery CIA Agent Cast Into Spotlight as Korea Summit Looms.


Sound Effects

“The injuries in Cuba, like those in China, followed disturbing sensations of sounds and vibrations that have been described variously as the noises made by cicadas, static, metal sheets waving or, in Mr. Lenzi’s case, marbles rolling around a metal funnel.” From the NYT: A crisis over a mysterious ailment sickening American diplomats and their families — which began in Cuba and recently appeared in China — has widened. (I worry when certain people I know — who don’t worry about much — worry about an issue. And they’re worried about this.)


Suicide Fact

“Suicide rates have increased in nearly every state over the last two decades, and half of the states have seen suicide rates go up more than 30 percent.” Suicide numbers in America have climbed dramatically in recent years, and according to the CDC, “54 percent of the people who killed themselves didn’t have a previously known mental health issue.”


Character Assassination

Last week, The Ringer published a story that connected some rogue and revealing Twitter accounts to Sixers president and GM Bryan Colangelo. Today, Colangelo resigned after his “wife, Barbara Bottini, admitted to establishing and operating the accounts … Colangelo was deemed the source of her information.” (Social media is like an irresistible drug for some people. And as is the case with irresistible drugs, overuse can lead to ruin.)

+ ESPN has compiled a long list of people who have been burned by social media. (And these are just the people in sports…)


A Slow Lotion Train Wreck

Aides have quit. The scandals have been nonstop. But for EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt, the hits just keep coming. Here’s the latest from WaPo: Pruitt enlisted security detail in picking up dry cleaning, moisturizing lotion. (We need to stop this before it gets too weird…)

+ There’s no such thing as a free lunch … unless you’re Scott Pruitt. From Politico: Another mess for Pruitt: Overstaying his White House welcome at lunch.


Hair Apparent

“In II Kings 2:23-24, the prophet Elisha is mocked by a gang of surly kids. The kids ‘said unto him, ‘Go up, you bald head! Go up, you bald head!'” In other words, the stigma about balding has been around for a long time. In The New Yorker, Amos Barshad looks at the latest in ointments, robotics, and other fixes and asks: Is the Age-Old Quest for a Baldness Cure Reaching Its End?

+ “The face workout would consist of a warmup, a cardio portion, a sculpting portion, and a lengthening cool-down.” Jia Tolentino: My Visit to the World’s First Gym for Your Face.


Higher Consciousness

“Start with Noam Chomsky, Deepak Chopra, and a robot that loves you no matter what. Add a knighted British physicist, a renowned French neuroscientist, and a prominent Australian philosopher/occasional blues singer. Toss in a bunch of psychologists, mathematicians, anesthesiologists, artists, meditators, a computer programmer or two, and several busloads of amateur theorists waving self-published manuscripts and touting grand unified solutions.” In The Chronicle of Higher Education, Tom Bartlett attends a conference in Arizona to find out: Has Consciousness Lost Its Mind? (These days, consciousness is overrated.)


Bottom of the News

“MTA Music Senior Manager Lydia Bradshaw says the judges look for quality, musical variety, cultural diversity, representation of the culture and people of New York, and appropriateness for the transit environment.” CityLab: Auditioning Not for Broadway, but the Subway.

+ “The Polynesian’s splashy opening signals the arrival of more than just another themed bar serving $15 drinks in skull-head tiki mugs. It’s the manifestation of a certain mood in America: the escalating need for escapism.” A New Golden Age for the Tiki Bar.

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