June 18th – The Day’s Most Fascinating News

Reports from the border, Parental screen time, and the dark side of orgasmic meditation...

“The idea of zero tolerance under the stated policy is that we don’t care why you’re afraid. We don’t care if it’s religion, political, gangs, anything. For all asylum seekers, you are going to be put in jail, in a detention center, and you’re going to have your children taken away from you. That’s the policy.” Texas Monthly: What’s Really Happening When Asylum-Seeking Families Are Separated?

+ AP: Hundreds of children wait in Border Patrol facility in Texas. “Inside an old warehouse in South Texas, hundreds of children wait in a series of cages created by metal fencing. One cage had 20 children inside.”

+ Laura Bush: “I live in a border state. I appreciate the need to enforce and protect our international boundaries, but this zero-tolerance policy is cruel. It is immoral. And it breaks my heart.”

+ “It was a simple decision by the administration to have a zero tolerance policy for illegal entry, period. The message is that no one is exempt from immigration law.” GQ: Stephen Miller wants credit for breaking up families at the border. (The border we should be focused on is the one between ourselves and our own worst impulses.)

+ DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen: “We will not apologize for the job we do or for the job law enforcement does for doing the job that the American people expect us to do. Illegal actions have and must have consequences. No more free passes, no more get-out-of-jail-free cards.” (Let that be a lesson to some eight year-old kid running from drug violence and alone in a cage in a strange country. No more free passes, niño!)

+ President Trump is one of the few in his administration who doesn’t want to take the credit for his own policy. He blames the Democrats and insists: “The United States will not be a migrant camp and it will not be a refugee holding facility … not on my watch.” The raising of this false fear points to another problem with our border fixation and policies. Every minute we spend on a border threat that doesn’t exist is a minute we don’t spend on threats that actually do.

+ Buzzfeed: Everything you need to know about Trump’s immigration changes but were too afraid to ask.


Mafia Dawn

The mafia is not gone. It’s also not quite what you think it is. “This organization has penetrated every single major financial center on the planet. It owns businesses, and it funds political parties all over the world. It is part of the fabric of modern life and that’s actually the point. It’s got itself to a point now where it’s indispensable to the functioning of the modern world and it’s very difficult to root out.” Slate: The Mafia Is More Powerful Than It’s Ever Been.


Pox Populi

“When cities first arose, diseases laid them low, a process repeated over and over for millennia. When Europeans colonized the Americas, smallpox followed. When soldiers fought in the first global war, influenza hitched a ride, and found new opportunities in the unprecedented scale of the conflict. Down through the centuries, diseases have always excelled at exploiting flux.” Ed Yong in The Atlantic: The Next Plague Is Coming. Is America Ready?


With a Rebel Quell

“Parents are constantly present in their children’s lives physically, but they are less emotionally attuned.” Erika Christakis on The Dangers of Distracted Parenting: “When it comes to children’s development, parents should worry less about kids’ screen time—and more about their own.” (I make it a point to always return my kids’ emails within 3-5 business days.)

+ WaPo: “A small but growing number of behavioral scientists and former Silicon Valley developers have begun trying to counterprogram those news alerts, friend requests and updates crowding our waking hours. Increasingly, the rebel developers are using fire to fight fire — creating apps that try to put users back in control. They call their movement digital wellness.” (I’m addicted to digital wellness apps.)

+ CNN: WHO classifies gaming disorder as mental health condition.


Google Taps

“An new type of algorithm created by the company read up on the woman — 175,639 data points — and rendered its assessment of her death risk: 19.9 percent. She passed away in a matter of days.” Bloomberg: Google Is Training Machines to Predict When a Patient Will Die. (The hard part is serving up just the right adword for the occasion…)


Watch Your Six

“It feels kind of like if you’re driving in a car at 75 and you stick your head out the window. You’ve got that kind of an uncomfortable thing in your ears. Once you get up around 185, 200, the roar is like you’re inside a 747 jet engine. It’s extremely intense. You feel it in your gut.” Does the increase in hurricane strength we saw in Irma suggest that we need to introduce a category 6?

+ “Some 600 million Indians, about half the population, face high to extreme water scarcity conditions, with about 200,000 dying every year from inadequate access to safe water, according to the report. By 2030, it said, the country’s demand for water is likely to be twice the available supply.” NYT: Deadly Tensions Rise as India’s Water Supply Runs Dangerously Low.

+ Among fish, there are no climate change deniers. They’re on the move towards cooler waters. And Climate Change May Spark Global Fish Wars.


Om, Om, Om, OMG

“OneTaste is a sexuality-focused wellness education company based in the Bay Area. It’s best known for classes on “orgasmic meditation,” a trademarked procedure that typically involves a man using a gloved, lubricated fingertip to stroke a woman’s clitoris for 15 minutes. For Michal, like those at her wedding, OneTaste was much more than a series of workshops. It was a company that had, in less than a year, gained sway over every aspect of her life.” Bloomberg’s Ellen Huet on The Dark Side of the Orgasmic Meditation Company. (I’m sticking with my own self-directed studies…)


Oh Wilbur

“For most of last year, Ross served as secretary of commerce while maintaining stakes in companies co-owned by the Chinese government, a shipping firm tied to Vladimir Putin’s inner circle, a Cypriot bank reportedly caught up in the Robert Mueller investigation and a huge player in an industry Ross is now investigating. It’s hard to imagine a more radioactive portfolio for a cabinet member.” Wilbur Ross, you’re the next contestant on the political price is right. Lies, China And Putin.



“Every time a man in a white uniform poked the ball away from Argentina, or every time the great Lionel Messi failed to capitalize on a chance, the crowd erupted as if Iceland had scored. With Argentina dominating possession, there weren’t many other chances for cheering. It didn’t matter. In Iceland, survival is sometimes as impressive as a goal.” The New Yorker reflects on the amazing Iceland World Cup team.

+ A small earthquake was registered after Mexico’s win over Germany, “possibly due to mass jumping.”

+ “I have spoken with the Optus CEO, Allen Lew. He assures me he is giving the World Cup streaming problems his personal attention and he believes it will be fixed this evening.” When the Prime Minister intervenes because your stream is buffering.


Bottom of the News

“Spitfire excels at the curious sport of dock diving, or, in other words, jumping really, really far. That skill has landed him and his owner, 13-year-old Sydney Mackey, five world records—and counting.” This Whippet Is One of the World’s Great Athletes.

+ The case for invading America. (Canada, it’s time to fight…)

+ Scheduling note: I’ll be out from June 20-22. Enjoy the break!

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