July 10th – The Day’s Most Fascinating News

Kavanaugh vs Kavanaughts, Canada's secret on immigrants, and good news: Everyone is quitting.

It’s on. Kavanaugh vs the Kavanaughts. As The New Yorker’s Amy Davidson writes: “After Kavanaugh walked into the East Room … the judge gave what sounded like the opening statement in a confirmation hearing.” And that makes sense given the fact that the battle over Kavanaugh’s confirmation started before he was even selected. And now, following the nomination, things are about to heat up. “Even before President Trump’s announcement that Brett M. Kavanaugh will be his Supreme Court nominee to replace Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, the battle plans were in place and the arguments had been framed. What happens next is a no-holds-barred fight for public opinion and Senate votes, which history suggests the president is heavily favored to win.”

+ Buzzfeed: Here’s Where Brett Kavanaugh Stands On Abortion, Executive Power, And Guns.

+ Vox: Brett Kavanaugh, Donald Trump’s Supreme Court pick, explained.

+ WaPo: Brett Kavanaugh, Trump’s Supreme Court pick, has sided with broad views of presidential powers.

+ The Kavanaugh fight will be over many big issues that could be reshaped for decades to come. No debate will be more heated than nominee’s views on Roe v Wade. From Vox: In many states, the end of Roe v Wade is already here. And from FiveThirtyEight: The Abortion Debate Isn’t As Partisan As Politicians Make It Seem. (Although it’s pretty damn partisan…)


Don’t Blame Canada

“The United States considers itself a nation of immigrants. But, proportionally speaking, it’s got nothing on Canada. Foreign-born Canadians have always accounted for between 15 and 20 percent of the country’s total population since the country’s founding. In the U.S., immigrants have never exceeded 15 percent of the total population since the 1850s. So, with immigrant share—as with national borders—America’s ceiling is Canada’s floor.” And yet, Canada doesn’t have the periodic, massive populist backlashes we see in the United States. What’s their secret (aside from being generally nicer than we are)? Derek Thompson in The Atlantic: Canada’s Secret to Escaping the Liberal Doom Loop. (That sounds like the name of a roller coaster at Mar a Lago…)


Thais Seal the Deal

“A team of 90 expert divers – 40 from Thailand and 50 from overseas – worked in the Tham Luang caves.They guided the boys and their coach through darkness and submerged passageways towards the mouth of the cave system.” After 17 days that grabbed the world’s attention, Divers in northern Thailand have rescued all 12 boys and their football coach from flooded caves.

+ “‘I’m so happy,’ said Songpol Kanthawong, 13, a teammate of the boys who narrowly missed being trapped along with them, forgetting to bring his bike to training the day the boys cycled out to the site with a picnic lunch. ‘At first, I was worried a bit about them diving but I knew they could do it.'” Thailand cave rescue sparks celebration of ‘mission impossible.


Recycled Content

“Recycling plastic is to saving the Earth what hammering a nail is to halting a falling skyscraper. You struggle to find a place to do it and feel pleased when you succeed. But your effort is wholly inadequate and distracts from the real problem of why the building is collapsing in the first place.” Scientific American: More Recycling Won’t Solve Plastic Pollution. (So I’m guessing the fact that I agreed to forgo a straw for this morning’s ice coffee is also unlikely to be a solution?)

+ LA Times: Environmentally minded Californians love to recycle — but it’s no longer doing any good. “There’s no longer a recycling market for a lot of the paper, cardboard, plastic and other junk that’s left curbside.
Moreover, people are tossing garbage into those blue bins that they shouldn’t be.”


Tissue Forth

“The idea for mitochondrial transplants was born of serendipity, desperation and the lucky meeting of two researchers at two Harvard teaching hospitals — Dr. Emani at Boston Children’s and James McCully at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.” Gina Kolata in the NYT: Dying Organs Restored to Life in Novel Experiments. “An unusual transplant may revive tissues thought to be hopelessly damaged, including the heart and brain.”

+ Quartz: An unusual medical training tool got its start as a childish prank. (Or, everything you always wanted to know about Liquid Ass but were afraid to ask…)


Quit Pro Quo

Americans are quitting their jobs in record numbers. And that’s good news as it suggests a confidence in the labor markets and hints that wages may finally start to increase.

+ Another quitting story from WaPo, albeit one with a decidedly different angle: He quit his State Department job to play video games. Now he’s a star in the NBA’s 2K League. (Please don’t forward this story to my 12 year-old son…)


Mosquito, Toast

“The sterile male mosquitoes didn’t bite or spread disease, but when they mated with wild females, the resulting eggs didn’t hatch, and the population crashed.” CNN: Australian experiment wipes out over 80% of disease-carrying mosquitoes.


Talking Pointers

“The officers are given a four-hour crash course in vocabulary, spelling, and conversation, then given two hours to digest 30 pages of chat logs from prior anonymized cases before they try out adopting the persona of the girl. Officers are encouraged to note down rules on spelling abbreviations, common misspellings, and sentence lengths.” The Atlantic on The Linguist Who Helps Police Catch Child Predators, by teaching them to sound like kids online.


Let Them Eat WiFi

Nellie Bowles in the NYT: Sorry, Power-Lunchers. This Restaurant Is a Co-Working Space Now. “Everything is now a co-working space, one of those shared offices that are popular among freelancers, small companies and other workers who want a change of scenery. Coffee shops are co-working spaces. Gyms are co-working spaces. Social clubs are co-working spaces. And now restaurants — but only before dinnertime.” (The couch I’m sitting on is also a co-working space. It’s just that I capped membership at one.)


Bottom of the News

“It turns out that people are separated not just by gun ownership, religion and their beliefs on affirmative action — but also by English muffins, flashlights and mustard.” What we buy can be used to predict our politics, race or education — sometimes with more than 90 percent accuracy. (Ordering the MAGA hat was a dead giveaway…)

+ On this trajectory, passengers will get about five minutes of weightlessness and the entire ride from motor ignition to landing will be 15 to 30 minutes.” Wired: The Race To Get Tourists To Suborbital Space Is Heating Up. (One of the competing companies should differentiate itself by making the trip one-way.)

+ The 2018 Audubon Photography Awards.

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