July 17th – The Day’s Most Fascinating News

What your health insurer knows about you, Trump got a word wrong, and your boss wants to chip you.

When your doctor slips on a rubber glove, it can signal that your checkup is about to get uncomfortably invasive. But when your health insurer wants to assess you, there’s a good chance you won’t even see (or feel) it happen. ProPublica and NPR explain how health insurers and data brokers are teaming up to predict your health risks. “Are you a woman who recently changed your name? You could be newly married and have a pricey pregnancy pending. Or maybe you’re stressed and anxious from a recent divorce. That, too, the computer models predict, may run up your medical bills. Are you a woman who’s purchased plus-size clothing? You’re considered at risk of depression. Mental health care can be expensive. Low-income and a minority? That means, the data brokers say, you are more likely to live in a dilapidated and dangerous neighborhood, increasing your health risks.”


Cart Blanche

Oh, no. The fake holiday that Amazon had been marketing for months (with the help of hundreds of news outlets that treat Prime Day like news – and often have affiliate deals) finally arrived, and site glitches caused major delays. What a financial disaster! Come on, it’s Amazon. You just refreshed your browser and kept on shopping.

+ Related: Jeff Bezos Becomes the Richest Man in Modern History, Topping $150 Billion.

+ Is Amazon too big? Are they a postive or a negative force? Steve Rousseau makes some points about that: Happy Prime Day, Here’s A Brief History Of Why You Shouldn’t Give Jeff Bezos Your Money. (Editor’s note: I gave him some more of my money like five minutes ago…)

+ CNN: Walmart and Microsoft team up to fight Amazon. (Amazon is so dominant in ecommerce, we’re all like, “Yeah, let the little underdogs like Microsoft and Walmart take em on!”)


Helsinking to New Lows

Everyone, you can relax about President Trump’s seemingly horrific display of Putin-pandering in Helsinki. It turns out he just got a word wrong. He cleared things up on Tuesday: “In a key sentence in my remarks, I said the word would instead of wouldn’t. The sentence should have been…’I don’t see any reason why it WOULDN’T be Russia.’ Sort of a double negative. So you can put that in, and I think that probably clarifies things.” (If things refers to the fact that the president is a habitual — and increasingly terrible — liar, then yes, this absolutely clarifies things.)

+ Very, very related: Trump has said 1,340,330 words as president. They’re getting more dishonest.

+ The Atlantic: “Almost every outrageous comment Trump made at the Helsinki press conference was a variation on something he’d said before.” (Editor’s note: Bingo.)

+ Frum: “We still do not know what hold Vladimir Putin has on Donald Trump, but the whole world has now witnessed the power of its grip.”

+ I’m Bill Browder. Here’s the Biggest Mistake Putin Made When Trying to Get Access to Me Through Trump: “Putin offered to allow American investigators to interview the 12 Russian intelligence agents just indicted by Special Counsel Robert Mueller in exchange for allowing Russians to have access to me and those close to me. This is no idle threat. For the last ten years, I’ve been trying to avoid getting killed by Putin’s regime, and there already exists a trail of dead bodies connected to its desire to see me dead. Amazingly, Trump stood next to him, appearing to nod approvingly. He even later said that he considered it ‘an incredible offer.'”

+ The Scotsman: Donald Trump’s Turnberry firm was paid more than £50,000 by his own government to cover the accommodation bill for his weekend stay at his loss-making resort. (By now you should know, this is par for the course.) While we’re on the topic: Where did Donald Trump get two hundred million dollars to buy his money-losing Scottish golf club? (I’m asking for a friend. A friend named America…)


Butina Turner

“A Russian woman with ties to a senior Russian government official was charged in Washington on Monday with conspiracy to act as an agent of the Russian Federation, including by building ties to the leadership of the National Rifle Association and other conservative political organizations.” WaPo: Maria Butina, Russian gun-rights advocate who sought to build ties with NRA, charged with acting as a covert Russian agent. (OK, let’s try it this way instead. Raise your hand if you’re NOT a covert Russian agent.)

+ Rolling Stone: Inside the Decade-Long Russian Campaign to Infiltrate the NRA.


The Crispr Drawer

“Huge questions vex the future of food—how to feed 9 billion mouths, how to farm in an era of unprecedented climate uncertainty, how to create more resilient and nutritious foods for a public wary of the new technology. Plant scientists are already using Crispr and related technologies to reshape food crops in dramatic ways—editing wheat to reduce gluten, editing soybeans to produce a healthier oil, editing corn to produce higher yields, editing potatoes to store better (and not throw off a carcinogen when cooked).” We might have a solution. But it’s a bit controversial. CRISPR can speed up nature—and change how we grow food.

+ Archeologists found a 14,000-year-old toasted pita in Jordan. (In short, this means you can now have a paleo sandwich…)


The Things Climate Changes

NYT: In India, Summer Heat Could Soon Be Unbearable. Literally. (We can probably deal with this…)

+ FiveThirtyEight: Wildfires In The U.S. Are Getting Bigger. (Now I’m getting a little worried…)

+ NPR: Rising Seas Could Cause Problems For Internet Infrastructure. (OK, that’s it. I’m freaking out.)


Barry, Barry, Quite Contrary

“Mandela said young people are capable when aroused of bringing down the towers of oppression and raising the banners of freedom. Now is a good time to be aroused.” In his first major address since leaving the White House, Barack Obama gave a speech at an event celebrating what would have been Nelson Mandela’s 100 birthday. Highlights included: Concerns about the rise of strongmen, the acceptance of lying in today’s politics, the sacredness of facts, the strength of immigration, and the importance of democracy. (I’m now convinced he’s a NextDraft subscriber…) Here’s the whole speech.


In Sink

“One time, I walked in and saw two kids washing themselves in their underwear in the sinks. MVM would throw away all their clothes and even throw away the brush they combed their hair with and then reclothe them in sweatsuits and Crocs.” Reveal: Immigrant kids held in second Phoenix office seen bathing in sinks.

+ MoJo: Trump Administration Admits It Still Hasn’t Found the Parents of 71 Migrant Children. (Maybe Trump meant to say, “DON’T separate the migrant kids from their parents.”)


Nukes of Hazzard

“But when they stopped at a Marriott hotel just off Highway 410, in a high-crime neighborhood filled with temp agencies and ranch homes, they left those sensors on the back seat of their rented Ford Expedition. When they awoke the next morning, the window had been smashed and the special valises holding these sensors and nuclear materials had vanished.” Center for Public Integrity: Plutonium is missing, but the government says nothing.


Bottom of the News

“Despite the concerns, many people seem to accept it’s going to happen — and quite rapidly. Lynda Shaw, PhD, a cognitive neuroscientist and author of Your Brain Is Boss, believes chipping is a natural progression that is likely to be more acceptable to young people.” Would You Let Your Boss Put a Chip in Your Body?

+ Ladies and Gentlemen, the last Blockbuster.

+ Afriski: Lesotho’s Only Ski Resort in photos.

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