August 29th – The Day’s Most Fascinating News

The race to find new antibiotics, the Trump administration's plan to pan pot, and the meat only diet.

“Previously, we thought that overuse and misuse of commercially available antibiotics caused resistance in bacteria. But the truth is that we train them. When bacteria see triclosan [an antibacterial agent found in cleaning products, soap and toothpaste] coming towards them, they want to live, like all life on Earth. Most will die, but some figure out defence mechanisms that help them survive, such as creating a pore in their cell wall to allow them to pump out the drug faster than it comes in … Bacteria are smarter than us.” Antibiotic resistance is one of the primary risks when it comes to the the future of global health. As we become resistant to the old antibiotics, finding new ones becomes more urgent. And that means we’ve got to hit some caves. From WiredUK: Inside the slimy underground hunt for humanity’s antibiotic savior.


Speak Easy

“Superlative feats have always thrilled average mortals, in part, perhaps, because they register as a victory for Team Homo Sapiens: they redefine the humanly possible. If the ultra-marathoner Dean Karnazes can run three hundred and fifty miles without sleep, he may inspire you to jog around the block. If Rojas-Berscia can speak twenty-two languages, perhaps you can crank up your high-school Spanish or bat-mitzvah Hebrew, or learn enough of your grandma’s Korean to understand her stories.” The New Yorker: The Mystery of People Who Speak Dozens of Languages. (Most Americans only speak two languages. English and All Caps.)


Panning Pot

“The prevailing marijuana narrative in the U.S. is partial, one-sided, and inaccurate. Departments should provide … the most significant data demonstrating negative trends, with a statement describing the implications of such trends … if the administration is to turn the tide on increasing marijuana use there is an urgent need to message the facts about the negative impacts of marijuana use, production, and trafficking on national health, safety, and security.” Buzzfeed’s Dominic Holden with an interesting look inside the Trump administration’s secret war on weed. It will be interesting to see if the administration can turn back time on this issue when in many states, the current marijuana debate has been reduced to Indica vs Sativa.


We’re Don Here

“McGahn, who has told many friends that he has wearily endured countless political and legal battles, saw Trump’s tweet as abrupt but typical of how the president acts — and it did not make him angry, according to two people familiar with his reaction. His reaction was, ‘Of course it happened this way.'” WaPo: Trump says White House Counsel Donald McGahn will leave his job in the Fall.

+ While the latest White House departure will bring up a lot of questions about the future of the Mueller investigation, potential pardons, and what will become of the Trump/Sessions feud, McGahn’s tenure may have been most notable for the number of judges he helped guide to the bench. And unlike other DC jobs which can be dashed in a tweet, these appointments are for life.


Florida, Man

“Florida voters on Tuesday propelled a Trump-endorsed congressman and the African-American mayor of Tallahassee on toward November’s general election in the race to replace Rick Scott as governor, setting up a clash of ideologies in the nation’s largest swing state.” Like many Floridian political battles, the gubernatorial race between Democrat Andrew Gillum and Republican Ron DeSantis will have national ramifications. Miami Herald: Florida braces for a clash of ideologies. (And when Florida braces, we all brace…)

+ With a Trumpian Republican facing a progressive who could be the state’s first black governor, one expects race/racism to be an issue. But one didn’t expect that things would bubble over in the first few hours of the campaign. Buzzfeed: Florida’s Republican Candidate For Governor Just Said A Vote For His Black Rival Would ‘Monkey This Up.’ (Somewhere along the way, we replaced the dog whistle with a bullhorn.)


Meat the Fockers

“There is at least some benefit to be had from any and all dietary advice, or rules for life, so long as a person believes in them, and so long as they provide a code that allows a person to feel good for having stuck with it and a cohort of like-minded adherents. The challenge is to find a code that accords as best as possible with scientific evidence about what is good and bad, and with what is best for the world.” In other words, we need to talk about The Jordan Peterson All-Meat Diet. (I need to go on a media diet…)

+ Reminder: Nothing is new. From Atlas Obscura: The Arctic Explorer Who Pushed an All-Meat Diet.


The Dog Days Are Over

In The Guardian, Matthew Brenner catches up with the man who was raised by wolves. (I’m guessing they met in the den.) “His story is that he was abandoned as a child of seven, in 1953, and left to fend for himself. Alone in the wild, as he tells it, he was raised by wolves, who protected and sheltered him. With no one to talk to, he lost the use of language, and began to bark, chirp, screech and howl.” (I’m pretty sure this guy follows me on Twitter…)


Hog Tide

“In the next few years, Harley will release more than a dozen motorcycles, many of them small, lightweight, even electric. The new Harleys are intended to reverse years of declining sales and appeal to a new rider: young, urban, and not necessarily American.” Bloomberg: Harley-Davidson Needs a New Generation of Riders. (Then maybe they need to start making scooters…)


Go Fund Yourself

From AP: “A homeless man whose selfless act of using his last $20 to fill up the gas tank of a stranded motorist in Philadelphia got him worldwide attention is suing the couple who led a $400,000 fundraising campaign to help him.” (I know you want more good news. I’m trying, I’m trying…)


Bottom of the News

“New research suggests one effective evolutionary strategy: be lazy.” From NPR: Survival Of The Sluggish: Scientists Find An Upside To A Low Metabolism. This is exactly why I’ve always lived my life according to the mantra of Bill Murray in Stripes.

+ “Over the past several years, HBO has been winding down its late-night adult fare. While we’re greatly ramping up our other original program offerings, there hasn’t been a strong demand for this kind of adult programming.” Great, now where are we gonna find adult content?

+ And, it turns out that actual sinkholes are a lot more fun to look at than the metaphorical ones.

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