September 14th – The Day’s Most Fascinating News

The global headcount problem, Manafort cops a plea, Weekend Whats, and Feel Good Friday.

“Increasing urbanization means families don’t need as many kids to work the fields. More women are delaying marriage and children for work and education. Economists have also found an association between low fertility and higher incomes. Once a country’s output per person passes $10,000 annually, women tend to give birth to no more than two children.” There are a variety of factors at work, but the bottom line is that, in many countries, people aren’t having enough kids to support healthy economies over the long term. From Bloomberg’s Scott Lanman: A World With Fewer Babies Spells Economic Trouble. “The human race is approaching the point where it’s no longer reproducing enough to expand the global headcount.”


The Art of the (Plea) Deal

“I believe it’s fair to say that’s probably the longest and most detailed summary that ever preceded this question, but is what the prosecutor said a true and accurate description of what you did in this case?” So said U.S. District Court judge Amy Berman Jackson as she accepted Paul Manafort’s guilty plea “that includes his cooperation as a potential witness for special counsel Robert S. Mueller III.” The White House insists the case has nothing to do with them, but I’m guessing that from space, the Oval Office is indistinguishable from Hurricane Florence right about now.


Weekend Whats

What to Read: The 2018 National Book Award Longlists are out. They include fiction, non-fiction, and a new category: works in translation. The lists also provide a damn good place to find yourself a weekend read.

+ What to Hear: Mikaela Straus grew up hanging out at her dad’s recording studio in Brooklyn and was offered a record deal at the age of 11. She decided to hold off. Now she’s twenty, she goes by the name King Princess, and she’s working with producer Mark Ronson. Sounds like a good backstory for a huge career. She’s one to watch. And one to hear. Start with her hit song, 1950.

+ What to Watch: After a week of non-stop politics, the last thing you need is political news over the weekend. But make an exception for the return of Showtime’s, The Circus: Inside the Wildest Political Show on Earth.


Vicious Cycle

Foreign corporate debt? Collateralized loan obligations? Bank deregulation? Take your pick. It’s been ten years since the financial collapse. Quartz takes a look at ten risks that could cause the next crisis. (This boom cycle has been going on so long, a really loud sneeze could trigger the sell-off…)


Florence Night ‘N Gales

Florence has diminished a bit in power, but it has already left a trail of flooding and destruction. Some parts of North Carolina could get more than 50 inches of rainfall. Here’s the latest from CNN and the Guardian.

+ How the Waffle House is used to determine a hurricane’s fury. And the one positive to come out of the hurricane: This terrifying graphic from The Weather Channel.

+ The Philippines is bracing for Super Typhoon Mangkhut.

+ Floods in India have displaced more people in the world than any other disaster in 2018.

+ “More intense wind, more rain, parked for longer over coastal cities unprepared for 100-year-storms that now come once every five years instead.” That’s our global forecast. And it’s playing out across the world right now. Wired: An Equator Full Of Hurricanes Shows A Preview Of End Times.


Alphabet Disorder

“I’m offended that no weight has been given to the human rights community having a consensus,” he said. “If you have coalition letter from 14 human rights organizations, and that can’t even make it into the discussions on the ethics behind a decision, I’d rather stand with the human rights organizations in this dispute.” Buzzfeed: Google employees are quitting over the company’s secretive China search project.

+ “While Alphabet faces existential challenges, its co-founder is exercising his right to be forgotten.” Bloomberg: Where in the World Is Larry Page? (What a Waldo…)


Brett Offensive

“Sources familiar with Feinstein’s decision suggested that she was acting out of concern for the privacy of the accuser, knowing that the woman would be subject to fierce partisan attacks if she came forward. Feinstein also acted out of a sense that Democrats would be better off focussing on legal, rather than personal, issues in their questioning of Kavanaugh.” Brett Kavanaugh has “categorically and unequivocally” denied sexual assault allegations that date back to high school. At this point, it’s unclear what will cause more of a stir: The accusation itself, or the way it was handled by Senate Democrats. Ronan Farrow and Jane Mayer: A Sexual-Misconduct Allegation Stirs Tension Among Democrats in Congress.


Band Aid

“Let’s ignore for now whether Apple’s new watch really is the first direct-to-consumer ECG (It’s not.) The bigger question is whether it’s a good idea in the first place.” Will the Apple Watch’s new diagnostic features make us more healthy? Or are they a bottomless pit for hypochondriacs (and their doctors)? Maybe a little of both. Wired: The New ECG Apple Watch Could Do More Harm Than Good.


When Mars Attacks

“Airlocks will likely record exactly who opens them and when, for example, mapping everyone’s location down to precise times of day, even to the exact square feet of space they were standing in at a particular moment. Inhabitants’ vital signs, such as elevated heart rates and adrenaline levels, will also likely be recorded by sensors.” It’s not going to be a good idea to try to get away with a crime after we’ve all relocated. But just in case people give it a shot, let’s explore how police will solve murders on Mars?


Feel Good Friday

Drumroll Please… Check out this guy from the Baltimore Ravens Marching Band playing perfect air drums to Rush’s Tom Sawyer.

+ The internet likes funny. The internet likes animals. The internet loves the Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards.

+ It turns out, it’s at least somewhat possible to dislodge a kidney stone by riding a roller coaster.

+ She helped save his life. 28 years later, he turns up in her preemie ward — as a doctor.

+ “I saw videos about people helping the homeless and I decided I really wanted to chip in.” 11year old Ashton Brown’s dream of helping the homeless comes true. (When I was 11, my biggest dream was to be able to eat sugary cereals…)

+ This school janitor has quietly been giving homeless students clothes, soap and more.

+ He spent 27 years wrongly convicted of murder. He wants to spend the rest of his life encouraging inmates to read.

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