Monday, October 1st, 2018


Lie ‘N Wait

For the past few days, Americans have been engaged in a nonstop debate over who is telling the truth and who is lying. It's an age when human jobs are being taken over by machines, but we're on our own on this one. As Wired reports, lie detectors don't provide much help. "Over the past century, scientists have debunked the polygraph, proving again and again that the test can't reliably distinguish truth from falsehood. At best, it is a roll of the dice; at worst, it's a vessel for test administrators to project their own beliefs." That said, the test is still widely used. And Brett Kavanaugh is not alone as polygraph tests can often be used to keep someone from getting a federal job. The Lie Generator: Inside The Black Mirror World Of Polygraph Job Screenings.

+ So who was telling the truth last Thursday? Current Affairs goes deep in its look at how we know Kavanaugh is lying. Meanwhile, the GOP-hired prosecutor Rachel Mitchell filed her report, questioning the credibility of Christine Blasey Ford.

+ Now it's up to the FBI to find the truth. But as Jane Mayer and Ronan Farrow report in The New Yorker, there's a lot of confusion about what exactly the FBI will be allowed to investigate.

+ Kavanaugh's new-fangled defintions of phrases like Devil's Triangle and Boofing did stretch credulity. Maybe the rest of us are just speaking a different language. To close the gap, I decided to write up a Brett Kavanaugh-inspired Glossary of Prep School Slang.


Tent Flap

"In shelters from Kansas to New York, hundreds of migrant children have been roused in the middle of the night in recent weeks and loaded onto buses with backpacks and snacks for a cross-country journey to their new home: a barren tent city on a sprawling patch of desert in West Texas." Migrant Children Moved Under Cover of Darkness to a Texas Tent City.


Afta Nafta

"Without tariffs, we wouldn't be talking about a deal -- just for those babies out there that talk about tariffs." Calling it "the most important trade deal we've ever made by far," President Trump celebrated the new NAFTA-replacement trade deal with Canada and Mexico. The new deal will be called, the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement, or USMCA (an acronym that could inspire a Village People renunion).

+ Bloomberg: Cars, Cows and a Crisis Averted: Highlights of New Nafta Deal.


Indonesian Tsunami

"At Poboya, in the hills above Palu, volunteers dug a 100-metre-long mass grave and began filling it with hundreds of bodies in bags. Instructions were given to prepare for up to 1,300 victims to be buried, in order to stave off the spread of disease." Grim scenes in Indonesia as authorities try to make their way towards a Tsunami's hardest hit areas. The death toll is expected to rise.

+ InFocus: Photos From the Deadly Earthquake and Tsunami in Indonesia.


Enemy of the State

"The state law would guarantee what is known as net neutrality — rules that were established during the Obama administration, but that the Federal Communications Commission under President Trump rescinded last year." Moments after California signed its own net neutrality bill into law, Jeff Sessions' Justice Department sued the state, arguing that "under the Constitution, states do not regulate interstate commerce — the federal government does." (Alternate view: We Californians built and run the internet, so it's ours...)


Brain Sell

"Researchers tied three behaviors to higher scores on tests of mental ability in children: at least 60 minutes of physical activity a day, nine to 11 hours of sleep a night, and no more than two hours a day of recreational screen time." NYT: Kids' Brainpower Tied to Exercise, Sleep and Limited Screen Time. (I'm holding out hope that the opposite is true for adults.)


SEC’est La Vie

Elon Musk settled his tweeting-related case with the SEC over the weekend, giving up the chairmanship of Tesla and paying a big fine (albeit one that was dwarfed by his gains from Tesla's surge following the settlement news -- maybe the public markets aren't so bad after all). Tesla stock roars back after Elon Musk's SEC deal. (Elon Musk had to pay $20 million for his tweeting. In terms of lost potential, mine has cost me at least that much...)


Braking Away

"James P. Allison, of MD Anderson Cancer Center in Texas, and Tasuku Honjo, of Kyoto University in Japan, independently discovered that certain proteins can act as brakes on the immune system. When those brakes are lifted, immune cells will attack cancer as if it were a foreign invader. The approach is technically known as 'immune checkpoint inhibition.'" Buzzfeed: Two Scientists Have Won The Nobel Prize In Medicine For Cancer Therapy.


Vinod to Joy

"The decision caps an all-out legal battle over a small stretch of sand in San Mateo County known as Martins Beach. What began as a local dispute over a locked gate has exploded into a cause célèbre for beachgoers across California. The decade-long squabble spurred a spate of lawsuits that zeroed in on whether property owner Vinod Khosla needs state permission to gate off the road." LA Times: US Supreme Court declines to take Martins Beach case — a win for California's landmark coastal access law. (Awesome, just in time for winter...)


Bottom of the News

From Slate: Marriage Proposal Goes Awry After Hiking Couple Gets Lost. "Joshua Mason, 27, and his girlfriend, Katie Davis, 28, had set out on an eight-mile hike from the Fourth of July Trailhead to the nearly 13,000-foot summit on Jasper Peak. When the two came upon an isolated, scenic spot along the trail, Mason surprised Davis by popping the question. Davis accepted the proposal, and the happy couple continued their trek to the peak. However, Davis and Mason had gotten a late start for a hike of this length, embarking at around noon. There are also no clear trails to Jasper Peak, and as darkness fell, the hikers lost their bearings. They had neglected to bring enough water, clothes for the cooler temperatures, or overnight camping supplies. They followed the ridge line until around midnight, when they came to a cliff and could go no further. With few other options, the two began to scream for help." (I'm pretty sure there's a metaphor buried somewhere in this story...)

+ While everyone was focused on Kanye's MAGA hat, SNL got off to a very strong start to their season. Highlights included the Kavanaugh Hearing Cold Open, Adam Driver visiting a school on career day, the return of RBG, Pete Davidson talking about one thing everyone else was talking about over the summer, and basically everything about the Weekend Update overview of the Kavanaugh hearings, especially this line from Colin Jost: "If you took a shot for every time Brett Kavanaugh lied about his yearbook, you'd be as drunk as Brett Kavanaugh was in the summer of 1982."

+ In Youth Football News, take a look at this move.