Monday, October 22nd, 2018


Life in the Fast (Food) Lane

"The top five health drivers that explain most of the future trajectory for premature mortality are high blood pressure, high body mass index, high blood sugar, tobacco use, and alcohol use... Air pollution ranked sixth." Everyone's favorite Vulcan/Philosopher advised others to "live long and prosper." Americans are doing well on the latter. But we're starting to lag on the former. From Bloomberg: Americans Lose in 2040 Global Life Expectancy Rankings.

+ So how are we prospering but not enjoying the life expectancy one associates with prosperity? There are several factors. This, from the NYT, could certainly be one: Fast Food: It's What's for Dinner. And Lunch. And Breakfast. "More than a third of adults in the United States patronize fast-food restaurants and pizza parlors on any given day. And the higher their income, the more likely they are to do so."


A Bridge Too Far?

"A $20-billion bridge connecting Hong Kong and Macau to the mainland Chinese city of Zhuhai is set to finally open this week, marking the completion of the longest sea-crossing bridge ever built, nine years after construction began." CNN: World's longest sea-crossing bridge opens between Hong Kong and China. The bridge is 34-miles long. (I know I'd have to go to the bathroom the minute I passed through the toll booth...)

+ BBC: The world's longest sea bridge in pictures.


Caravan Life

"President Donald Trump on Monday vowed to begin curtailing tens of millions of dollars in aid to three Central American nations and called a caravan of migrants bound for the United States a national emergency as he sought to boost his party's chances in Nov. 6 congressional elections." AP: Trump vows to cut Central America aid, calls migrant caravan an emergency.

+ "It was an unprecedented day in the annals of Central American migration as a stream of people took over the highway linking Ciudad Hidalgo with Tapachula. They filled one side of the highway, linking arms to form human chains as organizers in the group shouted for people to stay on the right side of the yellow dividing line." Buzzfeed: In A Marathonlike Dash, 7,200 Central Americans Stream Into Southern Mexico.

+ NYT: Trump Claims 'Criminals and Unknown Middle Easterners' Are in Caravan of Migrants. (Unknown Middle Easterners, criminals, Hannibal Lecter, Darth Vader, Lord Voldemort, Bane, Michael Myers, Keyser Söze, Thanos, The Penguin ... many people are saying they're all in the caravan.)


Breaking: The Saudis Killed Somebody

It's often amazing how certain stories can dominate the world's attention. The murder of one journalist gets 10,000 times the coverage of thousands of civilian deaths in Yemen. "The Saudi-led war in Yemen has ground on for more than three years, killing thousands of civilians and creating what the United Nations calls the world's worst humanitarian crisis. But it took the crisis over the apparent murder of the dissident Jamal Khashoggi in a Saudi consulate two weeks ago for the world to take notice." Declan Walsh in the NYT: This is the front line of Saudi Arabia's invisible war.


Gender Roll Back

"The agency's proposed definition would define sex as either male or female, unchangeable, and determined by the genitals that a person is born with, according to a draft reviewed by The Times. Any dispute about one's sex would have to be clarified using genetic testing." 'Transgender' Could Be Defined Out of Existence Under Trump Administration. (I'll never understand why one person would care how another person self-identifies...)

+ James Hamblin in The Atlantic: Against a Federal Registry of Genitals.

+ The New Yorker: "For transgender and intersex people, having rights taken away is just not a return to a time before those rights were gained. It is worse. It is traumatic. It can have the effect of leaving people exposed because they don't have a closet to return to."

+ NBC News: "People who voted for Donald Trump in the 2016 presidential election believe men are discriminated against more than LGBTQ people, women and most ethnic minorities."


Vote Moat

" Interest in the midterm elections is at a fever pitch in much of the country, with both Democrats and Republicans far more passionate than they've been in more than a decade." Will this result in high turnout? That's far from certain. From WaPo: Despite rampant voter enthusiasm, the reality: Many don't plan to vote in November. (I'm already in line at my polling place...)

+ Some voters are too disillusioned or apathetic to vote. Others want to vote, but politicians in power keep figuring out new ways to prevent them from doing so. "According to the Brennan Center for Justice, ninety-nine bills designed to diminish voter access were introduced last year in thirty-one state legislatures."


Vancouver, Island in the Stream

"The money [is] being frenetically shuffled by millions of wealthy Chinese into safe assets abroad, in defiance of their country's capital controls. Since mid-2014, capital flight from China may have totaled as much as $800 billion, according to estimates from the Institute of International Finance. In Vancouver, the tidal wave has wrought a dramatic economic, demographic, and physical transformation." Vancouver: The City That Had Too Much Money.


Nuclear Reactor

"After the explosion, the men escaped into neighbouring Sweden by skiing 320km (200 miles) across Telemark - despite being chased by some 3,000 German soldiers.
With a wry smile, Ronneberg described it as 'the best skiing weekend I ever had.'" BBC Joachim Ronneberg, the Norwegian who thwarted the Nazi nuclear plan has died at the age of 99.

+ NYT: The Japanese Man Who Saved 6,000 Jews With His Handwriting.


Tube Top

"His YouTube channel, the memes, the fake news, and MBL's army of supporters have helped Kataguiri, 22, become the youngest person ever elected to Congress in Brazil. He's also trying to become Brazil's equivalent of speaker of the House." From Buzzfeed: A group of twentysomethings leveraged their huge YouTube audiences and actually won seats in Brazil's federal and state elections. What happens next is anyone's guess. (When third-rate celebrities start getting into politics, you're country is in big trouble...)


Bottom of the News

"Most days, Jonas Neubauer wakes up a little before noon and either goes to work as a taproom manager in southern California or to his other job where he helps run a recreational marijuana startup. But today the 37-year-old Los Angeles native rolled out of bed a little earlier, still groggy, to talk on the phone about his other life—his most prominent and public one—as the greatest Tetris player in the world."

+ Gizmodo: 100 Websites That Shaped The Internet As We Know It. (I'm old enough to remember when "shaping the internet as we know it" was considered a good thing...)

+ In other news, I have a new kitty.