November 1st – The Day’s Most Fascinating News

A thirty day life cleanse, the real migrant story, and the Google walkout.

“L.A. is a competitive place, full of transplants on the seek. And with each season comes a new diet (“any three-day cleanse for $90”), a new treatment to fix what’s wrong (the “Viora Reaction,” the “Vampire Facelift”). Self-help has become a habit in America, but it’s pathological in Southern California. Life coaches advertise on telephone poles. Storefront psychics are open 24/7.” To better understand this side of LA (and perhaps the broader world as well), Rosecrans Baldwin decided to subject himself to a thirty day life cleanse, complete with juice bars, hallucinogenic ceremonies, wellness retreats, spell sessions with a witch, walks with a complexity coach, and a gnostic mass in a strip mall. (I’ve tried all that and more … anything to avoid the news for a few hours…) Needless to say, things got pretty dark. From GQ: My Life Cleanse: One Month Inside L.A.’s Cult of Betterness.


We Don’t Need Another Hero

“The perpetrators of this share of hate crimes are largely white men who hold the belief, exacerbated by rhetoric in politics and media, that they are protecting their culture, race and an endangered way of life that has historically — and, in their view, rightly — placed them at the top … In their version of the story, these men are not the villains, but the heroes, according to those who study them.” Terrence McCoy with an interesting look at the (changing) psychology of hate crimes. Perpetrators of hate crimes see themselves as heroes.

+ NBC News: Administration will apparently not renew program to fight domestic terror.


Stuck in the Middle

“In March 2015, Saudi Arabia unleashed a full-scale military campaign against the Houthis, who had captured most of Yemen a few months earlier. The Saudis had assembled a coalition of nine states, and they made clear that they considered the Houthis, who are allied with Iran, a mortal threat on their southern border. The war has turned much of Yemen into a wasteland and has killed at least 10,000 civilians, mostly in errant airstrikes. The real number is probably much higher, but verifying casualties in Yemen’s remote areas is extremely difficult. Some 14 million people are facing starvation, in what the United Nations has said could soon become the worst famine seen in the world in 100 years. Disease is rampant, including the world’s worst modern outbreak of cholera.” Somehow, the world has been almost completely distracted from its worst humanitarian crisis. NYT Mag: How The War In Yemen Became A Bloody Stalemate.


The Real Migrant Story

“As migration worldwide soars to record highs, far less visible has been its toll: The tens of thousands of people who die or simply disappear during their journeys, never to be seen again. In most cases, nobody is keeping track: Barely counted in life, these people don’t register in death, as if they never lived at all.” AP: A growing toll: 56,800 migrants dead and missing in 4 years.

+ The unreal migrant story: “President Donald Trump said Wednesday that the number of military troops deployed to the U.S.-Mexican border could reach 15,000 — roughly double the number the Pentagon said it currently plans for a mission whose dimensions are shifting daily.” (It will continue to shift daily until November 6.)

+ And the other half of the strategy: Racist ads.


Bay Watch

“In a time of extreme inequality, a growing backlash against big technology (a.k.a. the techlash), and democratic dysfunction, Benioff and Dorsey, two white-guy billionaires, were arguing over how best to help their city’s poor and vulnerable.” The New Yorker with an interesting look at a very interesting political battle in San Francisco. Can the poster city for tech-driven hyper-inequality solve its biggest issue by throwing more money at the problem? The Battle of the Big-Tech Titans Over San Francisco’s Tax for the Homeless.


Let’s Take This Offline

“The demonstrations, dubbed ‘Google Walkout,’ follow an outcry over a New York Times investigation that detailed years of sexual harassment allegations, multimillion-dollar severance packages for accused executives, and a lack of transparency over the cases.” CNN: Google employees are walking out over sexual harassment scandals.

+ “We’re the Organizers of the Google Walkout. Here Are Our Demands

+ Some photos of the walkout from around the world.


Crash Test Mummies

“Bodies were slammed, smashed and thrown from deceleration sleds by grateful grad students who were no longer subjected to the same tests themselves. At testing’s height in 1966, cadavers were used once a month. The data they gathered was used to write the ‘Wayne State Tolerance Curve,’ still used to this day to calculate the amount of force required to cause head injuries in a car crash.” That crash test dummy looks pretty real. A little too real. Jalopnik: How Dead Bodies Save Lives Every Day on the Road. (Instead of donating my body to science, I’ve arranged to have it donated it to political science where it will be used to determine how many presidential tweets a human can endure before its head explodes.)


Metal Head

“One of the most notable discoveries of the study … was that ‘[fans are] not enjoying anger when they listen to the music, but they are in fact experiencing a range of positive emotions.'” Quartzy: A Study Found That Death Metal Fans Feel Joy And Peace From Violent Music.

+ I’ve been to one hardcore metal show. It led to this piece in McSweeney’s: An Open Letter To The Guy Who Puked Next To Me At The Heavy Metal Festival.


Petty Cache

“World history is peppered with petty—the small-minded revenge seekers and the even smaller-minded ones, too. A building constructed just to block a neighbor’s light; a lawsuit over a too-short Subway sandwich; a 300-year war started over a stolen wooden bucket.” From Topic: Welcome to the Petty Hall of Fame.


Bottom of the News

“The rock attacks the water at so low an angle that the first several bounces occur in rapid succession. I lose count in the high twenties. To me this throw is a revelation. To Steiner it’s a warmup.” Wired: Swift Stone Skippers Could In Theory Skip 100S Of Skips. (As it is, people are getting up into the 80s…)

+ Moving a bookstore via a human chain.

+ Why some millennials think travel is more important than sex.

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