Friday, November 16th, 2018


Honey, I Shrunk the Planet

"For the past few years, a tide of optimistic thinking has held that conditions for human beings around the globe have been improving. Wars are scarcer, poverty and hunger are less severe, and there are better prospects for wide-scale literacy and education. But there are newer signs that human progress has begun to flag. In the face of our environmental deterioration, it's now reasonable to ask whether the human game has begun to falter—perhaps even to play itself out." And, over and over, climate change is the big factor that's reversing progress and endangering the future. If it's a hoax, it's the most convincing hoax of all time. The New Yorker's Bill McKibben reflects on three decades of covering the climate change beat. How Extreme Weather Is Shrinking the Planet.


Ash Heap

For the second time this week (and the second time in two years), my kids' school is closed because of remarkably poor air quality. This time, we're breathing in the ash and soot of people's tragedies nearly 200 miles away. Here's the latest on the NorCal fires: 66 People Have Died, And More Than 600 Others Are Missing. And here's some drone footage showing the devastation in Paradise, CA.

+ "It's like a total cremation of a town. It's hard to see." Buzzfeed: Nothing can prepare the people who have to search for charred bodies after the California wildfires.

+ NYT: "The fire that swept through the town of Paradise and neighboring hamlets has once again laid bare one of California's biggest vulnerabilities: With each disaster — wildfire, mudslide or earthquake — there are thousands of people who cannot find homes in a market that for years has had very little vacancy."

+ "I asked him if the effort was coördinated with the fire department. 'Nope,'s he said. 'They were there. But here's the thing: they do them and we do us. It is a Lord of the Flies situation up there right now. There's downed power lines everywhere. There's not a lot of comms. There's houses that are burnt down. There's people wandering around—you don't know if it's a looter. There's a group of guys that's going to go back in there and defend the homes.'" Dana Goodyear with a very interesting look at SoCal's citizen firefighters.


Weekend Whats

What to Read: "This, I tell him, actually sounds like it was my fault. I put a target on their back by naming them number one, and that influx of people messed with the way they'd been running the business for decades, and all that could literally be blamed on me, if you were going to blame someone. 'No, no, successful people don't blame others,' Stanich told me again, though this time he wasn't looking at me." Kevin Alexander on the power of lists in the internet age, and a few other issues: I Found the Best Burger Place in America. And Then I Killed It.

+ What to Movie: "Alex Honnold's climb should be celebrated as one of the great athletic feats of any kind, ever." That NYT quote is totally accurate and Free Solo is a great documentary that chronicles the year or so leading up to the climb. It's amazing. My amygdala was firing off the charts just watching the climb. (Sidenote: I have a wife, 2 kids and 5 pets. I got out of the house alone last Saturday night to watch Alex Honnold climb El Capitan in Free Solo. I feel like I should have had a documentary crew with me because, given the odds, my achievement was equally unlikely...)

+ What to Doc: I've heard the excellent Seema Reza talk about her writing programs for veterans. One of the programs was captured in a short HBO doc that follows several vets suffering from PTSD as they use the written word to share and heal. We Are Not Done Yet.


No More Rhymes Now, I Mean It

"My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die." One of the epic lines in movie history from one of the era's most epic writers. In addition to Princess Bride (not that one needs to achieve anything in addition to that), William Goldman wrote Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid and Marathon Man and adapted All the President's Men. William Goldman passed away at 87. With a resume like his, what can one really say other than, "Anyone want a peanut?"


Jim Pass

"Kelly found that Acosta was likely to succeed on Fifth Amendment grounds, saying Acosta had no meaningful opportunity to rebut the claims against him or challenge the government's actions. 'Indeed whatever process occurred within the government is still so shrouded in mystery that the government could not tell me at oral argument who made the initial decision to revoke Mr. Acosta's press pass.'" A federal judge ordered the White House to reinstate Jim Acosta's press pass.

+ "You have to always be careful when you answer questions with people that probably have bad intentions. But ... the questions were very routinely answered by me." Donald Trump said Friday that he has answered written questions from special counsel Robert Mueller but hasn't yet submitted them. (Editor's note: I mean, I don't see any reason not to take him at his word…)

+ NYT: Julian Assange Is Secretly Charged in U.S., Prosecutors Mistakenly Reveal.


Ketosis Boom Bah

Vox provides the details on the big new nutrition study that has researchers (and TV doctors) talking: "It's probably the most contentious question in the dieting wars: How much do carbs really matter when it comes to weight loss?" (The most contentious question in my house is, "Who the hell ate the last everything bagel?")


Doing the Dew

I assume you're entirely familiar with directed energy weapons, or DEWs. You know, the kind the government uses when it wants to start fires and thereby ... actually, that's about all I could take. When there's a big news story, even a tragic one, there's always a conspiracy theory (or fifty). Gizmodo: California's Wildfires Have Spawned a Truly Weird New Conspiracy Theory.


Oklahoma Sooner Rather Than Later

"The city may be 1,640 miles and a world away from his old home in Manhattan, but it has its own charms: Tulsa is 'super hip,' 'super unique,' and 'exclusively un-exclusive,' he says. He calls it "the Paris of the Heartland." (Apparently, nobody else does, yet.)" HQ2 didn't fulfill its promise of bringing big business to smaller cities. But it's not the only such program. CityLab: Stop Complaining About Your Rent and Move to Tulsa, Suggests Tulsa. "The George Kaiser Family Foundation is offering $10,000, free rent, and other perks to remote workers who move to Tulsa for a year."


Drill Sargent

"Even if Musk is building world-changing transportation underneath Hawthorne, and even if the residents ultimately welcome the technology, he is undertaking this project with strikingly little public input or oversight." When Elon Musk Tunnels Under Your Home.


Feel Good Friday

"Scott is now 10 years old and has reached the important milestone, which for many is the point when someone can be considered cancer-free." Batkid, cancer free.

+ Facebook fundraisers have raised over $1 billion. (Give me some credit. I found a feel good Facebook story this week. They don't call me the managing editor of the internet for nothing...)

+ Blind runner finds love with woman who volunteered to train him for marathon.

+ NPR: The 2 Couples Who Rescued My Family From The Nazis.

+ This mobile laundry gives homeless people free showers and washes their clothes.

+ Mercy nurses give Mega Millions winnings to 2 of their own going through heartbreak.