December 3rd – The Day’s Most Fascinating News

The connection between birthdays and ADHD, reflecting on George Bush, and that's not what Xi said...

“The rate of diagnosis of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder among children has nearly doubled in the past two decades. Rates of A.D.H.D. diagnoses also vary considerably across states, with nearly three times as many children getting the diagnosis in Kentucky (where one in five children are said to have the condition) as in Nevada. More than 5 percent of all children in the United States now take an A.D.H.D. medication. All this raises the question of whether the disease is being overdiagnosed.” That description of the issues surrounding the diagnosis and medicating of A.D.H.D. probably sounds pretty familiar. But here’s a stat that might surprise you. “Rates of A.D.H.D. diagnosis and treatment were 34 percent higher among children born in August than among children born in September in states with a Sept. 1 school entry-age cutoff.” Three health policy researchers in the NYT on a new study that raises questions about age, maturity and overdiagnosis. The Link Between August Birthdays and A.D.H.D.


Vested Interests

“In places like these, a quiet fear gnaws at households: What happens when the money runs out around the 20th? What do I put in the refrigerator with nothing left in the account and the electricity bill to pay? Which meal should I skip today? How do I tell my wife again there is no going out this weekend?” In France, increasingly violent protests have presented the biggest challenge of Emmanuel Macron’s presidency. The root of the protests represents one of the biggest challenges facing the world. NYT: Yellow Vests Riot in Paris, but Their Anger Is Rooted Deep in France.

+ French paramedics, students join cost-of-living protests.

+ Photos of the Paris Yellow Vest Riots.


Poppy Flowers

“I love you, too.” If you gotta go, these are not bad words to leave with. The NYT’s Peter Baker on the last days of George Herbert Walker Bush. (Being respectful, and even laudatory, when someone with opposing political views dies is entirely appropriate and even required. Instead of lamenting the loss of public decency we remember from George H.W. Bush, we should emulate it.)

+ “Despite antipathy between the Bush family and President Donald Trump, the 41st president made clear he wanted America’s current leader to be at the funeral, putting the institution of the presidency above personal animosities.” (Of course, nearly anything said about Bush at his funeral will sound like a rebuke of Trump. So would anything you’d say about almost anyone.)

+ Some memories shared by the Bush White House photographer.

+ Franklin Foer: The Last WASP President.

+ Maureen Dowd: My faithful correspondent, Poppy Bush, scribbling and typing notes through decades of history. The Patrician President and the Reporterette: A Screwball Story.

+ The President’s service dog says goodbye.


That’s Not What Xi Said

“Trump makes it sound like China is starting to cave to his demands. Top Chinese officials make it sound like the only thing that’s about to change is that U.S.-China trade relations would go back to where they were in January — before Trump unleashed his tariff war.” It’s not an ‘incredible deal’ yet, but the market likes the lifting of tensions between China and the US.

+ Meanwhile, back on Twitter, the president is chiming in on the sentencing request made by Michael Cohen: “He lied for this outcome and should, in my opinion, serve a full and complete sentence.”


Climate Change of Heart

George W Bush stated that “an increase in greenhouse gases caused by humans is contributing to the problem” of the warming earth. His father worked with Canadians to address the environmental scourge caused by acid rain. But today, Trump’s skepticism of climate science is echoed across GOP. (Much more so among politicians than voters.)

+ NYT: “Reported cases of measles worldwide surged by nearly a third last year, partly because parents did not vaccinate their children.”


Pathological Killer

“More than 47,000 Americans killed themselves in 2017 … contributing to an overall decline in U.S. life expectancy. Since 1999, the suicide rate has climbed 33 percent.” A special report from USA Today: Money to research and combat suicide continues to lag behind other leading killers and even non-fatal conditions.

+ Laura Trujillo: My mom’s suicide changed everything. Here’s how I found hope again.


Just Duet

“After years of sharing their working lives, duos sometimes develop a private language, the way twins do. They imitate each other’s clothing and habits. A sense of humor osmoses from one to the other. Apportioning credit between them becomes impossible. But partnerships of this intensity are unusual in software development.” Here’s the story of a pair of programmers whose teamwork had a massive impact on how you use the internet. James Somers in The New Yorker: The Friendship That Made Google Huge.


You Take It On Faith, You Take It To The Heart

“Tom Petty was right, the waiting is the hardest part. Waiting for her next appointment, for a new medicine to kick in, for her to get well. Waiting for her to digest so we can make love, waiting for her vision to clear so we can binge-watch Netflix like a normal couple. Waiting to stop waiting.” Alex Belth with a personal story of caring for a loved one who is sick. How Our Relationship Survived When My Partner Got Sick.


It’s the End of the World As We Know It

“Sound therapies have long been popular as a way of relaxing and restoring one’s health. For centuries, indigenous cultures have used music to enhance well-being and improve health conditions. Now, neuroscientists out of the UK have specified which tunes give you the most bang for your musical buck.” Neuroscience says listening to this song reduces anxiety by up to 65%. (Ironically, most chill music makes me want to strangle someone.)


Bottom of the News

You think you’ve got a problem with fake news? Check out this lede: “There’s no evidence that Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari has died and been replaced by a lookalike.”

+ PopSci: The 100 greatest innovations of 2018.

+ Mexico’s new president’s first move was to put his presidential plane up for sale.

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