Monday, December 17th, 2018


Steam Punks

What happens when you give kids a nicotine-filled, USB-charged device with a user interface that can simultaneously address the need to fidget and satisfy even the most rabid oral fixation? It gets popular, fast. From NPR: Teen Vaping Soared In 2018. "It was the biggest one-year spike of any kind in the 44 years the Monitoring the Future survey has been tracking substance abuse by young people."

+ Vice: Teens are vaping more than ever. But they're using other drugs way less.


Rx Marks the Spot

"Precision medicine flips the script on conventional medicine, which typically offers blanket recommendations and prescribes treatments designed to help more people than they harm but that might not work for you. The approach recognizes that we each possess distinct molecular characteristics, and they have an outsize impact on our health." NatGeo with a special report on the increasingly promising field of medicine that's tailored to the individual patient. How personalized medicine is transforming your health care.

+ Meanwhile, "The Affordable Care Act faces a new legal challenge after a federal judge in Texas ruled the law unconstitutional on Friday. The decision risks throwing the nation's health care system into turmoil should it be upheld on appeal. But little will be different in the meantime."


Adding Consult to Injury

"At a time when democracies and their basic values are increasingly under attack, the iconic American company has helped raise the stature of authoritarian and corrupt governments across the globe, sometimes in ways that counter American interests." NYT: How McKinsey Has Helped Raise the Stature of Authoritarian Governments. Let's hope they at least overbilled. (I'm kidding. Of course they overbilled...)


And the Horse You Rode in On

"He arrived to his first day at the department on horseback, wearing a Stetson. A former Navy seal, he transplanted an arcane military ritual onto his new life as a downtown bureaucrat: Whenever he walked into the Interior Department's downtown-D.C. headquarters, he ordered his staff to fly a special flag." That flag must be at half staff today, because Ryan Zinke is the latest Trump administration official to get squeezed out of a job under the weight of his own scandals.

+ Prosecutors charge two people involved in Flynn's Turkish lobbying.

+ For those keeping score at home, here's Wired's complete guide to all 17 (known) Trump and Russia investigations.

+ A Senate report makes it clear just how determined and active the Russians were when it came to supporting Trump on social media. Here are four main takeaways from the new report. Plus, from WaPo: Russian efforts to manipulate African Americans show sophistication of disinformation campaign.


Manhattan Project

"The pair embarked on, by her account, a clandestine romance of eight years, the claustrophobic, controlling and yet dreamy dimensions of which she's still processing more than four decades later. For her, the recent re-examination of gender power dynamics initiated by the MeToo movement (and Allen's personal scandals, including a claim of sexual abuse by his adopted daughter Dylan Farrow) has turned what had been a melancholic if still sweet memory into something much more uncomfortable." The Hollywood Reporter: Woody Allen's Secret Teen Lover Speaks. (Before you starting judging, you should know that Woody stopped all these shenanigans once he married his daughter.)


Gonzaga Acceptance Rate

"Poole was a serial sexual predator. He abused at least 20 women and girls, according to court documents. At least one was 6 years old. One Alaska Native woman says he impregnated her when she was 16, then forced her to get an abortion and blame her father for raping her. Her father went to prison. Like so many other Catholic priests around the country, Poole's inappropriate conduct with young girls was well-known to his superiors." From Reveal: These priests abused in Native villages for years. They retired on Gonzaga's campus.

+ "He would always make sure he had a soda in his fridge, and he'd give it to me and say, ‘I want you to drink this and get the taste out of your mouth.' Then he'd send me back to class." USA Today: Religious orders kept reports of child sex abuse secret for years.


The Money Brit

"For more than a decade, ultrarich people from the former Soviet Union, China and the Middle East have turned to London mansions, New York high-rises, and chic properties in Vancouver, Miami and Paris to store their cash. The phenomenon has turned the real estate markets of North American and European cities into the savings accounts of wealthy foreigners — some of whom face allegations of corruption or crime back home." Now British officials are deploying a new, and controversial, investigative tool to try to stem the tide of real estate money laundering. From WaPo: To combat dirty money, Britain asks: How did you pay for that mansion? (The US should do this for office towers, golf courses, and cheap hairpieces...)


Monk Shot

"Now, going on four years later, a semiprofessional sports program is flourishing and spreading hope, in a region better known for its reincarnated lamas than its athletes." The Atlantic: Tibet Is Going Crazy for Hoops. The on court trashtalk must be pretty entertaining: "Three things cannot be long hidden: the sun, the moon, and the truth. Actually, there's a fourth thing: That airball you just shot."

+ WBUR: My Dad's Friendship With Charles Barkley.


Twin Engine

"In 2016, Madison and Kyler Fisher hit rock bottom. After a business venture gone bust, the Los Angeles-based couple was left penniless, with twin infant girls. Today their 2-year-old daughters, Taytum and Oakley, have 2.2 million followers on Instagram, and command five-figure sums for a single branded photo." FastCo: The 2-year-old Instagram influencers who make more than you. (I've been trying to exploit my kids online for years, but they refuse to go viral...)


Bottom of the News

It's that time of year when we should be looking back at our mistakes and figuring out places where we can improve during the coming year. But instead, let's look back on other people's mistakes. Here are The Best News Bloopers Of 2018. (Otherwise known as the one time a year when I watch local TV news...)

+ When a Baggie Just Won't Do: Packaging in the Age of Legal Pot.