Tuesday, January 15th, 2019


Heel Thyself

You lace them up in the morning, drag them around all day, and then kick them off by the couch in the evening; and then they just sit there. So it's understandable if you're getting a little sick and tired of dragging this pair of idiots with you everywhere you go. But don't get your knickers in a twist. You're about to meet your new sole mates. Say hello to smart shoes. Your new kicks have a few features with which your tootsies will be unfamiliar. "There's a three-axis gyroscope and an accelerometer to match; a capacitive copper layer to register foot force; a Bluetooth sensor; a 505-mAh battery that can last between 10 and 20 days and charge wirelessly (just put your shoes on a plugged in Qi-compatible charging mat and they'll be ready in three hours); and of course a motor. In this case, a motor that's capable of exerting 240 newton-meters of force—enough to lift a 30-pound weight, and more than enough to tighten the sneaker all the way to tourniquet territory." They "tie" themselves. They adjust to your activities. They may one day even be able to reduce your injuries. From Wired: Nike's New Self-Lacing Basketball Shoe Is Actually Smart.

+ The "shoe doesn't just collect data about your training. It adapts itself to fit your foot at a moment's notice." FastCo: Nike's big bet on the future of connected shoes.

+ The Verge: Hands-on with Nike's self-lacing, app-controlled sneaker of the future. (A future software update is even expected to help with conditions such as bone spurs in one's heels...)


Tower of Babel

"When he fails to tweet for even a few hours, Trumpologists search for meaning in the silence. Hours are devoted on cable television, each and every day, to examining the entrails of his most recent utterances. Has there been a day in the past two years without a Trump-related story on the front page of every major U.S. newspaper? How does the president lie to us? Let us count the ways. And we do, endlessly, meticulously. Do you believe for a moment that Americans are ready to give that up merely because, for one reason or another, Trump has been obliged to reoccupy Trump Tower full-time?" In WaPo, Ted Koppel shares a few thoughts about Trump, the media, and us. Don't expect Trump to go quietly.

+ "Trump was seeking to begin peeling away some Democrats representing competitive districts from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi." No one bit. And so the shutdown is where it was yesterday, and the day before that... But the weight of the shutdown is increasing. From Bloomberg: In a Month You'll Wish the Shutdown Were Only as Bad as Today. "Shutdowns don't get bad linearly; they get bad exponentially." (Exponential badness seems to be in vogue these days.)

+ Meanwhile, the Pentagon has extended its troop border deployment as Trump warns of "big new caravan." (Gee, didn't see that one coming...)


You Can Check Out Anytime You Like, But…

"Prime Minister Theresa May has lost an MPs' vote on her Brexit deal by 230 votes - the largest defeat for a sitting government in history."

+ "No 10 is adamant that the PM going nowhere, but scale of defeat will inevitably lead to serious questions." Here's the latest on the Brexit debacle from BBC.


Barr Be Q’d

"I will not be bullied into doing anything I think is wrong by anybody whether it be editorial boards or Congress or the President. I am going to do what I think is right." William Barr, Trump's attorney general pick, is facing his Senate hearing. Here's the latest from CNN.


Insulin Sticker Shock

"The price of insulin — once modest — has skyrocketed in recent years, making the lifesaving medication a significant, even burdensome, expense, especially for the uninsured and underinsured. The costs are so heavy that they have driven some patients to ration their supplies of the drug in a dangerous gamble with life-threatening consequences. At the time Alec discussed skipping insurance coverage, he told his mother, 'It can't be that bad.' Within a month of going off her policy, he would be dead." WaPo: Life, Death and Insulin.

+ NYT: "It is legal to resell unused test strips for blood glucose, and many patients do, driving an unusual trade online and on the streets." The Strange Marketplace for Diabetes Test Strips.


Hammer Time

Jeff Spross in The Week: How to build a skyscraper out of wood. "Building skyscrapers out of wood: It sounds bizarre, unsafe, maybe even a bit twee. But it could actually be the future of construction." (Why do I have the feeling these engineers and architects have never played Jenga?)


Netflix and Bill

It's still relatively cheap for what you get (assuming you binge watch the hell out of every half-decent show out there), but your Netflix subscription is about to get more expensive. Netflix is ultimately going to need a lot more cash to pay down the debt its building up to provide you with a bottomless pit of content. Meanwhile, big media and connectivity companies are going to need cash to pay down the debt they're building up to keep pace with Netflix. (When the shit hits the fan, it will probably provide excellent fodder for a new series.) Variety: Can Hollywood's Biggest Media Companies Avoid Getting Crushed by Debt?


Kumbh Together

"People come here to taste the nectar of immortality." Apparently that nectar tastes pretty good, because a lot of people are coming to Prayagraj. Like, more than 120 million. The Guardian: Kumbh Mela: Hindus converge for largest-ever human gathering. (Prepare to wait forever for an Uber...)


Dog Pounds

BBC: "Even animals that aren't eating too much or exercising too little are getting fat. If we can figure out why, we may have the key to our own obesity crisis – and how to stop it."

+ Is Eating Organic Food Better for Us? For the Earth?


Bottom of the News

"I was a 3-year-old preschooler when I corrected my teacher's knowledge of the constitutional requirements to be U.S. president. In kindergarten, I learned that telling my friends that Bashar al-Assad was using chemical weapons against his own people would cause kids to cry on the playground. My parents received a call from an unhappy principal that day. And telling my third-grade science teacher that her knowledge of gravity lacked depth earned me a spot on her naughty list for the rest of the year." I'm Only 9, And I'm Already In College. Here's What Life Is Like For Me.

+ The latest milk to hit the refrigerated section: Oat Milk.

+ Who Wrote It: Edgar Allan Poe or an Emo Band?