Thursday, January 17th, 2019


Nuts and Chews

We're more than a couple weeks into 2019, so there's a decent chance your resolution to eat less and better has been largely abandoned. But scientists have now developed a diet that includes a few more incentives to keep you focused. It "promises to save lives, feed 10 billion people and all without causing catastrophic damage to the planet." You can still eat meat on occasion, but those night of devouring a thousand hamberders are probably over. Introducing The Planetary Health Diet: A bit of meat, a lot of veg - the flexitarian diet to feed 10 billion. (But, hey, if you're not concerned about the planet's future, seriously, go ahead and enjoy those Red Vines...)

+ The Guardian: New plant-focused diet would transform planet's future, say scientists. "North Americans need to eat 84% less red meat but six times more beans and lentils. For Europeans, eating 77% less red meat and 15 times more nuts and seeds meets the guidelines." (Give me a spoon and a jar of peanut butter, and I'll save the world.)

+ Need a little more incentive? Saving the planet means saving your coffee. Scientific American: Most Wild Coffee Species Risk Extinction Worldwide.


Cardi Be Best

"Due to the Shutdown, I am sorry to inform you that your trip to Brussels, Egypt, and Afghanistan has been postponed ... Obviously, if you would like to make your journey by flying commercial, that would certainly be your prerogative." The White House has pulled the plug on Nancy Pelosi's upcoming trip. The move comes day after the Speaker suggested delaying the State of the Union address. The White House is reportedly considering alternate venues for the SOTU. (I wonder if the set of The Apprentice is available.) Meanwhile, the country's longest government shutdown continues with no signs of progress. Here's the latest from CNN.

+ In other shutdown news, Cardi B has chimed in. "Now I know a lot of y'all don't care because y'all don't work for the government or y'all probably don't even have a job, but this shit is really f*cking serious." (No one knows how to launch a presidential exploratory committee like Cardi B.)


Alternative Reality

"In short, we've reached a point in the Mueller probe where there are only two scenarios left: Either the president is compromised by the Russian government and has been working covertly to cooperate with Vladimir Putin after Russia helped win him the 2016 election—or Trump will go down in history as the world's most famous 'useful idiot,' as communists used to call those who could be co-opted to the cause without realizing it." Garrett Graff in Wired: Trump Must Be A Russian Agent; The Alternative Is Too Awful.

+ "Eleven Republicans joined Democrats in a vote to enforce sanctions against the corporate empire of an influential ally of President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia, but the effort fell three votes short of the 60-vote threshold required to advance the measure." NYT: Democrats Fall Short in Russia Sanctions Vote. (Even the House voted overwhelmingly to keep the sanctions in place.)

+ NPR: Michael Cohen acknowledges scheme to rig polls in presidential race.

+ Rudy Giuliani says Trump didn't collude with Russia but can't say if campaign aides did. "I never said there was no collusion between the campaign, or people in the campaign." (Giuliani has now moved the goalposts so far that not even Cody Parkey could hit the uprights.)


Brick Rolled

"In one extreme case, a kit for Star Wars Darth Revan that retailed in 2014 for $3.99 went for $28.46 on eBay a year later -- a 613 percent premium." Has the volatility of the public markets left you looking for safer place to park your dough? According to Bloomberg, The Hot New Asset Class Is Lego Sets.

+ Also from Bloomberg: Fortnite's Digital Goods Are Key to the Future of Global Trade. (If that's true, my 12 year-old son's bedroom is a major international port.)


This Might Strike a Cord

"Cord-cutting was supposed to be a boon for cash-strapped millennials. But as the streaming video marketplace gets more crowded (Apple, Comcast and Disney are throwing their hats in the ring) and consumer costs rise (Netflix just hiked its price), the future is looking more like the past." If you are planning to cut to cord to save money, you better cut it quick. From NBC News: The Bundle strikes back: How streaming caught up to cable TV prices.

+ Quartz: The economics of streaming is making songs shorter.


Who Goes There

"The World Health Organization notes that vaccination is one of the most cost-effective ways to ward off disease, preventing between two and three million deaths every year." But this isn't a story about the benefits of vaccination. It's about the dangers presented by the anti-vaxxers. WHO has named vaccine hesitancy as one of the top 10 public-health threats of 2019.


Kiwi the People

"To understand why the story of the bad family has absolutely taken over New Zealand, you must know that our economy absolutely depends on the massive amounts of money tourism brings in, yet we actively despise every single tourist who dares to come and enjoy all the stuff we promised was so great." Slate: Why Is All of New Zealand Obsessed With This Drunken, Littering, Rowdy Tourist Family?


Michigan State Line

"In June, emails revealed that Engler accused Rachael Denhollander, the first gymnast to accuse Nassar, of getting a 'kickback' for helping lawyers 'manipulate' other gymnasts into coming forward. Eight days after the initial report, Engler apologized. Then, in an interview with The Detroit News this month, he suggested that some Nassar survivors might be 'enjoying' the 'spotlight.'" As of today, Michigan State President John Engler is no longer enjoying a job.


Trade School

"Do store employees ever get upset when you come in and buy everything?" That was just one of the questions posed by Ian Lecklitner as he takes you into the strange yet profitable world of retail arbitrage. ("Turns out, clearing out a Target or Walmart, then reselling it all on Amazon, can make you enough money to pay off your house.")


Bottom of the News

We know kids love watching uboxing videos on YouTube. Well, what if toy took a really long time to completely unwrap? Mental Floss with The Psychology Behind Kids' L.O.L. Surprise! Doll Obsession.

+ Photos from the 2019 Dakar Rally.

+ Gizmodo: "In a new case study, Irish doctors report the baffling case of a 33-year-old man who injected his own semen intravenously for a year and a half, a self-developed 'cure' intended to treat his chronic back pain. It does not appear to have worked."