Thursday, January 24th, 2019


Second Hand News

The good news is that the hands of the Doomsday Clock didn't move. The bad news is that it was already set to two minutes before midnight. According to the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, "Humanity now faces two simultaneous existential threats, either of which would be cause for extreme concern and immediate attention. These major threats—nuclear weapons and climate change—were exacerbated this past year by the increased use of information warfare to undermine democracy around the world, amplifying risk from these and other threats and putting the future of civilization in extraordinary danger."

+ At least most Americans finally seem to believe that climate change is happening. And many people say "the weather they experience daily in their own areas has influenced their thinking about climate change science."

+ But not everybody is a believer. WaPo: Civil penalties for polluters dropped dramatically in Trump's first two years.



Well, Donald Trump finally got his wall. Its name is Nancy. Buzzfeed: Trump Says He will postpone The State Of The Union until after the government shutdown. The big question is, when will after be? Last I check, the Senate had "just failed to advance President Trump's proposal to end the shutdown. They're voting on a competing plan now — that one is also expected to fail." Oddly, most experts see this as progress. Here's the latest.


Pres Dispenser

"We are here to avoid, at all costs … a conflict between Venezuelans. It is not civil war, a war between brothers that will solve the problems of Venezuela. It is dialogue." In a significant boost to Nicolás Maduro's quest to remain in power, "the head of Venezuela's armed forces has thrown his weight behind the embattled president." He also accused the White House of backing a "criminal plan" to oust Maduro.

+ "Key allies of Venezuela's embattled president, Nicolás Maduro, led by Russia and China, have warned the US not to intervene in support of the opposition leader Juan Guaidó's attempt to lead the country."

+ Vice: What you need to know about what's happening in Venezuela.

+ Venezuela protests as two leaders vie to be president – in pictures.


Addressing Returns

"If it sounds crazy to sell products at massive discounts, consider that goods sitting in a warehouse are a cost. So is the labor necessary to repackage something for resale. If Amazon and other retailers let another company pay them something, they avoid those costs and add some revenue." Alexis Madrigal in The Atlantic: Where Amazon Returns Go to Be Resold by Hustlers.

+ CityLab: The ‘Marie Kondo Effect' Comes at a Weird Time for Thrift Stores. (I never return anything or really tidy up much. My secret to minimalism is regifting.)


Glory Hole

"He thinks back to earlier that summer, to how he'd joined a younger friend's AAU team, the Elite Ballers, and pretended to be 17, not an unusual move at these little tournaments. And how he'd absolutely dominated. The coach, unknowing, had told him he'd be a D-I prospect if he were more team-minded. Sitting here alone, he decides that if he's going to become somebody, he'll have to start by becoming somebody else." Sports Illustrated's Max Marshall on the 25-year-old who posed as a teenager and became a high school hoops star. Sidney Wants to Be Someone Else. (I'm not judging. It took me decades to become the best blogger at my high school...)

+ WaPo Magazine on a 42 year-old boxer who has won 11 championships, and is still fighting: Tori Nelson Stays in the Ring. "Outside the ring, Nelson is, in the words of her friend and fellow boxer Tyrieshia Douglas, 'a nice churchy lady.' She spends half an hour each day reading and discussing Bible verses with her longtime boyfriend. She's a hugger, a baby nuzzler, a bestower of silly nicknames. Then she enters the ring and something terrifying emerges, something that won't let her stop punching until she has annihilated the person in the opposite corner." (This actually sounds a little like you in real life vs you on Twitter...)


Heart Failure

"The company that bought Necco, Round Hill Investments LLC, shut down the plant that produced the sweets last year, with 230 workers losing their jobs and the Sweethearts brand being sold on to Spangler Candy Company. However, Spangler have said that while they plan to continue making Sweethearts, they didn't have enough time to get them ready for this Valentine's Day." The Guardian: Sweethearts won't be on sale this Valentine's Day. (First the investment bankers bankrupted Toys R Us. Then they took away our candy. So it shouldn't surprise you that now they're betting big on weed.)


The Page Turner

In The Secrets of Lyndon Johnson's Archives, Robert Caro (one of America's great biographers) shares a strategy that serves as a timely reminder of how little we know about the stuff we're sure we know everything about. "Alan looked at me for what I remember as a very long time. 'Just remember,' he said. 'Turn every page. Never assume anything. Turn every goddam page.'"

+ Oddly, I've probably written at least 20,000 words while listening to Metallica's cover of Bob Seger's Turn the Page, (which probably helps explain all the typos.)


Iron Man, Meet Fiber Man

"A new study bolsters the theory that some people may be 'super poopers,' or fecal donors whose gut bacteria transplants are more successful in treating disease than the average donor." MoJo: A New Study Supports the Idea That Some People Are 'Super Poopers.' You Could Be One of Them.


Scooby Don’t

Every high end pet food store is filled with grain-free foods. But does the science really support that dog diet? Slate: Please Stop Buying Your Pets Grain-Free Food. (I feel this validates my kitty's life choices...)


Bottom of the News

"I had Wally, and when I came home and was around him, it was all OK. My doctor knew about Wally and figured it works, so why not?" AP: Man says emotional support alligator helps his depression (his anxiety, not so much).

+ America's most expensive home sells for $238m to hedge fund boss.

+ Oscar Mayer's Wienermobile Needs New Drivers.

+ Weezer was so happy with the success of their Toto covers, they decided to make an entire cover album.