February 13th – The Day’s Most Fascinating News

The next digital platform is the real world, the biggest economic divides are local, and pouring one out for the Mars Rover.

Life is becoming too digitized. We’re looking down at our phones too much and missing out on what’s out there when we look up at the world around us. So we tell ourselves to close the laptop, put the phone away, and just go outside. But, before too long, the digital world will be there too — as a sort of overlay on everything we experience in the physical world. In Wired, Kevin Kelly Welcomes You to Mirror World. “Someday soon, every place and thing in the real world—every street, lamppost, building, and room—will have its full-size digital twin in the mirrorworld … We are now building such a 1:1 map of almost unimaginable scope, and this world will become the next great digital platform.” (Ironically, in the Mirror World there there will be no place left for quiet self-reflection.)


Strata Various

“The differences between people within a city like Los Angeles are a lot sharper than the differences between residents of California and residents of Mississippi. Income differences between age groups, education groups and especially occupations are far more meaningful than differences between states or metropolitan areas.” Some very interesting data from the NYT Upshot: The Biggest Economic Divides Aren’t Regional. They’re Local.


Bullet Journal

“They did not want to relive that day. They did not want to argue about politics. They did not want to talk about the gunman’s pending trial for capital murder. This is what they wanted to do: mourn.” NYT: Parkland: A Year After the School Shooting That Was Supposed to Change Everything.

+ LA Times: A year after the Parkland massacre, two fathers are divided on guns but united by pain.


Baby Diver

NPR’s Planet Money on The Baby-Less Recovery: “Like cars and refrigerators, kids cost a lot, last a long time, and we don’t expect to make money from them. As we get richer, we don’t necessarily want more of them, but we do spend more on them. For cars, that means a Tesla instead of a Toyota. For kids, that means private school, tutoring … When kids morphed from little servants into expensive luxuries, it made sense to have fewer of them.” (In retrospect, maybe I should have just bought another fridge…)


Landlord of the Flies

“That some of the same investment firms that had played a part in the housing crisis were now poised to profit from it made for a dismal irony. But if the new companies could deliver on their promises of making home rentals easy, affordable, and worry-free, perhaps everyone could win: The companies could return a profit, the housing market could be shored up, and houses that had lain fallow after the crash could once again be happy homes.” (Or not.) The Atlantic: When Wall Street Is Your Landlord.


Opportunity Lost

“The rovers were solar-powered, and NASA never expected them to live through a Martian winter. They survived by parking on a tilt during winter months to direct more sunlight onto their solar panels. And surprisingly powerful Martian winds reliably cleared the panels of dust.” NASA’s Opportunity Mars Rover has been pronounced dead. It survived for 14 years before finally being done in by a massive Martian dust storm. When it landed, NASA expected it to survive about 3 months.

+ Gizmodo: The Mars Opportunity rover has officially ghosted Earth.


Good Night and Good Luck

“My ability to sleep through ridiculous circumstances was legendary as a kid — parties, fireworks, I slept through a car wreck once. I can get by on eight for a day or two, but I feel like a zombie all day with anything less than nine.” WaPo: Do you sleep long hours? Many experts say it’s benign, but others aren’t sure. (So if you sleep too little, you die, and if you sleep too much, you die. Proceed accordingly.)


Sound Effects

“Different types of music affects your brain in different ways. If you’re trying to focus, there’s scientifically a specific rhythm you should listen to.” A video explainer from Cheddar: How Focus Music Hacks Your Brain.


Bear With Me

“Signs around the town remind residents and visitors alike to exercise caution and report bear sightings on the hotline – 675-BEAR. Culvert traps, baited with seal scent, line the perimeter of the community; bears that are caught in them are taken to a holding facility, popularly known as the polar bear jail, where they are held for up to 30 days (without food, to enhance the deterrence factor of the experience), before being drugged and helicoptered to a spot safely away from town – or, if late enough in the season, on to the sea ice.”The Guardian: ‘If it gets me, it gets me’: the town where residents live alongside polar bears.

+ Polar Bear invasion in Arctic Russian village prompts state of emergency.


Bottom of the News

“Before anyone, least of all the poor shooter, knew what was happening, Williamson was in the air, stretching his hand upward like a schoolkid in class. He soared across the court, batted the shot into the stands, and, on his way down, scooped his hands through the air like a swimmer. A high jump and a long jump at once: impossible.” The New Yorker: Zion Williamson’s Spectacular Play Glues Us to a Moment. I have watched this a hundred times. It also works pretty well as an analogy.

+ The official fast food French fry power rankings.

+ Let’s close with stat that will probably surprise (and definitely depress) you. A third of Americans say blackface is ok for Halloween costumes.

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