Tuesday, March 5th, 2019


Divide and Conquer

"We are told that America is divided and polarized as never before. Yet when it comes to many important areas of policy, that simply isn't true." In the NYT, Tim Wu makes the case that the defining political fact of our time is not polarization. It's the thwarting of a largely unified public. When you're feeling the political hostility bubble up (and we all do these days), it's worth asking the question: Who benefits when we hate each other? We already know that we all benefit when we work together.

+ The Atlantic: The Least Politically Prejudiced Place in America. "As American towns become more politically segregated and judgmental, what can we learn from one that hasn't?"


HIV Breakthrough

"The news comes nearly 12 years to the day after the first patient known to be cured, a feat that researchers have long tried, and failed, to duplicate. The surprise success now confirms that a cure for H.I.V. infection is possible, if difficult." NYT: H.I.V. Is Reported Cured in a Second Patient, a Milestone in the Global AIDS Epidemic.


Wind Power

"The youngest victim was 6, the oldest 89. One extended family lost seven members." AP on the aftermath of Alabama's deadly tornado. President Trump will visit the region on Friday.

+ "Both homes were destroyed. Both families had to start over from nothing. But today, one family is financially stable. The other is facing bankruptcy." A special investigation from NPR: How Federal Disaster Money Favors The Rich.

+ LA Times: Post-Hurricane Harvey, NASA tried to fly a pollution-spotting plane over Houston. The EPA said no.


A Public Spectacle

David Lazarus in the LA Times: How badly are we being ripped off on eyewear? To makes the case against glasses, we need only a quick glance at a marketplace that is utterly dominated by one company. "The company's owned and licensed brands include Armani, Brooks Brothers, Burberry, Chanel, Coach, DKNY, Dolce & Gabbana, Michael Kors, Oakley, Oliver Peoples, Persol, Polo Ralph Lauren, Ray-Ban, Tiffany, Valentino, Vogue and Versace. Along with LensCrafters, Luxottica also runs Pearle Vision, Sears Optical, Sunglass Hut and Target Optical, as well as the insurer EyeMed Vision Care."


Revenue Jennerating

"In 2018, Kylie Cosmetics raked in an estimated $360 million, according to Forbes. The company is said to be worth at least $900 million, with Jenner owning 100 percent stake." Kylie Jenner is the world's youngest billionaire.

+ At the age of 21, Jenners fast-selling makeup line earned her the title of youngest self-made billionaire ever. "I did my usual social media—I did what I usually do, and it just worked." (Oddly, this makes me feel like I'm on the right track in life...)

+ "By our latest count there are 2,153 billionaires, 55 fewer than a year ago. Of those, a record 994, or 46%, are poorer (relatively speaking) than they were last year. In total, the ultra-rich are worth $8.7 trillion, down $400 billion from 2018. Altogether 11% of last year's list members, or 247 people, dropped out of the ranks, the most since 2009 at the height of the global financial crisis." Forbes annual look at the richest people in the world.


Family Affair

"Even with the recent climb, illegal border crossings are still well below historic highs. But the makeup of the migrant population has changed dramatically from 20 years ago, when it was mostly single men from Mexico. Border Patrol officials say their infrastructure wasn't designed for the flood of migrant families and children arriving now." NPR: Migrant Families Arrive In Busloads As Border Crossings Hit 10-Year High.

+ CBS: 12 detained babies have been released from ICE custody.


Northern Lights

"Trudeau is embroiled in an escalating scandal that has triggered the resignations of his own principal secretary, a kind of senior political adviser, as well as two top Cabinet members, the second one stepping down on Monday." Interesting to see top officials in Canada putting their country over their own self-interest when faced with a scandal that would be viewed as part of the modus operandi of America's current administration.

+ Fortune: Understanding the Scandal That's Tarnished Justin Trudeau's Glowing Image. (What Trudeau needs to learn from Trump is that there's nothing about this scandal that can't be solved with a couple hundred other scandals.)

+ WaPo: T-Mobile acknowledges its patronage of Trump's Washington hotel increased sharply after announcement of merger with Sprint.

+ Former Trump White House lawyer calls Mueller 'American hero,' says probe is no witch hunt.


Sonny’s Side Up

"I approached my mother numerous times trying to explain that vaccines are safe and that my family should be vaccinated, approaching even with articles from the CDC explicitly claiming that ideas that vaccines cause autism and extremely dangerous consequences were incorrect,' Lindenberger said. In one such instance he said his mother responded with, 'That's what they want you to think.'" Teen who defied mother by getting vaccinated testifies before Congress.

+ Anti-vaxxers getting rejected in their communities and even their own homes can take some solace in the fact that they still have Arizona. "The measles outbreak in Washington state and elsewhere is prompting some states to look at tightening vaccine requirements for schoolchildren. But not in Arizona. Lawmakers there have been considering bills to make it easier for parents to get exemptions for their kids from the usual childhood vaccinations."


Screen Grab

Bloomberg: These Cameras Can Spot Shoplifters Even Before They Steal. "Vaak, a Japanese startup, has developed artificial intelligence software that hunts for potential shoplifters, using footage from security cameras for fidgeting, restlessness and other potentially suspicious body language." (Based on these clues, my kids must be planning the heist of the century...)


Bottom of the News

"Are you turned on when you look in the mirror, and enjoy nothing more than a steamy night at home alone? You could be an autosexual." (On the other hand, you might just be a misanthrope.) The Guardian: Age of the autosexual: the people sexually attracted to themselves.

+ Finalists From Smithsonian Magazine's 2018 Photo Contest.

+ The latest meme involves throwing a slice of cheese at your baby's head to see if it will stick. (We'll see who gets the last laugh if your baby turns out to be lactose intolerant.)

+ "Ozzy Osbourne was among the audience members who assumed the band was real. When he learned the truth, he admitted that he should have known better. 'They seemed quite tame compared to what we got up to.'" 15 Facts About This Is Spinal Tap On Its 35th Anniversary.