Thursday, March 14th, 2019


Not Taking Your Garbage Anymore

It's no secret that the many of products you purchase come from far off places. But it may be less well known that recycling the boxes and plastic containers that hold those products is also part of the global economy. Container ships that deliver new stuff manufactured in China get filled with recyclable trash before making the return trip. But China doesn't want your garbage anymore. And the reverberations are being felt around the world, from international landfills to the blue bin at the edge of your driveway. NPR: Where Will Your Plastic Trash Go Now That China Doesn't Want It?

+ "Globally more plastics are now ending up in landfills, incinerators, or likely littering the environment as rising costs to haul away recyclable materials increasingly render the practice unprofitable. In England, more than half-a-million more tons of plastics and other household garbage were burned last year. Australia's recycling industry is facing a crisis as the country struggles to handle the 1.3 million-ton stockpile of recyclable waste it had previously shipped to China ... Communities across the U.S. have curtailed collections or halted their recycling programs entirely." Yale Environment 360: Piling Up: How China's Ban on Importing Waste Has Stalled Global Recycling. (I may have covered this topic before, but luckily content can still be recycled...)


Crock Block

"The Senate passed a resolution Thursday to overturn President Trump's declaration of a national emergency at the U.S.-Mexico border, with 12 Republicans joining all Democrats to deliver a bipartisan rebuke to the president." WaPo: The Senate voted to reject Trump's emergency declaration, setting up president's first veto.

+ The Atlantic: All Democrats and seven Republicans support a resolution to stop U.S. involvement in Yemen.

+ WaPo: In overwhelmingly bipartisan vote, House calls for Mueller report to be made public.


What Can Brown Do For You?

If you just glance at the headlines, you might get the sense that there's an anti-immigrant vibe spreading across America and the globe. It turns out that people are more inviting than you might expect (and more than they have been in the past). "In the U.S., the nation with the world's largest number of immigrants, six-in-ten adults (59%) say immigrants make the country stronger because of their work and talents, while one-third (34%) say immigrants are a burden because they take jobs and social benefits. Views about immigrants have shifted in the U.S. since the 1990s, when most Americans said immigrants were a burden to the country." The latest numbers from Pew: Around the World, More Say Immigrants Are a Strength Than a Burden.


Off Campus

While we're obsessing over the college admissions scandal, NPR asks: Does It Matter Where You Go To College? "All else being equal, highly selective colleges do seem to confer an income premium over nonselective colleges. But an individual's choice of major, such as engineering, is a far more powerful factor in her eventual earnings than her choice of college. If you have more specific dreams, the Ivy League holds a near monopoly over the Supreme Court." (Of course, getting on the Supreme Court requires Senate confirmation, and if you thought the college application process was corrupt...)

+ If America was looking for a unifying issue, it found one with the near-universal contempt for those involved in the college admissions scandal: It's basically the entire country on one side and David Mamet on the other.

+ In a sea of related headlines, this one floats to the top: Lori Loughlin's Daughter Olivia Leaves Yacht Owned By Top USC Official. (I never wanted my parents to help me get into college. But I would've loved a little friggin support becoming a social media influencer.)

+ Franlin Foer: We're Losing the War on Corruption.


Travel Bug

"Boeing and the FAA had already settled on a way to address the likely cause of the Lion Air crash. And they were well on their way to implementing it when the Ethiopian plane went down." Wired: Boeing plans to fix the 737 max jet with a software update.

+ Software has been flying planes for a long time and air travel has been getting safer. But when bad things happen and software is to blame, it feels wrong. The Atlantic: The FAA Rigorously Tested the Boeing 737's Software. So how did a problem slip through?


Whistle Stop

"Ramsey Orta filmed the killing of Eric Garner. The video traveled far, but it wouldn't get justice for his dead friend. Instead, the NYPD would exact their revenge through targeted harassment and eventually imprisonment — Orta's punishment for daring to show the world police brutality." Chloé Cooper Jones in The Verge: Fearing For His Life.


Uncanny Likeness

"Even more astonishing to the researchers, feeding likes into their program enabled them to predict whether someone suffered from depression or took drugs and even to infer what the individual studied in school." Scientific American: The Internet Knows You Better Than Your Spouse Does. (That makes sense since you spend a hell of a lot more time together.)


Humm U.S.

"In a country increasingly wary of meat, more open than ever to non-Western ingredients, and anxious about climate change, the chickpea's expanding role in the American diet is less a trend story than a logical inevitability." In the Future, Everything Will Be Made of Chickpeas.


Hair Samples

"For nearly a decade, one man has chronicled one of the most endearing rituals in American sports." The New Yorker: The Glories of Minnesota Hockey Hair. Once you've read the backstory, you'll be ready to view the 2019 Minnesota State High School All Hockey Hair Team.


Bottom of the News

"Emma Haruka Iwao, a Google employee from Japan, found the new digits with the help of the company's cloud computing service." Pi has been calculated to a new world record length of 31 trillion digits. (At that point, I just round up.) I'm not sure if my wife can memorize all 31 trillion digits of Pi, but she did once hit the first 314 (while taking shots).

+ Ten Fascinating Facts About Pi.

+ The Most Popular Pie in Every State.

+ How Pie Foreshadows Death and Love in Game of Thrones.