March 27th – The Day’s Most Fascinating News

How sharing is forgetting, the real border crisis, and rethinking Al Franken.

“As ‘being present’ becomes increasingly part of our conversation around mindfulness, truly being able to stay disconnected from social media seems to grow more difficult with each passing year. The rapid-fire rhythm of the digital universe doesn’t let up, nor does the pressure to keep up. And while we feel the problem poignantly on a voluntary, consumer level, it’s exacerbated when we feel like we have to post against our will.” In Vice, Eda Yu explains how documenting our lives for Snapchat and Instagram can decrease the likelihood of retaining those moments as a significant memory: Social Media Is Ruining Our Memories. (Ironically, social media has also contributed to making this an era many would like to forget.)

+ I’ve long believed that no technology has changed our relationship with identity and memory quite like digital photography. I wrote about the issue almost a decade ago. (The one thing I never forget is where to link to my own writing.) This is You on Smiles: We All Have Photographic Memories Now.


Renewable Assets

“His sales pitch, he said, is not about enlisting these towns to fight climate change. ‘It’s not ideology,’ he said. ‘It’s just math.'” John Schwartz in the NYT: They Grew Up Around Fossil Fuels. Now, Their Jobs Are in Renewables. (The people who have labored long and given years of their lives powering America should have been invited to be a part of the renewable movement from day one.)


Surge Protector

“McAleenan’s statements reflect the growing desperation among Homeland Security officials faced with a border influx that is on pace to be the largest in more than a decade, led by Guatemalan and Honduran asylum seekers who arrive with children and surrender to U.S. agents. McAleenan said his agency currently has more than 13,000 migrants in its custody. ‘A high number is 4,000. Six thousand is crisis level. Thireen thousand is unprecedented.'” WaPo: U.S. has hit ‘breaking point’ at border amid immigration surge, Customs and Border Protection commissioner says.

+ “From Guatemala, Mexico and California come the stories of lives altered by Trump’s crackdown on immigration.” An interactive piece from WaPo: Invisible Walls.


Spankin’ Franken

“Of course, for some of the accused in MeToo, such as Harvey Weinstein and Les Moonves, copious documentation alleges gross sexual violations committed in the workplace and threats they issued to women who might dare to speak out … They have appropriately lost their careers. Others, such as Bill Cosby and Larry Nassar, have been tried and convicted of committing sexual crimes. They appropriately find themselves in prison.” But the obvious cases are, well, obvious. It’s the less obvious ones we need to consider. An interesting piece from Emily Yoffe in The Atlantic: Learning From the Al Franken Mistake. “When people are accused and punished unjustly, a backlash inevitably ensues. When that happens, the crucial and urgent cause of addressing sexual misconduct is undermined.”


Place Kicker

“The goal isn’t to make arrests, but to bring attention to the issue, he said. Of the 153 confirmed cases as of Tuesday, 82 percent had not gotten the measles mumps rubella vaccine, according to county statistics. Most of those infected are minors.” NY Suburb Declares Measles Emergency, Bars Unvaccinated Minors From Public Places.

+ Not bothered by the re-emergence of illnesses because of a false fear of vaccines. Then just focus on the bottom line. Wired: The True Dollar Cost Of The Anti-Vaccine Movement.


Robo Cop

“Here it was: the compact headquarters of an alleged robocall empire from which Abramovich was said to place millions of calls a day. Off-the-shelf software can run automatically, moving through lists of phone numbers and other personal data available for purchase. The only limit to a robocall business is the amount of bandwidth you’re willing to pay for; the potential number of calls Abramovich could have made was unlimited.” Wired’s Alex Palmer: On The Trail Of The Robocall King. “His man cave, which doubles as a home office, is decorated with figurines, paintings, and memorabilia depicting infamous movie villains like Scarface, the mobsters from Goodfellas, and Freddy Krueger.” (My man cave is decorated with photos of robocallers…)


Special Effects

“Celebrities, politicians, and activists have taken to social media to rebuke DeVos for her plan to cut funding for the group as part of $7 billion in reductions in 2020. The organization received $17.6 million from the Education Department this year, but DeVos says it should be supported through philanthropy.” The plan to cut federal funding for the Special Olympics is not going over too well.


Leavin’ Conditioner

“I know there is a desire for a new approach – and new leadership – in the second phase of the Brexit negotiations – and I won’t stand in the way of that.” In the never-ending Brexit negotiations, Theresa May has offered up a new bargaining chip: Herself. Here’s the latest from CNN: Theresa May to resign after Brexit as MPs vote.


Separatist Movement

Facebook will “begin directing users who try to post content associated with those ideologies to a nonprofit that helps people leave hate groups.” Motherboard: In a major policy shift for the world’s biggest social media network, Facebook banned white nationalism and white separatism on its platform.


Bottom of the News

Tired of the same old news with the same old plots and the same old characters? Well, how about a story where spring breakers play the role of heroes. In Florida! ABC News: Florida spring breakers fight off gas station gunman, foiling robbery.

+ Vox: McDonald’s new drive-thru menus will change based on the weather, traffic, and time of day. “The company bought a machine-learning startup to make its menus smarter.” (It’s already getting a little too personalized. I just ordered large fries and a milkshake and the menu asked if I might not be better off with some sliced carrots.)

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