Wednesday, April 10th, 2019


Check This Out, A Hole

Black hole, sun, Won't you come, And wash away the rain, Black hole, sun, Won't you come, Won't you come, Won't you come? Black Hole: "Dude, I'm right here." Indeed, thanks to some remarkable work by scientists (with the help of a global network of telescopes), humans are getting their first look at a photo of a black hole. From Sheperd Doeleman, director of the Event Horizon Telescope Collaboration: "We have seen what we thought was unseeable." After spending the last 24 months staring in the abyss of an ethical black hole, it's nice to see a regular one (and one that suggests, contrary to popular opinion, that science still exists). Next, researchers should use the network of telescopes to try to find a light at the end of the tunnel. (Hopefully, unlike the photographed black hole, that won't be 55 million light-years away.)

+ Speaking of seeing what we thought was unseeable, here's a look at 16 Jaw-Dropping Pictures From Inside Japan's Penis Festival.


Barr Hop

"I also want to make clear this is not launching an investigation of the FBI. Frankly, to the extent that there were any issues at the FBI, I do not view it as a problem that's endemic to the FBI. I think there was probably a failure among a group of leaders there in the upper echelon." WaPo: Attorney general says he believes ‘spying did occur' in campaign probe of Trump associates. (News Analysis: in between redacting the Mueller Report, William Barr is looking into the stuff Trump has been making up.) In explaining that he will be scrutinizing the behavior of senior FBI officials, Barr said, "I feel I have an obligation to make sure that government power is not abused." (Insert laughtrack.)


All About the Benjamin

"The outcome affirmed Israel's continued tilt to the right and further dimmed hopes of a negotiated solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Re-election will also give Netanyahu an important boost as he braces for the likelihood of criminal charges in a series of corruption scandals." Bibi, it appears, has done it again. AP: Netanyahu poised to become Israeli PM for 5th time.


Stuck in the Middle for Ages

"In the sea of America's health-care system, pharmacy benefit managers tend to be seen as destructive leviathans. Invisible to everyday patients, PBMs lurk beneath health-insurance companies and swim through nearly every prescription-drug transaction. They squeeze rebates out of drug manufacturers, pass most—but not all—of those rebates on to health insurers, pay the pharmacy for the drugs, and collect payments from the insurer. In doing so, they subtly shape the currents of American health care." (And yes, that's meant as a criticism.) The Atlantic: Invisible Middlemen Are Slowing Down American Health Care.

+ "As apps to help moms monitor their health proliferate, employers and insurers pay to keep tabs on the vast and valuable data." WaPo: Tracking your pregnancy on an app may be more public than you think.


Hassid Vicious Cycle

"De Blasio decried anti-vaxxer misinformation campaigns targeting parents, and the health commissioner warned parents were having 'measles parties' to infect their children with measles and to naturally immunize them — and avoid the vaccination." Buzzfeed: New York City Parents Held Measles Parties To Infect Unvaccinated Children. (When the piñata breaks, run.)

+ "Vaccines contain monkey, rat and pig DNA as well as cow-serum blood, all of which are forbidden for consumption according to kosher dietary law." NYT: How Misinformation Is Driving the Measles Outbreak Among Ultra-Orthodox Jews.


Premature Disintegration

"It's not springtime now in Alaska, it's 'break-up' — the end of safe travel on ice ... The ice roads that carry freight in winter and spring have been going soft prematurely. Hunters cannot ride safely to their spring camps. Sled-dog races have been canceled. People traveling on frozen rivers by A.T.V. or snowmobile are falling through; some have died. Rescuers trying to reach them have been stymied by thin ice." Like the Arctic, Alaska is heating at twice the global average. NYT: Alaska Relies on Ice. What Happens When It Can't Be Trusted?


Twin Engine

"There are so many twins because of the okra leaf that we eat." That's one idea. The truth is that no one is quite sure what's going on in Igbo Ora, Nigeria's twin capital of the world.


Self Evidence

"Do you think you are an above-average driver, as most people do? How do you compare with others as a parent? Are you better than most at dancing? Where do you rank in your capability to save humanity? Many of you will answer these questions incorrectly. For some of these skills, you will think you are better than you actually are. For others, you will think you are worse." And in both cases, it's pretty likely you'll have answered wrong. (Full disclosure: I only self-scored well on driving.) NYT: You Are Not as Good at Kissing as You Think. But You Are Better at Dancing.


Johnson Goes Soft

"Beloved civic leader. International celebrity. Lakers legend. Basketball ambassador. It's awesome being that guy. And Magic Johnson is great at it. Being president of basketball operations for the Lakers is hard. Really, really hard. And Magic Johnson never figured out how to be Magic Johnson in that role, so he abruptly quit Tuesday night." ESPN: Magic Johnson decided it's better to just be Magic Johnson. (For years I've been sending my worst thoughts and bad vibes to the Dodgers. But it looks like I accidentally hit the Lakers.)


Bottom of the News

"Oregon police responded with guns drawn after a woman reported a burglar was locked in her bathroom. Instead, they found an unlikely suspect." A trapped Roomba.

+ Yeah, it's produced by Budweiser. But this Dwayne Wade tribute is inspiring.

+ Britain's Tara Moore saves match point at 0-6, 0-5 down – and goes on to win.

+ Facebook promises to stop asking you to wish happy birthday to your friend who died.