Friday, April 26th, 2019


Inflammatory Remarks

What if many of the most vexing diseases and conditions all had one common feature? Well, they might. In short, you're too pumped. Here's a very interesting look at the one symptom that keeps pushing its way into everything. Harvard Magazine: Raw and Red-Hot: Could inflammation be the cause of myriad chronic conditions? "In medicine, believing something is true is not the same as being able to prove it. Because the idea that inflammation—constant, low-level, immune-system activation —could be at the root of many noncommunicable diseases is a startling claim, it requires extraordinary proof. Can seemingly unconnected illnesses of the brain, the vasculature, lungs, liver, and joints really share a deep biological link? Evidence has been mounting that these common chronic conditions—including Alzheimer's, cancer, arthritis, asthma, gout, psoriasis, anemia, Parkinson's disease, multiple sclerosis, diabetes, and depression among them—are indeed triggered by low-grade, long-term inflammation." (And all this time I thought my swelling was just pride.)


It’s the Hard Drive Life

"Njabu and his family were specifically placed in Pittsburgh 'because of the high employment probability forecasted by Annie.' She was referring not to a person, but to a software program. Named for Annie Moore, the Irishwoman who was the first person to pass through Ellis Island, the New York outpost that served as the gateway for millions of immigrants to America, Annie is at the core of an ambitious experiment, one that, were it deployed more widely, could transform how refugees are allocated and treated around the world. So while Njabu's decision to settle in Pittsburgh might seem like happenstance, it has less to do with serendipity and more with technology." The Atlantic: How Technology Could Revolutionize Refugee Resettlement.

+ "Trump administration officials said they had a goal of six months but opposed any deadline, saying it could take as long as two years to reunite children with their parents if efforts to speed up the process fail." Judge gives US 6 months to identify children split at border.


Weekend Whats

What to Watch: OK, the humor is definitely adult in nature. And there are scenes that include projectile body fluids. But in spite of that (OK, probably because of that), I'm enjoying Bonding, on Netflix. (Who can better relate to sado-masochism than a guy who reads all the news every day?) It's fun, funny, and interestingly, the episodes each only last 15 minutes. (Even though they tried to last longer.)

+ What to Read: "I just walked into my house and wanted to sort of, like, dance It was a very strange feeling because I wasn't tired, I was ready to go. I had put on makeup that day, I had brushed my hair, taken a shower and I thought: ‘I want to go out!' which was a very strange sensation." The Guardian on Heather Armstrong (one of my internet colleagues from back when influencers were called bloggers): Dying to beat depression: how 10 induced comas saved a blogger's life. And here's Heather's book about her experiences. The Valedictorian of Being Dead: The True Story of Dying Ten Times to Live. (And I always thought being dead was a pass/fail class.)

+ What to Hear: Lately I've been listening to a lot of countrified rock (or rockified country). My latest find is Jade Bird. Check out her new, self-titled album. (Start with the song Lottery.)


Growth Mindset

"Gross domestic product grew at an annual rate of 3.2% in the first quarter, up from 2.2% at the end of last year. That's a significant turnaround from six weeks ago, when many analysts expected a slump in GDP growth to just 2% or less." The US economy just keeps on keeping on (I won't saying anything more positive than that, I don't want to be the one to jinx it.)



The NYT with an interactive look at An Amputee's Toughest Challenge
Yet: Her 140-Mile Run in the Desert
. "Her 13-year-old daughter, Madilynn, had seemed to acutely understand the risks. She gave her mother a note that was laminated and hung from the rucksack: 'Good luck. I love you. Don't die.'" (That's probably the most positive thing a teen has ever said to a parent.)


Seed Investing

WaPo on a new trend: Male angst prompts a new fertility service: sperm freezing. "Sanchez was headed to graduate school in the fall, and it might be years before he would have a steady job and the wherewithal for a family. He and his girlfriend worried about all the things that could go wrong — disease, war, natural aging — before they might be ready. 'It was a little bit weird,' admitted Sanchez, who stored his sperm with a company called Legacy. 'But it was medically responsible." (In that case, I've been medically responsible pretty much every day since I was 12.)


Brand Trap

"Fox agreed to allow Pirro to come back on the air but cut her opening monologue, a venue for her most incendiary rhetoric. When Trump found out about that, he called Rupert again, a source said. A compromise was proposed: Pirro could return and deliver a shortened version of her opening statement. 'Trump called Rupert, and Rupert put pressure on the executives.'" There is perhaps no more important/powerful relationship in the world than the one between Fox News and its number one viewer, guest, and sometimes programmer. And no one covers that relationship better than Vanity Fair's Gabe Sherman. After Taking Over Fox, Lachlan Murdoch Is In A Trump Trap.


Avengers, Neverendgame

"As a trained semiprofessional film critic, licensed, insured and bonded, I am credentialed to tell you that the follow-up to Avengers: Infinity War feels satisfyingly ... finite. I do not consider the irreplaceable 3 hours, 2 minutes that Avengers: Hail Dehydration extracted from my statistically half-over life to have been misspent. But I do feel an obligation to remind you, reader, that that is — and I invite you to check my math on this — 0.0003 years." NPR: Blockbuster Films Keep Getting Longer; How And Why Did We Get Here? (I'm gonna be asking myself the exact same question for 3 hours and 2 minutes this weekend.)


Filling the Holz

"But enough of his stats: Are you smarter than this punk? Think you have what it takes to beat him on a clue? Ha-ha, sure. Knock yourself out. Below are the 24 questions that, as of this publication, Holzhauer has so far buzzed in on and gotten incorrect." Can You Answer the Jeopardy! Clues James Holzhauer Couldn't? (What is probably not?)


Feel Good Friday

"For nearly two years, Hollywood resident Lisa Soremekun fought City Hall, demanding reimbursement for the $73 parking ticket that was placed on her car — wrongly, she says — and the $239 towing fee that went with it ... 'When I commit to things. I try to see them through to the end.'" LA Times: Just how hard is it to fight a parking ticket in LA? (Spoiler alert. Hard.)

+ A teacher ran out of sick days to stay with his cancer-stricken daughter, so his colleagues donated 100 days.

+ Kansas teen learned CPR at his high school. Two weeks later, he used it to save his dad.

+ Lego releases Braille bricks to teach blind and visually impaired children.

+ African Teen Builds Windmills from Junk and Supplies His Village with Electricity.

+ Girl Born Without Hands Won National Handwriting Competition Because Nothing Can Stop Her.

+ Rodney Robinson, Who Teaches Civics to Students in Juvenile Detention, Wins 2019 National Teacher of the Year.

+ Skydiver reunited with prosthetic leg that flew off at 10,000 feet.

+ 3 Pro soccer players played against 100 children.

+ Switching from an earlier position on the matter, Donald J. Trump just came out in favor of vaccinations. He is on the right side of a contentious matter involving science. Click fast, it won't last.