Monday, May 13th, 2019


Glory Days

Time keeps on slippin' into the future until ... you've fallen and you can't get up. As people are living longer, tech companies and research institutions are trying to develop products to keep your golden years totally metal. It's a hard problem to solve, and an equally hard set of solutions to market. The New Yorker's Adam Gopnik: Can We Live Longer but Stay Younger? "Engineering and promoting new products and services specially designed for the expanding market of the aged is a good way of going out of business. Old people will not buy anything that reminds them that they are old. They are a market that cannot be marketed to ... We would rather suffer because we're old than accept that we're old and suffer less." (Our kids are designed to make us feel old. Over the weekend, my son asked me if I know what a meme is. I'm like dude, how many times do I have to tell you I'm Dave effing Pell?!)

+ "Designers and companies of the world, you are badly serving an ever-growing segment of your customer base, a segment that you too will one day inhabit. Isn't it time to reform: to make things that are functional and stylish, useable and accessible." FastCo: I wrote the book on user-friendly design. What I see today horrifies me.


Tarrifs, Ands, or Buts

"On Twitter, Trump warned Xi that China 'will be hurt very badly' if it doesn't agree to a trade deal. Trump tweeted that Beijing 'had a great deal, almost completed, & you backed out!'" Of course, you didn't need a Trump tweet to tell you the tariff talks trended terrible. Your stock portfolio made things pretty clear. AP: China retaliates on tariffs, stock markets go into a slide.

+ Quartz: How much more a pair of sneakers will cost in the US with Trump's China tariffs.


The Despot Depot

"He has enfeebled democratic institutions, strived to achieve a Hungarian ethnic homogeneity and pulled his nation closer to the opponents of American influence, Russia and China." So that makes him the perfect Trump White House guest of honor. NYT: Trump Tries to Bring Hungary's Orban in From the Cold.

+ "It's hard to imagine a military coup or outright abolition of elections in the United States. It's much easier to imagine a gradual hollowing-out of democracy akin to what's happened in Hungary, a rise of soft fascism cheered on by Fox News and Breitbart." Vox: Hungary's leader is waging war on democracy. Today, he's at the White House.


Crime Waive

Studies have repeatedly found that there is no causal connection between immigration and crime. But what about when you narrow things down and just assess the crime impact of unauthorized immigrants? Surely, then you'll find an increase in crime rates, right? Nope. (And don't call me Shirley.) NYT Upshot: Is There a Connection Between Undocumented Immigrants and Crime? It's a widely held perception, but a new analysis finds no evidence to support it. (That could be the subtitle for this whole era...)


Extinct Bomb

"Watson wrote last week, in the Guardian, that 'we cannot solve the threats of human-induced climate change and loss of biodiversity in isolation. We either solve both or we solve neither.' How long can the two trend lines continue to head in opposite directions? This is the key question raised by the report, and it may turn out to be the key question of the century." The New Yorker's Elizabeth Kolbert on the million species facing extinction, and what that means for us. Climate Change and the New Age of Extinction.

+ Jared Diamond: There's a 49 Percent Chance the World As We Know It Will End by 2050.


Just Be Cousin

"Three years ago, my cousin tried to kill me. When people ask why, I don't know what to say. Usually I mumble that he didn't have a reason. I say that he didn't even think he had a reason. We had no argument that day or any other in 40 years." Wil S. Hylton in the NYT Mag: My Cousin Was My Hero. Until the Day He Tried to Kill Me.


Rub Some Dirt on It

"A broadening fear of the ubiquity of environmental toxins, and a declining sense of community responsibility ... The steadily widening disparity between the age of first-time mothers at the top and the bottom of society (mothers who have chosen to delay childbearing generally have higher levels of education and are more likely to reject vaccination, considering themselves 'experts on their own children'), overconfidence in the power of children to fight off infectious disease thanks to the phenomenal success of vaccination, and the rise among elite groups of 'healthism'—the belief that healthy eating and exercise can protect against infectious diseases that, through virtually the whole of human history, have imperiled our lives." Those are a few of the reasons that the anti-vax movement has been around almost as long as vaccinations. In the New York Review of Books, Gavin Francis provides an interesting look back at our Resistance to Immunity.


Jam Sandwich

"The study's authors concluded that on-demand ride services ... are clogging roads and siphoning people from mass transit, going against the companies' stated mission to wean people off of private cars." The IPOs of Uber and Lyft have not pleased Wall Street. The ride on Main Street has been equally bumpy. SF Chronicle: Uber, Lyft account for two-thirds of traffic increase in SF over six years, study shows.


Rim Shot

It may have been the NBA's best buzzer beater in history. It almost certainly set the stage for the best buzzer beater photo of all time. Kawhi Leonard's Four-Bounce Buzzer Beater, Suspended Exquisitely in Time. The video ain't half bad either.


Bottom of the News

"After parking two blocks from the restaurant, I put my MAGA hat on for the first time and looked in the rearview mirror. I looked smug. I looked mean. I looked like someone I wanted to punch." Joel Stein: The Time I Wore a MAGA Hat to Lunch at Café Gratitude. (Most people wouldn't even have the guts to wear a Joe Biden hat there...)

+ Just thinking about coffee can improve your focus, researchers say.

+ Here are a couple of sports moments that exist at opposite ends of the spectrum. First, a college hurdler who flew across the finish line. Second, a guy whose phone fell out of his robe pocket during a major judo contest. (It probably says something about me that my first reaction was, "Oh, shoot. I hope he has Apple Care...")