Thursday, May 16th, 2019


When Life Throws You a Curve

"We can't sit on our hands and ignore the disparities of wealth reflected in the SAT." That's the College Board's David Coleman explaining the motivation driving a new plan for the SAT to give students an ‘Adversity Score' to capture their social and economic background. The number will be "calculated using 15 factors including the crime rate and poverty levels from the student's high school and neighborhood. Students won't be told the scores, but colleges will see the numbers when reviewing their applications." (Let's hope parents don't start committing crimes in their own neighborhoods to boost their kids' application odds...)


Crash Test Gummies

"We are bombarded by a dizzying variety of CBD-infused products: beers, gummies, chocolates and marshmallows; lotions to rub on aching joints; oils to swallow; vaginal suppositories for 'soothing,' in one company's words, 'the area that needs it most.' ...
Many of these products are vague about what exactly CBD can do. (The F.D.A. prohibits unproven health claims.) Yet promises abound on the internet, where numerous articles and testimonials suggest that CBD can effectively treat not just epilepsy but also anxiety, pain, sleeplessness, Crohn's disease, arthritis and even anger. A confluence of factors has led to this strange moment." NYT Mag: Can CBD Really Do All That?


Freeness Envy

"Trump's son-in-law and White House adviser Jared Kushner, who helped develop the plan, previewed it with other Trump aides in private briefings for lawmakers over the past week. But there appears to be no clear path toward advancing the plan through Congress." WaPo: on the president's new, "merit based system" for deciding who gets into the country. Trump unveils plan to overhaul the legal immigration system (that he says will be the "envy of the modern world.")


A Lot to Process

"The rise of ultra-processed foods has coincided with growing rates of obesity, leading many to suspect they've played a big role in our growing waistlines. But is it something about the highly processed nature of these foods itself that drives people to overeat? A new study finds the answer is yes." NPR: It's Not Just Salt, Sugar, Fat: Study Finds Ultra-Processed Foods Drive Weight Gain.


Snakes on a Vein

"Friede holds the head of a Papua New Guinea taipan, one of the world's most potently venomous snakes, against his forearm. Blood is already dripping from fang marks on his right arm, left there moments earlier by a ten-foot-long black mamba. Now the taipan bites. An attack from either snake can stop a person's heart in a couple of hours. Other symptoms, including drooping eyelids and paralysis of the tongue, develop in seconds. But Friede calmly puts the snake back in its cage and says to the camera, 'I love it. I love it. I love it.'" Outside on The Human Antivenom Project. "Since 2000, Tim Friede, a truck mechanic from Wisconsin, has endured some 200 snakebites and 700 injections of lethal snake venom—all part of a masochistic quest to immunize his body and offer his blood to scientists seeking a universal antivenom." (And I thought I was risking it all by voluntarily living with two beagle brothers...)

+ "Every five minutes, on average, 50 people are bitten by a snake. Between 81,000 and 138,000 people die from snakebite every year and about 400,000 are permanently disabled."


Wading into Roe

"SCOTUS was all teed up to quietly gut America's abortion rights. Then Alabama happened." Interesting analysis from Slate's Dahlia Lithwick: Alabama's Extremist Abortion Bill Ruins John Roberts' Roe Plan.


Is Anybody Listening?

"As WeWork grows and changes, its CEO is learning to listen more, he says in a group interview later. 'Part of growing up is getting comfortable with the world, where people do have an opinion that might not be your opinion,' he says. 'It's good to listen.' Then, for the third time that day—perhaps because I've joined the interview remotely—he calls me Amy, which is not my name. A spokesman says he regrets that." Bloomberg: WeWork Wants to Become Its Own Landlord With Latest Spending Spree.


Crime Waves

"Nobody has tried to make entertainment out of Sabina's story, but if they did, I would burn their podcast studio to the ground. I would call them every night at 3 a.m, and then again at 5, and when they started turning their phone off I would show up and ring the doorbell. I would dig up their most embarrassing secrets and use them as blackmail. I would do whatever I had to do to get them to give up on the project. It would be intolerable to me—physically intolerable like the way a body can't tolerate rotten oysters—for someone to splash Sabina's last moments and the horror of her death onto a TV screen, or to narrate it between advertisements for Casper mattresses." In other words: Don't Use My Family For Your True Crime Stories.



"The sudden pivot from geostrategy to retweets and likes surprised the lawmakers. It was a remarkable moment given that not long ago Scavino was managing Trump's golf club. But for Scavino himself, it was just another day on the job." Politico: ‘Get Scavino in here': Trump's Twitter guru is the ultimate insider.


Bottom of the News

"You think better when you walk. Obviously you won't become Steve Jobs just by walking. But it's a good start. What's interesting is that at Stanford University, in 2015, they started research on it and they confirmed what we know: you become much more creative by walking. Charles Darwin had his own walking path—every time he'd get stopped up in his head, he took a little walk." GQ on Why Walking is the Key to Being More Productive (according to a guy who has walked, like, a lot.)

+ The Big Bang Theory series comes to a close tonight. Think that's small news compared to the impending end of Game of Thrones? Better check out some of these numbers.

+ Hershey's first chocolate bar redesign in 125 years features ... emojis.