Thursday, May 30th, 2019


The Wire … less

"The rise and fall of crime in the late 20th century (and into the 21st) is one of the great mysteries of social science. No one has come up with an explanation that fully—and incontestably—accounts for the falling crime rates. Many have tried, and shown substantial initial results, only to have their findings disputed." A pair of researchers think they've found a possible cause for the decline. From The Atlantic: The Collapsing Crime Rates of the '90s Might Have Been Driven by Cellphones. (Maybe criminals were afraid their phone would flip?) You can make your own call as to whether cell phones really reduced violent crime. It's nice to imagine they had some positive impact. If nothing else, the escalating price of iPhones made me aspire to upgrade to white collar crimes.


Chief Petty Officer

President Trump says he had nothing to do with the Navy's decision to keep the name of the USS John S. McCain 'out of sight' during his recent trip to Japan. But that's not to suggest he didn't appreciate it. "I wasn't a fan, but I would never do a thing like that. Now, somebody did it because they thought I didn't like him. They were well-meaning, I will say."

+ "Sailors hung a tarp over the ship's name, and other measures (a strategically positioned barge) helped obscure the offending words. Sailors were told to remove all coverings that might indicate that the ship is the USS John S. McCain. They were, according to the article, given the day off, lest the name John McCain, embroidered on their caps, give offense." The Atlantic: A Stain on the Honor of the Navy.



"The parliament's disbanding comes just a month after it was sworn in and sets the stage for a second election in the same year — a first in Israeli history. The developments were a shocking setback for Netanyahu, who had appeared to secure a comfortable win in last month's election." AP: Israel is facing an election after it just had one.

+ "Israel now faces new elections in September, but with corruption charges pending and chances of passing legislation to limit his exposure to prosecution all but evaporated, there's more than Netanyahu's political future on the line." Vice: What The Hell Just Happened To Israel's Government? Related question: What the hell just happened to the Kushner peace plan? It was definitely a less than ideal moment for Jared to arrive for talks. (Although BiBi seemed to like his Trump-signed (re)map of the region, complete with the word "nice" scribbled next to the Golan Heights.)


Pace Yourself

"There's nothing magical about the number 10,000. In fact, the idea of walking at least 10,000 steps a day for health goes back decades to a marketing campaign launched in Japan to promote a pedometer. And, in subsequent years, it was adopted in the U.S. as a goal to promote good health." NPR: How Many You Really Need To Boost Longevity? "Women who took 4,400 steps per day, on average, were about 40 percent less likely to die during the follow-up period of about four years compared with women who took 2,700 steps ... The benefits of walking maxed out at about 7,500 steps.)


Father Figures

"Under the law, employers can justify longer parental leave for biological mothers only on the basis of medical necessity. Any paid leave beyond the time it would take a mother to recover from childbirth — which courts have typically recognized to be around six weeks, though the length can vary in individual cases — must be offered to fathers as well." NYT: A Victory for Fathers in the JPMorgan Parental Leave Case. (I deferred my parental leave until my kids were old enough to play videogames...)


Sad But True West

"Many of society's plagues strike heavier at women and minorities, but suicide in America is dominated by white men, who account for 70 percent of all cases. Middle-aged men walk the point. Men in the United States average 22 suicides per 100,000 people, with those ages 45 to 64 representing the fastest-growing group, up from 20.8 per 100,000 in 1999 to 30.1 in 2017. The states with the highest rates are Montana, with 28.9 per 100,000 people; Alaska, at 27 per 100,000; and Wyoming, at 26.9 per 100,000 — all roughly double the national rate. New Mexico, Idaho and Utah round out the top six states. All but Alaska fall in the Mountain time zone." Rolling Stone: All-American Despair: A suicide epidemic fueled by guns, poverty and isolation has swept across the West, with middle-aged men dying in record numbers.


Cartoon Networking

"When the phone rang ... Winter assumed it was a prankster. But after being convinced that it was MacFarlane, the two men began a conversation." LA Times: Family Guy's Seth MacFarlane was attacked by this conservative TV watchdog. Now they're friends. "If the president of the Parents Television Council and the creator of Family Guy can have this kind of a relationship, maybe other folks might be able to try to do the same thing."


Seventh Generation

On the seventh day, he unboxed. FedEx just announced that, starting in January, they'll deliver 7 days a week. That's good news for your shopping habit. But that might not be the only habit that's impacted. From Quartz: Drug traffickers' favorite way to move fentanyl is FedEx and USPS.


Once Upon a Time in America

In the NYT, Robert Deniro urges Robert Mueller to talk some more. "In your news conference, you said that your investigation's work 'speaks for itself.' It doesn't. It may speak for itself to lawyers and lawmakers who have the patience and obligation to read through the more than 400 pages of carefully chosen words and nuanced conclusions." That's probably a fair point. But beyond that, I doubt the Godfather made Bobby Three Sticks an offer he couldn't refuse.


Bottom of the News

"Because I'm a compulsively early person, I've always assumed the other people trucking through the airport were doing their best to be on time, even if their best was different from my own (superior) best. Why would anyone look at an experience as expensive and anxiety-inducing as flying and want to make it a little bit riskier?" Amanda Mull: There Are Two Types of Airport People.

+ A tour of Disneyland's Star Wars Galaxy's Edge in 30 photos.

+ ESPN: Rise above it or drown: How elite NBA athletes handle pressure.