June 7th – The Day’s Most Fascinating News

Twitter, our final frontier, national gun violence awareness and donut day, Weekend Whats, and Feel Good Friday.

“In late 2014, a Super Hornet pilot had a near collision with one of the objects, and an official mishap report was filed. Some of the incidents were videotaped, including one taken by a plane’s camera in early 2015 that shows an object zooming over the ocean waves as pilots question what they are watching. ‘Wow, what is that, man?’ one exclaims. ‘Look at it fly!'” A couple weeks ago, the NYT reported about the Navy’s reports of unidentified flying objects. The news seemed like it got a lot of people talking about UFOs and aliens. But the truth is that a lot of people are talking about them all the time. “More than half of American adults and over 60 percent of young Americans believe in intelligent extraterrestrial life. This tracks pretty closely with belief in God.” Vox: The new American religion of UFOs.

+ “The first space policy directive that Trump signed was an order for NASA to send people back to the Moon, and in March, Vice President Mike Pence called on NASA to expedite its lunar return by ‘any means necessary.'” Perhaps the one thing more mysterious than UFOs are the alien forces that drive presidential tweets. I mean, wow, just look at this one fly. “For all of the money we are spending, NASA should NOT be talking about going to the Moon – We did that 50 years ago. They should be focused on the much bigger things we are doing, including Mars (of which the Moon is a part).” It’s all very perplexing. You’d think Trump would love NASA because of the all caps…

+ NYT: NASA plans to open the International Space Station to commercial business, including tourism. “Becoming a NASA astronaut is far harder than getting into Harvard — of the thousands of hopeful spacewalkers who apply, NASA accepts only a handful. But now ordinary people — at least those with tens of millions of dollars to spend — can go to space.” (If we can convince Trump to go, I guarantee Mexico will pay for the ticket.)


Well Aware

Today, it’s National Gun Violence Awareness Day in America. Gun violence in America is so common, it hardly seems we can narrow our awareness down to a single day. What we need is a Gun Violence Prevention Day. Here’s a stat from WaPo to mark the occasion. More Americans were shot to death by March 6 this year than died on D-Day.

+ Wired: Guns In America: Our Relationship With Firearms In 5 Charts. (See if you can spot some trends that are driving the crisis on America’s southern border…)

+ Oddly, it’s also National Donut Day. Compared to guns, our donut addiction is relatively healthy.


Weekend Whats

What to Doc: The comments and claims made about Clarence Avant (“the ultimate, uncensored mentor and behind-the-scenes rainmaker in music, film, TV and politics.”) in the first few minutes of The Black Godfather are so outlandish that I found myself hitting Google to see if the movie was really a documentary.

+ What to Read: I find that my favorite outdoor adventures are best enjoyed from the comfort of my own couch. So I appreciate this collection of feature articles from Outside: The Weirdest Stories We’ve Ever Told.


The Why Chromosome

“Beierle was an avowed hater of women, a man who repeatedly grabbed women in real life and fantasized about raping and killing them in the horrific collection of lyrics, poetry and novels he began writing as a teenager. His interactions with the opposite sex had gotten him fired from teaching jobs, booted from the Army and hauled before the principal of his high school … It is a kind of hatred that experts in extremism warn is becoming more common and more dangerous, providing what amounts to a new feeder network for white supremacy and neo-Nazi groups.” WaPo: He Always Hated Women. Then He Decided To Kill Them.


Saud Choice

“When the Trump administration declared an emergency last month and fast-tracked the sale of more American arms to Saudi Arabia, it did more than anger members of Congress who opposed the sale on humanitarian grounds. It also raised concerns that the Saudis could gain access to technology that would let them produce their own versions of American precision-guided bombs — weapons they have used in strikes on civilians since they began fighting a war in Yemen four years ago.” NYT: Trump Allows High-Tech U.S. Bomb Parts to Be Built in Saudi Arabia.

+ CNN: He was arrested at 13 for a protest he participated in when he was ten. Now Saudi Arabia wants to execute him.


Tending Roses

“In the child abuse unit of the Baltimore Police, there’s neither the slap-the-cuffs action of narcotics nor the prestige of homicide. The work means coloring beside a 4-year-old girl and praying to God she names the bad man who touched her, so you can haul another pervert off the street. Here, detectives have cracked cases with crayons.” Tim Prudente in The Baltimore Sun: Speaking for Baby Rose: How a Baltimore detective found his purpose investigating child abuse.


Board at Work

“The elementary schooler has already drawn millions of views to internet videos of her fearless, technically advanced skating—an alluring statistic for an event that’s looking to persuade online fans to tune into revenue-earning TV network coverage.” Bloomberg: Can This 10-Year-Old Girl Save the Olympics? “With skateboarding becoming an Olympic sport I think it’s super exciting … It’s going to be really cool with people doing super-gnarly tricks, and really fun to watch.” (I’m sold.)

+ “The defending champion Americans are suing their employer, the U.S. Soccer Federation, claiming gender discrimination. The Australian players’ union, among others, is calling for increases to the prize money, which is dwarfed by the payout given to men’s teams. The world’s best player, Norway’s Ada Hegerberg, is boycotting the tournament over what she says is mistreatment of the women’s program by the country’s soccer leaders.” WaPo: As Women’s World Cup opens, talent is blooming and frustration is bubbling.
NYT: 108 Women’s World Cup Players on Their Jobs, Money and Sacrificing Everything.


Drake News!

“So you should forgive Toronto, and, frankly, most of the country, for getting this giddy about the Toronto Raptors advancing to the NBA Finals. In the team’s 24 years of existence, it’s never made it this far, and as the country’s only NBA team, the Raptors have made more adults burst into tears in the last few weeks than I have seen at any funeral I’ve been to in my entire life. And do you know whom we have to thank for this? For us getting this far, regardless of what happens in the next few games against the Golden State Warriors (a seemingly unbeatable team that will probably destroy us but who cares, it’s about the journey, not the destination)? Drake. We have to thank Drake. We have to, even if we don’t want to.” Scaachi Koul in Buzzfeed: Let Drake Be An Asshole (Please).

+ The Ringer: “Mark Stevens’s push of the Raptors guard in Game 3 resulted in a $500,000 fine, a one-year ban, and a renewal of the conversation about fan interaction with players.”



“The InHome service will use Walmart vehicles and its own workers equipped with proprietary wearable cameras. Using undisclosed ‘smart entry technology,’ Walmart employees will be able to enter homes to make deliveries, while customers will be able to control access and watch the deliveries remotely.” Walmart employees will soon deliver groceries directly into your fridge. (Wouldn’t it be easier if we just moved into a Walmart?)


Feel Good Friday

“Of the school’s 980 students, about 900 lost their homes. Some assumed the school would cease to exist, with its diaspora of students settling into new communities. But when a makeshift school opened for the spring semester in a former Facebook building near the Chico airport, more than 700 students returned, including 220 seniors. They had work to do, work that finishes Thursday when they finally return to their beloved school’s football field to graduate. Together.” AP: From fire and ash to caps, gowns: Graduation in burned town.

+ WaPo: No one could open a safe for 40 years. A tourist cracked it on his first try.

+ “A Texas man who has spent nearly four decades homeless has been readmitted to the University of Texas at Austin nearly 49 years after first enrolling at the school, thanks in part to a current student who stepped in to help him through the application process.”

+ An entire school started learning sign language to welcome a deaf kindergartener.

+ It’s official this time. Jack Black and Jack White meet. (This one gets into a gray area…)

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