June 11th – The Day’s Most Fascinating News

Education can't fix this, Trump's BFF writes again, and how marketers use your playlist.

“Even the most thoughtful and well-intentioned school-reform program can’t improve educational outcomes if it ignores the single greatest driver of student achievement: household income.” In The Atlantic, Nick Hanauer provides a very interesting assessment on why better schools won’t fix America. “Americans are more highly educated than ever before, but despite that, and despite nearly record-low unemployment, most American workers—at all levels of educational attainment—have seen little if any wage growth since 2000 … Educationism appeals to the wealthy and powerful because it tells us what we want to hear: that we can help restore shared prosperity without sharing our wealth or power.” (Economic inequality is at the core of an endless number of American and international problems.)


This One Goes to 9-11

“I can’t help that think what an incredible metaphor this room is… a filled room of 9/11 first responders and in front on me, a nearly empty Congress …shameful … Why this bill is not unanimous consent is beyond my comprehension … More of these men and woman are going to get sick and they’re going to die, and I’m awfully tired of hearing this is a ‘New York issue.’ Al-Qaeda didn’t shout ‘death to Tribeca.’ They attacked America.” Jon Stewart had a thing or two to say about the need to reauthorize the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund.


Pen Palookas

“Kim Jong Nam, the slain half brother of North Korea’s leader, was an informant for the Central Intelligence Agency who met on several occasions with agency operatives, a person knowledgeable about the matter said.” President Trump responded to the report by saying, “I wouldn’t let that happen under my auspices.” He added that he recently received another wonderful letter from Kim Jong Un: “I just received a beautiful letter from Kim Jong Un, and I think the relationship is [going] very well … I can’t show you the letter, obviously, but it was a very personal, very warm, very nice letter.” (I wish he’d share it so I could forward it to my wife. Our anniversary is coming up…)

+ BBC: Hundreds of public execution sites identified.


What’s Mine is Mine

“This is Mountain Pass, the only mine in the United States that harvests rare-earth elements, the raw ingredients used to produce high-tech products such as smartphones, wind turbines, electric vehicles and fighter jets.” WaPo on the elements that could be at the center of a prolonged trade war: China hints it will choke off U.S. ‘rare earths’ access. But it’s not that easy.


Press Release

“In a rare act of media solidarity, Russia’s three major business newspapers all published identical front pages Monday in protest of Ivan Golunov’s arrest.” Buzzfeed: Russia has dropped all charges against an investigative journalist after a massive outcry.


Moody Blues

“The decision to define audiences by their moods was part of a strategic push to grow Spotify’s advertising business in the years leading up to its IPO—and today, Spotify’s enormous access to mood-based data is a pillar of its value to brands and advertisers, allowing them to target ads on Spotify by moods and emotions. Further, since 2016, Spotify has shared this mood data directly with the world’s biggest marketing and advertising firms.” The Baffler on how your moods are monetized. Big Mood Machine.

+ Related: Notes from a therapy session during which I only spoke in phrases from Radiohead’s new album.

+ Also related: Radiohead officially releases stolen OK Computer studio sessions to avoid ransom.


See No Evil

“It’s harrowing for any family when a loved one goes missing. But on the 326 reservations in the U.S., the deaths and disappearances of Native American women are more frequent, less visible, and often harder to solve, due to ineffective law enforcement and prejudice. There is no official data on the number of cases since no agency is tasked with tracking it. A nationwide analysis in 2016 from the National Crime Information Center found 5,712 reports of missing Native women and girls.” Christa Hillstrom in Marie Claire: The Invisible Victims.


The Day the Music Fried

“These reassuring pronouncements concealed a catastrophe. When Randy Aronson stood outside the burning warehouse on June 1, he knew he was witnessing a historic event. ‘It was like those end-of-the-world-type movies,’ Aronson says. ‘I felt like my planet had been destroyed.'” NYT Mag: It was the biggest disaster in the history of the music business — and almost nobody knew. This is the story of the 2008 Universal fire.


Go Fund Yourself

“The viral crowdfunding effort to build a wall on the southern border aimed at deterring immigrants from crossing illegally was only recently completed, but on Monday the newly installed wall suffered a major setback — a large gate built into the barrier was ordered open indefinitely by officials.” Buzzfeed: The GoFundMe Border Wall Blocked Access To A Monument. It’s Been Ordered To Keep A Gate Open Indefinitely.


Bottom of the News

“Founded 10 years ago and inspired by Formula One and Le Mans endurance racing, the race sees teams of three battle it out on ordinary office furniture across two grueling hours to see who can complete the most laps of the 200 meter course.” Blood, sweat but no tears in Japan’s office chair grand prix.

+ Cryotherapy means standing naked in a chamber at -240 degrees. We gave it a try. (Most Bay Area residents would happily give this a try this week…)

+ Jalopnik: I Rode All the E-Scooters. Most of Them Are Awful Except Two. (Alternate title: There are too many damn scooters…)

+ Kraft introduces ‘Salad Frosting’ to help trick your kids into eating more vegetables. It’s actually Ranch Dressing. (I think I’d rather my kids ate frosting…)

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