Monday, June 17th, 2019


Wild Juice Chase

My son and I are taking a father-son trip. I'll try to get in at least one more edition this week (if he approves).

Going viral didn't begin with the Internet or social media. Attempting to convince people not to believe logic or things they see and read with their own eyes is nothing new. And everyone in America talking about the same details from the same story at the same time didn't start with Robert Mueller and the Russian election hacking scandal. On the twenty-fifth anniversary of OJ Simpson's White Ford Bronco chase, the LA Times revisits a scene that riveted America (and triggered what, at times, seemed like never-ending national obsession). "Zoey Tur was piloting a helicopter for KCBS-TV and had a hunch: Maybe Simpson had gone to Orange County to visit Nicole's grave. So she flew in that direction, and she would be the first to start broadcasting the most famous police pursuit in history." Back then, we thought no other story in our lifetimes could so completely enthrall and mesmerize us. We underestimated ourselves. The Trump news era is the equivalent of the White Ford Bronco chase going on for three straight years...

+ "On one side of the screen the Knicks and the Rockets battled for NBA supremacy at Madison Square Garden; on the other, the white Bronco inched down a Los Angeles freeway with police in non-hot pursuit." (Spoiler alert: The Bronco won the attention battle.) CNN: On a split-screen for the ages.

+ What if the OJ story had taken place during the social media era? Well, we now have the next worst thing. OJ just joined Twitter. (Twitter needs a Juice cleanse...)


Uranium Grade Level

"It appears as if Iran has begun its own maximum pressure campaign on the world after facing one from President Donald Trump's administration that deeply cut into its sale of crude oil abroad and sent its economy into freefall. Europe has so far been unable to offer Iran a way around the U.S. sanctions." AP: Iran speeds up uranium enrichment as Mideast tensions mount.

+ WaPo: Standoff with Iran exposes Trump's credibility issue as some allies seek more proof of tanker attack.


Hong Kong Xi Jinping Pong

"The activists have rejected apologies from Lam for her handling of the legislation, which would allow suspects to be sent to mainland China for trial. She announced that work on the bill would be suspended after large protests last week, but the legislation has touched a nerve not easily soothed in a city anxious over the increasingly authoritarian Communist rule of Chinese President Xi Jinping." Protesters demand that embattled Hong Kong leader resign.

+ The Atlantic: Why These Hong Kong Protests Are Different. (This protest is quickly becoming the epicenter in the fight that goes well beyond China and Hong Kong.)

+ "Unlike the pro-democracy movement in 2014, the latest demonstrations have remained intentionally leaderless in another attempt to frustrate police, who have used tear gas and rubber bullets against the crowds." WaPo: Masks, cash and apps: How Hong Kong's protesters find ways to outwit the surveillance state. (Again, this is about Hong Kong, but it's also about something bigger.)

+ In photos: Hong Kong Protesters Return to the Streets.


Look What You Made Me Accrue

NY Mag puts the economic divide into some perspective. "Matt Bruenig of the People's Policy Project took the Fed's data and calculated how much the respective net worth of America's top one percent and its bottom 50 percent has changed since 1989. He found that America's superrich have grown about $21 trillion richer since Taylor Swift was born, while those in the bottom half of the wealth distribution have grown $900 billion poorer." (I don't think that we should blame Taylor Swift for this. Not entirely, anyway...)


Shop Lift

The Ringer looks at the latest twist in our online shopping fixation. "Don't Know Which Toaster to Buy? There's a Website for That. More like a dozen, actually, for every type of online purchase—from appliances to sandals, from sunscreen to digital cameras. When did recommendation sites like the Wirecutter and The Strategist become such a central part of the online economy? And are they changing the way we shop?" (It's not just about choosing products. It's about addictive content. I habitually read product reviews, yet I almost never actually buy anything. I am 200 hours into researching my next car, and there's a 98% chance I'll end up a newer model of the same car I own right now.)

+ If you dig this topic, definitely check out the book, The Paradox of Choice: Why More Is Less.

+ Not satisfied with the humans telling you what to buy? No problem. There are now virtual entities hawking the latest wares. NYT: Virtual Brand Promoters Are So Lifelike, You Just Might Believe What You See. (I'm not buying it...)


Family Guise

"Snatched from their families at a young and vulnerable age, these children now must undergo the trauma of new separations and new adjustments, after spending some of the most formative years of their lives with the militants. The children were given new names, new families and a new faith. Many forgot their native Kurdish language and now speak only Arabic. They barely remember the circumstances of their earlier lives, and many have embraced the ultra-extremist form of Islam at the heart of the Islamic State's ideology." WaPo's Liz Sly with the heart-wrenching story of the kidnapped Yazidi children who don't want to be rescued from ISIS.


Teenage Wasteland

WaPo: Potent pot, vulnerable teens trigger concerns in first states to legalize marijuana. "'The brain is abnormally vulnerable during adolescence,' said Staci Gruber, an associate professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School who studies how marijuana affects the brain. 'Policy seems to have outpaced science, and in the best of all possible worlds, science would allow us to set policy.'" (Policy driven by science. What a concept.)

+ "The risk that marijuana use poses to adolescents today is far greater than it was 20 or 30 years ago, because the marijuana grown now is much more potent. In the early 1990s, the average THC content of confiscated marijuana was roughly 3.7 percent. By contrast, a recent analysis of marijuana for sale in Colorado's authorized dispensaries showed an average THC content of 18.7 percent." NYT: Marijuana Damages Young Brains.


Jean Pool

"Gloria Vanderbilt was an extraordinary woman, who loved life, and lived it on her own terms. She was a painter, a writer and designer but also a remarkable mother, wife, and friend. She was 95 years old, but ask anyone close to her, and they'd tell you: She was the youngest person they knew -- the coolest and most modern." Fashion icon and artist Gloria Vanderbilt remembered by her son, Anderson Cooper.

+ Gloria Vanderbilt – a life in pictures.


Infrastructure Week goes Global

Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu just named a controversial settlement for Donald Trump. "As for the settlement, the Associated Press reports that it has a population of 10 people and was in fact established 30 years ago. Netanyahu suggested on Sunday that the community may expand rapidly in the future. But that may be easier said than done. Ramat Trump, (Trump Heights in Hebrew), previously known as Bruchim, is a half-hour drive from the nearest Israeli town, but just 12 miles from the Syrian border, where the war occasionally spills over. It is also surrounded by high yellow grass and landmines."


Bottom of the News

It wasn't exactly a Father's Day present, but my kids gave me a glimpse of how they create community in the modern age, with a little help from a popular app and a decent milkshake. Even Better Than the F'Real Thing.

+ Inside the black (cherry) market of vintage Kool-Aid packet collectors.

+ Comcast's new remote control feature allows viewers to change the channel with their eyes. (That still seems like too much effort.)