July 1st – The Day’s Most Fascinating News

Your kids are the new hitmakers, Trump crosses a line, and Limpin' Jack Flash.

If you happen to go looking for your kids this Summer, you’ll probably find them in front of an iPhone camera directing and starring in short action films, performed to songs you’ve never heard of. Yes, they’re sort of wasting time. But they’re also defining the future of music and how songs become hits. And increasingly, that involves quirky dance crazes (that often last only a few days), lots of memes, and genre-busting blends that radio station programmers would have never thought to mix, like the hip-hop, country blend of Old Town Road. The Ringer on How TikTok Became the Future of the Music Industry. “The beauty of platforms is that they mold how art gets created. Netflix opened up an entire creative class of high-production-value episodic content. YouTube created a class of five-minute content. I’m curious if TikTok will create the 15 or 60 second song.” (It’s less about the length of the song and more about allowing the listener to become a creator too. That said, after two weeks of TikTok Summer in my house, I’m ready for the one second song.)

+ The Walkman just turned 40 — here’s how listening to music has changed over the years. (I’m so cutting edge that I bought my first Walkman back when it was still called a Soundabout…)



The New Yorker’s Robin Wright on Trump’s Curious Rendezvous with Kim Jong Un at the D.M.Z. “En route back to Washington, Trump tweeted, ‘Leaving South Korea after a wonderful meeting with Chairman Kim Jong Un. Stood on the soil of North Korea, an important statement for all, and a great honor!’ But, still, no concrete progress on wresting the world’s deadliest weapons from the world’s most brutal regime.”

+ There may not have been any concrete progress on limiting nukes, but there has been a lot of progress when it comes to boosting the global status of shunned dictators and genocidal maniacs. Or as Bloomberg put it, “It was a good few days to be an authoritarian leader.”

+ NYT: US May Settle for a Nuclear Freeze by North Korea. (John Bolton — who was not part of the NK visit — shot down this report on Twitter.)

+ Ivan-k-Pop: “Few Americans alive today have set foot inside North Korea, the isolated, nuclear-armed dictatorship sometimes called the Hermit Kingdom. On Sunday, Ivanka Trump became one of them.” And then came the memes. (We laugh to keep from crying…)


Throng Kong

“Thousands of protesters, nearly all of them wearing black clothes, hit the streets for the latest in a string of huge protests. Many marched peacefully or gathered in public parks. Many demonstrators wore yellow hard hats and face masks — protections against possible reprisals.” NPR: Hong Kong Protesters Storm Legislative Council On Anniversary Of Handover To China.

+ “Protesters have stormed Hong Kong’s Legislative Council (LegCo) building and are occupying the council’s chamber. Hundreds of demonstrators forced their way into the building by smashing through doors and steel shutters.” Here are the photos. And here’s the latest on the protests and the clamp down, from CNN.


Northern Exposure

“People settle in the world’s northernmost town, Longyearbyen, for many reasons. Some are captivated by the otherworldly wilderness of the Svalbard archipelago, a snowscape that exceeds even the most fantastical images of Narnia, Hoth and the lands north of the wall in Game Of Thrones. Others are drawn to the tight-knit community of 2,300 people, who must support one another, because temperatures often plunge below -30C and it is the biggest town for 500 miles. Many say they fall in love with the Arctic light, which, even in the depths of a sunless winter, surprises with pale shades, soft glimmers and celestial glints.” Today, the people who live in the world’s northernmost town are also on the front lines of the world’s changing climate. The Guardian: Welcome to the fastest-heating place on Earth. (I used to try that line on dating sites…)

+ Meanwhile, in Mexico, Ice 1.5m thick carpets Guadalajara. (Editor’s note: It’s Summer.)


Uranium Scrum

“The announcement by Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and later confirmation by the U.N. nuclear watchdog puts new pressure on European nations trying to save the deal amid President Donald Trump’s maximalist campaign targeting Tehran. Iran separately threatens to raise its uranium enrichment closer to weapons-grade levels on July 7 if Europe fails to offer it a new deal.” AP: Iran breaches uranium stockpile limit set by nuclear deal.


Koch Tease?

“In one of the most remarkable partnerships in modern American political history, Soros and Charles Koch, the more active of the two brothers, are joining to finance a new foreign-policy think tank in Washington. It will promote an approach to the world based on diplomacy and restraint rather than threats, sanctions, and bombing.” Boston Globe: In an astonishing turn, George Soros and Charles Koch team up to end US ‘forever war’ policy.


Border State of Mind

“Members of a secret Facebook group for current and former Border Patrol agents joked about the deaths of migrants, discussed throwing burritos at Latino members of Congress visiting a detention facility in Texas on Monday and posted a vulgar illustration depicting Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez engaged in oral sex with a detained migrant.” ProPublica: Inside the Secret Border Patrol Facebook Group Where Agents Joke About Migrant Deaths and Post Sexist Memes.

+ Reveal has been all over the broader story of law enforcement and social media hate groups in this three-part series: To protect and slur.


Midnight Run On

“You may not realize it, but bounty hunting is still alive and well in America in 2019. It’s fueled by old laws, loose guidelines, and not-great money. In order to get a closer look inside the world of ‘bail enforcement agents,’ writer Jeff Winkler got licensed and spent months working as a BEA. What he found was a mess for pretty much everyone caught up in a broken system.” GQ: The Troubling Business of Bounty Hunting.


Limpin’ Jack Flash

“Perhaps none of this should be surprising. The Stones started performing in the summer of 1962, and all four current members are over 70. They are not really immortal, and neither am I (or so I’m told). And yet, as a Stones fan since the 1960s, I never expected to see this phrase: ‘You can get what you need, when you have an annuity.'” NYT: The Rolling Stones Know What You Need: An Annuity.


Bottom of the News

“If you know what you’re looking for online — and, with the increasingly spooky accuracy of algorithms, even if you aren’t sure — you can find it. If that includes human contact, don’t worry, you can find that too. There’s an array of technology specifically aimed at helping you make friends, including Bumble BFF, a sociable spinoff of the dating app, and Hey Vina, which matches like-minded women. And if that all fails, you can also search for friends online and rent them.” Vox: I paid $47 an hour for someone to be my friend. (I’d pay twice that to be alone.)

+ Buzzfeed: Here’s an in-depth explainer of the drama between Taylor Swift and Scooter Braun for people who are confused AF.

+ Romance novel model Jason Baca, 45, retiring from the genre after posing on over 630 covers.

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