Tuesday, July 30th, 2019


Normcore Babies

The internet couldn't kill them. Store closings couldn't take them down. The new fads and changing styles that have left competitors crying in their cribs hasn't made a dent in their sales. WaPo: How Carter's became a staple of just about every child's wardrobe. "Carter's success has become a self-perpetuating machine. The strength of the brand is simply unparalleled, not just across baby apparel but the entire apparel universe." (I hope this makes my kids appreciate the hours I spent in line to buy them Supreme onesies...)


Serial Thrillers

"Despite all the opportunities it offers, the true-crime boom — and CrimeCon itself — has put Thomas and other victims' relatives in some awkward positions. There's the very real risk of using these new outlets too aggressively and alienating law enforcement. And then there's the fact that thrill-seeking true-crime fans (and the media serving them) can sometimes forget that Cathy Thomas and other victims were real people, not just characters in a titillating narrative." Britt Peterson in WaPo Magazine: Victims, Families and America's Thirst for True-Crime Stories. (Something is wrong when one person's tragedy is another person's favorite podcast...)


Saud Jobs

"Attempts to curtail U.S. support for the Saudi-led coalition operating in Yemen, and to prevent the Trump administration from circumventing Congress to expedite the sale of weapons that Saudi Arabia has used in its war-torn neighbor, have garnered bipartisan majorities in Congress but have not gained the support needed to overcome the president's vetoes." WaPo: Senate does not override Trump's vetoes of Saudi measures as chances of sanctions dim.

+ "The assassination of Jamal Khashoggi was no aberration. A Vanity Fair investigation reveals how Saudi Arabia attempts to abduct, repatriate—and sometimes murder—citizens it regards as enemies of the state." How Saudi Arabia Makes Dissidents Disappear.

+ ABC: "A longtime Trump insider has been pushing a proposal to build dozens of nuclear power plants in Saudi Arabia while seeking to avoid restrictions on the transfer of U.S. nuclear technology and has at times stood to profit from the effort."

+ ABC: Trump aide submitted drafts of 2016 'America First' energy speech to UAE for edits.


Inequality Time

"The U.S. economy hit a historic high in 2018, and today unemployment is at its lowest rate in five decades. Yet wage growth for the vast majority of Americans has stalled, and more people are struggling to afford housing, healthcare, education, and other basics." A pair of experts discuss the driving forces behind America's great and terrible economy and one of the world's most pressing problems. US income inequality is only getting worse. Now what?


Itch and Moan

"She gently lands on your ankle and inserts two serrated mandible cutting blades and saws into your skin, while two other retractors open a passage for the proboscis. With this straw she sucks your blood, while a sixth needle pumps in saliva that contains an anticoagulant that prevents that blood from clotting. This shortens her feeding time, lessening the likelihood that you splat her across your ankle." In other words, she knows what she's doing. And she's a stone cold killer. Timothy C. Winegard on what he calls the apex predator, the deadliest hunters of human beings on the planet. NYT: The Mosquitoes Are Coming for Us.

+ The New Yorker: How Mosquitoes Changed Everything. "In total, Winegard estimates that mosquitoes have killed more people than any other single cause—fifty-two billion of us, nearly half of all humans who have ever lived."


Memory, Loss

"Since 1998, about 440 children nationwide have died of heatstroke after being forgotten in cars, generally not because of a lack of love, Dr. Diamond said, but because of how human memory functions." NYT: Father Tries to Grasp How He Could Have Left Twins to Die in Hot Car.


Dershowitz End

What do Donald Trump, OJ Simpson, Jeffrey Epstein, and Claus von Bülow all have in common? A lawyer. The New Yorker's Connie Bruck goes deep on Alan Dershowitz, Devil's Advocate.

+ NY Mag: Alan Dershowitz Decides Now Is the Time to Tweet About Lowering the Age of Consent. (Spoiler alert: he doesn't want to raise it...)


Brain Teaser

"The research is important because it could help show whether a wearable brain-control device is feasible and because it is an early example of a giant tech company being involved in getting hold of data directly from people's minds. To some neuro-ethicists, that means we are going to need some rules, and fast, about how brain data is collected, stored, and used." MIT Tech Review: Facebook is funding brain experiments to create a device that reads your mind. (If Facebook could post directly from your brain, your depiction of your happy, perfect family would look a whole lot more realistic...)


Achy Breaky Record

"Billboard removed the song from its Country chart and in a statement said, "It does not embrace enough elements of today's country music to chart in its current version. Responding to Billboard, Lil Nas X went back to the drawing board and added country musician Billy Ray Cyrus to the track. It later catapulted to No. 1, where it's been since mid-April." Lil Nas X's 'Old Town Road' Has Broken One Of The Longest-Standing Records In Music History.

+ Bloomberg: Bollywood Rapper Sets Viewer Record YouTube Isn't Talking About. (Or why you should be dubious about all internet stats.)


Bottom of the News

"Big Alcohol is pouring billions into the drinkable marijuana market. But is that how anybody wants to get high?" The Verge: Drink Up, Stoners.

+ Birth of the cool: The story behind the ice cream sandwich, an icon at 120. (Forget about putting marijuana into drinks, put it into ice cream sandwiches.)

+ AP: Holiday Inn owner to ditch mini shampoos to save seas. (My guess it that it will take more than that...)

+ Trump re-election campaign raises $460,000 from selling plastic straws. (It's one thing to drink the Kool-Aid. But drinking it through a straw is some next level shit.)

+ A ballooning world record attempt – in pictures.