Wednesday, August 21st, 2019


Make Danes Great Again

"The Prime Minister was able to save a great deal of expense and effort for both the United States and Denmark by being so direct. I thank her for that and look forward to rescheduling sometime in the future!" With that quote, we have reached the news singularity (the moment at which real headlines and headlines from The Onion become indecipherable). WaPo with the header for the ages: Trump postpones Denmark trip after prime minister declines to sell him Greenland. (Add Denmark to the stops on what will someday be the next American president's endless apology tour.)

+ Go Gentile in That Good Night: Trump took his offensiveness to biblical proportions with some advice for the Jews. "I think any Jewish people that vote for a Democrat — I think it shows either a total lack of knowledge or great disloyalty, alright?" (Forrest Trump accusing Jews of lacking knowledge? I've heard it all now...) Trump added to his effort to make sure he's the topic the high holiday sermons in every synagogue when he quoted a conspiracy theorist's take on the matter: "President Trump is the greatest President for Jews and for Israel in the history of the world, not just America, he is the best President for Israel in the history of the world . . . and the Jewish people in Israel love him like he's the King of Israel ... They love him like he is the second coming of God." (This reminds me of an old Yiddish saying: STFU.)


Cage Fight

"If the announced final rule is implemented, it will likely result in thousands of families being detained while their immigration cases play out. The ever-increasing immigration court backlog means these immigrant families could be held for months or even years." Buzzfeed: The Trump Administration Wants To Hold Undocumented Children In Detention Indefinitely.


Among the Ruins

"Three of her sons had been killed. Another had been tortured in a rebel prison, and a fifth had disappeared into government detention. Her daughters-in-law had to start working, while she was raising five grandchildren without her husband. He had died in an airstrike." What ‘Victory' Looks Like: A Journey Through Shattered Syria. "On an eight-day visit, New York Times journalists given rare access to Syria found ruin, grief and generosity. What was missing after eight years of civil war? Young men and a middle class."



"When you listen to North Korean music, you have no emotions. But when you listen to American or South Korean music, it literally gives you the chills. The lyrics are so fresh, so relatable. When kids listen to this music, their facial expressions just change." Interesting look at the power and politics of music from WaPo: How K-pop is luring young North Koreans to cross the line.


Weight, Weight, Don’t Tell Me

"You train these kids at young ages to think in these terms around weight loss and diet, and then of course, from a business perspective, that would be something you'd anticipate they would continue to do in the future. Children dieting when they're 8 or 9 are probably going to diet when they're 15 and 25 and 35 and then make their kids diet." The Atlantic: Weight Watchers has a new app for children as young as 8. It might be better for the company than it is for pediatric health. (Three words I will never associate with children's health: "Download This App."

+ "Twenty thousand papers later, researchers are still debating whether the fatty acid is all it's cracked up to be." The Fishy Science of Omega-3s.


Freeing the Forest Through the Trees

"Six of the ten worst fires in California's history have occurred in the past eighteen months, and last year's fire season was the deadliest and most destructive on record. More than a hundred people were killed, and more than seventeen thousand homes destroyed. Experts have warned that this year's fire season could be even worse." One of the problems: We're putting out other fires too fast. The New Yorker: A Trailblazing Plan to Fight California Wildfires.

+ "A record number of wildfires have torched the Amazon this year as deforestation efforts increase under far-right Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro." Smoke from the burning Amazon Rainforest plunged Brazil's largest city into darkness in the middle of the day.


Bucket List

"There are dozens of fast-food chains in America, débuting hundreds of new menu items each year. Of these, maybe two or three in a generation make significant inroads into our collective culinary consciousness: a McRib here, an Impossible Whopper there ... the Popeyes chicken sandwich has ascended to the pantheon in record time, not because of a catchy ad campaign or an irresistible pricing scheme but because it is, if Twitter, Instagram, and uncountable blog posts and off-the-cuff reviews are to be believed, the best goddam chicken sandwich in the world." Helen Rosner in The New Yorker: The Popeyes Chicken Sandwich Is Here to Save America.


Slide and Seek

"The caller read out the numbers at a speed evoking an auctioneer on fast-forward, each multidigit figure blurring into the next. Within seconds, Daiki Kamino's right arm shot up in the air, triumphant. Not only had he heard every number, he had tabulated them and arrived at the correct, 16-digit sum: 8,186,699,633,530,061." The NYT: He did it all on an abacus. "Showing the discipline of elite athletes, more than 800 contestants from across Japan, and a few from South Korea, gathered in an auditorium in Kyoto earlier this month to put their skills to the test." (We should get these guys to track the deficit.)


Brown Knowser

"In the 20 seasons since the Browns were reestablished as an expansion franchise, they have been the least successful, most dysfunctional organization in the NFL: a .298 winning percentage, nine general managers, 11 coaches. Just 18 months ago they were capping off the worst three-season stretch ever. But something unimaginable was building in the background of that pain." Ben Baskin in Sports Illustrated: Welcome to Cleveland, Where the Browns Are True Contenders.


Bottom of the News

"If you twist a bell pepper in just the right way, it sounds like someone's chest cavity being ripped open." A video from Vice: The Secret To The Gruesome Sounds In Mortal Kombat Is Exploding Vegetables.

+ Spiderman could be breaking up with Marvel, the new Rambo trailer is out, and Matrix 4 is officially a go. (We're not living in a simulation, we're living in a sequel.)

+ "The age of huge, ocean-crossing zeppelins came to an end in 1937, when the Hindenburg — the largest craft of its type ever built — erupted in flames while landing in New Jersey. Dozens died. Now, more than 80 years later, the giant airships may be poised for a comeback." Scientists want to bring Zeppelins back. (Robert Plant will never go for it.)