Monday, November 4th, 2019


Maybe This Will Jog Your Memory

"A member of the world's largest family to suffer from Alzheimer's, she, like generations of her relatives, was born with a gene mutation that causes people to begin having memory and thinking problems in their 40s and deteriorate rapidly toward death around age 60. But remarkably, she experienced no cognitive decline at all until her 70s, nearly three decades later than expected." Can one woman's ultra rare genetic mutation set researchers off on a new (and hopefully, more fruitful) path towards finding a way to slow or even prevent Alzheimers? From the NYT: Why Didn't She Get Alzheimer's? The Answer Could Hold a Key to Fighting the Disease.


Bark Box

"Brazil's National Institute of Space Research, which tracks the damage, calculates that one-fifth of Brazil's Amazonian rain forest—the world's largest remaining 'green lung,' which absorbs billions of tons of carbon dioxide—has been destroyed since the nineteen-seventies ... In these places, all that stands in the way of the destruction of the Amazon is the ability of a few thousand indigenous leaders to resist the enticements of consumer culture." Jon Lee Anderson: Blood Gold in the Brazilian Rain Forest.

+ Maybe the trees can figure out a way to defend themselves. They are, after all, a lot smarter than you think. Nautilus: Never Underestimate the Intelligence of Trees. "Plants communicate, nurture their seedlings, and get stressed." I'm guessing their thoughts about humans - in particular, The Giving Tree - contain language not appropriate for children (or seedlings).


Global Gag Reflex

"In one of his first acts in office, Trump sat triumphant — in a room full of men — and signed the executive order that reinstated the policy ... Under Trump's expanded policy, which NGOs scrambled to understand the implications of, foreign NGOs that receive aid from the US could no longer even use their own, non-US funds to refer patients to places that provide safe abortions. In fact, if they even mention abortion as part of their counseling or education programs, they and any other local health care organizations they might support could lose their funds too." Buzzfeed takes a look at how America's global gag rule impacts people on the receiving end of US aid. Trump's Anti-Abortion Policies Have Created A Nightmare For Women In Nepal.


Kristallnacht in Broad Daylight

"In a cultural genocide with few parallels since World War II, thousands of Muslim religious sites have been destroyed. At least 1 million Muslims have been confined to camps, where aging imams are shackled and young men are forced to renounce their faith. Muslims not locked away are forced to eat during the fasting month of Ramadan, forced to drink and smoke in violation of their faith, barred from praying or studying the Koran or making the pilgrimage to Mecca. And — in possibly the most astonishing feature of this crime against humanity — China has managed to stifle, through 21st century repression and age-old thuggery, virtually any reporting from the crime scene." WaPo's Fred Hiatt on the satellite images that paint a very clear, and very horrific, image. In China, every day is Kristallnacht. (People always like to think the Holocaust and other horrific events would have been stopped sooner if only people knew the extent of what was happening. Well, we're now in an era when everyone knows.)


Yovanovitch Slapped

"Yovanovitch testified that she feared her job was in jeopardy because of criticism from conservatives ... and reached out to Gordon Sondland ... 'You know, you need to go big or go home,' she said Sondland told her. 'You need to, you know, tweet out there that you support the president and that all these are lies and everything else.'" Transcripts from the initial hearings are being released. From WaPo: Here's the latest from the impeach pit.

+ "Mr. Trump rarely tweets in front of others, those close to him say, because he does not like to wear the reading glasses he needs to see the screen." In case the daily barrage isn't enough to sate your appetite, the NYT has everything you always wanted to know about the twitter presidency but were afraid, or just too sick of it all, to ask.

+ "Despite low national approval ratings and the specter of impeachment, President Trump remains highly competitive in the battleground states likeliest to decide his re-election." From the NYT: This is a wake-up call for all the Dem candidates (and anyone still considering the notion of becoming one).

+ The Trump support must be tied to his rolling out of consistent moves like this: Trump threatens to pull federal aid for California fire victims. (Hopefully one of the kids in line for food at a fire evacuation center has some dirt on Joe Biden...)

+ Damnit, I'm just too biased against Donald Trump. Or, not. Children were told to ‘build the wall' at White House Halloween party.

+ Trump booed at an Ultimate Fighting Championship. You hear me booing every day, but it was a bit surprising to hear Trump get booed at a cage match. People in cages is literally his brand.


You Had Me at Goodbye

"'We prayed and everything. After they pulled the breathing apparatus and all that out, he tried to stay for a little while, but he was gone. That was it.' Except it wasn't. The patient they'd just had taken off life support was not Frederick Williams." ProPublica: The Wrong Goodbye.

+ Also from ProPublica: How One Employer Stuck a New Mom With a $898,984 Bill for Her Premature Baby.


Mind if I Merge?

According to Bloomberg, The Market for Bulletproof Vehicles Is Skyrocketing. "It can withstand a pipe bomb exploding from point-blank range and can weather rounds of bullets shot by AK-47s, AR-15s, and 9 mm pistols. Its 510-horsepower V8 engine can ford deep water, descend steep mountains, and sprint at 120 mph—an admirable feat considering that the Sentinel weighs 10,000 pounds." (This will be the last time any of the other parents give me side-eye for taking cuts in the school carpool pickup line.)


Delhi Counter Measures

"The 'odd-even' scheme will restrict private vehicles with odd-number license plates to driving on odd dates while even-numbered plates are allowed on even-numbered dates. It was begun days after authorities began emergency control measures." India experiences worst air pollution in 3 years.


Capital Crime

Point: There's almost nothing Facebook could do to make people more pissed off at them. Counterpoint: They just rebranded using all-caps: FACEBOOK. (It would be less irritating if Facebook rebranded as Covfefe.)


Bottom of the News

"Happiness is in many ways the marketing breakthrough of the past decade, with self-care and anti-stress products now rounding out the bestseller list on Amazon (think of ‘gravity blankets', ‘de-stressing' adult colouring books and fidget spinners), where they nestle alongside chart-topping tomes by ‘happiness bloggers'. All of this is made possible by a specific, disturbing and very new version of ‘happiness' that holds that bad feelings must be avoided at all costs." Aeon: The happiness ruse: How did feeling good become a matter of relentless, competitive work; a never-to-be-attained goal which makes us miserable? (If you want to take on the global happiness industrial complex, just read all the stories in this edition. That should provide you with all the defenses you'll need.)

+ When life gives you lemons, remove the seeds. The seedless lemon revolution has taken root in California. (This could dramatically alter nature, and the meaning of Led Zeppelin's The Lemon Song.)