May 6th – The Day’s Most Fascinating News

The Lithium Gold Rush and Birthing Nine Babies...

“Blowing up a mountain isn’t green, no matter how much marketing spin people put on it.” There are many upsides to electric cars. But in some cases, getting the raw materials—like lithium, cobalt and nickel—to power them isn’t all that green. The NYT: The Lithium Gold Rush: Inside the Race to Power Electric Vehicles. The “environmental toll has often been overlooked in part because there is a race underway among the United States, China, Europe and other major powers. Echoing past contests and wars over gold and oil, governments are fighting for supremacy over minerals that could help countries achieve economic and technological dominance for decades to come.” (The downside of batteries is one reason why I’ve always preferred the idea of a really long extension cord…)


You’re Jeffing with the Wrong Guy

“‘Something unusual happened to me yesterday,’ he wrote in the swaggering tone of someone supremely confident in his position. ‘I was made an offer I couldn’t refuse. Or at least that’s what the top people at the National Enquirer thought. I’m glad they thought that, because it emboldened them to put it all in writing.’ He neglected to mention that they had only done so after being pressed by a lawyer working on his behalf. Bezos, it seemed, had manipulated his adversaries into creating an incriminating paper trail.” Bloomberg: The Untold Story of How Jeff Bezos Beat the Tabloids.


Tidal Waive

“The Biden administration’s decision to support waiving intellectual property rights for Covid-19 vaccines was hailed by activists and health officials Thursday as a decisive move that could upend the cozy relationship between rich countries and pharmaceutical giants and mark a crucial step toward addressing global vaccine inequality. However, the move drew strong criticism from leading drugmakers and some experts, who are skeptical about its impact on the world’s efforts to fight back against the coronavirus.” U.S. reversal on vaccine patents offers countries in crisis hope, but hurdles persist.

+ The Guardian: What is patent waiving and will it solve the global shortage? (The first half of that question is a lot easier to answer than the second.)

+ The European Union is willing to discuss a proposal to waive intellectual property rights for COVID-19 vaccines. For now, Merkel is not on the same waivelength.


Off the Broadband Wagon

There’s a whole lot about America’s pandemic experience squeezed into this lede from the NYT’s Rukmini Callimachi: “By the time Precious Coleman returned home from her overnight shift at a casino, it was past 9 in the morning. It had been another night of dealing with belligerent patrons who refused to wear their face masks and drunks who needed to be escorted to the curb. Her eyes stung. More than anything, she wanted to fall into bed. But her 11-year-old son, Jordyn, was waiting for her. Or, more specifically, for her cellphone: Because their Mississippi apartment has no internet, Jordyn uses her phone to log into his virtual classroom two days a week.” ‘I Used to Like School’: An 11-Year-Old’s Struggle With Pandemic Learning.

+ Broadband cos paid for 8.5M fake net neutrality comments. (That money would have been a lot better spent on … broadband.)


DeSantis Clause

“It’s the latest victory in the nationwide push by Republicans to restrict access to the polls, which party leaders say is necessary to deter fraud. The campaign has been fueled by former President Donald Trump’s false claim that his reelection was stolen from him.” Florida gov signs GOP voting law critics call un-American.

+ Journalists were blocked from the signing event. But state TV wasn’t. DeSantis Signs Away Voting Rights for Millions Live on Fox & Friends.


Tipping the Scales

“On Wednesday night, it was widely reported that the UK was to send two gunboats to the self-governing British island of Jersey, which sits just 14 miles off the French coast. On Thursday, France announced that it was sending its own navy ships to monitor the situation.” Welcome to fishing, post Brexit. The UK and France have resorted to gunboat diplomacy over fish.



“Although the pattern of people moving from larger to smaller cities has been going on for several years, the pandemic exacerbated that trend.” Residents left big metros during pandemic for family.


Nine Lives

25-year-old Halima Cisse was probably pretty surprised to learn that a scan showed she was due to give birth to seven babies. It turned out the scan wasn’t accurate. She gave birth to nine. Woman from Mali gives birth to 9 babies in Morocco.


Say Hey Bday

“When he joined the New York Giants in 1951, the game had never seen an athlete like him — breathtakingly graceful, the greatest combination of power, speed and defense ever to wear a major league uniform. And 70 years later, to many, he remains precisely that.” ESPN: Willie Mays at 90 — He was Steph Curry, Michael Jordan, Simone Biles and Mikhail Baryshnikov.

+ Bob Costas: “To those lucky enough to have seen him play, the mere mention of his name brings a smile.” A collection of bday wishes from the SF Chronicle.


Bottom of the News

“In a recent study of 2,000 U.S. residents, 81% said they believe that humankind is inherently good.” But wait, it gets worse… Nearly half of all Americans believe they’re the best person they know.

+ The Onion nails it: Reporter Who Found 3 Angry Tweets About Issue Guesses That’s An Article Right There.

+ My friend Nish Nadaraja has a newsletter called In Search of Lost Answers where he asks folks to answer a version of the Proust questionnaire. This week, it was my turn.

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