Thursday, June 3rd, 2021


The Underground Grailroad

Detectors are having their metal moment. Part of it is the old school search for the underground economy that has long driven detectorists. But if you scratch beneath the surface and dig up a little dirt on the topic, you'll find people who are interested in treasures that are deeper than that. "And we are in a bit of a detectorist media moment. New York magazine is making listicles of the best metal detector models. Drew Barrymore is giving them away on her show. The teenage sketch comedian Parker James is wielding one before his six million TikTok followers. In England, Carey Mulligan is making it mainstream; on Nantucket, millennials are making it fashion; and in the gaming industry, a romantic thriller-meets-metal detecting video game will be released this summer." Alexandra Marvar in the NYT: The New Detectorists.

+ Searching for some more content on this subject? Try the excellent show The Detectorists.


Card Sharks

Vox: The ugly truth behind your fancy rewards credit card. "The American payment system has evolved into a reverse Robin Hood whereby middle-class and working-class Americans who pay with a debit card, prepaid card, or cash are subsidizing the wealthy, who pay less for everything." (At least now I can pretend I let my points expire for the good of society.)


Favored Nations

"We also know that this won't be enough to end or reduce the life-span of the pandemic, and that's why we're working with allies and partners to expand the production of vaccines and raw materials." White House selects destinations for first wave of vaccine donations. Jake Sullivan: "As the president has said, the United States will not use its vaccines to secure favors from other countries." (Building back up our leadership role around the world is favor enough.)


Netanyahu Goes There

After twelve years, an opposition coalition finally seems poised to oust BiBi. But he is not going to go down without a fight. And that fight might sound a little familiar to Americans. "In a post on Twitter, he criticised them as 'left-wing' and 'dangerous.' He has previously called the proposed new government the 'fraud of the century,' saying it endangered the state and people of Israel." (Anyone know how to say covfefe in Hebrew?)

+ It takes some pretty big beitzim to call a Naftali Bennett-led coalition "left-wing." NYT: How Naftali Bennett, Head of a Small Right-Wing Party in Israel, Rose to the Top.


To Zoom or Boom?

"What is not clear is whether Boom has solved the problems that forced British Airways and Air France to stop using the Concorde on trans-Atlantic flights — high costs, safety concerns and flagging demand." United Airlines Wants to Bring Back Supersonic Air Travel.

+ "Boom claims its supersonic jets will eventually be able to travel from New York to London — normally a seven-hour flight — in just 3.5 hours, or Los Angeles to Sydney — typically a 15-hour trip — in six hours and 45 minutes." The Verge: United Airlines is buying 15 supersonic aircraft from Boom Supersonic. (I'm a terrible traveler, so they could shoot me out of a cannon if it saved me more than half the flying time. Now if they can just figure out a way to shorten the vacation itself.)


This Boy’s Life

"At the forested edge of the Canadian border this spring, state police arrested a person from the hamlet of Brasher Falls, N.Y., population about 1,000. He was charged with rape. The pain of such crimes often tears small towns apart without rippling beyond their borders. But following the March 23 arrest, news of the arrest ricocheted far beyond the hamlet. The resident charged with rape was a 7-year-old boy." NYT: A 7-Year-Old Was Accused of Rape. Is Arresting Him the Answer?


Miami Drowned Machine

"In Miami, the U.S. metropolitan area that is perhaps most exposed to sea-level rise, the problem is not climate change denialism. Not when hurricane season, which begins this week, returns each year with more intense and frequent storms. Not when finding flood insurance has become increasingly difficult and unaffordable. Not when the nights stay so hot that leaving the house with a sweater to fend off the evening chill has become a thing of the past." A 20-Foot Sea Wall? Miami Faces the Hard Choices of Climate Change.


Insurrection Last More Than Four Hours

"Republicans are not blocking a bipartisan January 6 commission because they fear Trump, or because they want to 'move on' from 2020. They are blocking a January 6 commission because they agree with the underlying ideological claim of the rioters, which is that Democratic electoral victories should not be recognized." Adam Serwer in The Atlantic: The Capitol Rioters Won.

+ DOJ investigating Trump-appointed Postmaster General Louis DeJoy.


Diversity Training Wheels

"f I were a Jew I would be concerned about my insatiable appetite for war and killing in defense of myself." Meet the now former head of diversity at Google. Google diversity head removed over anti-Semitic blog post. (This would have never happened if Google had googled this guy.)


Bottom of the News

"'I was throwing up and retching a lot and couldn't keep anything down,' one man reported. 'I was constantly hungry all the time and had an unstoppable craving for chicken kormas and poppadams. Even in the early hours of the morning, I would get up and prepare myself one,' another subject said. In this paper and in subsequent research, the symptom list has seemed to include almost everything: diarrhea, constipation, leg cramps, a sore throat, depression, insomnia, weight gain, weight loss, tiredness, toothaches, sore gums." The Atlantic: She Got Pregnant. His Body Changed Too. (This happened to me before my wife got pregnant. In fact, it was even before we started dating.)

+ A day in the life of a flavor inventor.