August 2nd – The Day’s Most Fascinating News

Why deception works. And sharing Tokyo gold.

If you’re vaccinated, you probably have a really hard time understanding those who haven’t been. It’s probably not the first time over the past few years when you’ve shrugged (or yelled a few expletives) because you just can’t make sense of it. Well, it’s complicated. It always is when people vote or act against their self interest, even when that self-interest includes their own self-preservation. Brooke Harrington in The Atlantic: Why targets of deliberate deception often hesitate to admit they’ve been deceived. “To outsiders, the social dynamics of the con appear peculiar and irrational. Those caught up in it can seem self-destructive and, frankly, clueless. But to sociologists, including me, who study fraud, such behaviors obey a predictable logic.” (And it turns out just yelling, “Get the effing vaccine!” doesn’t help much…)

+ “Fewer than half of all Americans age 18 to 39 are fully vaccinated, compared with more than two-thirds of those over 50.” NYT (gift article for ND readers): To Fight Vaccine Lies, Authorities Recruit an ‘Influencer Army.’ (Maybe just make vaccine approval a requirement for buying hard seltzer? They could call it the White Clause.)


A Bowel Movement in the Right Direction

This morning, the number one story at the NYT site is one about Irritable Bowel Syndrome. That shouldn’t surprise you. (I moved the story to number two for obvious reasons.) 10 to15 percent of adults in the United States have I.B.S. or and/or experience gastrointestinal distress following a meal. They’re usually told it’s all in their head. Yes, the head to gut connection is real. But the direction of the distress signal might be going in the other direction. Jane E. Brody in the NYT (gift article for ND readers): Solving the Mystery of I.B.S.


Help Daunted

“Scientists and climate policy experts who quit have not returned. Recruitment is suffering, according to federal employees, as government science jobs are no longer viewed as insulated from politics. And money from Congress to replenish the ranks could be years away. The result is that President Joe Biden’s ambitious plans to confront climate change are hampered by a brain drain.” A Brain Drain Among Government Scientists Bogs Down Biden’s Climate Ambitions. (I mean, technically, they’re humanity’s climate ambitions, but you get the gist.)


You Know Darth Vader, Meet Emperor Palpatine

As much as we like to believe in grass roots movements, most of them are backed by big money institutions that have very different goals than than those on the streets. And so it is with The Big Lie. “Institutions like the Heritage Foundation and alec are providing the grease to turn these attacks on democracy into law.” The New Yorker: The Big Money Behind the Big Lie. “Donald Trump’s attacks on democracy are being promoted by rich and powerful conservative groups that are determined to win at all costs.”


Talibanana Republic

“The State Department said it is widening the scope of Afghans eligible for refugee status in United States to include current and former employees of U.S.-based news organizations, U.S.-based aid and development agencies and other relief groups that receive U.S. funding … The move comes with a major caveat that may severely limit the number of people who can benefit: applicants must leave Afghanistan to begin the adjudication process that may take 12-14 months in a third country, and the U.S. does not intend to support their departures or stays there.” US expands Afghan refugee program as Taliban violence rises. (It’s a travesty, albeit a familiar one, that these folks weren’t taken care of before we withdrew and the Taliban started the killing spree.)


Five Ring Circus

“The incident has again put the spotlight on Belarus, which has been ruled by President Alexander Lukashenko since 1994. Last year, nationwide protests over his disputed re-election were violently repressed by the security forces.
Some of those who joined the demonstrations were also national-level athletes, who were stripped of funding, cut from national teams and detained.” Belarus Olympian given Polish visa after refusing ‘forced’ flight home.

+ Gianmarco Tamberi of Italy and Mutaz Essa Barshim of Qatar both took the gold for the men’s high jump in a truly heartwarming decision. This fosbury was no flop.

+ At an extraordinary Olympics, acts of kindness abound.

+ An Olympic Runner Fell During The Last Lap Of The 1,500. She Still Won The Race. And it looks even more amazing than it sounds.


A Cape Cod Piece

“The data analyzed a large outbreak of COVID-19 cases among vaccinated beachgoers in Cape Cod, Massachusetts, over the July 4th holiday.” A Cape Cod COVID outbreak shows the delta variant may be even more infectious than we thought.

+ The question of the summer: The U.K.’s Delta Surge Is Collapsing. Will Ours?

+ From Super-Spreader Sex Houses to Nude Beach Fistfights, Vaccinated Partying Not All It’s Cracked Up to Be. (I assume the headline editor meant Aside From…)


Green Bay

“The territory’s ice sheet has shed about eight billion tons of meltwater a day since last Wednesday, twice as much as its normal seasonal melt rate, due to temperatures that are averaging 10°C higher than past summers at this time. These single-day deluges of water are equivalent in volume to a two-inch-deep flood across the entire state of Florida.” A Heat Wave Has Triggered a ‘Massive Melting Event’ in Greenland. (Of course Trump wanted to buy a block of ice just before it melted.)


The Elephant Parts in the Room

“Taxidermy work orders containing the LaPierres’ names called for the elephants’ four front feet to be turned into “stools,” an “umbrella stand,” and a “trash can.” At their request, tusks were mounted, skulls were preserved, and the hyena became a rug.” The New Yorker: How the Head of the N.R.A. and His Wife Secretly Shipped Their Elephant Trophies Home.


Bottom of the News

“These procedures often take place in small clinics, where doctors who might have been trained as dermatologists or pediatricians are legally allowed to advertise themselves as “board certified” physicians even though the extent of their plastic surgery training might have consisted of a single weekend course. To make up for the high cost of running an operating room, they squeeze in as many as eight patients every day.” The $5,000 quest for the perfect butt.

+ Readers loved last Friday’s lede about a guy who watches sunrises and helps neighbors.

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