August 11th – The Day’s Most Fascinating News

The four second workout, and the vaccine moveables.

I tried the seven minute workout, but I couldn’t commit that kind of time. So I switched to six minute abs. But it hardly seemed worth 360 seconds when I’m already known for my signature one-pack. Then I came across something called the 1-minute workout. But I found myself saying, “I’ll get to it in a minute.” Well, I think I may have finally found the program that I can squeeze into my schedule. It’s interval training and the intervals are a reasonable length. Gretchen Reynolds in the NYT (gift article for ND readers): Exercise Vigorously for 4 Seconds. Repeat. Your Muscles May Thank You. (Oh, wait. I didn’t see the “repeat” part the first time I saw this headline. This may not work for me after all…)


Must Be the Money

“But unlike stimulus checks passed during the 2001 and 2008 downturns, the 2020-2021 checks were universal at the bottom of the income scale. They had no work requirement or requirement that recipients paid federal taxes in the past. That means that the stimulus checks should have had a profound effect on poverty this past year or so — and that’s exactly what researchers are finding.” Vox: The lesson from the past year: Poverty is a policy choice.


Panic in Afghanistan

The predictable Taliban takeover on Afghanistan is continuing apace, and for people on the ground, panic has set in. NBC News: Panic grips Afghanistan as civilians flee Taliban’s relentless advance. “Diyana Sharifi left her hometown of Mazar-e-Sharif in northern Afghanistan this week as rumors swirled that the Taliban were poised to take the city and fighters were looking to find young girls to marry, and young boys to join the fight.”

+ “Deep in the concrete wall maze of central Kabul, the seniors of the all-girl Zarghoona High School keep one eye on their homework — and the other on the Taliban’s growing territory.” WaPo: Seniors at a girls-only high school in Afghanistan face an uncertain future.


Lost in the Wormhole

“Folks who are skeptical of masks and vaccines but still believe in COVID have turned to a variety of pseudoscience tools since the start of the pandemic, including bleach, UV rays, and … livestock dewormer.” Slate: Farm Supply Stores Are Running Short on a Horse Dewormer. (This isn’t a massive trend. But it’s worth noting how powerful fake cure messages can be. These are people who believe in Covid, but who would rather deworm than vaccinate.)

+ “The biggest news will be when we have a treatment; until then there is a social and moral imperative to get the whole world vaccinated. We are not isolated; in fact, we’re the opposite, interconnected, dependent and social.” In the meantime, Jordan Shlain shares the latest on what’s safe, unsafe, and a reasonable risk.


Polar Cap

Santa’s reindeer may have a new obstacle to contend with this year. Visibility. For The 1st Time In Recorded History, Smoke From Wildfires Reaches The North Pole. Smoke from the Siberian fires “blankets the sky for about 2,000 miles from east to west and 2,500 miles north to south, the report noted. Smoke from those fires has even been recorded as having traveled more than 1,864 miles to reach the North Pole — an unprecedented distance.”

+ WaPo: Siberia’s wildfires are bigger than all the world’s other blazes combined.

+ And that’s saying something, since there are lot of big fires from Greece to NorCal. Here’s a look at some of the biggest.

+ Meanwhile, nearly 200 million in U.S. under heat advisories.


River Bed Available

“Maybe the things I’ve been trying to avoid are the things that I really need in life,’ said Lidstone, who drifted apart from his family. ‘I grew up never being hugged or kissed, or any close contact. ‘I had somebody ask me once, about my wife: ‘Did you really love her?’ And the question kind of shocked me for a second. I … I’ve never loved anybody in my life. And I shocked myself because I hadn’t realized that. And that’s why I was a hermit. Now I can see love being expressed that I never had before.'” An off-the-grid New Hampshire man’s days living as a hermit appear to be over. ‘River Dave’ doesn’t think he can go back to being a hermit. (Well, since there’s a vacancy, Internet Dave might give it a shot…)


The Moveables

On vaccines, “there seems to be around 13-14% of the population who express ‘definitely not.’ However, there is another substantial group: those who want to wait-and-see and those who will wait till if required. And it’s pretty clear that some of those people are getting vaccinated over time, which means they really are in a movable camp.” It’s not as simple as it seems. And yelling at people won’t help. Zeynep Tufekci on the Lure of the Caricature. Anger and the Public Sphere.


Tough Gov

“The argument for why he might hang on consisted of observations about his predilection for destructive fights, his narcissism, and his refusal to listen—in other words, the case for survival was based not on faith that he would be vindicated but on skepticism about his judgment and character. His resignation speech didn’t really dispel those doubts.” Amy Davidson Sorkin in The New Yorker: Andrew Cuomo’s Resignation and the Real Meaning of New York Tough.



“Even in a sport with climbing merchandise sales, the Trash Pandas’ revenue is a staggering sum for a single team. That the total was largely achieved before the team played a regular-season game makes it almost dumbfounding.” The NYT on a small branding firm that is a big hit in the minor leagues. (And I want most of their hats.) Sod Poodles, Yard Goats and Trash Pandas, Oh My.


Bottom of the News

How ‘The Pet Revolution’ Unleashed A New Top Dog In America. “Dogs have come a long way since the days when they were put to work on farms and fed scraps. They’ve even come a long way since just a few decades ago when they spent their nights in the doghouse. Dogs now sleep inside on orthopedic beds. They get top-notch healthcare and visits to psychiatrists who prescribe them antidepressants. They see acupuncturists and psychics. They get massages and spa days. They wear sweaters.” (Look, we follow them around and pick up their business. After that, everything else they get is just gravy.)

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