Friday, August 13th, 2021


This is So Meta

Most people I know have put on a little weight as they hit middle age. And of course that's understandabe since their metabolism slows down. (Insert screech sound here.) "Everyone knows conventional wisdom about metabolism: People put pounds on year after year from their 20s onward because their metabolisms slow down, especially around middle age. Women have slower metabolisms than men. That's why they have a harder time controlling their weight. Menopause only makes things worse, slowing women's metabolisms even more. All wrong, according to a paper published Thursday." Gina Kolata in the NYT (gift article for ND readers): What We Think We Know About Metabolism May Be Wrong. (My personal experience mirrors this new science. I spent my childhood shopping in the husky section and have maintained a fairly steady state.)


Don’t Let the Horror Hit You on the Way Out

There's broad agreement that it was past time for America to end its forever-seeming war in Afghanistan. And the end, no matter what, wasn't going to be pretty. But it's a lot uglier than it had to be, and the country's rapid slide into Taliban hands is challenging Biden's empathetic brand. "Once U.S. and NATO troops pulled out entirely, the collapse was inevitable. Still, many are startled, and not without reason ... When the Taliban's assaults first began in late June, U.S. intelligence analysts worried that the Taliban might take over in six to 12 months; now they're saying it could happen in 90 days. That estimate too may prove overly optimistic." Fred Kaplan in Slate: The only thing surprising about the Taliban's rapid advance is that anyone is surprised.

+ And yet, we appear to have been surprised. US sending 3K troops for partial Afghan embassy evacuation.

+ It's unclear that there will be major political implications related to this story. But there will be ethical ones. Panic and disbelief as thousands flee Taliban onslaught.


Weekend Whats

What to Scream: For those who missed the big announcement, I wrote a book called Please Scream Inside Your Heart. After I wrote the book, I challenged Sean Martell and Bryan Bell to design the best book landing page of all time. And they did. Please order the book today, and if you've got a second, share this page with a few (or few thousand) friends. The early orders often determine a book's success. And the reputation of the NextDraft community is at stake. I really appreciate the support. (Those who were among the first hundred purchasers and won free t-shirts will be notified as soon as I stop refreshing my sales stats page.)

+ What to Hear: The album was completed a decade or more ago. The songs are as fresh (topically and sonically) as if they were written last week. Prince's Welcome to America is finally out.

+ What to Read: "Such a problem might appear to be a simple one. People were growing coffee in a place where everyone seemed to agree they shouldn't be. The forest was already well recognized as important, worth saving, formally protected. How hard could it really be, then, to do something about this?" Short answer? Hard. NYT Mag: How Your Cup of Coffee Is Clearing the Jungle. (Maybe it's time to switch back to cocaine.)


The Amazing Race Race

America's demographics are changing. (That's what drives the gerrymandering and the voting rights attacks and so much more about today's politics.) WaPo has a tool in which you can see how the racial makeup of where you live has changed since 1990.


Not Going Anywhere for Awhile?

"In simple terms, many people who caught the original virus didn't pass it to anyone, but most people who catch Delta create clusters of infection. That partly explains why cases have risen so explosively. It also means that the virus will almost certainly be a permanent part of our lives, even as vaccines blunt its ability to cause death and severe disease." The excellent Ed Yong in The Atlantic: How the Pandemic Now Ends.

+ Just because the virus will be around doesn't mean our leaders should be on its side. However, being a presidential contender in today's GOP seems to require that strategy. Florida and Texas account for nearly 40% of new coronavirus hospitalizations.

+ 2 Days Into The School Year, A Florida District Asked 440 Students To Quarantine. (Masking doesn't take away freedom. It enables it.)

+ Mask up. Get vaccinated. And we can still have nice things. The Good News From Lollapalooza About COVID.


Do Not Pass Go

Monopolies are going to be in the news (and in Congressional debates) in the coming months. He's a simple look at the origin of monopolies from Frame.


Fire Starter

People love to argue that climate change isn't the only thing behind massive fires. And they're right. There are other factors, including Gary Maynard. "Firefighters battling the Dixie Fire have also been facing a second enemy: a serial arsonist who went on a spree of setting fires in July and August — and who sought to trap fire crews with his fires, according to agents from the U.S. Forest Service. They allege former college professor Gary Maynard is the culprit, citing their tracking of his movements and other evidence. 'Where Maynard went, fires started. Not just once, but over and over again.'"


Snope a Dope

In today's there nothing you can believe in news: The Co-Founder Of The Fact-Checking Site Snopes Was Writing Plagiarized Articles Under A Fake Name. (Writing tip: Either use a fake name or plagiarize. Doing both is redundant.)


Your Guide to Knee Pain

"I opened the door and, it's funny, the first thing I did was throw the stuff I bought on the passenger seat. And then I proceeded to punch the guy. After the first punch he said, 'OK, I'm sorry, I'm sorry.' I was able to get some knees on him, as he was exiting out." Pro-tip: Don't steal cars from UFC fighters. (I've never gotten any knees on anyone...)


Feel Good Friday

Yes, there is more coverage of the bad things people do when it comes to Covid (and most other things). But those are hardly the only stories. One Woman's Mission to Get Vaccines to Her Rural Alabama Town.

+ Moderna to begin human trials of HIV mRNA vaccines by the end of the year.

+ Round one of child tax credit payments slashed hunger rates.

+ San Antonio business to build, donate food truck to Olympic gold medalist for her mother.

+ Travelling family grateful for Hughenden's outback generosity in rescuing beloved toy.

+ Field of Dreams game: Walk-off homer caps Hollywood ending for White Sox. (What would be a dream would be to watch the Dodgers lose there.) OK, OK, a Dodger did make the coolest slide of all time. (Tho, the team's slide to being 5 games behind the Giants is also impressive.)

+ And don't forget to make my Friday feel good and share the Please Scream book landing page. (Man, that was smooth and subtle, eh?)