Wednesday, October 13th, 2021


The Mother Load

The chip shortage has slowed everything down, but the electric cars are coming. Nearly all of the big carmakers are on board and the shift to electric has led to several new carmakers entering the fray. The big question is how our electric grids will handle the additional load when they often fail to handle the current one. "America's electric grid will be sorely challenged by the need to deliver clean power to those cars. Today, though, it barely functions in times of ordinary stress, and fails altogether too often for comfort, as widespread blackouts in California, Texas, Louisiana and elsewhere have shown." WaPo (Gift Article for ND Readers): Plug-in cars are the future. The grid isn't ready.


Smoke and Mirrors

"For the first time, the Food and Drug Administration on Tuesday authorized an electronic cigarette, saying the vaping device from R.J. Reynolds can help smokers cut back on conventional cigarettes." First, sell the disease. Second, sell the cure. All R.J. Reynolds needs to do now is sell coffins and they'll have the market covered.


The Quit Hits the Fan

Is it the pandemic? Is it the prospect of returning to the office? Is it the promise of a better gig down the road? The data on the reasons isn't all that definitive. But one thing is for sure. People are quitting their jobs at a remarkable rate. A record 4.3 million workers walked off the job in August.

+ Here's how to talk yourself down when you're about to rage quit. (I'm about to rage quit every morning. My boss is a complete dick.)


The Body Politic

"Even in states with the strictest abortion laws, pregnant people have a safe, inexpensive option to terminate their pregnancies. But few know about it." Olga Khazan with an interesting look at self managed abortions. The Abortion Backup Plan No One Is Talking About. (Read all the details of why women might not know about these options. The politicization of the female body is relentless.)


Cola Nuts

"Millions of retirees on Social Security will get a 5.9% boost in benefits for 2022. The biggest cost-of-living adjustment in 39 years follows a burst in inflation as the economy struggles to shake off the drag of the coronavirus pandemic.The COLA, as it's commonly called, amounts to $92 a month for the average retired worker."


Idol Rumors

When Southwest Airlines canceled a bunch of flights, rumors swirled that it was related to the vaccine mandates. At least, a lot of news sites called them rumors. But what we're experiencing in America right now are not rumors. They're disinformation campaigns intended to model the ones Trump ran and is still running. The vaccine mandates are working, saving lives, and accelerating the pace towards economic re-openings. Unsupported ‘sickout' claims take flight amid Southwest woes. Seditionist Ted Cruz tweeted: "Joe Biden's illegal vaccine mandate at work! Suddenly, we're short on pilots & air traffic controllers." (What we're short on since the mandates is Covid deaths.)

+ The real issue, of course, is how we get as many people vaccinated as quickly as possible. In America, the hurdles are mental and political. In remote regions, those hurdles are physical. WaPo: By boat, by motorbike, by foot The journey to vaccinate Colombia's remotest communities.


Neckless Abandon

"If God actually did design human bodies according to a plan, they forgot to make sure that we can breathe while we sleep — a remarkably crucial detail to overlook. While not everyone suffers from the aforementioned anatomical glitch, known to doctors as obstructive sleep apnea, it affects 22 million Americans — and has become an even more hazardous condition amid the spread of a deadly virus that attacks the lungs." Salon: The human neck is a mistake of evolution. (Let's start by ending neckbeards and see how it goes.)


Bridge of Sighs

"More often than seemed mathematically conceivable, Fantoni and Nunes made unusual bids and low-percentage plays that succeeded brilliantly, suggesting that they were illegally exchanging information about their hands. But how?" The New Yorker: The Great Bridge Boycott. "At a recent tournament, thirty teams refused to compete when faced with the prospect of playing against Fulvio Fantoni, a notorious Italian player who has been accused of cheating."



"It was midwinter, the start of the ravens' breeding season. Kalyn lay on the frozen ground using the muted light to capture the detail of the ravens' iridescent plumage against the contrasting snow to reveal this intimate moment when their thick black bills came together." Wildlife photographer of the year 2021 winners. (And, as you can tell, the writing might win best erotic fiction...)

+ I say this is the wildlife photo of the year. So moving.


Bottom of the News

"What you have given me is the most profound experience. I hope I never recover from this. I hope that I can maintain what I feel now. I don't want to lose it." William Shatner blasts into space. I felt like doing this during the Giants game last night. (Sadly, once in space, the rematch everyone wanted never materialized.)

+ I mean, yes, there was also this story in WaPo: Inside Blue Origin: Employees say toxic, dysfunctional ‘bro culture' led to mistrust, low morale and delays at Jeff Bezos's space venture. But look over there, Captain Kirk is flying to the edge of space in a giant penis!!!

+ Shatner was occasionally accused of overacting. Which brings us to this interesting look at North Korea military display.