1

Getting Dumped

In The New Yorker Ed Caesar shares his experience of a new kind of luxury travel. Being Dumped in the Middle of Nowhere. "One recent afternoon in Morocco, a fifty-nine-year-old former Royal Marine Commando named Phil Asher walked me into a desolate valley in the Atlas Mountains, shook my hand, and abandoned me. Asher, whom I had met only the previous evening, has a gray beard, a piercing gaze, and a bone-dry sense of humor. He teaches survival skills to people who have never fast-roped from a helicopter or killed their dinner. That morning, he had spent several hours educating me on the rudiments of living in the wilderness, alone. Now I was in the wilderness, alone ... From the moment that Asher left me in the valley, I was allotted two days to walk to a rendezvous point eighteen miles away, over and around mountains." (After the holidays, the company should offer a new version of this luxury trip in which you're dumped in the middle of nowhere and you can just stay there.)

2

Parade Ground Killing Field

Five people were killed and several children are still in critical condition after an SUV plowed through a Christmas parade in Waukesha, Wisconsin. The suspect may have been fleeing a domestic disturbance. Here's the latest from CNN.

+ Beloved 'dancing grannies' among those killed after driver plows through Wisconsin Christmas parade.

3

Learning to Live With It

During the pandemic, work from home has been common. Another less common trend also took place. Living at work. Workers in Vietnam lived inside factories to keep products on shelves during the pandemic. "The lines between their workplace and home evaporated. For nearly three weeks, Nam slept with a blanket on a mattress in a warehouse alongside around 100 other male colleagues, moving between there, the company canteen and the production line in what felt like a twilight of unending work. His life revolved around screens. As the factory's main product, they gave him his livelihood. Come rest time, his attention would narrow into the device, the only way to connect with family and friends." (This is something to keep in mind if your Christmas gifts arrive a little late this year.)

4

Cobalt E-More

"But the quest for Congo's cobalt has demonstrated how the clean energy revolution, meant to save the planet from perilously warming temperatures in an age of enlightened self-interest, is caught in a familiar cycle of exploitation, greed and gamesmanship that often puts narrow national aspirations above all else." NYT (Gift Article): A Power Struggle Over Cobalt Rattles the Clean Energy Revolution.

5

Fox Hole

"Their departures also mark the end of a lingering hope among some at Fox News — strange as this is for outsiders to understand — that the channel would at some point return to a pre-Trump reality that was also often hyperpartisan, but that kept some distance from Republican officials." Two Fox News Contributors Quit in Protest of Tucker Carlson's Jan. 6 Special. (Yeah, because Fox News juuuuuuust crossed the line.)

+ The departure of two sane Fox contributors can be described as things going pretty much according to plan for the new leaders of the GOP. David Brooks (one of its old leaders) in The Atlantic: The Terrifying Future of the American Right.

6

Jive Turkeys Ruin Another Thanksgiving

"There was hope that this year would be different. In addition to vaccines, there are effective treatments, such as monoclonal antibodies, that can significantly reduce the chance of hospitalization and death. Yet, as of Sunday evening, the country is averaging more than 1,100 deaths a day — almost the same tally as last year at this time before the vaccines had been authorized. That's partly because millions of Americans remain unvaccinated." Politico: Stubborn Covid surges signal bleak winter.

+ "Probably by the end of the winter, more or less everyone in Germany will be vaccinated, cured or dead," the health minister, Jens Spahn, said. "That sounds cynical, but that is the reality."

7

Tennis Elbowed

"The Women's Tennis Association has said that a call between Peng Shuai and the president of the International Olympic Committee does not address its concerns over the Chinese player's wellbeing. An IOC statement after the call said Peng appeared to be safe and well." (Oh, gee, the IOC would never aid and abet a Chinese crackdown ahead of the Olympics. Pro tennis players need to keep the pressure on.)

8

Seed Investing

"With a recent experiment providing the first unambiguous evidence that cloud seeding can increase snowpack levels, research into artificial rainmaking is undergoing a small renaissance." Cloud seeding gains steam as West faces worsening droughts.

9

Boiling Point Taken

"The U.K. government announced Friday that all decapod crustaceans and cephalopod mollusks will be added to the Animal Welfare (Sentience) Bill after a study from the London School of Economics and Political Science found evidence that the sea creatures are sentient, or can feel." Crabs, octopus and lobsters feel pain, study says. They will be recognized as 'sentient beings.' (That distinguishes them from many humans.)

10

Bottom of the News

"For whatever reason, money was falling out of an armored car. It was free-floating bills all over the freeway." Armored truck drops cash on I-5 in Carlsbad — drivers stop to scoop it up. Here's an Instagram video from the scene. (At least it wasn't bitcoin...)

+ Spotify removed shuffle as the default option on albums because Adele said so (and also because it was stupid to have it that way).

+ Need something to read over the holiday weekend? My book Please Scream Inside Your Heart will do the trick. And if you're an audiobook fan, you're in for a treat.