Tuesday, December 7th, 2021


The Kids Aren’t All Right

Being an adolescent and going through life's various transitions and experiences is difficult enough. Going through those tumultuous years in the middle of a pandemic is really rough. That's what you'd imagine, that's what you're likely seeing among the young people you know, and that's what the numbers are indicating. "Symptoms of depression and anxiety have doubled during the pandemic, with 25% of youth experiencing depressive symptoms and 20% experiencing anxiety symptoms." It's important that journalists cover this issue for a few reasons. First, the onslaught of bad news about divisive behavior alienates all of us, so it's definitely alienating young people. The media should be honest about its role in stressing people out. And second, because covering these trends removes the stigma around mental health challenges. I see too many young people hammering themselves for being bummed during challenging times. That's what the depression wants you to do. It's ok to not be ok. And these days, it's entirely understandable.


Exit Ramping

"Gaining courage from social media, the most vulnerable people in America have started the closest thing we've seen in a century to a general strike ... Workers are quitting across the labor force; people I've talked to range from minimum-wage employees to senior executives. But quit rates and job-to-job transitions in the Great Resignation are mostly taking place among workers with less than a high school education, whose daily toil is typically spent in dead-end low-wage jobs, an engine for corporate profits that produces some of the grimmer existences in the industrialized world." David Dayen in The American Prospect: The Great Escape.


Kraine Wreck

"Face to face for just over two hours, President Joe Biden and Russia's Vladimir Putin squared off in a secure video call Tuesday as the U.S. president put Moscow on notice that a Russian invasion of Ukraine would bring enormous harm to the Russian economy."

+ "Ukrainian and Western officials are worried that a Russian military buildup near Ukraine could signal plans by Moscow to invade its ex-Soviet neighbor. The Kremlin insists it has no such intention and has accused Ukraine and its Western backers of making the claims to cover up their own allegedly aggressive designs." Explainer: What's behind Russia-Ukraine tensions?


Pharmacy No Evil

"On 14 June 2021, a reporter for KGO-TV in San Francisco tweeted a cellphone video of a man in Walgreens filling a garbage bag with stolen items and riding his bicycle out of the store. According to San Francisco's crime database, the value of the merchandise stolen in the incident was between $200 and $950 ... In most coverage, the video is presented as proof that there are no consequences for shoplifting in San Francisco. But the man in the video, Jean Lugo-Romero, was arrested about a week later and faces 15 charges." You hear a lot about people stealing from Walgreens. You hear nothing about Walgreens stealing from people. "Just a few months earlier, in November 2020, Walgreens paid a $4.5m settlement to resolve a class-action lawsuit alleging that it stole wages from thousands of its employees in California." Judd Legum: Want to be a criminal in America? Stealing billions is your best bet to go scot-free.


Trust Shunned

Vaccine hesitancy is frustrating. But it's a worldwide phenomenon. Olga Khazan in The Atlantic on What's Really Behind Global Vaccine Hesitancy. "Something as complex as vaccine hesitancy is bound to have many causes, but research suggests that one fundamental instinct drives it: A lack of trust. Getting people to overcome their hesitancy will require restoring their trust in science, their leaders, and, quite possibly, one another. The crisis of vaccine hesitancy and the crisis of cratering trust in institutions are one and the same."

+ So it makes sense that the hesitancy around vaccine advice would extend to other areas of health. NPR: The NIH director on why Americans aren't getting healthier, despite medical advances.


It’s Hard to Find A Good Dev These Days

Trump has appointed someone to blame when his media company goes bankrupt: Devin Nunes. (Imagine starting a company and realizing Devin Nunes is the best guy that will agree to run it.)

+ The Guy Who Tried to Sue a Fake Twitter Cow Is Going to Lead Trump's Media Company.

+ Mark Meadows to halt cooperation with January 6 committee. (Trump didn't like his book and got mad, so to make up for it, he pulled out of cooperating ... which is something we're learning one gets to do when it comes to Congressional subpoenas.)


Errand Boy Sent By Grocery Clerks to Collect a Bill

"When we think of resource frontiers, it calls to mind the rugged, glamorous classics: oil booms, gold rushes, or, in the not-so-distant future, asteroid mining. But the latest is closer to home. Whether you live in Manhattan, Hollywood, or beyond, the storefronts and sidewalks in your city are being mined." But it's not as fun as it sounds. City Lab: The Dark Side of 15-Minute Grocery Delivery. "Mini-warehouses dubbed 'dark stores' are quietly taking over urban retail space. Left unregulated, the insatiable demand for faster delivery will only hasten the erosion of community life." Some days at San Francisco supermarkets, it seems like its just me and delivery folks picking up other people's groceries. I'll never feel comfortable letting someone else choose which head of lettuce is right for me.


Photo Finish

"The breach of the U.S. Capitol on January 6 set the stage for a contentious year in the United States, and COVID-19 variants and regional surges slowed worldwide efforts to return to pre-pandemic life." Here's a look a the top 25 news photos of the year. I think volcanos deserve the award from best photograph creators. The photos from La Palma have been incredible. And look at these scenes following an eruption on the island of Java.


Indiana Jonesing

"An American hedge-fund billionaire has surrendered 180 looted and illegally smuggled antiquities valued at $70m and been handed an unprecedented lifetime ban on acquiring other relics." He had to give it back and not buy any more stolen property? He's lucky he didn't rob a Walgreens.


Bottom of the News

"Every day, one million people upload pictures of their coffee grinds to the Turkish app Faladdin and get a personalised fortune reading back in 15 minutes ... Beauty livestreamer Li Jiaqi sold $1.9 billion worth of products in one twelve hour show on Taobao ... Clean rooms used to make semiconductors have to be 1,000x cleaner than a surgical operating theatre, because a single transistor is now much smaller than a virus." Those are just three items from Tom Whitwell's always entertaining annual list. 52 things I learned in 2021.