March 2nd – The Day’s Most Fascinating News

Borderless lies, and the 3-second workout.

We’re in an age where performance is more important than politics and often that performance is based on pure lies. Putin is a master of this strategy. While the world lines up in opposition to his maniacal invasion of Ukraine, people inside Russia are bombarded with falsehoods. “On Rossiya 1 and Channel One – Russia’s two most popular channels, both state-controlled – Ukrainian forces are accused of war crimes in the Donbas region. The threat to civilians in Ukraine comes not from Russian forces, but from ‘Ukrainian nationalists’, says the Rossiya 1 presenter. ‘They use civilians as a human shield, deliberately positioning strike systems in residential areas and stepping up the shelling of cities in Donbas.'” From BBC: Watching the war on Russian TV – a whole different story. And a very informative piece from The New Yorker’s Masha Gessen. How Putin Wants Russians to See the War in Ukraine. “Even if his hold on power is precarious, he can still convince Russians that the whole world is conspiring against them.” In this version of the story, Russia’s looming economic collapse and international criticism can be manipulated to look like proof of Putin’s false reality.

Americans have been victims of a similar onslaught for five years. It’s what could lead Americans to breach their own Capitol in the name of patriotism. It’s what props up the big lie. It’s why Americans can hate each other more than they hate a deadly virus. It’s why millions of Americans somehow think that if Trump were still president, he’d be tougher on Putin. And like Putin’s military bombardment, this lie-bombardment has no respect for borders. At the UN today, Russian Ambassador Vasily Nebenzya peddled Trump’s Big Lie, saying, “with the support of the United States, where the legitimately elected president of the country was overthrown.” Like I’ve been saying, It’s All Connected. (Update: This information is FALSE and was the result of a bad translation by Recount Media. They’ve issued a correction. I stand by the connections between Putin and Trump misinformation, but regret that I posted something wrong. Also, I am an investor in and a fan of Recount. We’ve all got to be much more careful.)

+ Here’s the latest from BBC and The Guardian.


This Sotu Shall Pass

Aside from some remarkable (and remarkably predictable) outbursts from the lunatic fridge (sadly, in attendance), President Biden’s first State of the Union went off pretty well, though I hoped he would be stronger in making the connection between Ukraine’s freedom and our own. Two stats really stood out. In describing overpriced insulin, Biden explained that one in ten Americans suffers from diabetes. In addition to targeting drug prices, we need to start addressing the ingredients used by big food companies. Biden also said that 23 million Americans were in drug recovery. Here are 7 key takeaways from Biden’s 2022 State of the Union speech.

+ If history is any indicator, Americans will have paid most attention to the part of the speech that talked about the state of the job market and the economy, in this case, inflation. From Vox: Inflation, explained by eggs. In short, you have to bring home a lot more bacon to enjoy the same breakfast.


Curling Iron

“Men and women who briefly contracted their arm muscles as hard as possible once daily increased their biceps strength by up to 12 percent in a month … The findings add to mounting evidence that even tiny amounts of exercise — provided they are intense enough — can aid health.” NYT (Gift Article): Stronger Muscles in 3 Seconds a Day. (OK, 3 seconds seems doable. But every day?)


Kytch, Please

McDonald’s soft serve machine breakdowns are so notorious, they’ve achieved internet fame. A company called Kytch created a device to help franchise owners track the health of their machines. McDonald’s ordered the devices removed. That turned the companies into arch enemies. Andy Greenberg breaks the cone of silence in Wired: Ice Cream Machine Hackers Sue McDonald’s for $900 Million.


Extra, Extra

Pande-mic Drop?: The masks are coming off. We’re beginning to reconnect with our old lives. But we’re all a little worried that this is timeout, not game over. Is the worst of the Covid-19 pandemic behind us? We asked 8 experts.

+ Lose Your Illusion: “Volodymyr Zelensky’s courage has moved people, even the hard-bitten CEOs of oil companies, even dull diplomats accustomed to rote pronouncements. Vladimir Putin’s paranoid ranting, meanwhile, has frightened even people who were lauding his “savvy” just a few days ago. He is not, in fact, someone you can do business with, as so many in Berlin, Paris, London, and Washington falsely believed; he is a cold-blooded dictator happy to murder hundreds of thousands of neighbors and impoverish his nation, if that’s what it takes to remain in power. However the war ends—and many scenarios are still imaginable—we already live in a world with fewer illusions.” The excellent Anne Applebaum in The Atlantic: The Impossible Suddenly Became Possible.

+ Texas Hold Everything: “According to the lawsuit’s complaint, the DFPS employee, identified only as Jane Doe, was placed on administrative leave on Feb. 23, the day after Abbott’s letter. On Feb. 25, an investigator showed up at the house where she lives with her child, who the suit said has been diagnosed with gender dysphoria and is receiving ‘medically necessary care,’ including puberty blockers and hormone therapy.” A Mother Is Suing After Texas Launched A “Child Abuse” Investigation Over Her Teen’s Gender-Affirming Care.

+ Opening Daze: Buy me some peanuts and cracker jack… MLB Owners: “You can only have one or the other and there’s no longer a prize in the Cracker Jack.” What we know and don’t know as MLB delays Opening Day. (Thousands of organizations are boycotting Russia. Only the MLB has the guts to boycott everything.)


Bottom of the News

“A prominent researcher believes he has solved this long-standing riddle at last in new research that lays out exactly how Stonehenge likely worked. Timothy Darvill, professor of archaeology at Bournemouth University, suggests that Stonehenge is ‘a simple and elegant perpetual calendar based on the 365.25 solar days in a mean tropical year.'” (Back then, when someone said it would difficult to adjust their schedule, they meant it.)

+ Lifehacker: It’s Time to Stop Pre-Rinsing Your Dishes.

+ 32 Before-And-Afters Of Actors Who Did Intense Hair And Makeup For Their Roles.

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