Thursday, May 12th, 2022


Gonna Fly Now

After decades, Maverick is making a return to the big screen, but there's another top gun who's goosed our interest in death defying aviation. Like a scene out of a classic air travel nightmare, the pilot of a small plane said he didn't feel well and then slumped over his controls. That's when a passenger named Darren Harrison pulled him back, got on a call with air traffic control and said, "I've got a serious situation here. My pilot has gone incoherent. I have no idea how to fly the airplane." Robert Morgan, an air traffic controller at Palm Beach International Airport, was notified that there was a problem, and he got on the radio with Harrison. He advised the passenger turned pilot to "push forward on the controls and descend at a very slow rate." That's about the time the average person would be sweating like Ted Striker. I don't even think I could get my tray table in the upright position under that kind of stress. But somehow, with Morgan's help, Harrison managed to land the plane safely. (The obvious lesson here is that flying a plane is not that hard and the best way to learn is by doing. Darren Harrison literally learned to fly on the fly.)

+ "Morgan guided the passenger through a long, stable final approach. He described what the runway was going to look like as the plane descended. Once the aircraft was over the runway, Morgan explained to the passenger how to keep the nose barely off the ground until the main gear touchdown. The passenger did not know how to stop the plane, so the controller instructed the pilot how to brake and adjust levers." Miracle in the Air: Air Traffic Controllers Guide Passenger to Land Plane Safely.

+ Tom Petty predicted this moment. "I'm learning to fly / But I ain't got wings / Coming down / Is the hardest thing."


We’re Finnished Waiting

Faced with the threat posed by a more militarily-minded Russia, Finland's leaders are pushing for NATO membership ‘without delay.' In other words, Putin is achieving the exact opposite of what he set out to accomplish. And how did Russia respond to Finland's push to join NATO because of Putin's growing threat? They threatened Finland.

+ AP: Why Finland, Sweden joining NATO will be big deal.

+ Russia is resorting to putting computer chips from dishwashers and refrigerators in tanks due to US sanctions. (You laugh, but I'm in the market for a new dishwasher.)


The Hole World In Its Hands

"Known as Sagittarius A*, the object is a staggering four million times the mass of our Sun. What you see is a central dark region where the hole resides, circled by the light coming from super-heated gas accelerated by immense gravitational forces." Black hole: First picture of Milky Way monster. (I held up this photo for my kid this morning and said, "Black hole, Son." I got nothing.)

+ SciAm: The historic image of Sagittarius A* is the culmination of a decades-long astronomical quest—and a crucial step toward a new understanding of black holes, gravity and spacetime. (As an added bonus, they found the Nasdaq in there...)


You Can’t Handle the Truth

"Rather than reprinting the yearbook at substantial cost and delay, we have elected to cover that material that is out of compliance with board policy so that yearbooks can be distributed as soon as possible." From Mic: A Florida school tried to cover up yearbook photos of its students' "Don't Say Gay" walkout. "At Lyman High School in central Florida, students held a walkout in March in protest of the bill, photos of which were captured in the yearbook. In response, the school said it wouldn't distribute yearbooks until images of the protests were removed." (You can hide the truth from some people, but you sure as hell can't hide the truth from high school kids. This is epically pathetic.)


Extra, Extra

Finally: As the managing editor of the internet, I'd say that finally is the most overused word in headlines. But in this case, it fits. "House investigators said Thursday they have issued subpoenas to House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy and four other GOP lawmakers as part of their probe into the violent Jan. 6 insurrection, an extraordinary step that has little precedent and is certain to further inflame partisan tensions over the 2021 attack." FINALLY. Can we just save time and add Ted Cruz and Josh Hawley to the list? They betrayed America and still get to hold the power of senators. (Of course, McCarthy and the others will probably fight the subpoenas and still manage to run out the clock.)

+ One Million: WaPo (Gift Article): "To attempt to put the 1 million deaths in context, we plotted its damage over more than two years and compared the continuing death toll with the tolls from previous catastrophes in our history."

+ Sick Pay: "Higher profits drove those companies' stocks. The coronavirus pandemic has led to people delaying care, resulting in insurers retaining premiums that otherwise would have been paid out as medical claims. Years of large acquisitions also started paying off, as health insurance companies have morphed into conglomerates that also encompass lucrative drug benefits middlemen, physician groups, pharmacies, and a host of other services and providers." Stat: Seven health insurance CEOs raked in a record $283 million last year. (People have the feeling the system is rigged because it is.)

+ Meat Grinder: "Trump officials 'collaborated' with the meatpacking industry to downplay the threat of Covid to plant workers and block public health measures which could have saved lives, a damning new investigation has found." Trump officials and meat industry blocked life-saving Covid controls, investigation finds. (It's all in the book, folks. It's all in the book.)

+ Office Space: Stat of the day from the NYT: Just 8% of Manhattan office workers are back full time, survey shows.

+ Puttz: Greg Norman has sadly been trying to start an alternate golf tour backed by the Saudis. When asked about the 2018 murder and dismemberment of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi, Norman responded: "Look, we've all made mistakes and you just want to learn from those mistakes and how you can correct them going forward." (It was a murder, not a bad chip shot.)

+ Boot's Camp: "Some years ago, Boots bought a lotto ticket with a possible payout of $90 million. His cowboy companions asked what he'd do if he won. When Boots failed to come up with anything, his wife, Nelda, answered for him: 'He'd go to the barn and saddle up the next morning.'" Texas Monthly: The Bronc-busting, Cow-punching, Death-defying Legend of Boots O'Neal. "He's pushing ninety and still saddling up at the Four Sixes Ranch. Just don't call him 'the last cowboy.'"


Bottom of the News

As you know, I've banned myself from tweeting since the company agreed to accept Elon's bid. But god is really testing me with this sub-headline.

+ More than $200 billion erased from entire crypto market in a day as sell-off intensifies. Real money. Fake money. There's nowhere to hide in this market...