Tuesday, June 7th, 2022


What Happens in Vagus

You've got some nerve. Actually, it's more like a bundle of thousands of fibers that run from your brain all the way to your organs through the ultimate mind-body connection: your neck. We're learning a lot about how what happens in Vagus can impact your body. But it can also impact your mind. While the quackery has gotten a little ahead of the science—making the modern leap from preliminary studies to 64 million views of Tik Tok videos hashtagged vagusnerve—there are some interesting clues about how manipulating these fibers might impact your mind. "Researchers who study the vagus nerve say that stimulating it with electrodes can potentially help improve mood and alleviate symptoms in those who suffer from treatment-resistant depression, among other ailments. But are there other ways to activate the vagus nerve? Who would benefit most from doing so? And what exactly is the vagus nerve, anyway? Here's a look at what we know so far." NYT (Gift Article): This Nerve Influences Nearly Every Internal Organ. Can It Improve Our Mental State, Too? "Wellness companies have capitalized on the trend, offering products like 'vagus massage oil,' vibrating bracelets and pillow mists, that claim to stimulate the nerve, but that have not been endorsed by the scientific community." Oil, mists, and vibrators. This Vagus Strip might be more kinky than the one in Nevada...


That 70s Showstopper

We've seen this stag film before... "The global economy may be headed for years of weak growth and rising prices, a toxic combination that will test the stability of dozens of countries still struggling to rebound from the pandemic, the World Bank warned Tuesday. Not since the 1970s — when twin oil shocks sapped growth and lifted prices, giving rise to the malady known as 'stagflation' — has the global economy faced such a challenge." WaPo (Gift Article): World Bank warns global economy may suffer 1970s-style stagflation. (Can we at least also have the 1970s quality of music and movies to go with it?)


Cosa Boastra

"It's the second group tied to the deadly siege on the U.S. Capitol to face the rare and serious charge of conspiring to overthrow the government or prevent the execution of U.S. law. Eleven members of the Oath Keepers group, including leader Stewart Rhodes, were charged with seditious conspiracy earlier this year." Proud Boys leader Tarrio, four others, charged with seditious conspiracy. It's good to charge the capos and the captains. Now we need to work our way up to the Don.

+ WaPo: Fake Trump electors in Ga. told to shroud plans in ‘secrecy,' email shows. (Guys, they tried to overthrow the election.)

+ "The first of six hearings is set to go live at 8 p.m. EDT on Thursday. It will take place in a large House office building in the U.S. Capitol complex. Lawmakers plan to have witnesses testify and to display a series of never-before-seen images and exhibits relating to the lead-up to the insurrection and the attack itself." Will Americans watch the Jan 6 hearings? If they do, will it make a difference? Jan. 6 insurrection hearings: How to watch and what to know.

+ The people who most need to watch these hearings will not. They'll be watching Tucker Carlson. Fox News Channel to Skip Live Primetime Broadcast of Jan. 6 Committee Hearings Because of Course.


Luca Brasi Sleeps with the Gefilte Fishes

Don't do the crime if you can't to the time. But if you do the crime and must do the time, at least get some advice on how to do it the best way possible. And for that, you need to hire a prison consultant. "Maybe you've heard of these consultants recently. After a prominent felon is sentenced, a spate of stories often appear about these backstage fixers for the wealthy, consultants who can help get a client into prisons that one might prefer — say, a prison that has superior schooling or CrossFit-level gyms or lenient furlough policies or better-paying jobs or other refined specialties. The federal prison in Otisville, N.Y., for example, is also known as 'federal Jewish heaven' because of its good kosher food (decent gefilte fish, they say, and the rugelach's not bad)." NYT: Want to Do Less Time? A Prison Consultant Might Be Able to Help.


Extra, Extra

War on Food "While post-pandemic global demand, extreme weather, tightening food stocks, high energy prices, supply chain bottlenecks and export restrictions and taxes have been straining the food market for two years, the recent convergence of all these factors following Russia's invasion is unprecedented and has sent food inflation rates spiking around the world." The war in Ukraine is fuelling a global food crisis.

+ Witness Collection Program: "Expert witnesses are used, to some degree, in 8 out of 10 trials in the US. Over the past 50 years, they've become increasingly more prevalent in the courts, and often hold great sway over judges and jurors. But little is known to the general public about how they're sourced and how much they're compensated for their contributions." The lucrative economics of expert witnesses.

+ PreCheck Yourself Before You Wreck Yourself: "To qualify for TSA PreCheck, passengers undergo a screening process that determines whether or not they're a risk. The process requires a questionnaire about biographical information and criminal history, fingerprints, and an in-person interview (exactly what's involved in those background checks is classified). If approved, a so-called known traveler faces fewer security checks than everyone else. And by some measures, this system has been very effective." What the TSA could teach Congress about gun control.

+ Ice Age: "The International Skating Union is raising the minimum age for athletes in its most high-profile competitions from 15 to 17. The move comes months after Russia's Kamila Valieva was caught in a storm of controversy at the Beijing Winter Olympics when she was just 15 years old."

+ Soul Proprietorship: "Mickelson will be joining Dustin Johnson, Sergio Garcia and three other former major champions in a 54-hole tournament at Centurion Golf Club with $25 million in prize money and $4 million going to the individual winner ... Mickelson did not mention the signing fee, which is likely to be every bit of the $125 million or more reportedly paid to Johnson." Mickelson the last to sign up for Saudi-funded golf league. It's rare you find out how much it would cost to get someone to sell their soul. The Saudis seem to have found the numbers.


Bottom of the News

"After two years of cancellations due to the pandemic, the Cooper's Hill Cheese-Rolling and Wake took place once again in Gloucester, England, continuing a tradition that dates back at least 200 years. Groups of fearless racers risk life and limb chasing an eight-pound round of Double Gloucester Cheese down an extremely steep and uneven hill. The winner gets to keep the cheese." That's a life motto if ever I heard one.