Friday, August 19th, 2022


Life of Leisure

My work entails opening up a lot of browser tabs, visiting sites, researching stuff, and sharing pithy and often hilarious takes. Wait, that's my hobby. Actually, its both. The combination of screen addiction and the blurred line between work and leisure means that for many of us, it's hard to distinguish between work and leisure, and even harder to come up with a list of hobbies that doesn't require broadband. It just doesn't cut it to say, "For work, I sit at my computer for hours and for my hobby, I do the same thing high." The closest I come to having a hobby is watching baseball. So, basically, my hobby is watching other people do their jobs. The problem is even more acute for the younger crowd. Alisha Sawhney wonders, Why Don't Millennials Have Hobbies? "Over the next century, as lavish Silicon Valley headquarters, pizza stations, and in-office gyms became the new norm, work culture blurred the lines between our professional and personal lives. Somewhere along the way, many people within my Y2K cohort took work merch and free booze to compensate for long hours and unpaid vacation. For a lot of us, the rise of precarious employment and job insecurity created a toxic relationship with work that left little time or energy for anything else." (FWIW, writing thinkpieces about your generation also doesn't qualify as a hobby...)


Military Might, Might Not

"The humiliations of Russia's military have largely overshadowed the failures of the FSB and other intelligence agencies. But in some ways, these have been even more incomprehensible and consequential, officials said, underpinning nearly every Kremlin war decision." WaPo (Gift Article) with a very interesting look at how Russia's spies misread Ukraine and misled Kremlin as war loomed. (There's also the broader issue of corruption. When you're surrounded by a bunch of terrified yes men, you hear what you want to hear. That's bad, especially when you also take all of the state money intended for defense and intel and redirect it towards yachts and villas.)

+ It's not going well for Putin. That doesn't mean he can't make matters worse. "The rhetoric surrounding Europe's biggest nuclear power plant - close to the front line in Ukraine - is becoming increasingly alarming, with international figures warning of the risk of a major accident."

+ Russia's version of Starbucks reopens with a new name and logo. (If the war errors don't get them, the high blood sugar will.)


Invasion Pervasion

"On Thursday morning, NPR released new polling conducted by Ipsos showing that this language is broadly accepted by Americans. More than half of respondents to the poll said that it was 'completely' or 'somewhat' true that the United States was experiencing an "invasion" — including a plurality of Democrats. More than half of Republicans said the statement was completely true.'" But here's the thing: there's no invasion. Still, political messaging, even the false kind, sinks in after a while. Philip Bump in WaPo (Gift Article): Americans see an ‘invasion' at the border. But what does that mean?


Weekend Whats

What to Doc: The Last Milestone follows record-breaking marathon runner Eliud Kipchoge's journey to becoming the first person in history to run a marathon in under two hours. Kipchoge is amazing. But this doc isn't just about super athletes. Everyone has a 1:59 goal in their life.

+ What to Show: Industry on HBO is back for a second season. It follows the inner workings and lives of a bunch of people working in high finance. Good stuff. If you prefer non-human fire breathing dragons, the first Game of Thrones prequel is here.


Extra, Extra

Pay Cuts Like a Knife: "Dan Price was applauded for paying a minimum salary of $70,000 at his Seattle company and criticizing corporate greed. The adulation helped to hide and enable his behavior." (I suppose you can never trust anyone who takes a pay cut.) NYT (Gift Article): Social Media Was a C.E.O.'s Bullhorn, and How He Lured Women.

+ A Lump of Coal: "Residents stood up to a proposal by two oil and gas industry giants to build a pipeline under their properties and forced them to back down. When the news broke last year in July, the rejoicing began. But it didn't last long." WaPo: The TVA is dumping a mountain of coal ash in Black south Memphis.

+ Flow Down: An update on rivers. Nigeria's Osun River: Sacred, revered and increasingly toxic. Nepal's holy Bagmati River choked with black sewage, trash. And Jordan River, Jesus' baptism site, is today barely a trickle. (Jesus.)

+ Rx Post Facto : Walmart, CVS, and Walgreens must pay a combined $650.6 million to two Ohio counties for damages related to the opioid crisis. When it comes to the opioid scandal, no one was on your side.

+ Floor Show "If you, like me, have frittered away a frankly embarrassing proportion of your one wild and precious life watching women with perfect blowouts and annoying husbands gut-reno houses on HGTV, or idly scrolling through Zillow listings you have no intention or ability to buy, then you know that the gray floors rarely travel alone." The Atlantic: The HGTV-ification of America.


Feel Good Friday

"The nonprofit has boomed during the pandemic, freeing patients of medical debt, thousands of people at a time. Its novel approach involves buying bundles of delinquent hospital bills — debts incurred by low-income patients like Logan — and then simply erasing the obligation to repay them." This group's wiped out $6.7 billion in medical debt, and it's just getting started.

+ These Indigenous female skateboarders are breaking stereotypes in Bolivia.

+ Meet the teenager who helped push Florida toward cleaner energy. (Is he available to take over as governor?)

+ A Family Health Crisis Led This Entrepreneur to Start a Spice Business Based on an Ancient Indian Medical Practice. Go Raina!

+ New method to break down ‘forever chemicals' shows promise.

+ Dog, missing 2 months, found alive inside Missouri cave. (My guess is that he got tired of all the Trump news.)

+ Seal breaks into New Zealand home, traumatises cat and hangs out on couch. (I now wonder if my Beagles are part Seal.)