August 24th – The Day’s Most Fascinating News

Student Loans Forgiven, Teens Get High

For millions of Americans, student debt is about to be ridden out of town. In a much anticipated (and hotly debated) move, President Biden announced his student loan forgiveness plan. “Borrowers who earn less than $125,000 a year, or families earning less than $250,000, would be eligible for the $10,000 loan forgiveness … For recipients of Pell Grants, which are reserved for undergraduates with the most significant financial need, the federal government would cancel up to an additional $10,000 in federal loan debt.” (Pell grants you news for free every day!) For those former students who didn’t major in econ, this plan means that the federal student of debt of about 20 million people would be completely erased and as many as 25 million more will see their burden reduced. The big question is how those not in that group will react to the move. Some will celebrate the cut in overhead. Others will bitch and loan about the lack of fairness. Even Biden was hesitant at first. Mitch McConnell channelled the GOP response calling the move a ‘slap in the face,’ for working American families. I always say, if you’re gonna slap me in the face, do it with $10K.


Abort Message

There were several primaries held around the country on Tuesday. In one of most closely watched, we learned that Florida Dems chose former governor Charlie Crist to take on Ron DeSantis in November. Here are 5 takeaways from the last big primary night of 2022. Among the biggest: The overturning of Roe is having an impact on races.

+ Texas judge blocks Biden order requiring hospitals to provide emergency abortions. The battle lines could not be drawn any clearer.


Cover Jurassic

“The report warns that the situation is worsening in countries including Italy, Spain, Portugal, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, Romania, Hungary, northern Serbia, Ukraine, Moldova, Ireland and the UK.” Europe’s drought the worst in 500 years. If nothing else, the crazy weather across the globe has been a boon for geocaching. Lost villages, ancient ruins, WWII ships uncovered as extreme heat lowers water levels.

+ Dinosaur tracks from 113 million years ago uncovered due to severe drought conditions. (Something tells me that people who deny climate change probably don’t believe in dinosaurs.)

+ WaPo: Five 1,000-year rain events have struck the U.S. in five weeks. Why? (You know why…)

+ Another side-effect of climate change (along with soaring energy costs): higher utility bills. More than 20 million Americans are behind on their utility bills. And the pandemic shutoff moratoriums are over.


Banana Bread

“An Italian artist who attached a banana to a wall with duct tape and titled it Comedian – reportedly selling several versions for more than $100,000.” That’s not the part that’s bananas. He’s now being sued by another artist who says he was the first person to duct tape a banana to a wall. Everyone wants to be top banana. I’d pay $100,000 to watch the judge tape the lawsuit to the courtroom wall.


Extra, Extra

Putin His Place?: “The invasion has already backfired on Russia, and its remaining battlefield efforts are focused on making the most out of a bad situation — to make sufficient gains that it could sell the war as a win to its population and the world. But just because the war has been bad for Russia doesn’t mean that it’s a victory for Ukraine.” We’re six months into Putin’s murderous mayhem. How do we know who’s winning in Ukraine? And from Vanity Fair: Holding Russia to Account for War Crimes in Ukraine. “First, you encounter an individual case. Next, you see similar cases stretched across a town, then a region, then a country. In time, you begin to see patterns in the atrocities, and you start to understand that the intent had been to deliberately erase a population and destroy its identity.”

+ Living in a Simulation: “The amount of young adults who said in 2021 that they used marijuana in the past year (43%), the past month (29%) or daily (11%) were at the highest levels ever recorded.” Young adults are using marijuana and hallucinogens at the highest rates on record. (Watching democracy and the planet die is a decent reason to want to hallucinate.)

+ Charge! “California’s stance on new car sales is extremely consequential given the state’s status as a standard bearer for clean air regulations … California is also one of the largest markets for car sales in the world, with nearly 15 million registered vehicles on the road and 1.85 million new vehicle registrations in 2021.” And the state is prepared to ban the sale of new gas-powered vehicles starting in 2035.

+ Cloud Computing: “If the solar system were full of soup out to Jupiter, things might be okay for some people for a few minutes. Then, for the next half hour, things would definitely not be okay for anyone. After that, time as we know it would end.” Ask an absurd question, and xkcd’s Randall Munroe will give you a (somewhat) serious answer. Among the questions: What If You Tried to Swallow a Whole Cloud? (I live in the hills of Sausalito. I probably swallow three a day.)


Bottom of the News

“Chess is merciless and nasty. The image of tweedy professors and genteel clergymen playing friendly chess while sipping snifters of brandy is deceptive. Chess is the one place where those guys have the opportunity to kick somebody’s ass and get away with it.” Why Competitive Chess Is as Vicious as 10 Rounds in a Boxing Ring.

+ All nine passengers and crew members were rescued but, man, watching this yacht sink is something.

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