Tuesday, September 13th, 2022


Myopic Up Lines

Looking through ever-thickening glasses, the world is seeing a huge uptick in nearsightedness. It seems pretty obvious, right? Kids are squinting at phones all day long and their eyes are paying the price. But is there a chance that this simple reasoning on myopia could be a little too myopic? "This is a pleasingly intuitive explanation, but it has been surprisingly difficult to prove. 'For every study that shows an effect of near work on myopia, there's another study that doesn't.' Adding up the number of hours spent in front of a book or screen does not seem to explain the onset or progression of nearsightedness ... Something about modern life is destroying our ability to see far away, but what?" (I mean, it's gotta be the phones, no?) Sarah Zhang in The Atlantic: The Myopia Generation.


Trading Post

For we the people to have any trust in our elected officials, we need some bare minimum rules. The first of those rules should be that trying to overthrow an election should be frowned upon. The second rule should be that members of Congress should not be able to trade individual stocks. It's completely absurd that they can ... and do. "From 2019 to 2021, 183 current senators or representatives reported a trade of a stock or another financial asset by themselves or an immediate family member. More than half of them sat on congressional committees that potentially gave them insight into the companies whose shares they reported buying or selling." NYT (Gift Article): Stock Trades Reported by Nearly a Fifth of Congress Show Possible Conflicts.


Spend Times

The latest inflation numbers are out and they're a bit worse than expected. That means the Fed is likely to push rates higher and your occasional calls with your stock broker are going to remain uncomfortable. AP: US inflation still stubbornly high despite August slowdown.


Foggy Bottom

"Most people with brain fog are not so severely affected, and gradually improve with time. But even when people recover enough to work, they can struggle with minds that are less nimble than before. 'We're used to driving a sports car, and now we are left with a jalopy.'" Ed Yong in The Atlantic: One of Long COVID's Worst Symptoms Is Also Its Most Misunderstood.


Extra, Extra

The Play's the Thing: "'My work has been staged around the world — and the only place where it has been censored is in Iran,' Cruz, 62, told me in an interview from his Miami home. Until now — when the first Hispanic to win the Pulitzer Prize in drama, a distinction that, in 2003, also brought prestige to his hometown's booming literary and theater scenes, appears to have become the latest victim of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis' culture wars." Miami-Dade schools censor Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright, won't let students see his play. If you missed it yesterday, check out this related story on how America is overdosing on the opiate of the masses.

+ War Games: "Momentum has switched back and forth before, and Ukraine's American allies, for one, were careful not to declare a premature victory since Russian President Vladimir Putin still has troops and resources to tap." But things are not looking good for Putin. Ukraine piles pressure on retreating Russian troops. (Ukraine shouldn't stop until they take Russia and Mar-a-Lago.) Meanwhile, it's important to note just how involved the allies are in the fight. NYT: The Critical Moment Behind Ukraine's Rapid Advance. "Together Britain, the United States and Ukraine conducted an assessment of the new plan, trying to war game it once more. This time officials from the three countries agreed it would work."

+ Emm Dash: With shows like Succession, White Lotus, and Hacks, HBO was the big winner at the Emmys last night. Here are all the winners, and the snubs and surprises. (I watch a ton of TV. And I love many of the performances nominated for Emmys. But Jon Bernthal gave the performance of the year in We Own This City.)

+ Dirt Road I'm not sure we needed a whistleblower to tell us that Twitter is wildly mismanaged. But Peiter "Mudge" Zatko just told a Senate committee that, "Twitter leadership is misleading the public, lawmakers, regulators and even its own board of directors. The company's cybersecurity failures make it vulnerable to exploitation, causing real harm to real people." While Zatko is sharing dirt on Twitter, a bunch of orgs are trying to dig up dirt on Zatko. Ronan Farrow in The New Yorker: The Search for Dirt on the Twitter Whistle-Blower.

+ Seeing is Relieving: "Beyond spotting the presence of disease, the test predicts where the cancer is, allowing doctors to fast-track the follow-up work needed to locate and confirm a cancer." Blood test spots multiple cancers without clear symptoms.

+ Learning to Ride a Bike (Through the Apocalypse): "Each of the tasks takes the form of obstacles that people volunteering relief in a disaster might encounter: rough terrain to traverse, rubble to clear, messages to deliver, water to carry. As in a real disaster, we won't know what the route is or what we need to do until we're handed our maps an hour before the start." Wired: When the Big One Hits Portland, Cargo Bikers Will Save You.


Bottom of the News

"Falterman is twenty-seven, and already something of an eminence in adventure-seeking circles. She has busked near the Amazon, hitchhiked around Scotland, and ridden a tandem bike from England to Greece. She got her pilot's license before graduating from high school. In 2017, she kayaked the full length of the Missouri River, becoming, at twenty-two, the youngest person ever known to do so alone." Next up? Circumnavigating the globe in a row boat. The New Yorker: Around the World in Seven Years (and One Rowboat).

+ I don't always understand the reasoning behind name changes, but this one seems pretty obvious. Oregon's Swastika Mountain Gets a New Name.