Monday, November 14th, 2022


Eight is Enough

Appreciate the elbow room you have today because this place is about to get more jam-packed than ever. For the last century, humanity has been crowd surfing a tsunami and on Tuesday, we'll pass a significant milestone: Eight Billion People. The world, in short, is full of it. There are more of us. We're getting older. And, in relative terms, things may peak soon. Casey Briggs of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation with a really interesting look at what we've become and what's next: 8 billion and counting. "This week, the world's population ticks over a historic milestone. But in the next century, society will be reshaped dramatically — and soon we'll hit a decline we'll never reverse." But that's not happening for a while. (In the meantime, are we effing the future by effing so much?)


Fifa Fo Fum

"Just as the Moneyball era produced a generation of baseball fans who talked like Nate Silver, soccer's age of decadence has turned fans into current-affairs obsessives. Sovereign wealth funds, sanctions, and debt seep into Saturday-morning chatter with the same frequency as counter-pressing or expected goals. The forces shaping modern soccer into something bigger, better, and more morally bankrupt than ever are the same ones that have blown up everything else. Following the sport is an education in oligarchs, oil, corruption, media, partisanship, politics, and the financialization of everything. You don't even have to like soccer to learn from it—because in a lot of ways, the story of the sport's last two decades hasn't been about soccer at all." Tim Murphy in MoJo: How the Story of Soccer Became the Story of Everything.

+ Everything includes endless corruption, but not a lot of ethics. A Beginner's Guide to Everything Wrong with the Qatar World Cup.

+ Dua Lipa denied she will be performing at the World Cup and said, she will "look forward to visiting Qatar when it has fulfilled all the human rights pledges it made" when it became host.

+ With that attitude, it's safe to say Dua Lipa won't be joining the governing committee at FIFA anytime soon. For some background on the organization's epic corruption (and an explanation of how the World Cup ended up in Qatar), check out the Netflix doc: FIFA Uncovered. Of course, we know how corrupt FIFA is and we know what we're dealing with in Qatar. Yet, the games will be played a we'll watch. Corruption, sadly, often works.


He Said, Xi Said

"I absolutely believe there need not be a new Cold War. I have met many times with Xi Jinping and we were candid and clear with one another across the board. I do not think there is any imminent attempt on the part of China to invade Taiwan." Xi and Biden held their first in-person talks to cool off the cold war.

+ "The leaders of the U.S. and China are meeting amid high tension, but both have reason to lower the temperature." Kevin Rudd in The Atlantic: What Biden and Xi Can Agree On.

+ "The Chinese hope that within the next five years or so they will be in a position where we cannot stop them from taking Taiwan. The way they see it, they are building up a sufficient capability to be able to execute an operation, and the tyranny of distance is so great that we wouldn't be able to stop them." Dexter Filkins in The New Yorker: A Dangerous Game Over Taiwan.


An Altruism Truism

The fall of FTX didn't just hurt crypto investors. It hurt a lot of non-profits, too. From the NYT: FTX's Collapse Casts a Pall on a Philanthropy Movement. "Sam Bankman-Fried, the chief executive of the embattled cryptocurrency exchange, was a proponent and donor of the 'effective altruism' movement." (Donating money is great. But when the economic divide is so extreme that someone can make $25 billion on nothing and immediately start deciding which non-profits are effective enough for his altruism, philanthropy is not the cure.)

+ Jolene on Me: Jeff Bezos vows to give away most of fortune, and starts by giving $100 million to Dolly Parton.


Extra, Extra

Tar-a-Lago: The Dems have held the Senate. The House race still looks like it will end with a slim GOP majority. Either way, this election was a shock for Republicans. Will it be enough for them to drop the albatross? Benjamin Wallace-Wells in The New Yorker: The Republicans' Post-Midterm Reckoning with Donald Trump. "The specific gripe that these Republicans have with Trump is not of a moral or a legal nature. The problem, in their eyes, is that Trump effectively handpicked the candidates who underperformed in some of the country's most crucial races. Many of these duds had won Trump's favor for only one reason: fealty to a lie." (This isn't about ethics. It's just about winning and losing. In other words, nothing has changed and no lessons have been learned.)

+ Prime Number: Another shoe drops in the tech economy: Amazon plans to lay off 10,000 employees. If you're looking for key indicators for when things will turn around, I'd suggest watching the shipping industry. Right now, that industry has a new problem — too many containers.

+ Jabs of Steel: If you need some extra motivation to get your flu shot, this chart should do the the trick.

+ Rat a tap tap: "Rats can recognize and move to the rhythm of a beat, according to a new University of Tokyo study published in the peer-reviewed Science Advances journal. Only humans had previously been thought to innately possess the ability." Researchers played Lady Gaga for rats. They bopped their heads like humans. (However, they refused to dance to trap music.)

+ Hold Turkey: "She nuzzled up into my chest and sort of bended into me, and I was struck by how soft she was, especially the top of her head. It was just the sweetest moment — I could have sat with her forever." WaPo: This farm offers turkey cuddling. No, really. (I have to think turkeys are a little apprehensive about getting a hug this time of year.)

+ Extended Layover : "Year in and year out, he slept on a red plastic bench, making friends with airport workers, showering in staff facilities, writing in his diary, reading magazines and surveying passing travelers." Iranian who inspired ‘The Terminal' dies at Paris airport.


Bottom of the News

"Libertarian candidate Dan Ward says he campaigned solely through shows for his band, Driven By Turmoil. The band's song 'Shut The F--- Up' became his campaign anthem as they asked listeners to vote against the establishment candidates." Amazingly, his campaign may have had an impact. This is so metal.

+ The NFL game of the year featured the catch of the century.

+ "Art restorers in the Italian city of Florence have begun a six-month project to clean and virtually 'unveil' a long-censored nude painting by Artemisia Gentileschi, one of the most prominent women in the history of Italian art." Six months is a lot of foreplay.