Wednesday, November 23rd, 2022


Holiday Icebreakers

This Thanksgiving, millions will spend time traveling in planes, trains, and automobiles. So let's kick off the holiday weekend with a couple of trips. The venues we're headed to are more majestic and awe-inspiring than the average trip home for the holidays, but they're also more ominous (unless your family dynamic is excessively dystopian). First, Alaska resident Tom Kizzia joins some tourists on a cruise to Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve. NYT (Gift Article): End-Times Tourism in the Land of Glaciers. "Today, cruise ships must travel 65 miles into the bay, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, to reach the last few majestic faces of ice. These ballyhooed encounters draw even nature-averse passengers onto their balconies, where they squint through their phones and listen for the famous 'white thunder' of calving icebergs, as great towers of ice peel off the glacier's face into the water. In a stable ice field system, each rumble and splash is exciting evidence of forward movement, of Nature's dynamic equilibrium. With the system now breaking down, each crashing iceberg felt like another loss."

+ In The New Yorker, David W. Brown took a slightly longer and less comfortable trip. "I first saw our icebreaker, the RV Araon, when we were due to leave for Antarctica. The largest icebreakers are more than five hundred feet long, but the Araon was only the length of a football field; I wondered how it would handle the waves of the Southern Ocean, and how it would fare against the thick sea ice that guards the last wilderness on Earth. Its hull was painted a cheerful persimmon color, and its bow was conspicuously higher than the rest of the ship, with a curved shape suggesting that icebreakers don't so much carve through ice as climb and crush, climb and crush." Journey to the Doomsday Glacier. (Stressful journeys, uncomfortable icebreakers, doomsday scenarios... and with that, we're ready for the holidays.)


Critical Mass

We interrupt coverage of the Colorado Springs mass shooting to report on mass shooting at a Walmart in Chesapeake, Virginia. An overnight manager killed six and then killed himself. It's America's seventh mass shooting in the last seven days.

+ WaPo: There have been more than 600 mass shootings so far in 2022.

+ Mass shootings in America are so common that we're now breaking them down into categories. The Conversation: Rampage at Virginia Walmart follows upward trend in supermarket gun attacks – here's what we know about retail mass shooters.


Grabs Popcorn

While we're focused on the daily news, powerful geopolitical forces are focused on one big story: The battle for water and food in the 21st Century. It's the everything story and it underpins many of the daily stories we read, whether we realize it or not. The Grab from The Center for Investigative Reporting and Blackfish director Gabriela Cowperthwaite is an incredible documentary on the most important story in the world. It's also a celebration of the dogged determination of investigative reporters. It's available to stream via DocNYC through November 27. Don't miss this chance.


And Then There Were None

In the Marvel universe, Thanos seeks to save the world by snapping his fingers and randomly disintegrating half of all life on Earth. Les Knight, founder of the Voluntary Human Extinction movement, isn't interested in such half measures. Knight isn't planning to snap his fingers to kill off the human race. He just got vasectomy, is having a pretty good time, and thinks we should passively "live long and die out." NYT (Gift Article): Earth Now Has 8 Billion Humans. This Man Wishes There Were None. (Sounds like someone's been spending too much time on Elon's new Twitter platform.)


Extra, Extra

QElon: "Researchers monitoring a firehose of public tweets found signs of increasing toxicity—before Elon Musk reversed bans on Trump and other divisive figures." In other words, we're just getting warmed up. Meanwhile, 50 of Twitter's top 100 advertisers have pulled out of the platform. And John Herrman sums things up in NY Mag: "Musk's public pronouncements, tweets, and Twitter interactions since the acquisition have taken a clear right turn." Twitter Is Just a Guy Now. (After being addicted to Twitter for so many years, I was hoping I'd be that guy.)

+ You've Got Some Bols: "More than three weeks after losing a reelection bid, President Jair Bolsonaro on Tuesday blamed a software bug and demanded the electoral authority annul votes cast on most of Brazil's nation's electronic voting machines." Bolsonaro contests Brazil election loss. Contesting an election weeks after a fair result? What kind of madman would do something like that?

+ Wring Tone: "Footage has emerged of workers clashing with hazmat-suited officials over delayed pay and working conditions. The world's largest iPhone factory has been under strict covid lockdown for weeks." Violent protests break out at Foxconn's iPhone city.

+ Power Play: "A punishing new barrage of Russian strikes on Ukrainian infrastructure on Wednesday caused power outages across large parts of the country — as well as neighboring Moldova — further hobbling Ukraine's battered electricity network and adding to civilians' misery as winter begins."

+ Giving in Denial: "Some of the best-known corporations in the US, including AT&T, Boeing, Delta Air Lines and the Home Depot, collectively poured more than $8m into supporting election deniers running for US House and Senate seats in this month's midterm elections."

+ Mouth to South: German players covered their mouths to protest FIFA policies. Then they suffered an upset in a loss to Japan.

+ The 10 Month Year: Time gets out in front of the deluge by being the first to share the Top 100 Photos of 2022. (By publishing these lists early, one risks missing things like this giant goldfish.)


Bottom of the News

"A couple of tables away, Gary Douglas, 52, was measuring the time in pint glasses. 'We got here six beers ago,' he said. Douglas and his friend Neil Tattersall, 43, were surveying their second round, six more pints — three apiece — laid out in a row. ('I'm just too lazy to queue up each time,' Tattersall said of buying in bulk.) They figured they had an hour more, give or take." NYT (Gift Article): England Had a Game, but First Its Fans Had a Quest. For Beer.

+ Have an excellent Thanksgiving weekend.