January 31st – The Day’s Most Fascinating News

You and Your Gut, Santos in George Town

You’ve always had a gut feeling about this, so it’s time for the scientific community to spill its guts on the gut-busting effort to understand an often gut wrenching topic. In short, your gut reaction was right all along. There’s a reason you feel so many of your emotions in your stomach and gastrointestinal system—and why we have so many gut-idioms related to how we feel. Whether you call it the gut-brain axis or the mind body connection, science is finally catching up with what you’ve been able to feel all along. Jessica Wapner helps you digest a new study that takes an important step forward in understanding the relationship of gut bacteria to what we eat and how we feel. WaPo (Gift Article): The link between our food, gut microbiome and depression.


Havana a Long Journey Ahead

“While they had trained as doctors, the Rolo González sisters spent their free time on the outskirts of Havana scraping together enough to buy basics like baby formula for Melanie’s daughter. The women once dreamed of traveling as doctors but they quickly grew disillusioned about life in Cuba due to frequent blackouts, medical supply shortages and other restrictions.” And so they began a journey taken by hundreds of thousands. “Over the past two years, American authorities have detained Cubans nearly 300,000 times on the border with Mexico. Some have been sent back but the vast majority have stayed under immigration rules dating to the Cold War. That’s more than half the population of Baltimore, or nearly 3% of the people in Cuba.” AP with the latest in a series on the human side of immigration. 2 Cuban sisters’ 4,200-mile journey to the US and a new life.


George Town

“Embattled New York Republican Rep. George Santos is voluntarily stepping down from his committee assignments amid outcry over his fabricated biography and ongoing questions about his personal and campaign finances.” On one hand, in an era of dangerous corruption and lies, the Santos story seems over-covered. On the other hand, Santos does feel like a poster-child for our political age. He has completely invented a biography, he lies habitually, and during any other period, he would have stepped down. Instead, he’s sticking around and winning in the one arena that modern humans seem to hold most dear: the attention economy. Selfies, karaoke and Chick-fil-A: Rep. George Santos is reveling in the spotlight despite investigations. (With that list of activities, he could tell me he’s one of my teenage kids and I’d probably believe him.)


Apple Crumble

“I ignored how the board’s validation of bad tactics perpetuated future bad practices. Or how it mirrored the cultural tolerance for rough and aggressive tactics in high-crime neighborhoods. The board’s approach reinforced the myth about how policing should be done in those neighborhoods—with those kinds of people. It was considered the cost of doing business.” Sue Rahr The Atlantic: No Such Thing as a Bad Apple. “I worked in law enforcement for decades. The culture is what’s rotten.”

+ Chris Rock crushed the bad apple theory.


Extra, Extra

Tank Tops: We all know 2022 was a rough year on the roads. Oil prices soared. Inflation rose. Gas prices made headlines. So anyone in that business must have suffered. Yeah, right. Exxon posts record $56bn profit for 2022 in historic high for western oil industry.

+ Save Your Shelf: In Florida, some teachers are hiding their books to avoid potential felony charges.

+ Machine Learning From Someone: “Supporters see algorithms as a promising way to make a strained child protective services system both more thorough and efficient, saying child welfare officials should use all tools at their disposal to make sure children aren’t maltreated. But critics worry that including data points collected largely from people who are poor can automate discrimination against families based on race, income, disabilities or other external characteristics.” Child welfare algorithm faces Justice Department scrutiny. (Algorithms are too human.)

+ iOS SOS: “The series of upheavals has drawn renewed attention to the precarious lives of Chinese manufacturing workers, who increasingly work on a gig-like basis. For Apple, it has also highlighted the reputational and economic risks of having the bulk of its most profitable product made by one facility.” Rest of World: Inside three turbulent months at Foxconn’s iPhone factory.

+ Dance Sentence: “The sentences handed to Astiyazh Haghighi and Amir Mohammad Ahmadi are longer than the one an Iranian man was given for beheading his teenage wife.” Young Iranian Couple Jailed for 10 Years Over Video of Them Dancing in Public.

+ Doing it Her Way: “Her unpretentious intelligence, talent, wit and humanity impacted every character she created and person she worked with.” So said Ron Howard upon learning of the death of Laverne & Shirley actress, Cindy Williams.

+ RondStats: Linda Ronstadt’s Long, Long Time is the latest song getting renewed love on the charts due to an appearance on a TV show.

+ Procede With Caution: Showtime is going to be combined with Paramount Plus, so they needed a name for the new app. Introducing Paramount Plus with Showtime. (A branding firm probably charged a few million for that gem.)


Bottom of the News

“In a highly unscientific survey of the many, many fan-smashing-TV videos online, I encountered one Golden State Warriors fan and a decent number of soccer fans, including a Mexican-national-team supporter who stabbed his TV to death with a large knife and an Olympique de Marseille fan who totals his TV by one of a variety of methods—scissors kick, head-butt, hatchet, another TV—every time his side loses. But NFL fans are in a league of their own.” The Atlantic: Angry Football Fans Keep Punching Their TVs. (My TV is the one device I’d never harm. Besides, for me, throwing a laptop is so much more on brand.)

+ Ahead of the Super Bowl, four things to know about brothers/opponents Jason and Travis Kelce.

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