Monday, June 5th, 2023


The Kid Gloves Are Off

I kid you not. Many states are taking off the kid gloves when it comes to putting kids to work at jobs usually reserved for adults. These laws are not isolated trends, they're part of a longstanding and unified effort to remove child labor laws. William Finnegan in the New Yorker with an overview. Child Labor Is on the Rise. "This surge is being propelled by an unhappy confluence of employers desperate to fill jobs, including dangerous jobs, at the lowest possible cost; a vast wave of 'unaccompanied minors' entering the country; more than a little human trafficking; and a growing number of state legislatures that are weakening child-labor laws in deference to industry groups and, sometimes, in defiance of federal authority."

+ PBS Newshour: Why several states are pushing to loosen child labor restrictions.

+ There are several groups who have been pushing to limit child labor laws for different (but related) reasons. Vox with a deeper look at the push to weaken child labor laws. "Some conservatives have long seen child labor laws as government overreach, dictating rules for minors that should be left up to individual families. Others simply oppose most forms of government regulation. And still others see youth labor restrictions as an unnecessary barrier at a time when companies are struggling to hire workers." (My kids threaten to hire a lawyer when I ask them to clean their rooms.)


What Can Brownsville Do For You?

"It had been a quiet April afternoon until about a dozen teenagers began running up Pitkin Avenue in Brownsville, yelling and cursing. They were chasing a girl of about 14, and it was clear they wanted a fight. Five plainclothes police officers watched warily. Across Pitkin stood about a half-dozen men, civilians in jeans and purple-and-gray sweatshirts. 'They got it,' an officer said." Do they got it? The answer to that question could redefine policing in NYC and beyond. NYT (Gift Article): What Happened When a Brooklyn Neighborhood Policed Itself for Five Days.


Respect Your Elders

"In one of Jenny Krupa's TikTok videos, her neighbor has been hurt. Ms. Krupa's concern? She wants to see 'if the paramedics are hot.' In another video, she lets a man who ghosted her know she's TikTok famous — and he 'really screwed up.' A goofy scenario in yet another — involving a spat with her best friend and an "arrest" — turns out to be a sponsored post for the Paramount Pictures movie "80 for Brady." Ms. Krupa, an influencer on TikTok, has a partnership with the studio. But she is not your typical social media personality." What makes her atypical? She's 91. NYT (Gift Article): As Older TikTok Creators Flourish, Brands Are Signing Them Up. (I still have a few years to go viral.)


Nice Glass

From the Mac to the iPod to the iPhone to the AppleWatch, Apple has managed to create new categories of popular computing. Can their Vision Pro augmented reality glasses succeed where others have failed? You enter an immersive environment and use your eyes and hands to navigate (sans input devices). "You're also not, Apple promises, isolated from people around you. The headset will display your eyes with a system called EyeSight, and if you're in full VR, a glowing screen will obscure them to suggest you're not available." (Let me save you the effort of deciphering my outgoing glowing screen: I'm not available.) The Verge: After years of delays, Apple is taking its first shot at AR glasses. At one point during the launch, one of the presenters asked: "What if you could travel on a National Geographic adventure from your couch?" Apple just gets me.

+ Luckily, you'll have a few months to save up: Apple reveals Vision Pro, available for $3,499, early next year.


Extra, Extra

Assad But True Story: "The sight of Assad walking the red carpet to the Arab League meeting in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, last month was particularly troubling—not only because he should instead be standing trial at an international tribunal but also because of what this moment signaled beyond Syria's borders." Kim Ghattas with a very interesting piece in The Atlantic (Gift Article): The Arab Spring Is in Its Death Spiral. Does the West Still Care?

+ Train Derailment: "The derailment in eastern India that killed 275 people and injured hundreds was caused by an error in the electronic signaling system that led a train to wrongly change tracks and crash into a freight train." A look at one search for life in this terrible accident. NPR: A man searches desperately for his nephew, who is missing after India's train crash.

+ Tennessee Clearly Now: Trump-appointed judge rejects Tennessee's anti-drag law as too broad, too vague. (And too stupid.)

+ Murder Mystery: "The United States may be experiencing one of the largest annual percent changes in murder ever recorded, according to my preliminary data." (As with most crime stats, we're not exactly sure why this is happening.)

+ A Stat to Take Pride In: "The share of people worldwide who say their area is a good place for gay or lesbian people to live doubled from 25% to 50% over 10 years, according to a Gallup Poll." (It doesn't seem to be trending in the right direction here in America.)

+ Pokie and the (one-armed) Bandit: "Inside the VIP lounge at my local pub, there are few signs of luxury -- no receptionist to welcome a very important person, no waiters circulating with canapes and free drinks, and no comfortable armchairs. Instead, the interior is semidark and the only seats and drink trays are in front of 20 electronic gaming machines -- better known in Australia as poker machines, or 'pokies.'" Australia has a gambling problem, and I have a feeling it's coming to America.

+ Roy Story: On Fresh Air, they asked the creator of 'Succession' everything you wanted to know about the finale. (Spoilers, of course.)


Bottom of the News

"Tourist season is gearing up again in Scotland's capital. The skirl of the bagpipes, the street jugglers, the whisky tastings, the…wait, what the heck is that? Edinburgh's latest tourist draw is a brand-new hotel spiraling above in the city's northeast corner whose architects intended it to resemble a coiled ribbon. To the cellphone-toting visitors, though, the building bears a resemblance to something far less festive—the widely known poop emoji." WSJ (Gift Article): Is It Just Me, or Does That Hotel Look Like…?

+ "For pickleball players, pwock is glorious. It's the sound of a solid hit, an auditory cue that means you're having fun, competing, and maybe even getting revenge on that pompous high school P.E. teacher who once tormented your class with his crafty pickleball skills (although that last part might just be me) ... But many people living near the pickleball courts, however, have a knock with the pwock." One man's quest to make pickleball quiet.