Wednesday, July 5th, 2023


It Takes a Village

If you've ever visited a loved one in a dementia care facility, it probably didn't look anything like Hogeweyk, located in an Amsterdam suburb. That's because Hogeweyk is less of a facility and more of a village. "If it looked like a typical Dutch town — with a restaurant (which is open to the public), a theater, a pub and a cluster of quaint two-story brick townhomes on a gridded street map — well, that's the point. Many of the people here don't realize that they are living in the world's first so-called 'dementia village,' and it can be difficult for visitors to tell the difference between the residents and the plainclothes staff." NYT (Gift Article): As Cases Soar, ‘Dementia Villages' Look Like the Future of Home Care. Even these much better care scenarios can't keep up with our aging society and the increase in dementia cases. "Over the past decade, as the number of dementia cases has exploded worldwide, more 'dementia villages' and senior 'microtowns' have opened across the globe. But experts worry that if the senior-care community is going to keep pace with diagnoses, there will have to be another major paradigm shift, and quickly. In essence, they want the Hogeweyks of the future to not just resemble real towns, but to be real towns."

+ In America, memory care will just be one of the challenges that come with an aging population. The boomers are retiring. And that changes everything. WaPo (Gift Article): America's aging population is reshaping the workforce, with far-reaching economic consequences.


Under Plunder

As America ages, health care will become an increasingly big need, and an increasingly big business. Those two things don't always go well together. Financiers bought up anesthesia practices, then raised prices. "The company raised prices for its services - one by nearly 30 percent in its first year in Colorado - and continued raising them for several years, according to interviews and confidential company documents obtained by The Washington Post. The price hikes boosted patient bills and pushed up insurance rates, former company physicians and managers said. Eventually, some of the company's own doctors became disillusioned, physicians said, with about 1 in 3 leaving the company over a three-year period." (When you count backwards from 10, your savings account is doing the same thing...)


No Plan is an Island

"For two straight days, the global average temperature spiked into uncharted territory. After scientists talked about Monday's dramatic heat, Tuesday soared 0.17 degrees Celsius (0.31 degrees Fahrenheit) even hotter, which is a huge temperature jump in terms of global averages and records." Monday may have set a global record for the hottest day ever. Tuesday broke it.

+ If you can't take the heat, remodel the kitchen. WaPo (Gift Article): Climate change could swamp this island. Home sales are surging. "More homes have sold on Smith Island in the last three years than in the previous 11 combined, according to sales data. Locals see a story of hope. Their efforts to rescue a 400-year-old way of life tied to tide and season are beginning to bear fruit. Many question the doomsday predictions for the island or hope they can find a way to ride out rising waters. Environmentalists see a dangerous kind of denialism."


A Court in the Storm

"They have known each other for 50 years now, outlasting most marriages. Aside from blood kin, Navratilova points out, 'I've known Chris longer than anybody else in my life, and so it is for her.' Lately, they have never been closer - a fact they refuse to cheapen with sentimentality. "It's been up and down, the friendship,' Evert says. At the ages of 68 and 66, respectively, Evert and Navratilova have found themselves more intertwined than ever, by an unwelcome factor. You want to meet an opponent who draws you nearer in mutual understanding? Try having cancer at the same time." Sally Jenkins: Bitter rivals. Beloved friends. Survivors.


Extra, Extra

Divided We Fall: On July 4th, Americans once again celebrated independence. But this time, it was from each other. Conservatives go to red states and liberals go to blue as the country grows more polarized.

+ Are You Pulling My Legacy? Now that affirmative action is out, "a civil rights group is challenging legacy admissions at Harvard University, saying the practice discriminates against students of color by giving an unfair boost to the mostly white children of alumni." (Hopefully this won't hinder my plan to leave my kids my English major in my will.)

+ Hanging on By a Thread: "Instagram's new Threads app, a Twitter competitor, isn't supposed to launch until July 6th, but the web interface went live for a few hours today for everyone to explore." (The one thing I'll never be able to forgive Elon for is making me root for Zuckerberg.) Can any new Twitter competitor replace what's being lost? I've tried them all. I wonder. The Verge: So where are we all supposed to go now? (Maybe offline?)

+ The Vend is Nigh: "After calling for an ambulance and rubbing his knuckles on the man's sternum to wake him (this didn't work), Quashie punched some buttons on the vending machine to get a pack of Narcan nasal spray. He pushed one dose into the man's nose, and then, when that didn't seem to revive him, another. The unconscious man finally stirred awake." New York's First Narcan Vending Machine Is Working.

+ Agent of Chaos: "More than 1,500 lobbyists in the US are working on behalf of fossil-fuel companies while at the same time representing hundreds of liberal-run cities, universities, technology companies and environmental groups that say they are tackling the climate crisis." Double agents: fossil-fuel lobbyists work for US groups trying to fight climate crisis.

+ Dramatic Pause "At a time when lawmakers and parents are seeking to restrict what can and cannot be taught in classrooms, many teachers are seeing efforts to limit what can be staged in their auditoriums." NYT: It's Getting Hard to Stage a School Play Without Political Drama. (We're going backwards.)

+ You Don't Know Jackpot: "A new class of niche celebrities have turned the once-solitary experience of gambling at casino slot machines into a spectator sport with millions of viewers and fan camaraderie. Using monopods or videographers to film the action, the players spend hours talking audiences through the highs and lows of jackpots and losses." WSJ (Gift Article): How to Make Money by Losing $300,000 a Year on Slot Machines. "It's fun to watch somebody else play with their money while you're sitting on your couch drinking a beer." (Someone should really tell these folks about television...)


Bottom of the News

If you're one of those people who's scared to get on roller coasters, your cowardice has been validated. Carowinds roller coaster shut down after crack found in support pillar. (You've got to see it to believe it.) And, "a summer amusement turned into a serious nightmare on Sunday, after a roller coaster malfunctioned in midair, trapping eight passengers upside down for several hours."

+ Catch a fireworks show last night? Cherish it before the drones take over.