Keep Your Shirt On

What happens to donated clothes, Weekend Whats, Feel Good Friday

I have a bee in my bonnet. I’ll try to keep my shirt on, but this story is probably best considered in your birthday suit, which is quite possible, as we buy a lot of clothes, but we don’t actually wear most of them for long. The era of fast fashion enables you to purchase a new wardrobe at the drop of a hat on a shoestring budget. What’s also fast is the pace at which those clothes end up in a vast global network that sends your unwanted wears from local thrift shops to international trash heaps that are bursting at the seams. For the recipient regions, the trend is a sharp kick below the belt as the speed of fast fashion has caught the world’s waste management system with its pants down. I’d tell you to put yourself in their shoes, but their feet are already in the shoes you discarded. I know this news might make some feel a bit guilty, but if the shoe fits… So put on your big boy/girl pants and read this book excerpt in GQ, where Oliver Franklin-Wallis put his thinking cap on and rolled up his sleeves to follow the thread of What Really Happens to the Clothes You Donate. “Consider: only between 10 and 30 percent of second-hand donations to charity shops are actually resold in store. The rest disappears into a machine you don’t see: a vast sorting apparatus in which donated goods are graded and then resold on to commercial partners, often for export to the Global South. The problem is that, with the onslaught of fast fashion, these donations are too often now another means of trash disposal—and the system can’t cope. Consider: around 62 million tons of clothing is manufactured worldwide every year, amounting to somewhere between 80 and 150 billion garments to clothe 8 billion people.” (Some of us, it must be noted, have been wearing the same jeans, t-shirts, and windbreakers for decades and are not implicated in this story. Maybe it’s better to be a fashion victim than a fashion victimizer. Folks who live a fashion backwards life should consider themselves off the hook. If the glove doesn’t fit, you must acquit.)


Dome Doom

“A concentrated sphere of heat, known colloquially as a ‘heat dome,’ has powered the excessively high temperatures. Over the coming week, the heat dome will reach from coast to coast, inching northward and parking smack dab in the middle of the country. Over the next 8 to 14 days, the National Weather Service is calling for above-normal temperatures nearly everywhere in the continental U.S.” It’s been hot as hell in much of the world, and the heat wave stretching across the American south isn’t going anywhere for a while. WaPo (Gift Article): Inside the most extreme heat wave the Southern U.S. has faced. “The exceptional heat will be remembered for its intensity and duration.” Michael Scott might respond to with, “That’s what she said.” But the sad truth is that this heat wave won’t be remembered for long since this is the new normal.


Cold Blood

Before you hit the air conditioned theater this weekend, WaPo (Gift Article) looks back at the real Oppenheimer story: The atomic bombings left Oppenheimer shattered: ‘I have blood on my hands.’ “While Truman assured Oppenheimer he should not carry the burden of the bombs — ‘I told him the blood was on my hands, to let me worry about that’ — the president was privately infuriated by what he described to aides as a ‘crybaby scientist’ and the regret he had over the decimation.” (This makes me nostalgic for days when politicians only criticized the emotions of scientists, not their science.)


Weekend Whats

What to Doc: I was lucky to see the Sundance premiere (along with the man himself) of Stephen Curry: Underrated, now playing on AppleTV. It’s hard to imagine Steph ever being underrated, but he was at almost every point of his college and early NBA career. Curry is one of the doc’s producers, so there’s nothing hard hitting about it. But it’s a really fun, inspirational ride.

+ What to Show: Also on AppleTV, the show Drops of God has a interesting set-up and a really intriguing first episode. The less you know, the better.

+ What to Book: Need some summer reading? Here’s a good list from Barack Obama. (I’ve already recommended Small Mercies and I’m currently reading All the Sinners Bleed. So I’m basically the former president.) Bonus: Some book recs from Reid Hoffman, a list that includes Jennifer Pahlka’s excellent and wildly well-received Recoding America, which Reid calls “one of the best policy books ever written.”


Extra, Extra

Slave Striver: “Going forward, middle-schoolers will explore ‘how slaves developed skills which, in some instances, could be applied for their personal benefit’ as one part of the syllabus.” The war on reality in education in Florida is crazier than you think. The Cut: Florida Wants to Teach Kids That Slavery Was Good. And Anne Applebaum in The Atlantic on the religious fanaticism taking over the volunteer state: Is Tennessee a Democracy?

+ Pinky Promises: “In its continuing efforts to try to do something about the barely regulated, potentially world-changing generative AI wave, the Biden administration announced today that seven AI companies have committed to developing products that are safe, secure, and trustworthy.” Here are the details from Vox: Biden sure seems serious about not letting AI get out of control.

+ Judge Cannon Fodder: “The May 20, 2024, trial date, set Friday by U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon, is a compromise between a request from prosecutors to set the trial for this December and a bid by defense lawyers to put it off indefinitely until sometime after the 2024 presidential election.” Judge sets a trial date for next May in Trump’s classified documents case in Florida.

+ Polygon Wrong? “They called it the polygon. Using phone records and a sophisticated system that maps the reach of cell towers, a team of investigators had drawn the irregular shape across a map of tree-lined streets in the Long Island suburb of Massapequa Park. By 2021, the investigators had been able to shrink the polygon so that it covered only several hundred homes. In one of those homes, the investigators believed, lived a serial killer.” NYT (Gift Article): The Polygon and the Avalanche: How the Gilgo Beach Suspect Was Found. “As investigators spent years looking for a suspect, a key clue was buried in their files. Could they have solved the case years earlier?”

+ Battery Pact: “But now, in a great twist of modern Afghan history, it is the Taliban — which overthrew the U.S.-backed government two years ago — that is finally looking to exploit those vast lithium reserves, at a time when the soaring global popularity of electric vehicles is spurring an urgent need for the mineral, a vital ingredient in their batteries.” WaPo: The Pentagon dubbed Afghanistan ‘the Saudi Arabia of lithium.’ Now, it is American rivals that are angling to exploit those coveted reserves.

+ Damn Daniel: The Washington Commanders’ Dan Snyder has been fined $60M for being a jerk. But he can definitely afford it as he just made more than 7x on his investment by selling to team for $6 billion. (Buy something. Ruin it in every way. Make a profit. They don’t teach this course in business school.)

+ He Left His Heart Everywhere: “Tony Bennett, the treasured American storyteller, singer and showman whose joyful impact on the pop and jazz landscape spanned 70 years and stretched from Queens to San Francisco and all around the world, died Friday. He was 96.”

+ Palm Springs Eternal: “Oppenheimer’s film reportedly weighs 600 pounds, and the reel is an outrageous 11 miles long.” But that’s not the weird part. Here’s why the best IMAX movies still need a Palm Pilot to work.


Feel Good Friday

“Shaddock found comfort in meditation, swimming in the ocean and writing in a journal. Keeping Bella fed and content gave him added purpose. The two subsisted on raw fish and rainwater.” Australian castaway recounts comfort he felt adrift at sea, thanks to meditation, swimming and dog. (If I was lost at sea with my beagles, it would probably take rescuers about five minutes to hear all three of us howling.)

+ “His team started by strapping vibrating cell phone motors to bodies, but that didn’t quite work. The vibrations were all the same. Eventually, they worked with engineers at the electronic components company Avnet to develop a light haptic suit with a total of 24 actuators.” Vibrating haptic suits give deaf people a new way to feel live music.

+ “After a former resident abandoned a pair of pet rabbits that bred dozens more, residents on a small island in Wilton Manors, Fla., have begun efforts to save and re-home the growing colony.” NYT: A Florida Town Works to Rescue Dozens of Rabbits.

+ “Like many in the US who are grappling with pressure to look better, Jim Arrington is unimpressed with his physique – but he says that self-perception has motivated him to keep winning bodybuilding competitions at age 90.”

+ West Virginians rush to aid Polish marching band that lost instruments, uniforms while traveling.

+ Experience: Keanu Reeves ‘crashed’ my wedding.

+ Reminder: NextDraft will be off next week.

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