Monday, September 11th, 2023


A House Divided

As we mark the twenty-second anniversary of 9/11, a moment in history that unified Americans and violently awakened us to the terrorist threat from abroad, we find ourselves living through the aftershocks of Jan 6, a moment in history that divided Americans and violently awakened us to the threat from within. For most of us, nestled comfortably in our silos of homogeneity, those with different views on that awful day are only encountered in news articles, public polls, or political reactions to the latest indictment. For some, though, this American divide hits home. "After rioters stormed the Capitol, relatives and friends who disagreed with their actions faced a difficult choice: Should they turn their loved ones over to authorities? Could they continue to have relationships with people accused of trying to interfere with the peaceful transition of power? Divisions that had been growing since the election of Donald Trump to the presidency were torn even wider in living rooms and family group chats across the country." Dan Rosenzweig-Ziff in WaPo (Gift Article): Jan. 6 shattered her family. Now they're trying to forgive. "Roughly 15 percent of the more than 1,100 people charged for actions on Jan. 6, 2021, were turned in by family members, friends or acquaintances." Most of us knew that Trump's election claims were lies. We'll likely soon learn beyond a reasonable doubt that Trump, his co-defendants, and their countless indicted co-conspirators knew the big lie was just that. But it will take more than the truth to extract the venom that has soaked into the American fabric and—in some cases—the American family.


Different Point of View

"The day after the scan, which cost $2,499 out of pocket, a Prenuvo nurse called to tell Jensen the MRI had detected a hard-looking two millimeter cyst on her pancreas. Doctors confirmed her fears: She had stage 1 pancreatic cancer. Jensen, who had surgery to remove the mass — along with a third of her pancreas and her entire spleen — credits Prenuvo with saving her life." The headline and focus of much of this article is on health trends among the wealthy. But maybe technologies like these, if made widely available, will end up saving money as well as lives? I know a lot of experts also say these (too?) early interventions can cause more harm than good. It definitely seems like something worth, er, looking into. WaPo (Gift Article): Silicon Valley's quest to live forever now includes $2,500 full-body MRIs.


Dust in the Wind

"Nobody normally thinks about dust, what it might be doing or where it should go: it is so tiny, so totally, absolutely, mundane, that it slips beneath the limits of vision. But if we pay attention, we can see the world within it." Empire of dust: what the tiniest specks reveal about the world. Just in your house, there are "skin flakes, pet dander, hair, textile fibers, disintegrating bits of particleboard furniture, sofa foam and all the chemicals – such as flame retardants – that are designed to keep you safe, but can also cause cancer, decrease fertility, impact cognitive ability and cause thyroid disease. Road dust and construction dust blow into your home through the windows and walk in on the soles of your shoes – alongside fragments of mineral dust from distant deserts and perhaps even the odd radioactive particle. A doormat is only so much use."


Hostess with the Mostest

"Hostess — which introduced Twinkies in 1930 — first went bankrupt in 2004 ("blaming the nation's infatuation with low-carb diets," said The Chicago Tribune). The company re-emerged a few years later under private-equity ownership, but filed for Chapter 11 again in 2012 (blaming its union contracts)." Well, the cream-filling rose to the top pretty quickly. J.M. Smucker scoops up Hostess Brands for $5.6 billion.

+ Related: SciAm: Food Can Be Literally Addictive, New Evidence Suggests. "Highly processed foods resemble drugs of misuse in a number of disturbing ways."


Extra, Extra

Morocco Quake: "Rescuers in Morocco have been using their bare hands as desperate search efforts continue for survivors of Friday's powerful earthquake. A total of 2,681 people are known to have died in the tremor - the country's deadliest in 60 years." Here are some photos from the aftermath of the quake that hit hardest in remote areas with structures that were defenseless. BBC: Morocco earthquake: I had to choose between saving my parents or my son.

+ Un Popular War: Kim Jong Un is currently on a slow, armored train to meet with Putin in Vladivostok. On one hand, the expected arms deal between the countries represents a danger to Ukraine. On the other hand, the summit is evidence of just how hard up Putin is for allies in his murderous invasion.

+ Booster Crow: "We expect this season's vaccine to be available in the coming days, pending recommendation from public health authorities, so people can ask their doctor about receiving their COVID-19 vaccine during the same appointment as their annual flu shot." FDA signs off on updated COVID boosters.

+ Pass or Grail: "The reform sweeping red America is slightly different from a voucher — it's called an education savings account, or an ESA. In a voucher system, public funds go directly to schools. With ESAs, parents who opt out of the public school system get several thousand dollars in an account that they can use for private school tuition, homeschooling, or other education-related expenses." The conservative push for 'school choice' has had its most successful year ever. And forget the SAT and the ACT, in Florida, many schools are now accepting called the CLT.

+ Ready for Some Football: Disney and Spectrum have cut a new deal to get ESPN and ABC back on Spectrum, just in time for Monday Night Football. The dispute is just one more reminder that sports are supreme in the modern streaming landscape, and that means customers are paying more than ever to watch one of the few types of content that still actually brings us together. I touched on just how huge the NFL is on Friday: Football's Fantasy.

+ Kiss Off: "Luis Rubiales, the Spanish soccer federation president who kissed a player on the lips without her consent during the trophy ceremony in Australia last month, resigned late Sunday following weeks of relentless pressure from inside the sport and Spanish society in general."

+ Cover Charge: "2,500 newspapers — more than a quarter in the U.S. — have gone out of business since 2005. Such a loss is accompanied by a rise in corporate and government corruption and a drop in voter participation." Philanthropies pledge $500 million to address crisis in local news.

+ Coco Pops: Coco Gauff, somehow a tennis tour veteran at 19, lost in the first round of this year's Wimbledon. She added coach Brad Gilbert to her team and proceeded to have a winning Summer season, which just culminated with her first major. Yes! Coco Gauff Won Her First Major at the U.S. Open. It Won't Be Her Last. And in a story that's so relentlessly unbelievable that's it's become ho-hum, Novak Djokovic topped Daniil Medvedev to win his 24th major. "Djokovic has now won titles at exactly one third of the majors he has played in (24 titles in 72 major appearances). He has reached the final in exactly half (36) of the Slams in which he has competed."


Bottom of the News

The world is burning. So maybe it makes sense that, from Starbucks to designer fridges, ice is hotter is than ever. Ice — in exotically shaped cubes, boozy popsicles or suffusing your coffee — is having its moment in the zeitgeist. (My Opal Nugget Ice Maker is the only designer ice I need!)

+ "It's worth noting that there is risk associated with bringing another human being into your home, too. This is because every human releases about 30 million bacterial cells each hour just by standing in a room." Read This If You Never Take Your Shoes Off When You Go Into Your House.