The Sound and the Fury

Scheduling Note: I'll be on the road for the rest of the week. Back Monday.

"Well, we have an orchestra here. What's missing is a conductor." Yesterday, we got sound from the border as ProPublica released audio of kids just separated from their parents (as a border patrol agent jokes about their crying), and we got an image of a sobbing toddler watching her mother get searched. These were just two elements that pushed America's border policy shame to front pages and the front of our collective mind. Alexis Madrigal with an interesting look at how the many-chambered heart of the internet turned the Trump administration's family-separation policy into a different kind of scandal. "The main reason that this story has received so much attention is simple: It is awful ... But in today's splintered and strange media environment, the more difficult question to answer is how so many people did end up seeing these images and hearing these stories. After all, this may now be the most notorious injustice at the American border, but it's not the first."

+ One American not moved by sobbing children separated from their parents as they flee political violence and the ravages of the drug war: Donald Trump (Maybe we do have a conductor, after all...). "Democrats are the problem. They don't care about crime and want illegal immigrants, no matter how bad they may be, to pour into and infest our Country, like MS-13." (Something has infested our country, that's for sure.)

+ "If the crisis being described is a historically high number of immigrants caught at the border, then there isn't one, according to DHS statistics for recent years. Those numbers show a steady decline in border apprehensions over the past two decades." Buzzfeed on a major aspect of this story that keeps getting lost in the shuffle: There's not a crisis at the border. The reasons for the crackdown are made up.

+ The New Yorker's Jonathan Blitzer: The government has no plan for reuniting the immigrant families it is tearing apart.

+ Vox with a visual explainer of the separation policy.

+ Will the administration back down? Actually, they might ratchet things up.


This Must Be Displace

"The figure of 68.5 million displaced people – 3 million higher than the total population of the UK – includes 25.4 million refugees, 40 million internally displaced and 3.1 million asylum seekers." The Guardian on the world's big, and still growing, problem. A record 68.5 million people are fleeing war or persecution worldwide.


Tariffic Tuesday

"President Trump's threat to impose tariffs on almost every Chinese product that crosses the border is driven by a belief that China has more to lose from a trade war than the United States, a top White House trade adviser said on Tuesday. It's a gamble that has put markets on edge and prompted increasing concern among American companies that depend on access to the world's second-largest economy." NYT: White House Sees U.S. Winning Trade War With China. (My stock portfolio seems less certain of that outcome...)


Debate and Switch

The latest AI-powered software demoed by IBM is called Project Debater, and it's ready to argue with humans. "Project Debater doesn't try to build an argument based on an understanding of the subject in question. Instead, it simply constructs one by combining elements of previous arguments, along with relevant points of information from Wikipedia." (In other words, it argues pretty much like everyone else on the internet...)


Human Nature

"It's been 30 years since much of the world learned that global warming had arrived. On June 23, 1988, NASA scientist James Hansen testified before Congress, explaining that heat-trapping gases spewed by the burning of fossil fuels were pushing temperatures higher. But it turns out climate isn't the only thing that's changing: Nature itself is, too." AP: Looking for signs of global warming? They're all around you.

+ "In 2018 alone, there have been 50 severe storms across 16 Indian states that have led to more than 500 deaths." Bloomberg: Dust Storms Worsen India's Air as Part of Deadly New Normal.

+ "Rice is the primary food source for more than 3 billion people around the world." And climate change could make rice less nutritious.

+ In the Philippines, Dynamite Fishing Decimates Entire Ocean Food Chains. (This doesn't seem very sporty...)


Civil Engineering

"Behind the scenes, even as the president has agitated in public about firing his attorney general, Sessions is the true architect of much of what people believe to be Trump's domestic-policy agenda. As implemented in recent decisions to curtail asylum grants, ramp up immigration enforcement, and dial back criminal-justice reform and voting-rights protections, this agenda is more than just the reversal of policies enacted during the Barack Obama era, which Trump promised during his campaign. Rather, from the Black Belt in Alabama in the 1980s to the farthest reaches of the border fence today, the Sessions Doctrine is the endgame of a long legal tradition of undermining minority civil rights." The Atlantic: The End of Civil Rights.


Liquid Die It

"When she dies, she told me, she wants her body to be dunked in a high-pressure chamber filled with water and lye. That water will be heated to anywhere from 200 to 300 degrees, and in six to twelve hours her flesh, blood, and muscle will dissolve. When the water is drained, all that will remain in the tank are her bones and dental fillings. If her family desires, they can have her remains crushed into ash, to be displayed or buried or scattered." From TNR: The Fight for the Right to Be Cremated by Water. Supposedly, this is the most environmental way to dispose of oneself. In an effort to be environmentally friendly, I've requested that at the time of my death, my body is to be vaped by millennials, and all my jokes recycled...


Koch Bottleneck

"Early polling here had suggested that the $5.4 billion transit plan would easily pass. It was backed by the city's popular mayor and a coalition of businesses. Its supporters had outspent the opposition, and Nashville was choking on cars. But the outcome of the May 1 ballot stunned the city." NYT: How the Koch Brothers Are Killing Public Transit Projects Around the Country.


Control Walt Delete

"Walt Disney World is smack dab in the middle of a swamp in a state that is, more or less, a big swamp itself." So the place should be swarming with mosquitoes. But it's not. In this video, you'll learn how Disney keeps the bugs at bay.


Bottom of the News

"In compiling this all-important ranking, we traveled back to the dawn of YouTube (2005!) and worked our way forward, amassing a daunting trove of links and whittling them down to the absolute best, funniest, most subversively 'online' 100 videos." Need a little break from what seems like a particularly long news week (and it's only Tuesday)? Check out the 100 greatest YouTube videos of all time, ranked.

+ The Many, Many Different Ways People Count Money Across The World.

+ Former Mexico President Vicente Fox joins High Times board.

+ Scheduling note: I'll be out from June 20-22. Enjoy the break! In the meantime, score a hat or shirt from the NextDraft Store.