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The Special Counsel's office has been busy lately, beginning with Michael Cohen's surprise court appearance last Thursday to plead guilty to lying about the Trump Tower Project in Moscow (PDF) and then Michael Flynn's heavily redacted sentencing memo on Tuesday (PDF). While Cohen's guilty plea filing was expansive—finally linking "Individual 1" (Donald Trump) formally to the Special Counsel investigation (WaPo)—here's how to read between the lines of Mueller's blacked-out memo on Flynn (CNN). Mueller’s sentencing memo for Flynn doubles as a warning to Manafort (Natasha Bertrand, The Atlantic), and it should worry Kushner and Trump (Bloomberg). But what's behind those lengthy redactions? One clue: As Flynn case winds down, investigation of Turkish lobbying persists (NYT). It's all leading up to a big day Friday (CNBC), with expectations of Michael Cohen's sentencing memos, new details in Paul Manafort's case, James Comey's closed-door testimony on Capitol Hill, and George Papadopoulos's release from prison. [more inside]
After the President escalated an extraordinary dispute with the Supreme Court's Chief Justice, he settled in for a hectic Thanksgiving morning of tweeting, asking perplexing questions of military officers, and pronouncing himself thankful for himself. As the nation woke up to Black Friday, the administration quietly released the Fourth National Climate Assessment, a grim warning of the ongoing and future impacts of climate change on the nation. Moving into the weekend, there was word of a deal to require asylum seekers to remain in Mexico while their cases are considered, followed by the closure of the San Ysidro Port of Entry as US authorities fired tear gas across the border. [more inside]
“The American commonwealth is shockingly impoverished. Ask anyone who’s compared the nine-plus-hour train ride from Pittsburgh to New York with the barely two-hour journey from Paris to Bordeaux, an equidistant journey, or who’s watched the orderly, accurate exit polls from a German election and compared them with the fizzling, overheating voting machines in Florida.” The Lie Americans Tell Themselves (TruthDig)
A game that teaches kids 20 years of investing in 20 minutes: MeFi's missjenny writes, "High school kids are still learning investing the way I did in the '90s: get a large sum of imaginary money and buy individual stocks for 8-10 weeks. Basically the exact wrong way to learn a lifelong investment strategy," as another source discusses in detail. "We created Stax to take down 'the stock market game.'" [Via mefi projects] [more inside]
Puberty for the Middle-Aged (SLNYT) We need to have The Talk, but for 45-year-olds. Doctors should speak to their patients about the changes that could lie ahead and how to prepare for them. And we perimenopausal women need to talk to one another, and the rest of the world, about what’s happening. Because a lot of it, to me, is really weird, really surprising and really hard to sit comfortably through, from the stray chin hair — O.K., hairs — to the decreasing bone density.
The growth of yoga and meditation in the US since 2012 is remarkable: The number of Americans who meditate has tripled. Yoga is up 55 percent. "Yoga and meditation, two ancient practices, are now officially the most popular alternative health approaches in the United States, each used by around 35 million adults. That’s the word from a report (PDF) from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention out [last] Thursday, which looked at the changes in the use of yoga, meditation, and chiropractors between 2012 and 2017." Mindfulness Is Going Mainstream Because of Science: Mindfulness has gone from hippie-dippie magical thinking to science-based health hack. What gives? ... [more inside]
Psilocybin Could Be Legal for Therapy by 2021: The psychoactive ingredient in magic mushrooms could soon be legal to use in a clinical setting. "For the first time in U.S. history, a psychedelic drug is on the fast track to getting approved for treating depression by the federal government. Late last month, Compass Pathways, a U.K.-based company that researches and develops mental health treatments, announced the FDA granted them what’s called a 'breakthrough therapy designation' for their trials into psilocybin, the psychoactive ingredient in psychedelic mushrooms. Researchers who pioneered psychedelic science agree — this is a landmark moment for their field." Meanwhile, a millionaire couple is threatening to create a magic mushroom monopoly ... [more inside]
Jerome Motto's research found that simple acts of showing people that someone was there for them, and expected nothing in return— would make suicidal patients feel less isolated, less in conflict with themselves. So his team wrote letters, simple and direct, without clinical jargon that demanded nothing. Motto's goal was to convey a genuine sense of kinship—“simply what one might say to a friend.” Motto's data found that the suicide rate of the control group was nearly twice as high as that of group his team had contacted. The Best Way To Save People From Suicide is a Single Link Huffpost from their Highline series by Jason Cherkis. [more inside]
How to Be an Artist: 33 rules to take you from clueless amateur to generational talent (or at least help you live life a little more creatively). [more inside]
On December 9, 1968, Douglas Engelbart gave a demo of NLS, the "oN-Line System", to the Fall Joint Computer Conference of the ACM and IEEE. Later dubbed The Mother of All Demos, it demonstrated many concepts that would later become fundamental elements of personal computing, including the mouse, windows, hypertext, graphics, video conferencing, and word processing. [more inside]
Dimensions.Guide is a comprehensive and beautiful database of dimensioned drawings documenting the standard measurements and sizes of all kinds of objects and spaces. [more inside]
How the media should respond to Trump’s lies: a linguist explains how Trump uses lies to divert attention from the “big truths.” "George Lakoff, a professor of linguistics and cognitive science at UC Berkeley ... recently published an article laying out the media’s dilemma. Trump’s 'big lie' strategy, he argues, is to 'exploit journalistic convention by providing rapid-fire news events for reporters to chase.' According to Lakoff, the president uses lies to divert attention from the 'big truths,' or the things he doesn’t want the media to cover. This allows Trump to create the controversies he wants and capitalize on the outrage and confusion they generate, while simultaneously stoking his base and forcing the press into the role of 'opposition party.'" [ViA] [more inside]
Ironically, in telling us to take the pressure off ourselves, self-care discourse can feel as though it’s doing the exact opposite—adding “taking care of our mental health” as yet another task to put onto our plates, alongside finding a fulfilling, well-paid career, doing overtime to prove our worth, networking to maximize our chance of success, getting to the gym five times a week, finding the perfect skincare routine, practicing an interesting and resume-friendly hobby, seeing friends in a variety of glamorous locales, finding a partner, and creating an original yet classic décor theme for our homes. If it’s too hard, and you need something easier for a little bit, you are invited to seek solace in consumption.Self-Care Won't Save Us
Hannah Gadsby has had it with "good men" talking about bad men, especially in Hollywood. Previously, and on Fanfare. Via WaPo.
Besides sporting ostentatiously grown-up names that sound like they were randomly generated by small boys wearing thick glasses (Dr. Silence, Mr. Perseus, Moris Klaw, Simon Iff, Xavier Wycherly) these occult detectives all had one thing in common: they were completely terrible at detecting.
"The umbrella of emotional labor has grown so large that it’s starting to cover things that make no sense at all, such as regular household chores which are not emotional so much as they are labor, full stop. " Julie Beck interviews Sociologist Arlie Hochschild who coined the term "emotional labor:" "Emotional labor, as [Hochschild] conceived it, referred to the work of managing one’s own emotions that was required by certain professions. Flight attendants, who are expected to smile and be friendly even in stressful situations, are the canonical example. " [more inside]
Extreme economic concentration creates conditions ripe for dictatorship - "In the 1930s it contributed to the rise of fascism. Alarmingly, we are experimenting again with a monopolized economy." [more inside]
Here’s what’s astounding: Chiles are native only to Central and South America (Time Magazine, 2007). That means that until Christopher Columbus sailed for the New World in 1492, there were no chiles (Capsicum on Wikipedia) anywhere else. Not in India. Not in Thailand. Not in China or Korea. [...] For the past few years, I’ve been studying the route(s) chiles took around the globe, with an eye to understanding not just when they arrived in different lands but what happened afterward: How did chiles get so deeply integrated into these cuisines? How did that ferocious shift in food alter their cultures? And what do chiles mean to chile eaters today? How the Chile Pepper Took Over the World, an exploration and article by Matt Gross for Medium. [more inside]
"In 2012, there were 292,074 robberies of all kinds, including bank robberies, residential robberies, convenience store and gas station robberies, and street robberies. The total value of the property taken in those crimes was $340,850,358. By contrast, the total amount recovered for the victims of wage theft who retained private lawyers or complained to federal or state agencies was at least $933 million in 2012. This is almost three times greater than all the money stolen in robberies that year. Further, the nearly $1 billion successfully reclaimed by workers is only the tip of the wage-theft iceberg, since most victims never sue and never complain to the government." [more inside]
Dolly Parton has recorded a new, stripped-down, strings-only version of her 1973 hit Jolene. Happy Friday. [more inside]