No Insider content this week, as I was working on my book – including an interview with an executive the other day that ran over two hours and took forever to transcribe – but I did hold a Klawchat because I’m such a nice guy.
My latest game review for Paste covers the five-minute card game 3 Wishes, a very fast-moving with a deck of just 18 cards in a similar vein to Love Letter or Coup.
And now, the links…
- The best longread this week was in New York, which profiled a Sandy Hook victim’s father, who went from conspiracy believer to anti-hoax activist.
- A close second goes to Vanity Fair for its the rise and fall of Theranos and Elizabeth Holmes.
- And third place goes to the New Yorker for an incredible profile of NY Times restaurant critic Pete Wells.
- A writer for Elle describes getting the call that her abusive, sociopathic father is dying. She doesn’t flinch from the painful parts.
- Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo has some thoughts on my former colleague Curt Schilling.
- We’re going to get genetically modified mosquitoes in Florida soon, and Mother Jones answers some questions on their safety and efficacy. An ongoing release in the Caymans is showing promise.
- The “yield gap” between conventional and organic methods of agriculture is only partially true, and it appears that the dichotomy itself is a false one. Some crops fare better under organic methods, some worse. One question this article raised in my mind: What if a farm used truly organic practices, but was willing to use GM seeds to help raise yields in the absence of synthetic N and with minimal pesticide applications?
- Climate change is already leading to coastal flooding in the U.S., and what’s worse, Congressional Republicans have opposed funding for plans to help these areas cope with rising sea levels.
- I tweeted and posted on Instagram a photo of a cigarette ad I found in my dilapidated 1973 paperback copy of To Your Scattered Bodies Go. A reader sent along this NY Times piece on cigarette ads in books, which mentions the same ad I found for Kent cigarettes – including their asbestos filters.
- This New Scientist piece is kind of garbage at the top, taking a single study to proclaim “There is now a sixth taste – and it explains why we love carbs.” No, there’s not definitely a sixth taste, but one study showed that some people identified a separate taste for carbohydrates independent of the five tastes we know exist.
- Buried a bit in this advice column is a great answer to a parent asking about keeping her infant away from anti-vaxers.
- A “global vaccine confidence survey” showed that the French are even dumber than we are on vaccines, with 41% of respondents in the hexagon saying vaccines were unsafe. (They aren’t.)
- Dr. Bob Sears, a California doctor who has recommended delayed vaccinations and has been accused of (but not proven to have been) selling medical exemption letters to parents, is facing disciplinary action from the California medical board. This is extremely unusual, as these boards are often toothless, but this would send a very strong message to other quacks preaching vaccine denial.
- The Harvard Medical School’s Health Blog has a great post arguing that we need to make it harder for parents to refuse to vaccinate their kids. Copout exemptions don’t even force parents to explain their choices to doctors – and hear rational, factual arguments why vaccination is not just smart but necessary.
- Deadspin’s Tim Marchman dyslogizes Phyllis Schlafly, the conservative gadfly who preached hate – of gays, of non-Christians, of immigrants, of minorities – for a half-century. My favorite thing on Twitter this week was folks, myself included, posting Schlafly quotes, without adding any comments, and then being accused of speaking ill of the dead before the body was cold. Those were her words, genius. I didn’t have to make her look bad, because she did that all by herself.
- A new catalyst might allow us to split water for less energy to get at the hydrogen as a fuel source. But did anyone else see this and think of those “run your car on water!” scams?
- Roxanne Jones, who used to work for ESPN (but whom I don’t know), penned a strong op ed for CNN.com saying we need to stop ‘justifying’ men who rape. It doesn’t matter that he was a good kid or had a future or whatever. If you rape, then you are a rapist.
- Charles Pierce starts with a quote from At Swim-Two-Birds in his dissection of that Matt Lauer-led farce this week, including a note on the climate change issue I mentioned above.
- The corruption of Donald Trump – no surprise, given that he’s a fan of dictator Vladimir Putin – has been subsumed by unsubstantiated claims that Hillary Clinton is corrupt. He gave money to the Florida AG, who then dropped an investigation into Trump University; he gave $35,000 to Greg Abbott’s campaign after Abbott did the same as Texas AG. Vox covered the Florida story, yet somehow the New York Times – a left-leaning publication – couldn’t find room on its front page for this?
- It’s probably worth mentioning, with Putin garnering all this praise from Trump (and, one would assume, earning admiration from Trump supporters), that 56 journalists have been killed in Russia since 1992 for reasons related to their work.
- Kurt Eichenwald explains that Trump is lying about why he can’t release his tax returns. His tweetstorm on the Clinton Foundation not only claims that there is no scandal over the Foundation’s efforts, but also laments, hopelessly, the increasing irrelevance of facts in political discourse.
- The Koch Brothers, who give millions to conservative candidates and causes, stand accused by a whistleblower of knowingly polluting an Arkansas town. This is just one side of the story, but the whistleblower claims to have some fairly damning evidence that the mill in question, run by Georgia Pacific, was dumping a lot of carcinogens and other potentially dangerous chemicals into places where they’d end up in groundwater, and that the mill’s operators knew this and tried to mask the dumping.
- Have you seen the Dakota Access Pipeline protest stories? Many seem to focus on the climate-change aspect of the protests, or the use of dogs to fight with protestors, but this is really about Native American sovereignty and a company skirting the rules, doing so with the help of the Army Corps of Engineers until the Obama Administration put a halt to it on Friday.