Legal Weed and Adult Camp: All the News You Missed This Week
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Who Took Your Lunch Money?
Let’s start with this student loan money quote: “If states had continued to support public higher education at the rate they had in 1980, they would have invested at least an additional $500 billion in their university systems … That’s an amount roughly equal to the outstanding student debt now held by those who enrolled in public colleges and universities.” And following a common theme these days, students who attend the richest schools usually end up graduating with the least debt. From the excellent folks over at The Center for Investigative Reporting: Who Got Rich Off The Student Debt Crisis? College is supposed to be a way to help people get ahead, but millions of Americans are graduating with a degree from I Owe U.
The Canuck Stops Here
The massive number of worldwide refugees has triggered a spike in nationalism, protectionism, and racism. But thousands of Canadians are meeting the crisis with another wildly unexpected ism: altruism. “Much of the world is reacting to the refugee crisis — 21 million displaced from their countries, nearly five million of them Syrian — with hesitation or hostility … however, the Canadian government can barely keep up with the demand to welcome them.” From the NYT Mag: Refugees Encounter a Foreign Word: Welcome. These folks definitely deserve an eh for effort.
Gene Hack, Man
“I find it surprising that groups that are very supportive of science when it comes to global climate change, or even, for the most part, in the appreciation of the value of vaccination in preventing human disease, yet can be so dismissive of the general views of scientists when it comes to something as important as the world’s agricultural future.” From WaPo: 107 Nobel laureates sign letter blasting Greenpeace over GMOs. (Without a bit of genetic modification, Greenpeace would actually be closer to Chartreusepeace.)
+ “Greenpeace calls GMOs ‘genetic pollution.’ But if GMOs are to be completely out of the picture, it might mean there are no vegetables enriched with cancer-fighting chemicals, drought-resistant corn, allergen-free peanuts, and bananas that deliver vaccines.” NatGeo on what a world without GMOs would look like.
The Kona Golden State
Since supporters got enough signatures to get the measure on the ballot in November, California voters will get to decide whether or not to make recreational marijuana legal.
+ And here’s NPR with an update on Colorado’s experiment where pot is still illegal if you’re under 21: “Another startling trend also has developed: Arrest rates have risen dramatically for young blacks and Latinos.” (If you think that’s startling, you must be high…)
Life Is Shorted
“In emergency care and firefighting, this approach creates a fundamental tension: the push to turn a profit while caring for people in their most vulnerable moments.” Since the economic downturn in 2008, private equity investors have been moving money into critical public services. What does that mean for the future of those services? From the NYT: When You Dial 911 and Wall Street Answers. (“We’ll hit you with these defibrillation paddles just as soon as we take a quick look at your quarterly projections…”)
+ “The law will allow first responders to, without fear of liability, provide oxygen, perform mouth-to-snout resuscitation, try to stem bleeding, bandage and even administer the overdose antidote naloxone to dogs or cats that have ingested opiates.” AP: New law supports first responders who treat injured pets.
Enemies, a Love Story
A lot of people stop believing in (or utterly reject) the opinion of experts. Political parties, institutions and individuals that once held sway lose their ability to influence even their most ardent followers. The economic divide between the haves and have-nots rips open a bottomless gulf that swallows the middle class. Those were some of the factors that led to Brexit. But they are hardly unique to the UK. WaPo’s Dan Balz on how the vote that shocked the world highlights a crisis in democracies worldwide. “The underlying factor is that many people no longer believe that, however imperfect things are economically, they will keep getting better.”
+ “I feel like I can barely look at them. It sounds melodramatic, but I feel so betrayed by it all.” The Guardian on how Brexit created splits among kids and parents. Thankfully parents instilled in me a strong sense of cynicism and hopelessness, and our positions remain in lockstep to this day.
The Atlantic’s Ron Brownstein explains how culture is replacing class as the key political divide. “Democrats now rely on an urbanized coalition of Millennials, minorities, and socially liberal college-educated and single whites (especially women). Republicans thrive among older, non-college educated and religiously devout whites, especially outside of major cities.” Cities vs suburbs. Just as the Internet appears to make geography a non-factor, it is becoming a bigger factor than ever.
+ FiveThirtyEight has launched its always-updating chart predicting the winner of the general election. As of today, they’re giving Hillary an 80% shot to win.
“30 percent of married households contain a mismatched partisan pair. A third of those are Democrats married to Republicans. The others are partisans married to independents.” FiveThirtyEight looks at the numbers related to the most contentious form of intermarriage. How Many Republicans Marry Democrats?
+ I still believe that voters from different parties hate each other more than politicians do. Behind the scenes, political operatives and spokespeople often have friendships and romances across political lines. Less often today than a few years ago, but it still happens. Why? Because part of politics is a show. I wrote about this in my post: A Picture is Worth a Thousand Trolls.
+ 13% of Americans say they would rather vote for a giant meteor hitting the earth than Trump or Clinton.
You Sound Pitchy, Dog
“A growing body of evidence suggests that an array of mental and physical conditions can make you slur your words, elongate sounds, or speak in a more nasal tone. They may even make your voice creak or jitter so briefly that it’s not detectable to the human ear.” Several companies and lot of researchers are looking to develop ways to diagnose various ailments by listening to the sound of your voice. (Hopefully they perfect this before my next prostate exam.)
She Cried S’more, S’more, S’more
The Guardian takes a trip to adult camp: “With adults searching for new ways to achieve work-life balance and make friends, adult camps have become a million-dollar industry. This year, weeks before kids across the nation finished off the school year, adults got first dibs on cabins and campgrounds in the hopes of reliving some of their happy childhood memories.” If I want to relive my childhood camp memories, then I’ll spend 3 weeks crying myself to sleep in a wet sleeping bag and waking up to an old guy named Irv who insists everyone has to be thoroughly checked for ticks.
What to Read: From David Sheinin in WaPo: How Katie Ledecky became better at swimming than anyone is at anything. (No pressure, Katie.) Plus, Michael Phelps’ Final Turn.
+ What to Stream: Forget soccer. The biggest thing out of Iceland these days is a band call Kaleo. You’re gonna listen to their debut album. Then see them on tour. Then realize you’ll never be able to see them in a small theater again and think to yourself, “Damn, that Dave was right again.” You can start with their hit, Way Down We Go, check out a studio performance of I Can’t Go on Without You, and catch them on KEXP.
+ What to Doc: Chef’s Table on Netflix. Start with the Grant Achatz episode. And you don’t need to be into cooking shows. Trust me.
+ What to Book: You didn’t think you needed a TV version of Fargo, but Noah Hawley proved you wrong in a very big way. And his latest book will also provide much pleasure. Get Before the Fall now, and thank me later.
Bottom of the News
“The question — for one prosecutor, at least — is whether the bird, which may have witnessed a brutal killing, should be allowed to sing like a canary.” WaPo on the foul-mouthed parrot that may be used as evidence in a murder trial.
“Female lionesses may mate 100 times a day with a string of different partners.” And as the BBC reports, that’s just one more piece of evidence we have the wrong idea about males, females and sex. That makes for a nice segue to Marie Claire’s look inside an elite Hamptons sex party. (The closest I’ve come to this is watching a Rihanna video on a train to Montauk.)
+ Vacuuming harmonicas is sort of a thing.
+ Barnes and Noble is opening up concept stores that will sell beer and wine. (Good, I’m sick of having to get drunk in the parking lot.)
“It’s the age of the self. You can be successful by being yourself. I think that takes a lot of hard work.” That quote is from the expert on the topic, Kim Kardashian. And yes, there’s an app for that. From The Verge: How Kim Kardashian gamified her life and made $100 million doing it.
+ Obama has hinted at a future as a VC. He should have done this before the presidency. He’s wasted eight years of vesting.
The NYT’s latest trend piece is here to inform you that “most women prefer to go bare, citing hygiene (and baffling doctors).” The piece includes a lede that is the verbal equivalent of a cold shower: “For years, gynecologists have had a bird’s-eye view on a phenomenon that is now so popular as to be almost commonplace: female genitalia, bereft of hair.”
+ At the age of 48, Tony Hawk tries to land another 900. (And I was pretty psyched when I could read a restaurant receipt without my iPhone flashlight…)
+ Coor’s Water? Colgate Kitchen Entrees? Consumerist with 17 commercial failures from brands with spectacularly bad ideas.
This is a weekly best-of version of the NextDraft newsletter. For daily updates and to get the NextDraft app, go here. (Original story reprinted with permission from NextDraft.)