July 16, 2019
Context is our favorite word at Daily Pnut (and follow-up is a close second). Context can be a shorthand way of saying history or details. Life is busy and stressful but we are firm believers in seeking context before acting.
“History is hereditary only in this way: we, all of us, inherit everything, and then we choose what to cherish, what to disavow, and what do do next, which is why it’s worth trying to know where things come from.” – Jill Lepore
“What matters in life is not what happens to you but what you remember and how you remember it.” – Gabriel Garcia Marquez
The GOP & Dems Become (Anti-)Facebook Friends
Conservatives and Progressives don’t agree about much, but on one thing there’s definitely bipartisan accord: Big Tech is Too Big. “To the bewilderment of many observers, the ascendant pressures for antitrust reforms are flowing from both wings of the political spectrum,” wrote a Michigan University law professor in a 2018 paper called “Antitrust’s Unconventional Politics.”
The common cause has had unexpected consequences. Those on the left can be heard spouting anti-tech talk on conservative channels, while those on the right are showing up at largely liberal conferences.
Tim Wu, a Columbia University law professor who worked in the Obama White House, had a chance meeting last year with Fox talk show host Steve Hilton. Considering their backgrounds, the men were surprised to find common ground on one strong point of agreement: It was time to break up Big Tech. “There’s unusual constituencies arising,” Wu observed. Later he appeared on Hilton’s show on Fox.
Made In China But Not Sold In China
- Thanks to the trade war with the US, China’s second-quarter economic figures show its slowest growth rate in almost three decades. The world’s second-largest economy grew at just 6.2 percent, compared to 6.4 percent growth in the first quarter of 2019.
- Trade negotiations between Beijing and Washington remain deadlocked. On Monday President Trump signed an executive order mandating a greater use of US-made steel and iron in federal infrastructure projects. But despite federal support, the US steel industry is still lagging. (NPR, WaPo)
- Canadian citizen detained in China as row continues over Huawei chief: Beijing arrests Canadian citizen on drug-related charges amid diplomatic crisis, following detention of Meng Wanzhou (The Guardian)
Sign Up Now To Start Your Country’s Free Trial Period
- After months of street protests, the military ousted long-time Sudanese strongman Omar al-Bashir last April. Following Bashir’s removal the African Union led mediation between Sudan’s Transitional Military Council (TMC) and civilian groups, which resulted in a recent agreement to share executive power.
- Leadership will rotate between generals and civilians for a period of three years and three months — the military being in charge for the first 21 months, the civilians for the following 18 — the idea being that by the end of this period, there will be a decision as to a final mode of governance for the country.
- For those who question whether the revolution and accompanying hope for democracy will succeed, Mohamed al-Asam, a 28-year-old doctor turned revolutionary leader, said this: “We’ve been ruled by military dictatorships for 50 years. We cannot accept another one.” (NYT)
A Doctor A Day, Keeps The Sickness Away
- A pilot program begun in 2008 by the government of one of the world’s poorest countries, the West African nation of Mali, has shown startling results in Yirimadio, a neighborhood on the outskirts of the capital city of Bamako. Community health workers made at least two visits a month to homes in their designated areas; they diagnosed, treated and referred patients as part of the free door-to-door health-care plan.
- When researchers analyzed the data compiled over the trial period, they found that child mortality for kids under age 5 in Yirimadio had dropped by an astonishing 95 percent. The findings were published last year in BMJ Global Health. Mali has now extended the program nation-wide. (NPR)
- Mali crisis worsens as hundreds of thousands flee militia attacks: More than 200,000 people have been displaced since start of 2019 and about 600 killed (The Guardian)
Additional World News
- World hunger on the rise as 820m at risk, UN report finds” Eliminating hunger by 2030 is an immense challenge, say heads of UN agencies (The Guardian)
- France: riot police use teargas to disperse Bastille Day protesters: Demonstrators try to disrupt parade by dragging barriers into road and setting bins alight (The Guardian)
- Former German spy chief causes alarm by sharing far-right tweets: Critics question judgment of Georg Maaßen for spreading ‘lies and extremist agitation’ (The Guardian)
- This Fearless Woman Is Fighting To Keep Slavery Out Of Your Seafood (NPR)
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Addiction Dereliction Eviction
- Research published this week in JAMA Pediatrics shows the number of cases of children entering the foster care system, due to parental drug use, has more than doubled since 2000.
- These children were more likely to be 5 years old or younger than children removed for other reasons, like abuse or neglect. And the proportion of drug-directed cases involving white, Midwestern and non-urban children has increased. (NPR)
Additional USA News
- 3-Year-Old Asked To Pick Parent In Attempted Family Separation, Her Parents Say (NPR)
- Trump’s Nationwide Immigration Raids Fail To Materialize (NPR)
- Digital Jail: How Electronic Monitoring Drives Defendants Into Debt: Ankle bracelets are promoted as a humane alternative to jail. But private companies charge defendants hundreds of dollars a month to wear the surveillance devices. If people can’t pay, they may end up behind bars. (NYT, $)
- Will California’s New Bot Law Strengthen Democracy? (The New Yorker, $)
- Why Is There So Much Saudi Money in American Universities?: Saudi Arabia has quietly directed tens of millions of dollars a year to American universities from M.I.T. to Northern Kentucky. What are the nation’s rulers getting out of it? (NYT, $)
- The roster for the second Democratic debate will be determined this week: As will the important question of which candidates will debate on which night of the two-part event. (Vox)
Driverless Vehicles? How About Drivingless Vehicles
- In Japan, car rental is so easy and affordable that a customer doesn’t need to drive anywhere, and many don’t. Cars can be reserved online and cost as little as 400 yen ($3.71).
- Some users take advantage of the low cost and convenience to watch TV, nap while doing the rounds of client meetings on business trips, or just to escape bosses and other colleagues during lunch breaks. Some even used their rented vehicles as storage space for personal belongings when nearby regular lockers were full. (Guardian)
Drivers? Where We’re Going, We Don’t Need Drivers
- Autonomous vehicle technology has gotten better in the last decade, but we’re still a long way from the day a robot chauffeur will be able to drive us safely anywhere cars can legally go. A lot of work remains to be done, and Retro Report explores some of the remaining obstacles.
- To begin with, streets and highways need to be mapped down to a few centimeters, and the machines need to learn how to grapple with snow or rain (weather conditions currently throw their sensors out of whack). Plus, they’ll have to learn to respond instantly to the unexpected, be it a falling tree branch or a child darting between parked cars into the road. (NYT)
- Nearly all Americans fail to eat enough of this actual superfood: While we obsess about carbs and protein, we’ve ignored fiber — at our peril. (Vox)
- Healthy lifestyle may cut risk of dementia regardless of genes: Eight-year study suggests genetic predisposition does not make condition inevitable (The Guardian)
- Mixing Alcohol And Sun? Beware, A Buzz Begets A Faster Burn (NPR)
- Anorexia not just a psychiatric problem, scientists find: Discovery of metabolic causes opens door to new treatments for dangerous eating disorder (The Guardian)
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