August 5, 2019
At press time, residents of the only economically advanced nation in the world where roughly two mass shootings have occurred every month for the past eight years were referring to themselves and their situation as “helpless.” – ‘No Way To Prevent This,’ Says Only Nation Where This Regularly Happens (The Onion)
“Americans make up about 4.4 percent of the global population but own 42 percent of the world’s guns. From 1966 to 2012, 31 percent of the gunmen in mass shootings worldwide were American” – What Explains U.S. Mass Shootings? International Comparisons Suggest an Answer (NYT, $)
Too Many Shootings, Too Many Dead, Not Enough Done
A 21-year-old white nationalist took out his hatred of Hispanic immigrants by gunning down 20 people and wounding 26 more at a busy El Paso Walmart Saturday morning. The shopping mall was crowded with hundreds of families and children anticipating the start of a new school year.
The gunman drove 650 miles from his home in Allen, Texas to the peaceful, diverse city on the US-Mexico border. Prior to the attack, the gunman posted a hate-riddled message on the website 8chan praising March’s white nationalist massacre in Christchurch, New Zealand; the message stated: “This attack is a response to the Hispanic invasion of Texas.”
Some 13 hours later a heavy-set gunman wearing body armor used an assault-style rifle and high-caliber ammunition to shoot 37 people enjoying a Saturday night out at a busy downtown bar in Dayton, Ohio. Nine of the victims were killed. The 24-year-old shooter died at the scene.
Between the two mass murders President Trump, who was spending the weekend at his golf resort in Bedminster, New Jersey, was seen in social media posts posing with wedding guests Saturday evening. A statement about the shootings expressing condolences was issued from the White House, but by late Sunday morning the president had not addressed the nation in person.
White nationalist groups have surged during Trump’s presidency; FBI Director Christopher Wray told Congress the majority of domestic terror-related arrests in recent months were linked to white supremacist violence. Regardless, Trump’s acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney made the rounds of Sunday TV shows expressing righteous indignation that anyone could dare suggest his boss’s anti-immigrant racist rhetoric was linked to the rise in white nationalist violence.
- 8chan: the far-right website linked to the rise in hate crimes: Three attackers in six months allegedly posted their plans on the site in advance. In an exclusive interview, Silicon Valley CEO explains his ‘moral obligation’ to keep 8chan online (Guardian)
- 8chan Is a Megaphone for Gunmen. ‘Shut the Site Down,’ Says Its Creator. (NYT, $)
- I feel lonely and ashamed that I don’t have any friends: To make friends you need to be ready to display your vulnerabilities, says Mariella Frostrup (Guardian)
- 22 percent of millennials say they have “no friends”: Loneliness can be helpful, unless it becomes chronic. (Vox)
- ‘We’re All Tired of Being Called Racists’: At Donald Trump’s rally in Cincinnati, droves of attendees made it clear that they stood with the president despite his recent comments. (The Atlantic)
My Small Personal Japanese Wedding
- Some young Japanese women are saying Yes to the Dress, but not to getting married. They are donning wedding attire to have solo bridal portraits made, after which they might stand alone on a stage at a reception and thank invitees for attending their solo wedding.
- More Japanese women than ever are working; more and more are postponing or foregoing marriage that they view as the traditional path that leads to a life of domestic drudgery. The trend alarms politicians preoccupied with trying to reverse Japan’s declining population. (NYT)
- Japan Drops South Korea From Favored Trade List As Long-Simmering Tensions Flare (NPR)
Don’t Worry, Tree Happy
- Alfred Joyce Kilmer’s immortal tribute to trees — “I think that I shall never see a poem lovely as a tree” — was first published 106 years ago this month. He was on to something.
- In a new report published in the journal JAMA Network Open, researchers describe a large-scale longitudinal study featuring almost 47,000 mostly older residents of three Australian urban areas. After crunching all the data, the researchers report that people living in areas, where 30 percent or more of the outdoor space is dominated by tree canopy, had 31 percent lower instances of psychological distress, and better health overall, compared to people living in areas with 0 to 9 percent tree canopy. (CityLab)
- The healing power of nature: The idea that immersing yourself in forests and nature has a healing effect is far more than just folk wisdom (Aeon)
- Look up from your screen: Children learn best when their bodies are engaged in the living world. We must resist the ideology of screen-based learning (Aeon)
- Should Rivers Have Same Legal Rights As Humans? A Growing Number Of Voices Say Yes (NPR)
The SS Big Mistake
- Global warming is melting ice sheets in the Arctic’s Northern Sea Route, opening shipping lanes and creating new trade routes between China and Europe that Russia hopes to make navigable year round. In its plans for Arctic expansion, Russia is preparing to dispatch its first floating nuclear power station, the Akademik Lomonosov, on a 4,000-mile journey along the Northern Sea Route.
- While a milestone for Moscow’s growing use of nuclear power, it’s raised safety concerns among environmental groups, including accusations from Greenpeace that it could be a “floating Chernobyl.” It’s also raised questions about whether floating nuclear power stations meant to provide power to remote regions are economically viable. (Guardian)
Additional World News
- China Wants to Hit Back at Trump. Its Own Economy Stands in the Way. (NYT, $)
- Hong Kong protesters use flashmob tactics to evade police: Mass demonstrations continue ahead of city-wide strike and protests in seven districts (The Guardian)
- North Korea Conducts 3rd Missile Test Since Last Week Amid Stalled Talks With U.S. (NPR)
- Saudi Law Changed To Permit Women To Travel Without Male ‘Guardian’ (NPR)
- In U.K., Boris Johnson’s Conservatives Lose Seat To Anti-Brexit Parties (NPR)
- Moscow Police Detain Hundreds At Latest Election-Related Protest (NPR)
- Putin’s New Problem in Ukraine: A Charismatic, Quick-Witted Rival (NYT, $)
- Russian Land of Permafrost and Mammoths Is Thawing Global warming is shrinking the permanently frozen ground across Siberia, disrupting everyday life in one of the coldest inhabited places on earth. (NYT, $)
- Bolsonaro Fires Head of Agency Tracking Amazon Deforestation in Brazil (NYT, $)
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The Rat Infested Streets Are Paved With Gold
- President Trump has been tweeting lately about how American cities are in terrible shape. He described Baltimore as a “disgusting, rat and rodent infested mess.” But to those who study cities for a living, Trump’s words seem outdated, a relic of a period in the 1980s and early 1990s when urban America appeared to be in terminal decline.
- This century is a decidedly different story. For the most part, cities have been undergoing gentrification; they are enjoying a golden age, one that has made them safer, more prosperous and more attractive relative to suburban and rural America than at any time in recent decades. The result is that instead of losing residents, much of urban America is growing. (WaPo)
- Bay Area’s new homeless epicenter?: Oakland has surpassed San Francisco in per capita homelessness. The city has a multipronged approach to attacking the problem, but advocates say officials aren’t doing enough. (SF Chronicle)
- Seattle Man’s Toilet Kit For The Homeless Brings Privacy, Opens Doors (NPR)
- First human-monkey chimera raises concern among scientists: Researchers reprogrammed human cells before injecting them in the monkey embryo (Guardian)
- New medical procedure could delay menopause by 20 years: Operation could benefit thousands of women who experience serious health issues (Guardian)
- How hindsight bias skews your judgement: Sometimes we just know something will happen and it does. But experts say channelling that experience into decision-making is an error that leads to mistakes. (BBC)
- 10 Hotel Tips No One Taught You: No matter how often you’ve stayed in a hotel, these tips will help you get a cleaner, safer, more relaxing stay in your next one. (NYT, $)
- The bias that makes us spend and not save: Social media is awash with glossy images of our friends having fun – but how does that impact our wallets? (BBC)
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