Recommended reading from my wife. As with most things that I enjoy in life, “everything in moderation.”
Donald Trump is unfit to be President. His Presidency is a sham and his election might be the greatest con ever played.
The common factor in all these situations is Trump’s self-induced powerlessness and ignorance, his chronic lack of credibility and presidential authority and consequent perceptions of US and western weakness. And in the case of all three actual or potential adversaries – North Korea, Iran and Russia – these perceptions are highly dangerous. Precisely because US responses, actions and reactions can no longer be relied upon or predicted, by friends and enemies alike, the potential for calamitous miscalculation is growing. This uncertainty, like the chaos in the White House and the extraordinary disarray of the American body politic, stems from Trump’s glaring unfitness for the highest office. As is now becoming ever plainer, this threatens us all.
His incompetence and unpredictability are the traits that keeps me up at night.
In what is believed to be a world first, scientists have reversed brain damage in a toddler that drowned in a swimming pool. Using oxygen therapy, scientists were able to restore her ability to walk and talk just months after the accident, in which she spent 15 minutes submerged in a swimming pool and two hours where her heart did not beat on its own.
This is fascinating science. The medicine that we read about today is the science-fiction I grew up with as a kid.
That’s a solid Top 10 list.
Great opinion penned by Charles Blow. This Presidency is not normal and the egregious acts of the President should be condemned.
On Sandy Hook:
“The fact that not a single one of those kids was able to be transported to a hospital, tells me that they were not just dead, but really really really really dead. Ten-year-old kids, riddled with bullets, dead as doornails.” Her voice rose. She said people have to confront the physical reality of gun violence without the polite filters. “The country won’t be ready for it, but that’s what needs to happen. That’s the only chance at all for this to ever be reversed.”
She dropped back into a softer register. “Nobody gives two shits about the black people in North Philadelphia if nobody gives two craps about the white kids in Sandy Hook. … I thought white little kids getting shot would make people care. Nope. They didn’t care
Marina’s coloring never ceases to impress. This D-Day collection is incredible.
To the point.
Perhaps the most terrifying thing about the Trump presidency is the way even its most worldly figures, in words composed for them by its deepest thinkers, have reimagined the United States in the image of their own chief: selfish, isolated, brutish, domineering, and driven by immediate appetites rather than ideals or even longer-term interests.
Under the slogan of restoring American greatness, they are destroying it. Promising readers that they want to “restore confidence in American leadership,” they instead threaten and bluster in ways that may persuade partners that America has ceased to be the leader they once respected—but an unpredictable and dangerous force in world affairs, itself to be contained and deterred by new coalitions of ex-friends.
experiment challenge from kottke:
Last week (approx. May 7-14), I stopped using social media for an entire week. I logged out of all the sites and deleted the apps from my phone. I didn’t so much as peek at Instagram, which is, with Twitter and old-school Flickr, probably my favorite online service of all time.
I went through a similar challenge in 2016. In June, we took a 10-day trip to the Philippines. Not wanting to give up access to news and social media (e.g. Twitter, Feedly, Instagram) while I was on vacation, I contemplated paying Verizon for international data; whether to purchase a Global Mobile data-only SIM card for my phone; pay for VPN access and protection or setup my own VPN through my home server and use all of the free available wifi I could find; or risk it all by using whatever wifi I could find, but with no extra protection. As I contemplated cost, hassle, and ease of use, I also critically thought about what I’d really be missing out on by not having internet access for 10 days and it really boiled down to missing e-mails from my close circle of friends, the latest election and local news, and podcasts. I ended up going with a hybrid of my third option—opting to use whatever wifi I could find and limiting my internet use to specific websites and services.
After the 10-day trip, I was surprised at how easy it was to give up full internet access and how much of it I didn’t need in my life. I missed it as a convenience, but I didn’t feel like I just had to have it at any point during the trip. Wifi and hotel internet access were spotty most of the trip. My wife, who is a rebel and had no concern for security, struggled and fought with weak wifi signals at every turn. When there was a stable wifi connection, I limited what little time and bandwidth I had to my local newspaper, direct Twitter feeds (no login required), the front page of Reddit, and visiting my favorite RSS feeds actual websites (e.g. Slashdot, kottke, Daring Fireball, etc.).
On a normal day in the states, I catch-up with my Twitter feed multiple times per day, I check Gmail’s as I receive them, and my evenings are spent catching up on my 96 RSS feeds, multiple sub-Reddits, online forums, etc., probably amounting to two or more hours per day of internet use. While on vacation, I used my phone to check the internet for 20-30 minutes per day.* When I did return from vacation, I spent the long weekend of the 4th of July slowly catching up on the e-mails, RSS, Reddit threads, etc. that I had missed while away.
Since that vacation, I’ve made a more intentional effort to limit my internet use. I’ve pared down my RSS feeds (I’m down to about 50-60) and the sub-Reddits I follow (down to 4-5 subs) and I’ve muted or unfollowed toxic/obnoxious people on Twitter and Facebook. Most evenings, I try to limit my internet use to an hour. By cutting the feeds, subs, e-mails, and communities that I followed, it has helped to free-up time on the weekends.
I can’t say that making these changes has improved my focus, productivity, or health, but I do feel a lot better about myself not wasting time online.
* Without internet, I ended up playing a lot more Bejewled, Sudoku, and Alto’s Adventure. I broke a lot of personal best records in all three.
The great American hope is that the country can win a final victory over dangerous enemies and then never think about the external world ever again. When that hope is balked, when the Armistice does not deliver eternal peace and self-balancing security, many Americans blame themselves: If the external world is recalcitrant, America must have provoked it. Self-accusation is as American as self-assertion—and as based on illusions. America has acted as it has over the past century not because it is so good or so bad, but because it is so rich, so visible, and so strong. America’s strength sways world politics even when it is not exerted: Any aggressive illiberal power must fear the United States as the ultimate potential check on its aspirations. So it was with Germany in 1917. So it is with Iran today.