All the Greedy Young Abigail Fishers and Me

“The first time Abigail Fisher filed a Supreme Court case because she didn’t get into college, she was 18 and reaching. She had a 3.59 GPA, an 1180 SAT score. She had not cracked her high school’s top 10 percent, and so, by the book, she did not qualify for guaranteed admission to UT. But she deserved admission nonetheless, she believed, and primarily—it appears—because she wanted it. She had “dreamt of going to UT ever since the second grade,” she said, in a 2012 video. Her dad had gone there, and so had her sister, and so had “tons” of friends and family. “It was a tradition I wanted to continue,” she said. For Fisher, basic competence and a powerful sense of unexamined entitlement was admissions criteria enough.”

How America Went Haywire – The Atlantic

“How widespread is this promiscuous devotion to the untrue? How many Americans now inhabit alternate realities? Any given survey of beliefs is only a sketch of what people in general really think. But reams of survey research from the past 20 years reveal a rough, useful census of American credulity and delusion. By my reckoning, the solidly reality-based are a minority, maybe a third of us but almost certainly fewer than half. Only a third of us, for instance, don’t believe that the tale of creation in Genesis is the word of God. Only a third strongly disbelieve in telepathy and ghosts. Two-thirds of Americans believe that “angels and demons are active in the world.” More than half say they’re absolutely certain heaven exists, and just as many are sure of the existence of a personal God—not a vague force or universal spirit or higher power, but some guy. A third of us believe not only that global warming is no big deal but that it’s a hoax perpetrated by scientists, the government, and journalists. A third believe that our earliest ancestors were humans just like us; that the government has, in league with the pharmaceutical industry, hidden evidence of natural cancer cures; that extraterrestrials have visited or are visiting Earth. Almost a quarter believe that vaccines cause autism, and that Donald Trump won the popular vote in 2016. A quarter believe that our previous president maybe or definitely was (or is?) the anti-Christ. According to a survey by Public Policy Polling, 15 percent believe that the “media or the government adds secret mind-controlling technology to television broadcast signals,” and another 15 percent think that’s possible. A quarter of Americans believe in witches. Remarkably, the same fraction, or maybe less, believes that the Bible consists mainly of legends and fables—the same proportion that believes U.S. officials were complicit in the 9/11 attacks.”

Sam Shepard, 1943–2017

“The temptation towards resolution, towards wrapping up the package, seems to me a terrible trap. Why not be more honest with the moment? The most authentic endings are the ones which are already revolving towards another beginning. That’s genius.”

The Myth of Drug Expiration Dates – ProPublica

“For decades, the federal government has stockpiled massive stashes of medication, antidotes and vaccines in secure locations throughout the country. The drugs are worth tens of billions of dollars and would provide a first line of defense in case of a large-scale emergency.

Maintaining these stockpiles is expensive. The drugs have to be kept secure and at the proper humidity and temperature so they don’t degrade. Luckily, the country has rarely needed to tap into many of the drugs, but this means they often reach their expiration dates. Though the government requires pharmacies to throw away expired drugs, it doesn’t always follow these instructions itself. Instead, for more than 30 years, it has pulled some medicines and tested their quality.”

A Match Made in Baking and Blue Ribbons – The New York Times

“Their first date was over the telephone. Since they both loved to bake, they thought it might be fun to cook together, each in his own kitchen.

Both had copies of “The Cake Bible” by Rose Levy Beranbaum, so Dr. Arguin suggested that they try the Scarlet Empress, in which a bowl is lined with slices of jelly roll and filled with vanilla Bavarian cream before a top layer of cake is added and the whole thing is flipped over and unmolded.

This was in 2009, before such a date might have been streamed live. “We were on the phone for hours,” Dr. Taylor recalled.”

Talking to Boys the Way We Talk to Girls – The New York Times

“We tell ourselves we are preparing our sons to fight (literally and figuratively), to compete in a world and economy that’s brutish and callous. The sooner we can groom them for this dystopian future, the better off they’ll be. But the Harvard psychologist Susan David insists the opposite is true: “Research shows that people who suppress emotions have lower-level resilience and emotional health.””

Greetings, E.T. (Please Don’t Murder Us.) – The New York Times

“The anti-METI movement is predicated on a grim statistical likelihood: If we do ever manage to make contact with another intelligent life-form, then almost by definition, our new pen pals will be far more advanced than we are. The best way to understand this is to consider, on a percentage basis, just how young our own high-tech civilization actually is. We have been sending structured radio signals from Earth for only the last 100 years. If the universe were exactly 14 billion years old, then it would have taken 13,999,999,900 years for radio communication to be harnessed on our planet. The odds that our message would reach a society that had been tinkering with radio for a shorter, or even similar, period of time would be staggeringly long. Imagine another planet that deviates from our timetable by just a tenth of 1 percent: If they are more advanced than us, then they will have been using radio (and successor technologies) for 14 million years. Of course, depending on where they live in the universe, their signals might take millions of years to reach us. But even if you factor in that transmission lag, if we pick up a signal from another galaxy, we will almost certainly find ourselves in conversation with a more advanced civilization.”

Warby Parker’s new app checks your vision and writes prescriptions without a trip to the doctor — Quartz

“The new app, which rolled out yesterday (May 23), will surely please glasses wearers who dread getting their eyes checked. It’s also alarming optometrists, the doctors who specialize in correcting vision, who depend on a stream of patients making office visits. By offering eye exams online, Warby Parker is giving wearers one more reason to skip their brick-and-mortar competitors—some of whom offer vision exams from in-house optometrists—and buy glasses online.”

A Story of Slavery in Modern America – The Atlantic

“Going through her boxes in the attic took me months. I found recipes she had cut out of magazines in the 1970s for when she would someday learn to read. Photo albums with pictures of my mom. Awards my siblings and I had won from grade school on, most of which we had thrown away and she had “saved.” I almost lost it one night when at the bottom of a box I found a stack of yellowed newspaper articles I’d written and long ago forgotten about. She couldn’t read back then, but she’d kept them anyway.”

11 Twisted Facts About ‘The Far Side’

For 15 years, “The Far Side” added a dash of irreverence to the funny pages. Offbeat, macabre, and sometimes controversial, Gary Larson’s trailblazing cartoon was a gigantic success that ran in nearly 2000 newspapers at the height of its popularity.

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Meet the Foreign Tech Workers Left in Limbo by Trump – The New York Times

“My family lives in India and I love that country,” said Mr. Jaladi, “but I have spent my adult life in the United States and it definitely feels like more of a home to me.”

Mr. Jaladi commutes an hour each day to work as the head of information security at Gusto, a company that provides human resources services to small businesses. He enjoys meals at home and weekend shopping trips to Costco. He and his wife love to cook.
Photos from Priya and Sujay’s wedding on the mantle in their living room. Credit Deanne Fitzmaurice for The New York Times

But visas are always on his mind, along with the possibility that he may have to return to India.”

A Day in the Life of a Food Vendor – The New York Times

“But last week, she suggested that they plan a Caribbean cruise for the six of them instead. Mr. Ahmed didn’t think they could afford that kind of vacation, not to mention so much time away from his cart.

But riding the E train today, peeling potatoes, changing out the empty propane tank, he’d been thinking about it all the same. What would it be like to go on a cruise, he wondered. To board a big ship with your family, to vacation as they do in the movies, to fall asleep at night without setting an alarm.”