Things I’m Verbing: Fake food, bad HR and the act you’ve known for all these years

It is an act of radical self-care to remind yourself there is other news and journalism out there totally unrelated to Comey, Trump and the downfall of the republic!

It is an act of radical self-care to remind yourself there is other news and journalism out there totally unrelated to Comey, Trump and the downfall of the republic!

Chris Evans giggling at his dog is also a radical act of self-care. But also:

  • Let’s start with the Beatles. I love the Beatles. I spent the three years from sixth to eighth grade listening almost exclusively to the Beatles, so I’m honestly pretty chuffed (don’t @ me) at all the coverage of the 50th anniversary of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. (Fifty! Years!) All Songs Considered brought in Giles Martin, the son of Beatles producer George Martin, to talk about how he went back into Abbey Road’s vault to not just remaster but remix the album from scratch. As someone who knows nothing about sound engineering, it’s fascinating to hear the differences in production side by side. See also:
    • Vulture had the nerve to rank 213 Beatles songs from worst to best, always sure to produce hilarious and furious discussion, because obviously it’s going to be wrong bottom to top. (Although I can’t disagree with their No. 1 pick, why “Hold Me Tight” doesn’t occupy the final slot is a mystery.) The piece provides a fantastic history of the band in non-chronological vignettes along the way.
    • I have not read this yet, but I’m thrilled that this 2008 paper exists on PsyArt, a self-described online journal for the psychological study of the arts: “The Space Between Us: A Developmental History of the Beatles.”
  • Also coming from the podcast word, Gastropod, which charmingly examines the relationship between food and science, has an episode on fake and adulterated food (and the cops that stop its proliferation) that could put you on edge in the grocery store for the rest of time.
  • It’s a short response to a larger fawning article by the New York Times, but the New Republic‘s Sarah Jones punches back at the notion that tech giants fund coding programs for kids out of the goodness of their hearts. Speaking of techno-libertarians, a reminder from a former ardent supporter why Julian Assange is garbage. Same with Uber.
  • Journalism is in serious trouble. We all know that, even if we’re not in media. But the ways in which it’s in trouble on the hiring side aren’t always apparent to outsiders. Rachel Schallom, who will soon by starting a job with the Wall Street Journal, wrote up a clear-headed and damning account of what’s wrong with newsroom hiring practices, from the unpaid labor and lost intellectual property the luckiest desperate applicants give away to the ways in which HR performs gatekeeping through the interview process and the job postings themselves.
  • You can’t end a Friday post that heavily, so I present, from NPR: cat cafes vs. dog cafes vs… raccoon cafes?

Stay brave, friends.

Things I’m Verbing: Inside baseball, zero sums and global workarounds

This is still about where I am: angry, cynical, unable to square the idea that Trump was either an actively good choice or not a dealbreaker for millions of Americans. I’m told that cultural issues are just a big distraction from “the real story,” the economic devastation that “we all ignored” in “the real America.” I’m still not sure why the Twitterati can’t seem to hold it in their heads that we can be usefully angry about many, many issues all at once. There’s no zero-sum game here if enough people get involved.

  • If you only read one of these links today, make it this one: Laurie Penny’s “Against Bargaining.” Penny is one of those cultural critics who profoundly irritates me about 85% of the time; however, when she’s right, she’s right on the ball, and this piece illustrates with lightning clarity how so many of us, journalists and voters and everyone with a stake in the Clinton candidacy, are stuck in the bargaining phase of grief — a phase that looks remarkably like the self-protections victims of abuse build.
  • I do wish the New York Times had done this work before the election, but its six-byline piece on Trump’s worldwide conflicts of interest is amazing to see even now. It never occurred to me that this also means he has worldwide vulnerabilities to terror. This is going to be fun.
  • Ian Millheiser, the justice editor at ThinkProgress, has posted the only useful journalistic mea culpa of the many that I’ve seen. Still compare with The New York Review of Books,What James Comey Did.”
  • This week, we had a bit of a moment of journalism-in-pop culture pieces, with quite a kerfluffle about what a bad journalist Gilmore Girls’ Rory Gilmore is. Jen Chaney at Vulture argues for better depictions of good journalism in the fiction we enjoy; Jess Plummer at BookRiot points to an already teeming source of inspiration and representation — comics.
  • Thanksgiving is over (as is the regrettable spate of “ugh, how am I going to deal with politics at the dinner table this year?” thinkpieces), but noted nerdy advice columnist Captain Awkward has something the others don’t: a plan for going forward and connecting with people who don’t agree with you. Valerie Aurora of the Ally Skills Workshop provides a guest post with scripts for in-person conversations about bridging the aisle. An important point: You’re not trying to change the obnoxious live troll, you’re trying to reach the quieter, uncertain person who can still be reached.

Good luck out there, friends. Let me leave you with a picture of my dog being cute:

Things I’m Verbing: Hovercraft parents, salty outerwear and the unexplored interior

This week, my cousin asked what “verbing” actually means. I have two answers. One is that I wanted something vague-yet-interesting enough to cover the wide range of feelings I have about the news on any given day. “Things I’m Loving” isn’t always accurate, and “Things I’m Reading” is just boring. The follow-up answer is that Calvin & Hobbes is one of my foundational texts.

verbingcalvinhobbes

Hashtag Things ’90s Kids Understand.

And now, onto the news. Steve Bannon, Trump’s new campaign CEO, sure is worrisome. Vox has a whole genealogy of Breitbart and the alt-right that’s very worth reading. This must mean the Democrats’ foes are formidable, clever and dastardly, right? Able to get away with it all and nothing sticks, because their followers eat it up?

  • Oops. Not just that, but it looks like Bannon is actually… committing voter fraud himself, in that he’s registered to vote at a vacant property in Florida that’s set to be torn down soon. Oops.
  • Up until Clinton’s speech yesterday explicitly tying the Trump campaign to the racist alt-right, it seemed she was keeping pretty quiet and letting her opponent simply get in his own way. But she’s been facing controversies of her own about the Clinton Foundation, most notably in a misleading AP tweet about her activities related to the foundation while she was secretary of state. John Aravosis refutes the case for wrongdoing in a sensible, astute Twitter thread; my favorite part it this: “[Muhammad] Yunus won the Nobel peace prize for founding the Grameen bank and pioneering concept of microlending to women in LDCs. no shit the Secretary of State met with Yunus. He’s global poverty’s Mother Teresa. That’s AP’s big smoking gun.”
  • St. Louis-based Sarah Kendzior, always essential reading, has a new piece in Quartz castigating the media (and its national audience) for only caring about stories outside their coastal bubble when they’re extreme (Ferguson, Katrina, Milwaukee, Baton Rouge), and ignoring or dismissing the vast majority of the country otherwise, during the unsexy everyday brutality girding these issues.
  • Ever since Hanna Rosin’s eye-opening “The Overprotected Kid,” I’ve been staggered at how much less freedom many children have simply to wander a neighborhood or do things without a parent chaperoning. This week, NPR published a fascinating interview with a psychologist whose recently published research, in collaboration with a philosopher, looks at the moral judgments bystanders make about the parents of children left alone. The way they devised their study is really interesting.
    • Because I will never pass up an opportunity to shout Lynda Barry’s praises to the skies, you should read this interview she gave in 2010 about my favorite book of hers, Picture This, which is about where imagination comes from, why we draw and how it’s possible to draw like we did when we were kids again.
  • I want to end on a magical note, also about art. Sigalit Landau left a dress in the Dead Sea for two months. Not to get all clickbaity, but the end result is staggering.

Things I’m Verbing: Due diligence, master classes and why we bottleneck

I’m delighted to start today’s link post with one of my own: my CityLab debut, Why Do Passengers Insist on Crowding Around Subway Doors? This was legitimately a classic “This thing really gets my goat, I wonder if I can write about it?” And I learned a lot about the psychology of manspreading, sidewalk rage, game theory at crosswalks and the effects of carpool lanes on congestion, none of which made it into the final article — but I’m pleased to be able to talk about environmental psychology on public transit, with some help from Dr. Richard Wener of NYU’s Sustainable Urban Environments program. Want to be part of the solution, or just learn the secret to a more comfortable commute? Read on!

  • Terry Gross is a master class in interviewing all on her own. I only just started listening to Fresh Air after a podcast subscription binge (thanks, Sampler!), but I was riveted by her conversation with Sue Klebold, the mother of one of the two Columbine mass shooters. Both women discuss the most difficult, unimaginable topics with grace, honesty and compassion.
  • Pacific Standard recently highlighted one underreported problem within environmental conservation movements — its advocates keep being murdered.
  • With the Zika virus and microcephaly making headlines, conspiracy theories about its origins are sure to follow. On the Media took 10 minutes and some good science reporting to dispel the notion that eternal bogeyman Monsanto is behind this particular outbreak.
  • The new vacancy on the Supreme Court has inspired immensely bad behavior from many leaders in the Republican party, leading to some very dark responses. The Atlantic posits this showdown may finally provoke the correction against extremism the GOP as a party and the nation as a whole desperately needs.
  • Fast Company looks at how to build a nuclear bomb — with a Rolodex.