For the LBJ fans: Johnson finally gets his due as the true father of the Apollo project (and thus demonstrating LBJ’s genius for true vision, big government and blatant pork-barrelling for Texas). At the New Scientist, though, they’re maintaining the rage and marking 50 years of hostility to the moonshot. Asked what they want to be when they grow up, American and British kids say “YouTube star”; Chinese kids say “astronaut”.
Where did the moon come from? The theory has radically changed in recent years (I fondly recall reading a book in my teenage years that argued the moon was in fact a vast hollow alien spaceship placed in orbit around Earth, which remains the most plausible explanation of it, for mine). And if you want to feel small, cosmologists have mapped our local region of the universe. Careful where you tread; it’s a long way down.
YOUR RACIST FRIEND
“From what I know of her, Omar is an appalling figure, and I hope everything she touches in politics fails. But I know the demonic when I see it, and a US president stoking a crowd to chant that kind of thing about an American citizen is demonic.” Rod Dreher offers a long, excoriating discussion, from a conservative perspective, of Trump’s summoning of the mob.
For what it’s worth, 100 years ago, Washington DC was engulfed in race riots. And the failure to bring many German participants in the Holocaust to justice demonstrates how hard it is to punish evil when an entire state practises it.
BECOME A ROBOT
Gamechanger! Another triumph for the blockchain: cryptocurrencies are creating a whole new world of possibilities for tax evasion previously only available to the wealthy.
Return of the Internet of Shit: two years ago, researchers found that Medtronic’s widely used insulin pumps could be hacked and used to kill users. So Medtronic rushed to fix the problem or remove the insecure devices, yes? Of course not.
I blame Air New Zealand and their insufferable rugby and hobbit-themed “funny” safety videos for the transformation of airline safety videos into annoying marketing opportunities.
“Fake news is an instrument for measuring trauma”: Cory Doctorow on why garbage beliefs like anti-vax have re-emerged.
ALIENATION IS FOR THE RICH
Cheerleading has become a means of survival for young women in Venezuela. Celebrity lawyer Alan Dershowitz fights for (what’s left of) his reputation as the Epstein crimes roil the US east coast elite.
The people who know the least about health have the strongest opinions. And giving them facts doesn’t help (so, what are we supposed to do?). What happens if you’re a philosopher who decries medicine and you get shingles? Discover the virtues of medicine, of course. Unsurprisingly, the people who actually fought them think US wars are a waste of time.
ANOTHER FIRST KISS
Online apps have surpassed friends and family as the primary means of matchmaking, turning dating into an evermore individualistic enterprise. Surprise! Stereotypes and myths pervade sperm selection even in laboratories.
Plus, in the “they ruin everything” department: walking is being transformed from a pleasant contemplative activity to another way to maximise your productivity. And Jess Hill has an excellent analysis of how to stop coercive control and its perpetrators.
Finally: continuing my passion for all things Kubrick: Stanley Kubrick, filmmaker, high modernist, obsessive perfectionist, Jewish intellectual.
Prepare for an extended boomergasm next month with the 50th anniversary of Woodstock, complete with ludicrously overpriced re-issues of albums and nostalgic recollections of what was, literally, a disaster. But there was another important 1969 concert: Elvis and Las Vegas were made for each other. Thangewevermuch.