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Teens are suffering. Plus, so you wanna be a Tik Tok Star...
The mental health of teens was already a troubling story before the pandemic. After the stress of isolation, the situation has gotten worse. Much worse. For many, the fear and isolation of the pandemic weren't the only challenges. The era "also left many children grieving. More than 230,000 U.S. students under 18 are believed to be mourning the ultimate loss: the death of a parent or primary caregiver." From self-reported depression to suicide attempts, almost every number you hope would be going down is surging. Many school districts are struggling to find ways to cope with the new reality. While there have been additional funds directed toward the problem, there just aren't enough mental health professionals, either in schools or in private practice, to go around. "We simply don’t have enough people in our profession to meet the need,' said Kelsey Theis, president of the Texas Association of School Psychologists. When families seek private therapists, 'sometimes there’s a wait list of months and months before they get help.'" WaPo: The crisis of student mental health is much vaster than we realize.
2. All The Livelong Day
"In 2015, the Paris region began construction on the Grand Paris Express, a 125-mile expansion of the city’s rail system that will transform the city and its suburbs. Most of it—80 percent—will be in tunnels. It will have 68 new stations, four new lines, and two extensions of existing lines. It will be completed, if all goes according to plan, in 2030, with the first line opening in 2025. It will cost some $38 billion." In France, citizens are like, "Why is this so expensive and how come it takes so long?" In America, that seems like what it takes to get out of the planning phase. Vice: A $100 Billion Lesson In Why Building Public Transportation Is So Expensive in the US.
+ "A suicide prevention net on San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge that is already years behind schedule will cost about $400 million, more than double its original price." (One wonders how things would play out if that $400 million were directed toward mental health services.)
3. Vienna Waits For User
I want my MTV... Well, you've got it. Only the videos are much shorter and they're made by fans, not artists. Welcome to the new world of music promotion where the kids are in charge. The New Yorker: So You Want to Be a TikTok Star. "The videos function as a kind of trailer for the songs, but, instead of a song’s owners being in charge of the production, TikTok creators can synch the sound to videos they’ve made about almost anything." The result is that some pretty unexpected stuff goes viral (like Louis Theroux's Jiggle Jiggle) and fans end up knowing just one song, or even just one part of song, as opposed to a whole album or the broader work of an artist. On the plus side, the system does result in a pretty wide variety of genres. My daughter regularly plays 21 Savage and Billy Joel back to back. When I suggest that she might want to hear some other Billy Joel songs (other than Vienna), she looks at me like I'm crazy. I also explained that Vienna was featured a pretty good episode of the show Taxi, but by then her Airpods were back in her ears and she didn't hear me.
4. Squirrel Tale
"During the summer of 2020, I returned home to Chicago during a break from my studies at the Lodz Film School in Poland. When I got there, my mother quietly walked me into a room where she gently pulled a strange, hairless creature out of a shoe box. It looked as if it had plummeted to earth from another planet." A short (free) NYT doc from Tom Krawczyk. My Mom Has Two Sons: Me and a Squirrel. (Trust me.)
5. Extra, Extra
Mental States: "Under the strongest form of this doctrine, members of each state’s legislative branch have unchecked authority to decide how elections for Congress and the presidency will be conducted in their state — indeed, a state legislature could potentially pass a law canceling the presidential election ... Any state constitutional provisions that protect the right to vote, that limit gerrymandering, or that otherwise constrain lawmakers’ ability to skew elections would cease to function." The deranged Supreme Court case that threatens US democracy. (Well known conservative legal scholars are as opposed to this as moderates and liberals. But this is not a normal court, so hold tight.)
+ Lights Out Shooter: "Asked if the attack was being investigated as an act of domestic terrorism, Cooper said only that 'investigators are leaving no stone unturned.'" North Carolina electric grid shooter 'knew exactly what they were doing,' sheriff says.
+ Drag Reduction: "Neo-Nazis, Proud Boys, militiamen, Christian nationalists, and culture warriors in at least four states mobilized to shut down and intimidate events involving drag queens over the weekend." And the American far right isn't the only group obsessed with sexuality. NYT: Putin Signs Law Banning Expressions of L.G.B.T.Q. Identity in Russia.
+ Avenatti By Nature: "In pleading guilty earlier this year, Avenatti admitted to stealing millions of dollars from clients, including $4 million from a client with major disabilities." Michael Avenatti sentenced to 14 years in prison.
+ Roidian Slip: "The viral TikTok persona known as Liver King, who gained 3.5 million followers by preaching the benefits of eating raw animal testicles and his own branded supplements, has confirmed he takes performance-enhancing steroids after vehemently denying it for months." But he looks so natural...
+ Silent Knights: Wired: Park Rangers Are Using Silent Ebikes to Catch Poachers.
+ Sex on the Breach: "Indonesia's parliament has approved a new criminal code that bans anyone in the country from having extramarital sex and restricts political freedoms. Sex outside marriage will carry a jail term of up to a year under the new laws, which take effect in three years. The raft of changes come after a rise in religious conservatismin the Muslim-majority country."
+ Hot Curry: "This is What Steph Curry did this year: He won his fourth championship. He won that Finals MVP award after scoring an efficient 31.2 points per game against the best defensive team in the league. He graduated from Davidson ... He expanded his charitable reach: Since 2019, the Eat. Learn. Play. Foundation he and Ayesha founded has served more than 25 million meals to food-insecure children, spent $2.5 million on literacy-focused grants and distributed 500,000 books ... He has also provided seed funding for men’s and women’s golf teams at Howard University ... and started the Underrated Golf Tour, a junior circuit designed to make the game more inclusive. He is co-chair of Michelle Obama’s When We All Vote initiative." He's also the Sports Illustrated 2022 Sportsperson of the Year.
6. Bottom of the News
You grab something from the freezer and pop it in the microwave for a minute and your meal is ready. But that seems like a little too much work and one too many devices. Well, get ready for "thaw and eat" foods. "From frozen sandwiches that don't need to be nuked to pies and waffles that go from freezer to plate, food manufacturers are racing to introduce products in the nascent 'thaw and eat' category." (From sugar free popsicles, to blackberries and grapes, to just plain old ice, I prefer the don't thaw and eat category.)
+ Speaking of thawing, check out the incredible power of nature in this ice collapse triggered by glacier calving.