Tuesday

Hawaii bill would raise legal age to buy cigarettes — to 100
Hawaii Tribune Herald
— “This is more lethal, more dangerous than any prescription drug, and it is more addicting. In my view, you are taking people who are enslaved from a horrific addiction, and freeing people from horrific enslavement. We, as legislators, have a duty to do things to save people’s lives. If we don’t ban cigarettes, we are killing people.”

College Student Thought She Had a Ghost in Her Home, Finds Man Living in Her Closet
People
… “I just hear rattling in my closet. It sounded like a raccoon in my closet,” she said. “I’m like, ‘Who’s there?’ And somebody answers me. He’s like ‘Oh my name is Drew.”
… After trying and failing to make an emergency call from her Apple watch (there’s a lesson here) , she decided to open the door when she felt him trying to push the door open.
… a man “in there, wearing all of my clothes. My socks. My shoes. And he has a book bag full of my clothes.”
… “He tries on my hat. He goes in the bathroom and looks in the mirror and then is like, ‘You’re really pretty, can I give you a hug?’

closet

Adidas, a bagman, and the secret deals for basketball talent
Oregon Live
— Adidas, which built its North American headquarters in Portland, has never been formally accused of wrongdoing. But the case raises a singular question: How could a handful of company insiders orchestrate a sweeping pay-to-play scandal, using Adidas money in an effort to secure talent for the Adidas brand, without meaningful financial oversight or approval by Adidas leadership?

Avocado pits being turned into biodegradable plastic
Grassland Times

Scans Show Women’s Brains Remain Youthful As Male Brains Wind Down
NPR
— “It makes us wonder, are hormones involved in brain metabolism and how it ages?” Dr. Manu Goyal says. Or is it something else, like genetics?
— Whatever the cause, higher metabolism may give female brains an edge when it comes to learning and creativity in later life, Goyal says.

brainscan-2_custom-d29fbebf52a0e35783b1d2c7ed0c64ea73f1ff3c-s800-c85
A cross section of the human brain shows fiber tracts involved in aging.

Alien ship may be among us,
Harvard astronomer insists,
despite grumbling and criticism from peers
Chicago Tribune/WaPost
…. What you can’t call Loeb is a crank. When astronomers in Hawaii stumbled across the first known interstellar object in late 2017 – a blip of light moving so fast past the sun that it could only have come from another star – Loeb had three decades of Ivy League professorship and hundreds of astronomical publications on his résumé, mostly to do with the nature of black holes and early galaxies and other subjects far from any tabloid shelf.

Colorado jogger kills mountain lion that attacked him
Reuters

Bitcoin investors may be out $190 million after the only guy with the password dies, firm says
Miami Herald

‘The UK no longer feels like home”
British Europhiles racing for EU passports
The Guardian
— An Irish grandparent is now the most prized possession in the land, giving the proud owner the right to an Irish (and thus an EU) passport.

Why losing a dog can be harder than losing a relative or friend
The Conversation

“Pencil towers”
How the ultra rich are changing New York’s skyline and character
The Guardian

nytowers
Seen above the skyline around Central Park by 2022, under current proposals. These towers are not only the product of advances in construction technology – and a global surfeit of super-rich buyers – but a zoning policy that allows a developer to acquire unused airspace nearby, add it to their own lot, and erect a vast structure without any kind of public review process taking place. The face of New York is changing at a rate not seen for decades, and the deals that are driving it are all happening behind closed doors.

NYT finally figures out …
Tech Is Splitting the U.S. Work Force in Two
NY Times
A small group of well-educated professionals enjoys rising wages, while most workers toil in low-wage jobs with few chances to advance.

— “The view that we should not worry about any of these things and follow technology to wherever it will go is insane,” said Daron Acemoglu, an economist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
… “Until a few years ago, I didn’t think this was a very complicated subject; The Luddites were wrong and the believers in technology and technological progress were right,” said Lawrence Summers,  former Treasury secretary. “I’m not so completely certain now.”

Now that nuke treaty’s been nuked, Russia plans new weapons
AFP
… Russian President Vladimir Putin said Moscow was also leaving the treaty and beginning work on new types of weapons that would breach the crucial Cold War-era agreement. Many analysts say abandoning the 1987 treaty effectively signalled the start of a new arms race.

Baristas in bikinis
Court asks: What’s the “bottom half of the anal cleft?” 
Courthouse News Service
… “The court finds that the citywide ordinance and the dress code ordinance are likely void for vagueness under the 14th Amendment. The term ‘bottom one-half of the anal cleft’ is not well-defined or reasonably understandable, and the ordinances otherwise fail to provide clear guidance and raise risks of arbitrary enforcement. The court finds that the dress code ordinance likely violates plaintiffs’ right to free expression under the First Amendment,” Pechman wrote in the injunction order.
bikini

simpleline
FOX <> HENHOUSE
“I have real concerns about the nomination of David Bernhardt as Sec. of the Interior. My first priority is making sure our oceans are safe from dangerous and unwanted oil drilling. How will a former fossil fuel lobbyist be an adequate protector of our vital natural resources?”

— Rep. Joe Cunningham, S. Carolina
simpleline

Radical new theory envisions world population decline
Wired
— So, the UN forecasting model inputs three things: fertility rates, migration rates, and death rates. It doesn’t take into account the expansion of education for females or the speed of urbanization (which are in some ways linked). The UN says they’re already baked into the numbers. But when I went and interviewed [the demographer] Wolfgang Lutz in Vienna, which was one of the first things we did, he walked me through his projections, and I walked out of the room gobsmacked. All he was doing was adding one new variable to the forecast: the level of improvement in female education.

“Rain tax” proposed in N.J.
CBS-Local

New tax laws driving people from Northeast to Florida
Wall Street Journal
— One of the biggest winners from this shift has been Miami. The city is experiencing more activity than usual from buyers living in states like New York, New Jersey and Illinois. People are drawn to the city by mild weather—as always—and by deals on condos and lower taxes. They are stepping in after foreign buyers, who helped lift Miami’s condo market out of a tailspin following the financial crisis, have pulled back.

Coup D’Etat Hysteria: In Caracas, Rumors Swirl Night and Day
Bloomberg

— People are ready to believe almost anything, because at this point in the crisis-racked country, with Maduro besieged and opposition leader Juan Guaido recognized as the rightful leader by a growing group of foreign governments, almost anything seems possible. What got the latest wild grapevine going were WhatsApp voice notes — audio recordings — from men introducing themselves as “Chief Commissary X” or “Sargent Y” and describing super-top-secret plans.

Feds subpoena Trump inaugural committee
CNN
— Federal prosecutors in New York on Monday subpoenaed President Donald Trump’s inaugural committee for documents related to donors, vendors and finances, according to a copy of the subpoena reviewed by CNN, a step that appears to escalate that office’s ongoing investigation of the committee’s activity.
— The wide-ranging subpoena from the Manhattan US attorney’s office requires the committee to turn over documents related to virtually every donor or donation, attendee at a committee event, piece of paperwork related to the legal requirements attached to donations and even “the possibility of” donations made by foreign nationals.

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