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Five Breaking News Haikus

April 7, 2017, 3:32 PM UTC

Your week in review, in haiku:



Headlines hit our hearts

heavily. And now we miss

That damn Pepsi ad



Is bounced Bannon now

An angry White House roamer

plotting sweet revenge?



Unmasking air strikes.

And yet: They do have to live

Like a refugee



Congress and China:

Nuclear, non-nuclear

Options now abound



I did not know who

French Montana was, but now

He is dead to me




Wishing you an elegantly structured and poetic weekend.

On Point

The truth will be GoogledThis morning Google rolled out the “Fact Check” tag, a feature that had been in beta in several countries since October. The tag identifies content that has been verified by news publishers and fact-checking organizations. “For the first time, when you conduct a search on Google that returns an authoritative result containing fact checks for one or more public claims, you will see that information clearly on the search results page,” the company explained in a blog post. Now, the only trick will be to see who cares what’s true and what’s not.Google

Tim Cook visits his alma mater and delivers a rallying cry for diversity and inclusion
The Auburn University graduate (class of 1982) began with a gracious shout-out to the school, then launched into his big advice to students: Get ready for a diverse world. “The world is intertwined today, much more than it was when I was coming out of school,” Cook said. “Because of that, you really need to have a deep understanding of cultures around the world.” It’s going to take some getting used to, he suggested, but inclusive thinking is going to be essential for success in business in a global world. “I have learned to not just appreciate this but celebrate it,” Cook said. “The thing that makes the world interesting is our differences, not our similarities.” He also gave an exclusive interview to the journalists who run the school paper, which was very cool of him.
The Auburn Plainsman

How to be an ally to black women in tech
Technologist Anjuan Simmons has developed a strong presence on both the speaking circuit and Twitter; raceAhead highlighted his philosophy of “lending privilege” to marginalized colleagues last fall. He recently expanded on his ideas in a powerful Twitter thread; he started by saying that while he’s an ally to many, he focuses his efforts on elevating black women in tech. “Even if I wasn't a Black Man, I would still see the level of injustice done to Black Women. They are the group that needs the most support,” he tweeted. Instead of asking black women for their ideas to solve inequities, which is exhausting work for them, he offered suggestions to the tech community to do the work themselves. Do you use slides of black women techies in your presentations? Do you send black women to tech conferences to represent you? And show appreciation for their work. “Black Women receive daily messages from people and the culture that they're not good enough. That they either have too little or too much.”

A television star challenges the “male-female” binary of awards categories; deserves all the awards
Asia Kate Dillon has been the single most interesting development in “Billions,” the Showtime show about a scheming hedge fund manager and the tortured prosecutor trying to bring him to justice. Dillon plays a gender non-binary financial genius, and the show deserves credit for framing the conversation around gender and the character’s pronoun preferences in a credible and sensitive way. (Dillon is also a gender non-binary person.) And now the Emmy organization deserves credit for working openly with Dillon to address an interesting problem: When the award categories are gender specific—best actor, best actress, etc.—how does a gender non-binary actor get the noms they deserve?

A Mexican newspaper closes because journalists keep getting killed
The front page (and online) headline read "Adios!" And with that, Norte, a newspaper in the Mexican border city of Juarez went dark. At least 38 journalists have been killed in Mexico since 1992 related to their work, according the Committee to Protect Journalists, and dozens more, for reasons that remain unconfirmed. "On this day, esteemed reader, I address you to report that I have made the decision to close this newspaper due to the fact that, among other things, there are neither the guarantees nor the security to exercise critical, counterbalance journalism," wrote a Norte executive.
Associated Press

Even one black teacher can make a difference for black students
A new working paper published by the Institute of Labor Economics suggests that if a vulnerable student of color has even one black teacher, it dramatically reduces the likelihood that they will later drop out of school. Researchers looked at 100,000 young black students entering North Carolina public schools between 2001 and 2005 and determined whether they had at least one black teacher when they were between the ages of 8-11. Having a single black teacher reduced the drop out rate by 29%, and 39% for low-income boys. What an astonishingly simple addition to a toolkit designed to help kids succeed.

The Woke Leader

Racism is literally making us sick
Every seven minutes a black person dies prematurely in the U.S. These people would not be dead if the health of black and white people were equal, says David. R. Williams, a Harvard professor and researcher. To better understand the impact of racism on health, he created the Everyday Discrimination Scale, a now essential tool that measures the small instances of everyday discrimination—like being treated less courteously than others—that erode the dignity of black people. His research has been pivotal in understanding the link between racism and health. “Research has found that experiences of discrimination have been associated with the elevated risk of a broad range of diseases, from blood pressure to abdominal obesity, to breast cancer to heart disease and even premature mortality.”

Breaking: We get more creative as we grow older
We live in a world that worships and rewards youth, the unencumbered geniuses who fire off screenplays in a weekend or launch world-changing tech from a dorm room. But many of us grow more creative and courageous with time. Here’s one data point: The average inventor in the U.S files a patent application at 47, and the highest-value patents typically come from inventors over 55. The New York Times interviewed Dr. John Goodenough, who co-invented the lithium-ion battery at 57, and asked him for some ancient wisdom. Now, at 94, he’s still creative, and he credits faith, patience, and gratitude for his many breakthroughs. “You have to draw on a fair amount of experience in order to be able to put ideas together,” he says. “I’m grateful for the doors that have been opened to me in different periods of my life.”
New York Times

Let’s rename the Williamsburg Bridge for Sonny Rollins
One of the most romantic stories to come out of the 1950’s New York jazz scene belongs to Sonny Rollins, the prolific and trailblazing saxophonist who took himself to the woodshed after a difficult detox from heroin and “the whiskey” to reconnect with his heart and art. Rollins was just 28 years old when he disappeared from the recording and performing circuit to, as his fans imagined, develop a new sound. And then he began to show up on the Williamsburg Bridge and stood near where the commuter trains rattled by and played trancelike into the air. “[I]t remains strangely thrilling to me that, in 1960, a person could have looked up from her book at the exact right moment and glimpsed some bit of Rollins, hunched and ecstatic, huffing into his tenor saxophone,” writes The New Yorker’s Amanda Petrusich in this extraordinary profile. Rollins continued the practice for more than two years. In 1962, he released an album called “The Bridge,” prompting jazz critic Stanley Crouch to write that Rollins was “a standard-bearer of convention, and perhaps as the only one who could save jazz.”
New Yorker


Just as American democracy, however periodically flawed in intent and realization, is a political, cultural, economic and social rejection of the automated limitations of class and caste, jazz is an art in which improvisation declares an aesthetic rejection of the preconceptions that stifle individual and collective invention.
—Stanley Crouch