What should the media do when campaigns lie? Plus, the best of the web this week.

How journalists should fact-check politicians. What police officers know that the rest of us don't. How the poor, middle class, and rich spend their money. A super-cool new technology coming in December. And more. Enjoy!


Politics and World Affairs

A Not-Very-Truthful Speech In A Not-Very-Truthful Campaign / Ezra Klein / The Washington Post

Klein tries "to bend over backward to be fair, to see it from Ryan's perspective," but finds it hard to be balanced amid Ryan's, and the campaign's, calculated dishonesty.




Obama Needs 80% Of Minority Vote To Win 2012 Election / Ron Brownstein / National Journal

A look at the demographic equations defining this election. The last paragraph suggests some major changes are in store for the Republican party.




Four More Years? / The Economist

The Economist is underwhelmed. "The defence of Mr Obama's record comes down to one phrase: it could all have been a lot worse."




I Am Barack Obama, President Of The United States—AMA / Barack Obama / Reddit

Obama takes (softball) questions from the horde. Interesting to read his writing style, and there's some really funny stuff in here, including someone who corrects his grammar.




Arts and Culture

What It's Like For A Deaf Person To Hear Music For The First Time / Rebecca Rosen / The Atlantic

A 23-year-old gets a new hearing aid, and with the help of friends and the Internet, discovers everything from Mozart to Sigur Rós.




What Have You Learned As A Police Officer About Life And Society That Most People Don't Know Or Underestimate? / Tim Dees / Quora

A fun list, including this: "Although they may not know it, there are people who find [your] hot buttons instinctively, and they live to push them."




52 Suburbs Around The World / Louise Hawson

A photographer takes a year off to travel the world with her daughter, documenting life in the suburbs of great global cities. (via @nickfraser)




Lance Armstrong's Secret Is Out / Christopher Keyes / Outside

A new book from Armstrong's former teammate "isn't just a game changer for the Lance Armstrong myth. It's the game ender." Also interesting on the weight of carrying a lie.




It's My Life What Ever I Wanna Do / Vennu Mallesh / YouTube

Oh, man. Prepare yourself for this, um, difficult-to-describe Indian music video. Rebecca Black, you have been eclipsed.




Business and Economics

How The Poor, The Middle Class, And The Rich Spend Their Money / Jacob Goldstein and Lam Vo / NPR

A simple graph. "Both the similarities and differences are striking." The rest of the graphs in the series, "Graphing America," look interesting as well.





How Paperbacks Transformed the Way Americans Read / Andrew Shaffer / Mental Floss

In 1939, a movie cost 20 cents, but a hardcover book cost $2.75. And yet, the idea of a cheap paperback was seen by the publishing industry as crazy. Great example of how incumbents can stifle innovation.





Gimme The Loot / Gavin Mueller / Jacobin

Fascinating take on piracy through the ages, from Blackbeard to Kim Dotcom. I had no idea pirates ran their ships so democratically.





A Hyper Cool (And Controversial) Rebranding For American Airlines / Anna Kovecses / CoDesign

I love this redesign.




Teen Titan / Lizzie Widdicombe / The New Yorker

A profile of Scooter Braun, "the man who made Justin Bieber," and who still manages to come across as surprisingly not terrible.




Science and Technology

The Andreessen Horowitz Effect / Erick Schonfeld / Techonomy

Profile of one of the most successful, and aggressive, venture capital shops in Silicon Valley. The list of companies they back is truly impressive.




In Defence Of TED / Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry / The Kernel

"If we resisted the siren call of feeling smugly superior ... we could perhaps see TED for what it actually is: a media company that has been very successful" at popularizing ideas.




The Most Important Technology Since The Smartphone Arrives December 2012 / Christopher Mims / Technology Review

Short article and really cool demo video for a product called Leap Motion, which its founder promises will be even better than the technology in "Minority Report."




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The COVID-19 pandemic has disproportionately affected diverse communities due largely in part to social factors such as inadequate access to housing, income, dietary options, education and employment — all of which have been shown to affect people's physical health.

Recognizing that inequity, Harlem-based chef JJ Johnson sought out to help his community maximize its health during the pandemic — one grain at a time.

Johnson manages FIELDTRIP, a health-focused restaurant that strives to bring people together through the celebration of rice, a grain found in cuisines of countless cultures.

"It was very important for me to show the world that places like Harlem want access to more health-conscious foods," Johnson said. "The people who live in Harlem should have the option to eat fresh, locally farmed and delicious food that other communities have access to."

Lack of education and access to those healthy food options is a primary driver of why 31% of adults in Harlem are struggling with obesity — the highest rate of any neighborhood in New York City and 7% higher than the average adult obesity rate across the five boroughs.

Obesity increases risk for heart disease or diabetes, which in turn leaves Harlem's residents — who are 76% Black or LatinX — at heightened risk for complications with COVID-19.

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Eight months into the pandemic, you'd think people would have the basics figured out. Sure, there was some confusion in the beginning as to whether or not masks were going to help, but that was months ago (which might as well be years in pandemic time). Plenty of studies have shown that face masks are an effective way to limit the spread of the virus and public health officials say universal masking is one of the keys to being able to safely resume some normal activities.

Normal activities include things like getting a coffee at Starbucks, but a viral video of a barista's encounter with an anti-masker shows why the U.S. will likely be living in the worst of both worlds—massive spread and economic woe—for the foreseeable future.

Alex Beckom works at a Starbucks in Santee, California and shared a video taken after a woman pulled down her "Trump 2020" mask to ask the 19-year-old barista a question, pulled it back up when the barista asked her to, then pulled it down again.

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Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash
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Glenda moved to Houston from Ohio just before the pandemic hit. She didn't know that COVID-19-related delays would make it difficult to get her Texas driver's license and apply for unemployment benefits. She quickly found herself in an impossible situation — stranded in a strange place without money for food, gas, or a job to provide what she needed.

Alone, hungry, and scared, Glenda dialed 2-1-1 for help. The person on the other end of the line directed her to the Houston-based nonprofit Bread of Life, founded by St. John's United Methodist pastors Rudy and Juanita Rasmus.

For nearly 30 years, Bread of Life has been at the forefront of HIV/AIDS prevention, eliminating food insecurity, providing permanent housing to formerly homeless individuals and disaster relief.

Glenda sat in her car for 20 minutes outside of the building, trying to muster up the courage to get out and ask for help. She'd never been in this situation before, and she was terrified.

When she finally got out, she encountered Eva Thibaudeau, who happened to be walking down the street at the exact same time. Thibaudeau is the CEO of Temenos CDC, a nonprofit multi-unit housing development also founded by the Rasmuses, with a mission to serve Midtown Houston's homeless population.

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Pete Buttigieg is having a moment. The former mayor of South Bend, Indiana keeps trending on social media for his incredibly eloquent explanations of issues—so much so that L.A. Times columnist Mary McNamara has dubbed him "Slayer Pete," who excels in "the five-minute, remote-feed evisceration." From his old-but-newly-viral explanation of late-term abortion to his calm calling out of Mike Pence's hypocrisy, Buttigieg is making a name for himself as Biden's "secret weapon" and "rhetorical assassin."

And now he's done it again, this time taking on the 'originalist' view of the Constitution.

Constitutional originalists contend that the original meaning of the words the drafters of the Constitution used and their intention at the time they wrote it are what should guide interpretation of the law. On the flip side are people who see the Constitution as a living document, meant to adapt to the times. These are certainly not the only two interpretive options and there is much debate to be had as to the merits of various approaches, but since SCOTUS nominee Amy Coney Barrett is an originalist, that view is currently part of the public discourse.

Buttigieg explained the problem with originalism in a segment on MSNBC, speaking from what McNamara jokingly called his "irritatingly immaculate kitchen." And in his usual fashion, he totally nails it. After explaining that he sees "a pathway to judicial activism cloaked in judicial humility" in Coney Barrett's descriptions of herself, he followed up with:

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When you picture a ballerina, you may not picture someone who looks like Lizzy Howell. But that doesn't mean you shouldn't.

Howell is busting stereotypes and challenging people's ideas of what a dancer should look like just by being herself and doing her thing in her own body. The now-19-year-old from Delaware has been dancing since she was five and has performed in venues around the world, including Eurovision 2019. She has won scholarships and trains up to four hours a day to perfect her skills in various styles of dance.

Jordan Matter Photography shared a documentary video about Howell on Facebook—part of his "Unstoppable" series—that has inspired thousands. In it, we get to see Howell's impressive moves and clear love of the art form. Howell shares parts of her life story, including the loss of her mother in a car accident when she was little and how she was raised by a supportive aunt who helped her pursue her dance ambitions. She also explained how she's had to deal with hate comments and bullying from people who judge her based on her appearance.

"I don't think it's right for people to judge off of one thing," Howell says in the video. And she's right—her size is just one thing.

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