Hi. This is Bob, with the mid-summer-break check-in that I promised you back in the long-ago pre-summer-break era.
Issue 82: July 21–27, 2019
In this week’s MRN (the last issue before our summer break): (1) I wax Eisenhoweresque, warning about the emergence of a “military digital complex”; (2) we commend a prominent conservative journalist for retrospective mindfulness (better late than never!); (3) we concisely summarize a week in which Brexit and Trump’s border wall both got some wind in their sails (at least for the time being); (4) we steer you to background reading on things ranging from Robert Mueller to Boris Johnson to Josh Hawley to technology arms races between the US and China and between Hong Kong protestors and Hong Kong police. Plus a pre-summer-break bonus: The Happenings!!!
Issue 81: July 14–20, 2019
In this week’s MRN we (1) deplore and analyze Trump’s attack on four minority congresswomen, and ask how best to respond to it; (2) summarize other news of the week, including several developments in the increasingly tense Middle East; (3) alert you to MRN’s just-around-the-corner summer vacation and foreshadow the future evolution of MRN; (4) direct you to background reading on things ranging from the Ebola outbreak to the new American phenomenon of the “childless city” to the new anti-war sentiment in Congress to Elon Musk’s weirdest brainchild: a technology that (in theory) lets you control your computer directly with your brain. Plus: Mapping the distribution of opioids and ranking meditation apps by various numbers.
Issue 80: July 7–13, 2019
In this week’s MRN (1) we offer our patented HS2NR (high signal-to-noise ratio) summary of the week’s news; (2) I talk as non-obnoxiously as possible about the 10-day meditation retreat I just finished; (3) I recount the harrowing experience of re-entering Earth’s orbit after 10 days with no news from the world; (4) we offer background readings on things ranging from Buddhist nationalists to Russian mercenaries to creepy technologies (e.g., the Pentagon can now remotely identify people via their heartbeats) to (on the brighter side) new survey evidence that Americans are sick and tired of war.
Issue #79: June 23–29, 2019
In this week’s MRN, we (1) summarize a week in which Trump went one for two in the Supreme Court; (2) find in Turkish politics some lessons about using sympathy as a weapon against Trump; (3) offer a free tip for meditators who have trouble focusing on their breath (which is to say, all meditators); (4) point you to a new reader discussion thread; (5) direct you to background reading on things ranging from Iran to immigration to an anti-Trump knitting website to the question of whether America is in its own way becoming as creepily Orwellian as China. Plus: A guide for guarding against deceptive online videos. [Note: No newsletter next week; the MRN staff will be spending Fourth of July weekend thinking patriotic thoughts while grilling plant-based burgers.]
Issue #78: June 16–22, 2019
In this week’s MRN (1) we summarize a week that got the US and Iran to the brink of war but not over it; (2) I explain why mainstream media outlets like NPR and the New York Times may have done as much to grease the skids toward war as right wing outlets like Fox News; (3) we encourage people who aren’t (yet!) Patreon supporters to nonetheless mingle with Patrons for purposes of civic discourse; (4) we steer you to background reading on things ranging from immigration to Facebook’s planned digital currency to warrior robots to the evolutionary logic behind a dog’s captivating gaze to warmonger Brett Stephens to influential peacenik Tucker Carlson.
Issue #77: June 9–15, 2019
In this week’s MRN (1) we summarize a week that might have passed quietly had two oil tankers not gotten attacked in the Gulf of Oman, inflaming tensions between the US and Iran; (2) I get all literary, connecting last week’s post about “ironic tribalism” with Kurt Vonnegut’s novel Cat’s Cradle; (3) we unveil a new way for MRN readers to talk with each other about issues of the day; (4) we offer background links on things ranging from “liberal nationalism” to “McMindfulness” to the allegedly insidious influence of “positive news” to Steve Bannon’s impending eviction from his medieval monastery to a prolific Iranian journalist who turns out not to exist. Plus: Pepe the Frog has his day in court and captive Canadian whales get protection from abuse.
Issue #76: June 2–8, 2019
In this week’s MRN, we offer: (1) a crisp summary of a week heavy in news about giant tech companies that dominate our lives; (2) a bigthink, or at least mediumthink, piece in which I unveil the term “ironic tribalism” and ask whether cultivating ironic tribalism can save the world; (3) background links that will steer you to readings on such things as D-Day, John Boehner’s new career as a marijuana pitchman, deepfake videos, fake but tasty meat, the unique peril posed by Tucker Carlson, how to talk to people different from you, and how a Muslim soccer star singlehandedly reduced the rate of hate crimes in Liverpool.
Issue #75: May 26–June 1, 2019
In this week’s MRN we (1) offer our patented weekly news summary—which, we continue to claim, features the highest signal-to-noise ratio in the Trump-related newsletter industry; (2) find cause for cheer in European Union election results; (3) continue our crusade to deploy mindfulness as a weapon against distraction; (4) steer you to background readings on things ranging from the world’s most journalist-unfriendly country to the political realignment America is undergoing to the newly recognized disease of “gaming disorder” to the art of changing people’s minds.
Issue #74: May 19–25, 2019
In this week’s MRN we: (1) briskly summarize a week that was pretty eventful, especially on the international front; (2) get all exercised about the release from prison of “American Taliban” John Walker Lindh—though not for the reasons that others are exercised about it; (3) critically examine a treatise that defends the dumping of milkshakes on right-wing politicians; (4) direct you to background readings on things ranging from tensions with Iran to fake-news-resistant Finns to the origins of Hindu nationalism to Amazon’s gamification of warehouse work to the cluelessness of experts.