What Will the World Look Like in 2030?–When people imagine the future, they tend to assume that most things will stay the same, or that the trends of the recent past will continue in a linear fashion. But the world today looks very different than people expected it to look in 2010. And one thing that is virtually certain about this coming decade is that the world by 2030 will look very different from what most expect today. www.theatlantic.com
Coronavirus infections predicted to grow exponentially–They, however, join countries including the United States, Australia and Singapore in imposing travel restrictions on visitors from China. Japan and South Korea have imposed looser rules on people from the Hubei province, although the subtropical South Korean island of Jeju, where 98 percent of foreign tourists are Chinese, said Sunday that it would rescind visa-free entry for them. www.washingtonpost.com
Toy Commercials Are Being Replaced by Something More Nefarious–Cord-cutting parents have taken note of how their kids’ childhoods differ from their own as a result. Jessica Valenti wrote in The Guardian in 2015 about realizing that her 5-year-old daughter was seeing a toy commercial for the first time in the waiting room at a pediatrician’s office. A colleague of mine mentioned to me recently that when his kids first saw toy commercials, they immediately memorized an entire ad—even the “each sold separately” disclaimer—and he spent the next few days enduring their repeated renditions of the chirpy jingle that accompanies TV ads for the surprise-doll toys known as Boxy Girls. (Given that I still remember every word of the “Wanderer”-parodying jingle for the Doodle Bear from the mid-’90s, this family’s relatively jingle-free lifestyle sounded enviable.) www.theatlantic.com
McDonald’s Is Inescapable–McDonald’s is mind-boggling. According to Adam Chandler, the author of the recent book, Drive-Thru Dreams, it sells roughly 75 burgers every second and serves 68 million people every day—a little less than 1 percent of the entire world’s population. “The golden arches are thought to be, according to an independent survey, more recognizable as a symbol than the Christian cross is around the world,” Chandler says. This episode tells the story of McDonald’s—but more important, it explores what the chain has to say about who we are. Historian Marcia Chatelain, the author of the new book Franchise: The Golden Arches in Black America, helps unpack the troubled but fascinating relationship between McDonald’s and African Americans. Why did taxpayers end up funding the spread of McDonald’s into the inner-city “food deserts” it now dominates? Who invented the hamburger, and how did it become America’s national cuisine? From a bustling barbecue stand in San Bernardino, California, to Ray Kroc’s location-scouting airplane rides, and from the McNugget to the McJob, in this episode we figure out how McDonald’s became so ubiquitous, and what that means for America. www.theatlantic.com
Who Wants to Play the Status Game?–It is much easier to mock others for engaging in the Importance Game and the Leveling Game than to acknowledge one is doing it. Jockeying for position and fishing for empathy offer up such twisted, ugly versions of the philosophical ideas of virtue and equality that we could not stand to engage in them for long, were we not shielding our eyes from what we are doing. And that, I think, is what ultimately explains the Self-Effacing Rule thepointmag.com
Why Book Reviewing Isn’t Going Anywhere–Before she started studying book reviews, Phillipa Chong once worked to procure them. Chong interned at a Canadian publishing house during college, and quickly learned that book reviews were everything. “There was a sense that if you didn’t get a book review, your title was going to die on the vine,” she told me.
By the time she finished her doctoral studies in 2014, the landscape for book reviews had changed. Just as Rotten Tomatoes and Yelp did for film and restaurant criticism, Amazon and Goodreads democratized who could review books. “Suddenly, the debate was about whether we needed critics at all,” Chong says. “It was such a stark difference from my experience with critics during my internship. I wanted to figure out how those two storylines fit together.” theamericanscholar.org
Africa’s largest city has a habit of kicking out its poor to make room for the rich–There’s another fairly obvious reason that likely drives these evictions though. Being Nigeria’s economic hub, Lagos is home to the country’s largest urban population despite being the smallest state by landmass. The city is now home to an estimated 21 million residents, many of whom arrive in search of better economic opportunities. But high rent costs mean affordable housing is out reach of many and slum communities have popped up, often on beaches. But, as the scramble for valuable land continues, waterfront slums now represent lucrative opportunities. qz.com
UN suffered a serious hack — and then tried to cover it up–The United Nations suffered a critical breach in its networks last year — which it subsequently tried to cover up.
The attack, which was likely orchestrated by state-sponsored actors, began in July, according to reports from The New Humanitarian and the Associated Press. A leaked internal document, obtained by The New Humanitarian and reviewed by AP, revealed the hackers compromised at least a dozen servers belonging to the UN. thenextweb.com
The Easiest Reform for College Admissions–Johns Hopkins recently made public a decision, reached in 2014 but kept secret until recently, to stop giving an admissions boost to applicants who have a parent who attended Johns Hopkins. Giving weight to legacy status takes attention away from consideration of an applicant’s accomplishments, raw talent, leadership ability, academic achievement, and athletic skills. And it does that without offering much in return: It doesn’t measure the obstacles that a student has overcome, or her potential to contribute to peers’ learning, or any other characteristics that colleges sometimes consider. www.theatlantic.com