The Calculated Introvert
October 31, 2019
“Life is not a problem to be solved, but a reality to be experienced.”
“There are two ways to be fooled. One is to believe what isn’t true; the other is to refuse to believe what is true.” – Soren Kierkegaard
Wildfires Continue To Decimate California
Multiple wildfires whipped by hurricane force winds were sweeping California as Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) declared a state of emergency last Sunday. The massive Kincade Fire, which began over a week ago northwest of San Francisco, was moving southwest across Sonoma County, burning historic wineries and threatening to jump Highway 101 into an area that hasn’t seen a wildfire since the 1940s.
Weather conditions spurred Pacific Gas & Electric Co. to cut power to more than 2 million customers, and an investigation is underway after regulators learned that equipment on one of PG&E’s transmission towers broke near the ignition point of the Kincade Fire.
Monday morning fire broke out near the Getty Center in Los Angeles and spread rapidly south and west. The mandatory evacuation zone set up included some of LA’s most affluent neighborhoods, with famous names like Mulholland Drive and Sunset Boulevard. Among the evacuees were former governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and Lakers star LeBron James. Wednesday morning another blaze erupted threatening the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, quickly engulfing nearly 1,300 acres and triggering new evacuation orders.
Bone-dry conditions paired with what’s known in the Bay area as “Diablo winds” and in Southern California as Santa Ana winds are keeping large swaths of the state under “red flag” warnings. This is the third year in a row that hurricane-like winds have fanned devastating blazes, transforming the Golden State’s coastal hills into a hellscape. These fiery sieges appear to be a new normal, and evidence continues to mount that climate change is worsening their effects.
Chile’s Not Having the Climate Change Conference
- Chile’s president, Sebastian Pinera, announced Wednesday that his country would be backing out of hosting two important international events: a UN climate change meeting and a major Asia-Pacific trade summit. Pinera explained he needed to focus on restoring the public peace after an unsettling wave of protests and acts of vandalism in recent weeks.
- The abrupt withdrawal upended plans for an anticipated meeting between President Trump and President Xi Jinping of China, both of whom were to attend the summit in mid-November and were expected to sign a preliminary trade deal. And the UN is scrambling to find another venue for the next round of climate negotiations in December.
- An estimated 20,000 delegates are expected to attend. Chile had stepped up to host the Climate Change Conference after the initial host, Brazil, withdrew last year, soon after the election of President Jair Bolsonaro, who does not think climate change is a threat to mankind. (NYT)
A Sister That is a Big Bully
- For months now, the Czech Republic’s 38-year-old mayor of Prague, Zdenek Hrib, has been at the center of a controversy involving his city, Beijing and the Communist Party of China. In office for barely a year, Hrib has become famous among civil rights advocates in Europe for standing up to Beijing by excising a provision — to adhere to the “One China” policy — from Prague’s 2016 sister-city agreement with Beijing.
- “A sister-city agreement should not include things that are not related to the cities’ relationship,” Hrib said. Beijing wasn’t having it. It punished Prague institutions that have interests in China, canceling a planned 14-city autumn tour of China by the Prague Philharmonic Orchestra — which spent 2 1/2 years in preparation and lost nearly $200,000 on the tour.
- Then this month, before Prague’s assembly could act, Beijing terminated the sister-city relationship, and it’s only the latest in a list of episodes with China’s government that have ended badly for the Czech Republic. (NPR)
A Sanction On All Fronts
- Six Gulf nations have joined President Trump’s maximum-pressure-on-Iran campaign, imposing sanctions on a financing network controlled by Iran’s military, and several men linked to the Tehran-backed Lebanese group Hezbollah. The move is seen by administration officials as a strategically important regional collaboration, and should also reassure Israel after the president’s decision to withdraw troops from northern Syria.
- Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Oman, Bahrain, Kuwait, and the United Arab Emirates blacklisted a multibillion dollar network of Iranian companies, banks and funds that the US had sanctioned last year for allegedly financing the Basij, Iran’s paramilitary unit.
- Also targeted are four men linked to Hezbollah who are said to be a key tool of Tehran’s foreign policy abroad. the US says the men lead operational, intelligence and financial activities in Iraq. (WSJ)
Additional World News
- Australia Accuses Google Of Misleading Consumers Over Location Data (NPR)
- Erdogan: U.S. Lawmakers Have No Right to Call Armenian Deaths Genocide (NYT, $)
- Thai king fires royal guards for ‘adultery’ as purges continue (Guardian)
- Militants Kill 5 Laborers in Kashmir, Expanding Threat to Civilians (NYT, $)
- Are you starting to feel that chill in the air? Looks like layering season is back. Thankfully we layer up with Zachary Prell’s Braemore sweater.
- Zachary Prell has you covered for cold weather commutes and winter walks.
- This modern quarter zip, available in four shades, is made in a bird’s eye stretch fabric with a super-soft brushed fleece lining—it’s proof you can feel cozy yet still look stylish.
- Even better, Zachary Prell is giving Daily Pnut readers a heart-warming 20% discount: use code DP20.
Generation Z Can’t Read
- The nation’s latest “report card” is not good. The results of the National Assessment of Educational Progress released Wednesday show that America’s fourth and eighth grade students are losing ground in their ability to read literature and academic texts. Some 600,000 students were tested for their proficiency in reading and math. Two out of three students did not meet the standards set for reading proficiency.
- The average eighth-grade reading score declined in more than half of the states compared with 2017, while the average fourth-grade reading score declined in 17 states. Math scores remained relatively flat.
- Education Secretary Betsy DeVos called the results a “student achievement crisis” but dismissed calls to increase school funding to improve the worst performing schools. DeVos champions programs that allow tax dollars to follow children to schools of their choice, including private schools, religious schools and charter schools; she rejects the view that more money would lift struggling schools. (NYT)
Additional USA News
- Donald Trump Jr’s Triggered: a litany of trolling and insults worthy of his father: The first son’s 294-page rant against American liberals is more notable for what it doesn’t say than for what it does (Guardian)
- US economic growth slowest this year (BBC)
- Michelle Obama says white Americans ‘still running’ from black neighbors: Former first lady reflects on her experience of white flight in Chicago and says ‘when we moved in, white families moved out’ (Guardian)
How to Be a Calculated Introvert
- Therapists want you to know that spending time alone isn’t the same as loneliness, and it’s not a bad thing. Being lonely can actually hurt, and can even negatively impact your health. On the other hand, choosing to spend time doing things by yourself can have mental, emotional and social benefits.
- The key to those positive rewards is the choosing. As one developmental psychologist says: “Historically, solitude has had a pretty bad rap” because it’s sometimes used as a form of punishment.
- Another notes that “getting better at identifying moments when we need solitude to recharge and reflect can help us better handle negative emotions and experiences, like stress and burnout.” In a culture where being alone is often confused with loneliness, learning how to appreciate time by ourselves prevents us from processing the experience as something negative. (NYT)
- Additional quote: “I’ll read my books and I’ll drink coffee and I’ll listen to music, and I’ll bolt the door.” – J.D. Salinger
- Tens of thousands watch livestreamed brain surgery (Guardian)
- Wonder works: History and philosophy should reveal to us the baffling, strange and wondrous qualities of other lives and other times (Aeons)
- The cities designing playgrounds for the elderly (BBC) and The millennials taking on France’s funeral business (BBC)