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The secret to long life, elephant importing, and eight other stories you might have missed

Reuters/ Thomas Peter
Those who breach a 12th decade are donating their DNA to find the secrets in supercentenarian genes.
Published This article is more than 2 years old.

1. Aged to perfection

Reduce stress. Stay active. Maintain strong social connections. If you’re among the oldest people in the world, pretty much everyone you meet will ask you the same question: What’s the secret to living a long life? The answers given can vary from “morning walks and chocolate” to eating bacon every day. (I’m guessing being an Amazon Prime member will ultimately be a prerequisite.) But as those answers suggest, living a long time doesn’t necessarily make you an expert on longevity. While anecdotes and life tips are nice, what researchers really want is DNA. If you’re only 108 or 109 years old, you need not apply. But break 110 and scientists will be coming for your blood. From the NYT’s always interesting Amy Harmon: The Secret to Long Life? It May Lurk in the DNA of the Oldest Among Us.

2. Franken beans

“I’m still angry at what Al Franken did to me. Every time I hear his voice or see his face, I am angry. I am angry that I did his stupid skit for the rest of that tour.” From The Atlantic: “Leeann Tweeden, a Los Angeles radio host and former model, says Senator Al Franken, a Minnesota Democrat, kissed her against her will and groped her during a 2006 USO trip.” And this claim comes with a photo. Franken has apologized for the incident. “I am asking that an ethics investigation be undertaken, and I will gladly cooperate.” Even Stuart Smiley’s words of wisdom aren’t going to improve this day for Al Franken…

+ Trigly: Meanwhile, more accusers have come forward to describe unwanted overtures from Roy Moore: “‘I said ‘Hello?’ Richardson recalls. ‘And the male on the other line said, ‘Gena, this is Roy Moore.’ I was like, ‘What?!’ He said, ‘What are you doing?’ I said, ‘I’m in trig class.'”

3. New war, old math

“We found that one in five of the coalition strikes we identified resulted in civilian death, a rate more than 31 times that acknowledged by the coalition. It is at such a distance from official claims that, in terms of civilian deaths, this may be the least transparent war in recent American history. Our reporting, moreover, revealed a consistent failure by the coalition to investigate claims properly or to keep records that make it possible to investigate the claims at all.” NYT Magazine on the civilian lives lost in the “most precise” air war ever: The Uncounted. (One also wonders how many of those accurately targeted were conscripts forced into action by brutal regimes…)

4. The elephant in the tomb

The Trump administration has reversed the ban on importing elephants killed as trophies. “The Trump administration said it will allow the importation of body parts from African elephants shot for sport, contending that encouraging wealthy big-game hunters to kill them will aid the vulnerable species.” (Yes, you read that right…) Hasn’t Trump killed enough elephants?

5. Meat, loafing

“Been on more of a plant-based diet, getting away from the animals and all that,” Irving told the broadcast team. “I had to get away from that. So my energy is up; my body feels amazing.” The NBA is moving to a faster brand of basketball. And NBA players are moving to a new diet plan. Could veganism be the next big thing in sports? From Bleacher Report: The Secret (But Healthy!) Diet Powering Kyrie And The NBA. (Full disclosure: I’m a vegetarian and I haven’t won a game of horse since like 1998.)

+ NY Mag: A to V: An Encyclopedia Food for the Vegan-curious.

6. A twodunit crime story

“At least twenty-nine men have been condemned in cases in which defense attorneys accused prosecutors of presenting contradictory theories. To date, seven of those twenty-nine have been executed.”The Marshall Project: Can prosecutors put the same gun in the hands of more than one shooter? They can, and they do.

+ The New Orleans Advocate on a man locked up on a drug charge for eight years, without a trial. (In America.)

7. Seeking water damages

During Katrina, “economically disadvantaged communities, some of them historically black, bore the brunt of the loss, with hundreds, perhaps thousands, of deaths. The victims in West Houston include white, wealthy, Republican-voting energy executives. They live in neighborhoods where the main employers are BP Plc and Royal Dutch Shell Plc, the median income is triple that of the rest of the city, and second homes and weekend-spin sports cars aren’t unusual. Their debris piles include wine fridges, coffee table books about Renoir, and Chinese bar carts from overseas assignments. The West Houston cases are unlike the Katrina cases in another way, too: Rather than make a legal argument about official neglect, they speak to what happened when the federal government intentionally flooded one of the richest areas of a city to save everyone else.” From Businessweek: The US Flooded One of Houston’s Richest Neighborhoods to Save Everyone Else. Next up: A flood of lawsuits…

8. Vapor caper

“But for a harm-reduction argument to be valid, policy makers need strong evidence that vaping improves smokers’ health without creating a new set of risks — to both users and nonusers. So far, the evidence for quitting is mixed, while long-term safety remains unknown.” Big Vape is copying Big Tobacco’s playbook.

+ “The problem has gotten so intense that administrators are sending home e-mails warning parents about the dangers of e-cigarettes in general — and, in particular, about a brand called Juul, which makes sleek devices that are easily concealed and often mistaken for thumb drives.” Juuling: The most widespread phenomenon you’ve never heard of.

9. Even Jesus was like, “Jesus!”

The winning bid was placed “on behalf of an unidentified client after a 19-minute war that saw offers at $200 million, $300 million and $350 million fall short.” From Bloomberg: Da Vinci’s Christ portrait shatters art record with $450 million sale. (Je$u$ Christ…)

+ And some still doubt the piece is really by Leonardo

10. Bottom of the news

“The phenomenon of perceived slowdowns is so widespread that many believe tech companies intentionally cripple smartphones and computers to ensure that people buy new ones every few years. Conspiracy theorists call it planned obsolescence. That’s a myth.” (Well, it’s sort of a myth.) From the NYT’s Brian Chen: A New Phone Comes Out. Yours Slows Down. A Conspiracy? No. (Well, no, but a little yes…)

+ Reminder: We’ve got hot new NextDraft T-shirts for only $14.

+ “The crew did not sufficiently check the departure time and performed the departure operation.” A Japanese rail company has issued a public apology because a train left a station 20 seconds early. (Premature Acceleration?)

+ Steve Mnuchin and Louise Linton and the infamous money shots. (Another reason to always wash your hands after handling cash…)

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