The opioid agenda, El Chapo’s trial, and eight other stories you might have missed

The opioid crisis takes about 175 lives a day.
The opioid crisis takes about 175 lives a day.
Image: AP Photo/ Chris Post
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1. Measure for measure

“Measure what is measurable, and make measurable what is not so.” That quote is attributed to Galileo. But it just as easily could have come from Larry Smarr. “He keeps precise measures of his body’s input (what he eats and drinks) and output (the energy he burns and what he excretes—and yes, that is precisely what it sounds like). He undergoes periodic MRIs, has his blood and stool analyzed frequently, submits to annual colonoscopies, and has had his DNA sequenced.” Even in the age of the quantified self, Larry Smarr stands out as a person who tracks every detail about himself. His body is so well monitored that you can actually walk inside a virtual Larry and take a look around. Larry knows so much about himself that, prior to an operation, he pointed to a spot and said to his surgeon: “You’re the doctor, not me, but I would start cutting here.” Smarr’s efforts are about preserving his own health. But they’re also about a future of medicine when you have access to your own medical data, and you become the CEO of your own health care. And that’s nothing to sneeze at (although, turning your head and coughing is perfectly appropriate). Mark Bowden in The Atlantic: The Man Who Saw Inside Himself.

2. Your money or your life?

“She is a longtime resident of New Hampshire and is an engaged community member. She wishes to continue this work and the freedom to walk into a grocery store or attend public events without being known or targeted as the winner of a half-billion dollars.” All she has to do to collect a $560 million lotto jackpot is make her name public. She refuses.

3. You can’t polish a turd

“The legislation hasn’t only sparked a bitter dispute with Israel. It also has caused division within Poland, where anti-Semitic rhetoric moved quickly from the political fringes into the mainstream over just a few days … On Monday evening, a small group of far-right advocates demonstrated in front of the presidential palace demanding that Duda sign the law. They carried a banner that said, ‘Take off your yarmulke. Sign the bill.'” From AP: Polish president signs law barring some Holocaust speech.

4. The fault of our Czars

Politico on the administration’s opioid cabinet. “White House counselor Kellyanne Conway has taken control of the opioids agenda, quietly freezing out drug policy professionals and relying instead on political staff to address a lethal crisis claiming about 175 lives a day. The main response so far has been to call for a border wall and to promise a ‘just say no’ campaign.” (What are they gonna do, build a wall between you and Walgreens?)

+ “Emanie’s head of thick, raven hair was kept closely shaven before he entered foster care. His parents knew they could lose their child — then barely old enough for elementary school — should a test on a strand of hair show drugs in his system.” Citizen Times: Worries grow that the opioid epidemic is creating a ‘lost generation’ of children.

5. A jury of your fears

“The ruling means jurors will remain hidden from the public inside the courthouse, will be escorted to and from the trial, and their personal details will not be revealed to the defense, prosecution, or the press.” Getting selected for jury duty is never fun. But there’s an extra layer of stress if the case you’re selected for is the trial of El Chapo.

6. This must be the place

“His lawyers are concerned that the president, who has a history of making false statements and contradicting himself, could be charged with lying to investigators. Their stance puts them at odds with Mr. Trump, who has said publicly and privately that he is eager to speak with Mr. Mueller.” Trump’s lawyers (most of them, anyway) want him to refuse an interview in the Russia inquiry. Newt Gingrich agrees with that advice. “The idea of putting Trump in a room with five or six hardened, very clever lawyers, all of whom are trying to trick him and trap him, would be a very, very bad idea.” (Yeah, because he needs to be tricked and trapped into lying…)

+ Wired: Bob Mueller’s Investigation Is Larger—And Further Along—Than You Think.

+ The effort to malign the FBI and other institutions is also further along than you think. According to a recent poll, 73% of Republicans believe that “members of the FBI and Department of Justice are working to delegitimize Trump through politically motivated investigations.”

+ Jeff Flake on President Trump’s suggestion that those who didn’t clap for him during his State of the Union might be guilty of treason: “Have we arrived at such a place of numb acceptance that we have nothing to say when a President of the United States casually suggests that those who choose not to stand or applaud his speech are guilty of treason?” (Short answer: Yes, we have arrived at such a place.)

7. The falcon and the showman

Yeah, actually, it is rocket science. It’s also yet another example that Elon Musk, in addition to running a couple of notable companies, is the greatest marketer in business. The Falcon Heavy launch was a success. (Elon knows how to launch a product.)

8. Let them eat incompetency

“For this huge task, FEMA tapped Tiffany Brown, an Atlanta entrepreneur with no experience in large-scale disaster relief and at least five canceled government contracts in her past. FEMA awarded her $156 million for the job, and Ms. Brown, who is the sole owner and employee of her company, Tribute Contracting LLC, set out to find some help.” From the NYT: FEMA Contract Called for 30 Million Meals for Puerto Ricans. 50,000 Were Delivered.

+ This is similar to the story about the company with 2 fulltime employees that got hired to fix Puerto Rico’s energy grid.

9. Pop art

“If you’ve managed to elude the beats and flash of its music and videos until now, rest assured it will be hard to bypass this cultural phenomenon during the Winter Games.” It’s not an Olympic event, but it promises to be an event at the Olympics. Welcome to K-Pop.

10. Bottom of the news

“If you thought the Solo trailer was the big Star Wars news of the week, think again. Breaking news from the galaxy far, far away tells us that the creators of another fantasy epic, HBO’s Game of Thrones, will soon be working on a whole new series of Star Wars films.”

+ How Mexican Piñatas Get Made.

Quartz now syndicates NextDraft, a daily roundup for the day’s most fascinating news curated by Dave Pell. Read the archive here. Sign up to get the newsletter or download the app here.