A mixed bag today, as the week lumbers to a close. It was a fairly productive one; can’t complain, even though I was a no-show yesterday. Just one of those days, when nothing much went well and I ended it thinking all I wanted from life was a little Netflix and a book. The next thing you know, you look up and there’s been a plane crash, Morley Safer checks out and…it’s Thursday night.
So let’s start with the best bloggage of the bunch. We were talking a few weeks back about the various eagle cams and falcon cams and all the rest of the cams that show us avian predator life in its cuddly fledgling stage. A great piece follows, from the WashPost, about the nest-cam operators who are shutting down, because the thousands watching online? Can’t handle the truth:
The osprey cam at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution is trained on a nest near the Massachusetts seaside, and the pair that call it home are now waiting for three eggs to hatch. But for the first spring in a decade, the camera is dark, and a note on the institute’s website offers only a two-sentence explanation.
“Regrettably, the cam will not be operating this season due to the increasingly aggressive actions of certain viewers the last two years,” it begins.
That is a staid reference to cam fans whose emotions about the nest morphed into vitriol — and fighting words. When the osprey mother began neglecting and attacking her chicks in 2014, anxiety exploded among some viewers, as did demands that the institution intervene to save the baby birds. When the same thing happened in 2015, the public passions took a more personal turn.
“It is absolutely disgusting that you will not take those chicks away from that demented witch of a parent!!!!!” one viewer emailed to Jeffrey Brodeur, the communications specialist who ran the camera. Another wrote: “I realize this is nature, but once you put up a cam to view into their worlds it is no longer nature. You have a responsibility to help n save when in need.”
It’s a great story — lots of anecdotes about people who are way too over-invested in the world that flies around over our heads. How much so? Oh, you have no idea:
In 2014, when the chicks featured on a bald-eagle cam in North Fort Myers, Fla., weren’t getting much to eat, some viewers decided to take matters into their own hands. Under cover of darkness, they headed to the nest site and tossed meat into it — a roast, to be specific.
I love the eagle cams as much as the next person, but when things get a little dicey, I just click away. That’s why we have Donald Trump – for the distraction.
Speaking of which.
The WP also has a pretty good piece about the next generation of Trumps, specifically his sons, Eric and Don.
It’s pretty good, but Hank Stuever started an interesting Facebook conversation about the difference between the Trump scions, who at least talked to the Washington Post, and Chelsea Clinton, who apparently still thinks it’s 1993 and she’s 13 years old, protected like the tender bud she was then. Now it’s 2016 and she’s 36, and she still doesn’t answer a question that wasn’t vetted, but feels she can campaign for her mother and face only the scrutiny she approves. So, then: Props to the young Trumps, who I liked better after reading this. Dammit.
Can we trust the Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education? Because these numbers are crazy:
If 10 percent of American smokers gave up cigarettes and the rest cut back by 10 percent, the U.S. could shave $63 billion off medical costs the next year, the analysis found.
It doesn’t pass the smell test, but I have no idea it’s a big number. But is it that big?
The new study found that regions with lower smoking rates had substantially lower medical costs from 1992 through 2009.
Californians spent $15.4 billion less on healthcare in 2009 than they would have if they smoked as much as the national average, the analysis estimates. At the other extreme, Kentucky residents spent an estimated $1.7 billion more than the national average on healthcare because they smoked more.
Here’s a nice Neal Rubin column from Detroit, about the breakup of a chain of sleazebags ripping off Detroit Public Schools. I don’t want to excerpt anything from it, but read it — it’s good.
Finally, Lisa Belkin, the former NYT reporter and author “Show Me a Hero,” wrote a piece about the time when, as a young reporter, Donald Trump made a pass at her. It attracted this fan mail:
Sorry for the language, but this is the sort of thing women who write on the internet get used to. Enjoy your weekend. May you get no communiques like that.