Murad Sezer / Reuters

What We’re Following: The Reaction to the Downed Russian Fighter Jet

A day after the Turkish military shot down the warplane, Turkey and Russia traded barbs about what happened in the skies over Syria. The Turkish president defended the decision, while Russia’s foreign minister called it a “planned provocation” and the pilot who survived the hit said the Turkish military gave no warning before launching its missiles. In Syria, Russia reacted by sending defense missile systems to its air base in Latakia, just south of Turkey’s Mediterranean coast.

The Mood in Chicago: Marchers took to the streets Tuesday night in protest of the police shooting of Laquan McDonald, a 17-year-old black teen, after the video of his death was released—13 months after he was killed. The officer responsible for the shooting, Jason Van Dyke, has been charged with first-degree murder. The official account of what happened, reported the day after McDonald died, has turned out to be almost completely contradicted by the footage.

The Latest U.S. Line on Kunduz: Almost two months after American airstrikes killed 22 people at a Doctors Without Borders hospital in Afghanistan, the Pentagon revealed that the attack occurred because of “human error.” General Joseph Campbell, the top commander in Afghanistan, called the strike “a tragic mistake” and said that a number of servicemen involved in the assault had been relieved of duty.

The Rest of This Week: Instead of writing this newsletter, we’ll be eating pumpkin pie. See you Monday!


Snapshot

A European hamster, its cheeks full of grains, roots, and other goodies, runs to his food chamber. For more early entries to the 2016 Sony World Photography awards, go here. (Stefan Achorner)

Quoted

Biologist David Sabatini, on the revolutionary gene-editing technique called CRISPR: “That was not possible before. There was no way one could imagine doing that.”

What people say to Noah Cho when he tells them he teaches middle-school kids: “What a terrible age! How can you stand it?”

An unnamed reporter, on one of the White House Thanksgiving turkeys: “He’s perfect. He’s so Hollywood.”


News Quiz

1. President Obama spared two turkeys named ___________ in the annual White House turkey pardon.

(See answer or scroll to the bottom.)

2. Three MIT graduate students have invented a ___________ that recycles its own water.

(See answer or scroll to the bottom.)

3. Recent polling shows that ___ percent of Americans oppose the Obama administration’s plans to admit more Syrian refugees into the country.

(See answer or scroll to the bottom.)


Evening Read

A fun history lesson from Yoni Appelbaum on America’s wild turkeys:

William Bradford, looking out at Plymouth from the Mayflower in 1620, was struck by its potential. “This bay is an excellent place,” he later wrote, praising its “innumerable store of fowl.” By the next autumn, the new colonists had learned to harvest the “great store of wild turkeys, of which they took many.”

Soon, they took too many. By 1672, hunters in Massachusetts had “destroyed the breed, so that ‘tis very rare to meet with a wild turkie in the woods.” Turkeys held on in small, isolated patches of land that could not be profitably farmed. But by 1813, they were apparently extirpated from Connecticut; by 1842 from Vermont; and from New York in 1844.

In Massachusetts—land of the Pilgrim’s pride—one tenacious flock hid out on the aptly-named Mount Tom for a while longer. The last bird known to science was shot, stuffed, mounted, and put on display at Yale in 1847, but locals swore they heard the distinctive calls of the toms for another decade. Then the woods fell silent for a hundred years.


Reader Response

A reader on sleep deprivation, mental health, and our December cover story, “The Silicon Valley Suicides”:

There are probably so many reasons for teen suicide, but one that I keep coming back to is sleep deprivation. Sleep deprivation is a form of TORTURE. Among everything else we should be trying to do to help kids, one biggie is to help them get enough sleep.

How is it that all these parents, many of whom are moms who know about sleep deprivation and post-partum depression, aren’t wising up to the sleep-depression connection? For example: “One study found that sleep disturbance alone — even after controlling for other risk factors — increased women’s likelihood of developing postpartum depression.” Look, I’m not trying to oversimplify, but it boggles my mind that no one’s really talking about the role of sleep in all this.

More here.


Verbs

The 100th anniversary of Einstein’s theory of general relativity celebrated, the microscopic aspects of double-dipping explored, food comas explained, airlines for Thanksgiving travel ranked.


Answers: honest and abe, washing machine, 53


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