Ryan D'Agostino in his editor's note

In the new Popular Mechanics: Part of what's changing in the world is that the United States is once again becoming known as a place where people make great things. The kind of stuff that hasn't been made here since my father was a kid.


It's football season again

The life expectancy of an NFL player is fifty-five years, Christine Smallwood writes in the September Harper's. Those who play professional football are nineteen times as likely to suffer from brain trauma–related illnesses as those who don't. Repeated concussions — in seven years a pro will sustain, on average, 130,000 full-speed hits — cause dementia, clinical depression, memory loss, and suicidal ideation.

Yes, but he'll still watch this season, Tom Junod writes in the September Esquire.

And I won't be the only one. Football, as we all know, is under siege. It's under siege from former Pro Bowlers who want the NFL to account for their morbidities and their mortalities. It's under siege from college players who want to get paid. It's under siege from mothers who don't want their boys to be offered up as ritual sacrifices. But mostly it's under siege from the American conscience, which has finally started to ask questions about the human cost of our autumnal weekend entertainment.

But not enough to stop watching. ...

... because it's in the same untenable position as America itself, too big to fail and yet failing, and I own it even as it owns me.


The new Harper's Index

Items I underlined in the September issue:

Chance that a U.S. public school had at least one security camera in 1999: 1 in 5.

Chances today: 2 in 3.

Amount a couple in Sarasota, Florida, earning $62,040 will receive in federal health care subsidies under the ACA: $8,736.

Amount a couple earning $62,041 will receive: $0.

Gigatons of cement used in the United States in the twentieth century: 4.4.

Gigatons used in China in the past three years: 6.1.

Percentage of liberal Americans who would prefer a large house to a "walkable" community: 32.

Of conservative Americans: 69.

Amount of the fine a recently passed New York State law would impose for taking selfies with tigers: $500.


Elizabeth Gilbert on Miami

When I tell people that Miami reminds me of Venice, they laugh. But this is why — the wild proximity of so much water and sky. The way nature presses so closely and so dangerously against a floating city. Click.


Bounty and the Sunshine State Awards

Bounty won for series. Read it yet?


In the current Lapham's Quarterly

After Yale, writes Lewis Lapham:

I found work as a newspaper reporter, because the job seemed to offer the best chance at discovering the whereabouts of truth that wasn't beauty, to take the college-boy thumb out of my mouth, come of age as an adult, acquire a grown-up taste for the unsweetened fruits of earned experience.


On using your neural reset button

Every status update you read on Facebook, every tweet or text message you get from a friend, is competing for resources in your brain with important things like whether to put your savings in stocks or bonds, where you left your passport or how best to reconcile with a close friend you just had an argument with. Click.


Reader response to the Crist profile

She said nice things about it. And then she said:

I would be lost without my newspaper. It is part of my morning ritual with breakfast.