#152: Extinction of the Middle Child
Happy Thursday, Loyal Readers! Hope you’re enjoying the middle of summer. This week’s articles span a wide range of topics, including the imminent plight of middle-born children, the epic popularity of Fortnite, the violent racism Black professors face, and the stark realization that plastic might doom us all.
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What we’ve heard about birth order is mostly true. For example, first-born children make more money (because they’re ambitious) than last-born children (because they’re coddled). But what about middle children, known for their empathy, peacemaking abilities, and negotiation skills? They’re endangered, and unless demographics shift, they might disappear in America over the next century. According to author Adam Sternbergh, a middle-born extinction would be tragic. (21 min)
One of my goals this year was to remain ignorant about Fortnite, but alas, I ended up reading this excellent article about the game. Two things I didn’t know: (1) There’s no blood! (You just go around killing your 50 opponents, sort of like Hunger Games.) (2) If you’re good, you can make $500,000 a month! (Be like Ninja, play all day, and stream your games for others to watch.) (23 min)
It’s hot out there. Please stay cool! (Thanks, loyal reader Abby B.)
After writing an op-ed in the New York Times that encouraged white people to reflect on racism, Professor George Yancy immediately began receiving death threats filled with racist vitriol, including the n-word. In this piece, Prof. Yancy argues that too many white Americans cannot accept a Black person as an intellectual authority. He quotes bell hooks: “All black people in the United States, irrespective of their class status or politics, live with the possibility that they will be terrorized by whiteness.” (11 min)
Straws are bad, sure, but so is everything plastic, especially when it’s not recycled. The problem is, nearly half of the world’s plastic is used once and then discarded. The majority ends up in our landfills and oceans, killing marine life, polluting our beaches, and taking 450 years to biodegrade. (For reference: Coca-Cola made 180 billion plastic bottles last year.) (18 min)
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