Saturday Morning Links

1. Ever heard of Maaenboodhoo? Me neither. It’s in the Maldives, which I am sure you’ve heard of which is an archipelagic that’s southwest of Sri Lanka (more south than west). What was amazing to me was this photo of the capital city of Malé and they have appeared to use every square inch of this island, almost like SimCity.

Photo by Ishan @seefromthesky on Unsplash

2. If you are at all into soccer and the U.S. Men’s National Team, this ESPN profile on El Paso’s own 18-year old phenom Ricardo Pepi is great. Pepi is the son of Mexican immigrants could have played for Mexico or the U.S. and chose the U.S. This hits home for me because my boys are immigrants and if Youssouf ever becomes an athlete that can choose between the Democratic Republic of Congo and the U.S., he’d almost assuredly choose the U.S. because of his lack of connection with the DRC.

WHEN YOU’RE THE child of immigrant parents, you often feel as if you’ve got to make their struggles and sacrifices count for something. Calling it a burden is too much. Call it that feeling you get when you look at your father or mother and wonder what dreams they had before life shook them awake.

Because sometimes your mother is 16 years old when she had you. And sometimes your father pawns the family car and borrows money because those can become tomorrow’s problems if it means everyone’s eating today. And sometimes, you live in a place like El Paso and Juárez that are often neglected by their governments, and it feels like you must escape.
Like the rest of the communities, largely of Mexican descent, along the north side of the Texas-Mexico border, El Paso County has a substantially higher poverty rate than the rest of the country. Its per capita income is over $12,400 lower than the national average. It has lower levels of educational attainment. It has more than twice the national percentage rate of uninsured residents under 65.

It’s why when you come from the El Paso-Juárez borderland — as I do — it’s easy to feel an urgency. It’s disquieting to notice how few things grow here. The barren surroundings don’t help. Out in the wide-open spaces of West Texas and Northern Mexico, it’s easy to get lost.

To live here is to feel the questions that are as omnipresent as the mountains surrounding the region and as persistent as the winds racing down from them. On the worst of days that wind howls. It makes the desert floor dance until the sand blocks the sun and turns the sky from a hue of blue to a reddish-brown.

That wind can rip the roof off buildings and tear doors from hinges. It can choke and blind you, sometimes worse. It’s on those days when it feels like we should all run away from this desert. Run away from this separate world between two countries. On those days when it sounds like some invisible hand is continually throwing dirt against locked doors and windows, it’s like the wind carries the existential questions that most here wrestle with.

3. Colossal with photos of split-screen photography, both below and above a water-line.

4. This got my attention as a former estate planning attorney, the descendants of Henrietta Lacks have sued Thermo Fisher Scientific for using her cells in medical research without per permission. Lacks died of cervical cancer and her cells became the first human cells to be successfully cloned and have been reproduced indefinitely and are called “HeLa cells”. Thermo Fisher is making money off of these cells (a lot of money) and never obtained Lacks’ consent.

5. I’m not in the crypto game, but this story of “Tether” crypto is really interesting as it is supposed to be crypto that is backed by the dollar, for every dollar turned in a unit of Tether is produced.

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