The Checkup is a promising new email newsletter from MIT Technology Review.

Every week I’ll be covering what I think are the most exciting, fascinating, and controversial developments in health, medical science, and biotech—and how they might help diagnose, treat, enhance, or even harm us. Thanks for joining me!

The first issue includes an interview with Dr. John Whyte, who studies disorders of consciousness, attempts to pull people in this state back into consciousness, and recovery of patients with severe traumatic brain injury.


Know Your Enemy (podcast): On Barbara Ehrenreich (w/ Alex Press & Gabriel Winant) 🎙️

This episode was unplanned, but when Barbara Ehrenreich died on September 1, 2022, we felt an urge to honor her memory and the profound influence she has had on the American left, socialism, feminism, and our collective thinking about class struggle. From her work in the women’s health movement of the 1960s, to her theorizing (with ex-husband John Ehrenreich) of the “professional-managerial class” in the 1970s, to her explorations of Reagan-era yuppie pathologies, and her renowned exposé of low-wage work in 2001’s Nickel and Dimed, Barbara Ehrenreich has been an essential and nuanced guide to the inner-life of American class conflict in the latter half of the 20th century and the beginning of the 21st.

It’s been nearly 20 years since I read Nickel and Dimed, assigned to all incoming freshmen at my college. I have since read some of Ehrenreich’s other 21st century books, in particular I remember Bait and Switch and Bright-Sided being quite good.

Rest in Peace.


Celebrating an anniversary: 15 years this week since my spouse and I went on our first date!


Started reading: The Dawn of Everything by David Graeber and David Wengrow 📚


Finished reading: Toxic Positivity by Whitney Goodman 📚


Started reading: Toxic Positivity by Whitney Goodman 📚


Video: Dinosaurs, the Sitcom Before Time 📺

I remember watching this series as a little kid (we were an ABC TGIF household) in the early 1990s, but I don’t remember this having such a Point of View.

Behind the animatronics and full body puppets brought to life by the Jim Henson Company were messages about religion, capitalism, feminism, social control, colonialism, and the environment.

There was an episode that mirrored the Anita Hill and Clarence Thomas hearings, which were going on at the time. A bunch of the surnames in the show were actual fossil fuel companies, and the company the main character worked for had a logo reminiscent of the Dupont corporation. Spoilert alert: Environmental destruction and actions taken by Earl’s employer bring about a mass extinction event at the very end of the series.

Looking at it now, I’m a bit surprised that this was something my Reagan and Bush supporting parents (my dad was also a Rush Limbaugh listener) allowed us to watch, watched with us, and bought toys based on. But they were also fans of All in the Family, which along with The Flintstones, was an inspiration behind this show.

Kevin Clash, the performer behind the Baby Sinclair puppet, was also the puppeteer and voice of Sesame Street’s Elmo, and Jessica Walter, who voiced the mother, would later portray Lucille Bluth on Arrested Development.


Started reading: Trick Mirror: Reflections on Self-Delusion by Jia Tolentino 📚


Finished reading: Four Thousand Weeks by Oliver Burkeman 📚


Started reading: Four Thousand Weeks: Time Management for Mortals by Oliver Burkeman 📚