Your Weekend Reader for April 23-24

by | Apr 23, 2022 | Miscellaneous, Weekend Reader | 0 comments

It likely was because Friday was Earth Day, but the past week saw an upsurge in solid stories about recycling, always a big topic in my household, although I can’t speak for yours — although I suspect that, just like me, you’re not recycling everything that you could. Here are three stories that caught my eye:

Here’s a New York Times story that tackles the biggest continuing mystery surrounding plastics recyling: What is recyclable and why? This story explains why the familiar “recycling” symbol doesn’t mean that something is actually recyclable, but other mysteries — are yogurt cups recyclable? — continue to have different answers, depending on your market. See how you do on the quiz at the top of the story.

Speaking of recycling plastics, a big fight is brewing in California over a ballot measure that seeks to reduce single-use plastics. The battle lines over the measure, which could be on November ballots, are being drawn in about the way you might expect — although it’s possible that California lawmakers could step in with legislation before the election. Susanne Rust of the Los Angeles Times had the story.

Finally, show this story to the Master Recycler in your house and tell her that it’s a hopeful omen: This year’s short session of the Legislature approved a bill to create a mattress-recycling program in Oregon. Most of the materials in mattresses can be recycled, with considerable effort, but most mattresses still wind up in landfills. This bill assesses an additional fee — it should range from $10 to $16 — on the sale of mattresses starting in 2024 and will use the money to establish a statewide recycling program. It’ll be up to the mattress industry to work out the details of how the program will work, but dropping off a mattress or a box spring for recycling always will be free. Chris Lehman of OPB had the story.

A couple of weeks ago, Your Weekend Reader referred to a piece about how Oregon was getting ready for a potential big wave of women seeking abortions from states like Idaho, which is among the states that have passed restrictive laws that, for all intents and purposes, operate like bans. But Oregon may be underestimating the intensity of the efforts by red states to find ways to restrict abortions even in blue states. Mark Joseph Stern of Slate says only one state — Connecticut — is preparing for the full onslaught of the new abortion wars, with a comprehensive piece of legislation that has a good chance of passing. You may well see a measure similar to Connecticut’s emerge in next year’s Oregon Legislature.

There was good news this week from the mid-valley startup Agility Robotics: The company announced Friday it had received $150 million in new investment, including from Amazon. Agility Robotics, which is based on technology developed at Oregon State University, has developed robots that walk on two legs, climb stairs, and can carry and stack objects. Mike Rogoway of The Oregonian/OregonLive had the story, and notes that investment in Oregon startups last year topped $1 billion for the first time.

Less than a month remains before Oregon’s May 17 primary election, and it’s always a good idea to keep an eye on who’s raising money — and where it’s coming from. The Oregonian/OregonLive put together an interesting look at finances in the race to succeed U.S. Rep. Peter DeFazio in the state’s Fourth Congressional District, which includes Corvallis (but not Linn County any more). Val Hoyle, the heavy favorite in the Democratic primary, leads all of her primary foes, with more than $600,000 raised. The two Democratic candidates with Corvallis ties, John Selker and Sami Al-Abdrabbuh, are at the bottom of the fundraising pile. But the big news in the district is that the only Republican in the field, Alek Skarlatos, already has raised more than $1.7 million — more than the five Democratic candidates combined. It’s a sign that somebody thinks this is a race a Republican can win, even though redistricting made the district somewhat friendlier to Democrats (for starters, as noted above, the district no longer includes Linn County). The story is exclusive to Oregonian subscribers, but a subscription will set you back just $10 a month.

Here’s an interesting piece from The Conversation that got picked up by the Nieman Lab at Harvard: Researchers sat down with 25 or so conservatives in the Philadelphia area to talk about why they distrusted the media. Were they upset that the media sometimes gets facts wrong? Not so much. That it seems to push a liberal agenda? Not really. What they were really upset about was their belief that the American press aims to blame, shame and ostracize conservatives.

If you’ve seen the surprise independent-movie hit “Everything Everywhere All at Once,” here’s a piece from The Atlantic you’ll enjoy: Four writers at the magazine sat down to talk about why this multiverse flick with Michelle Yeoh works so well. Here’s a big part of the answer: The movie uses the multiverse idea to explore the idea that each of our individual choices makes a big difference in our lives. Also, because the movie is just ludicrously fun. If you haven’t seen the movie yet, be aware that this Atlantic piece contains spoilers.

Also from The Atlantic culture desk, but not quite as much fun: Jon Stewart is due to receive the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor on Sunday, and the honor is well-deserved for his extraordinary run at “The Daily Show.” But this piece by Devin Gordon makes the case that not only have the times passed Stewart by, but that Stewart played a role in helping to make these times, well, these times. It’s a perceptive but ultimately depressing read.

To wrap up this edition of Your Weekend Reader on an upbeat note, here’s a well-reported profile of Oregon State University gymnast Jade Carey, the 2021 gold medalist in floor exercise at the Tokyo Olympics — and who placed in the all-around competition and scored a second-place finish in the balance beam at the recent NCAA championships. Nick Daschel of The Oregonian/OregonLive talked to numerous sources for this piece about Carey, who says she remains committed to OSU — and also is eyeing the 2024 Olympics in Paris.

This is a busy week in the mid-valley for arts-and-entertainment events, from Saturday night’s Majestic Chamber Music concert focusing on music from Ukraine, to “Mamma Mia!” at CSD Theaters, to the Friday opening of the musical “Matilda” at the Majestic. (I’ll have more about “Matilda” on my blog early next week.) In the meantime, you should keep an eye on my curated and frequently updated calendar of local arts events; you can access that by clicking here.

And we’ll talk again next weekend.

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