Weekend Link Roundup

♥ Until 12/10/19, Take 50% off everything at Ann Taylor with code UNWRAP. Shipping is free on orders over $125. My picks:

For High Jewelry, a Multifaceted Future? (The New York Times): “The high jewelry business … has been turned on its head by a generational shift in its traditional clientele … Houses have been scrambling to appeal to the 21st century consumer: younger, digitally savvy shoppers, predominantly from Asia and the Middle East, most of whom have very different demands and expectations from their predecessors about what, where and why they acquire some of the most expensive luxury products that money can buy …The increasing importance of individualism, in all its myriad forms, is clear … It is what prompted the house to begin offering exceptional experiences to top clients.”

The Extraordinary Danger of Being Pregnant and Uninsured in Texas (ProPublica): “From 2012 through 2015, at least 382 pregnant women and new mothers died in Texas from causes related to pregnancy and childbirth … While their cases reflect the problems that contribute to maternal mortality across the United States — gross medical errors, deeply entrenched racism, structural deficiencies in how care is delivered — another Texas-size factor often plays a significant role: the state’s vast, and growing, problem with health insurance access. About one in six Texans — just over 5 million people — had no health insurance last year. That’s almost a sixth of all uninsured Americans, more than the entire population of neighboring Louisiana. After trending lower for several years, the Texas rate has been rising again — to 17.7% in 2018, or about twice the national average. The numbers for women are even worse. Texas has the highest rate of uninsured women of reproductive age in the country; a third were without health coverage in 2018 … In some counties, mainly along the Mexico border, that estimate approaches 40% … More than half of all maternal deaths in the U.S. now occur following delivery … with as many as 24% happening six or more weeks after a woman gives birth. In Texas, the proportion of late-postpartum deaths is closer to 40%, with black women bearing the greatest risk.”

Moncler Plays Down Possible Kering Takeover (The Business of Fashion): “The chief executive and top shareholder of puffer jacket maker Moncler played down speculation around a takeover by Gucci-owner Kering … saying the two firms sometimes talked but that there was no deal in the works … Shares in the Italian label, which has become a luxury industry darling in recent years after a makeover under CEO Remo Ruffini, surged … after Bloomberg reported that it had held exploratory discussions with Kering … Shares in Burberry, Salvatore Ferragamo and Tod’s, which are often cited by bankers as potential takeover targets, also rose.”

Teachers Lament Loss of Grammar. Some Students Say It Ain’t a Problem. (The Wall Street Journal): “Whether in public or private schools, teachers worried that their students with bad writing mechanics would suffer in college and the workplace. Some felt torn between their desire to enforce the rules and their fear of sucking the joy out of self-expression. And many were uncertain about how to help teenagers who weren’t taught—or didn’t learn—the foundations of grammar in earlier grades … formal grammar lessons have fallen by the wayside because of time constraints, an emphasis on hands-on projects and other priorities. Schools focus on reading comprehension and material emphasized on state tests.”

If ‘Pain Is an Opinion,’ There Are Ways to Change Your Mind (The New York Times): “… the degree of pain is not a reliable indicator of the severity of injury. And sometimes there is pain without any tissue damage at all … We can’t think away all pain. For one, we don’t fully control our thoughts. Just as you can’t relax when told ‘to just relax,’ you can’t become pain free just by telling yourself your brain is exacerbating your pain … This points to the importance of addressing mental health alongside physical health.”

♥ Until 12/11, take 40% off tops and sweaters at Madewell (and 25% off everything else) with code GOODCHEER. Shipping is free on all orders for Madewell Insiders (membership is free). Full terms here. My picks:

“Your Honor, Can I Tell the Whole Story?” (The Atavist Magazine): “Until a ballot measure did away with it in 2018, Louisiana was one of the only states in the nation with a constitutional provision that allowed people to be found guilty by a 10-2 jury vote. The repeal did not apply retroactively, but in the fall of 2019, the U.S. Supreme Court was scheduled to hear oral arguments in a case that could change that … (As of this writing, the Supreme Court had yet to rule on the case) … The non-unanimous jury provision has a deeply racist history. Enacted in the late 1800s, it was intended to produce a large number of guilty verdicts in order to bolster the convict-leasing system, which extended the profits of slavery to white landowners well after the Civil War … To read the transcript of Hunter’s trial, which runs all of 81 pages and can be digested in half an hour, is to encounter a disregard for human dignity instrumental in producing the most sprawling system of incarceration in the world … The repeal of the non-unanimous jury law is part of a broader reckoning over criminal justice in Louisiana. The vast majority of reforms, however, are incomplete, and their lasting power is yet to be determined. They are also primarily forward-looking, doing little to ameliorate harm already caused or to grapple with its moral weight.”

Where Amazon Returns Go to Be Resold by Hustlers (The Atlantic): “Liquidity Services, the operator of liquidation.com, became a major (though not exclusive) handler of Amazon’s American liquidations … Liquidity Services now has 3,357,000 registered buyers on its various liquidation websites. In the past fiscal year, it sold $626.4 million worth of stuff … In its most recent SEC filing, the company disclosed that it spent approximately $33.7 million on Amazon liquidation inventory, which it then turns around and sells for maybe 5 percent of the supposed retail value. And, assuming the company is trying to turn a profit, it must buy the inventory for a fraction of that.”

Welcome to the Button Wars (The Wall Street Journal): “[In October,] Visa, Mastercard, American Express and Discover Financial Services DFS 1.42% launched a new click-to-pay online shopping button. Few consumers probably noticed; the new button appeared only on a couple of sites. But in the coming years, shoppers may be bombarded with marketing around that button … The objective is to turn more of the familiar type-in-your-card-number checkouts into clicks on their buttons … Digital-payment companies have ridden growth and attention to soaring valuations over the past few years, buoyed in large part by U.S. shoppers’ increasing inclination to do their buying online or via mobile devices … Only around one-third of online commerce today outside Amazon.com is done via the buttons that typically sit next to the traditional checkout form in a web or app shopping cart … Buttons are a key way to turn a standard transaction into a much more lucrative one for the payment company.”

The Class of 2000 ‘Could Have Been Anything.’ Until Opioids Hit. (The New York Times): “Purdue Pharma introduced its opioid painkiller, OxyContin, in 1996, when the Class of 2000 entered high school. Some students began experimenting, often combining prescription opiates with alcohol at parties … In 2010, Scioto County would lead Ohio in the number of opioid prescriptions, with enough to give 123 pills to each resident … Since this class graduated, more than 400,000 Americans have died from opioid overdoses. As many as 275 have died in Scioto County.”

Stealing White (Bloomberg): “… whiteness is the product of a compound known as titanium dioxide, or TiO2. A naturally occurring oxide, TiO2 is generally extracted from ilmenite ore and was first used as a pigment in the 19th century. In the 1940s chemists at DuPont refined the process until they hit on what’s widely considered a superior form of ‘titanium white,’ which has been used in cosmetics and plastics and to whiten the chalked lines on tennis courts. DuPont has built its titanium dioxide into a $2.6 billion business, which it spun off as part of chemicals company Chemours … last fall … China also produces large amounts of the pigment, and its industries consume about a quarter of the world’s supply … Starting in the 1990s … China’s government and Chinese state-run businesses began seeking ways to adopt DuPont’s methods. Only they didn’t approach the company to make a formal deal … Most trade-secret theft goes unreported. Companies worry that disclosing such incidents will hurt their stock prices, harm relationships with customers, or prompt federal agents to put them under a microscope. Theft of trade secrets also rarely results in criminal charges because the cases are time-consuming and complicated, and it’s often difficult to win a conviction for conspiracy to commit espionage. A 2013 study estimated that China accounted for as much as 80 percent of the $300 billion in losses sustained by U.S. companies from the theft of intellectual property.”

The 2020 Pantone Color of the Year Is Classic Blue (Architectural Digest): “To ring in yet another era, the company announced tonight that the Pantone Color of the Year 2020 is Classic Blue—a familiar, calming shade of azure.”

This Is Why Your Holiday Travel Is Awful (Politico): “The story of Penn Station’s halting redevelopment comes in three separate waves of effort that rose up to replace the current squalor … Pundits and editorials have tended to blame a rotating cast of characters for the rot—the railroad that owns the station, the state bureaucracies that have neglected it, the private real estate interests that have hemmed it in. But Penn Station has actually languished at the hands of another simple reality: No one has the leverage to fix it. The sad state of America’s most important train station stems more from a failure of power than a failure of leadership. And shockingly enough, that’s not by mistake—it’s by design … Beneath America’s deep frustration with government is something else: a deep-seated aversion to power.”

How to Have a True Hobby, Not a Side Hustle (Vox): “According to the 2019 Bureau of Labor and Statistics Survey, Americans have roughly five hours of leisure hours per day that they use to socialize, relax, or engage in activities — with men reporting 49 more minutes each day than women. Still, watching TV takes up more than half of those hours … One of the first mistakes people make when starting a hobby is choosing something aspirational, rather than something they’ll actually enjoy … It’s also important to keep realistic expectations.”

‘I Have a Ph.D. in Not Having Money’ (The New York Times): “Ten years ago, a national study found that over 75 percent of medical school students came from the top 40 percent of family income in the United States, representing an annual income above $75,000. A study last year from the Association of American Medical Colleges re-examined medical school demographics and found that the numbers had barely budged. Between 1988 and 2017, more than three-quarters of American medical school students came from affluent households … the median educational debt held by medical school graduates in 2018 was $200,000, up 4 percent from the previous year.”

♥ Recently purchased: Gap Plaid Wool-Blend Shirt Jacket with Detachable Sherpa Collar (Love! Sizes now limited online), Hunter Pac Short Boot, UGG® Neumel Boot, J. Crew Double-Serge Wool Culotte, A&F Brushed Preppy Scarf, Free People Glacier Fleece Jacket, Max Mara Cashmere-Blend Belted Coat, and Ann Taylor Turtleneck Sweater.

Have a great week, everyone!

Hi, I am Elle!

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