Wandering Eye: Recycling still a money loser, is 'relentlessly gay' note a hoax?, and more

Recycling has been a money loser for years now, despite efficiencies and economies of scale. Here The Washington Post's Aaron Davis unwraps the story in a visit of the big recycling center in Elkridge, which takes (among many others) Baltimore City's "single stream" recycling. "In fact, almost every facility like it in the country is running in the red. And Waste Management and other recyclers say that more than 2,000 municipalities are paying to dispose of their recyclables instead of the other way around." Most of the trouble is the global market for recyclables, which has been down for a few years. But it's also because of the insistence on your convenience, the Post says: "By pushing to increase recycling rates with bigger and bigger bins — while demanding almost no sorting by consumers — the recycling stream has become increasingly polluted and less valuable, imperiling the economics of the whole system." Glass bottles break and contaminate other, more valuable goods. Super thin plastic bottles get blown in with the paper, contaminating that. Tons and tons of unrecyclable rubber and plastic detritus, along with lots of trash, are going into bins. Cities are being charged money for this. Change is coming. (Edward Ericson Jr.)


The headline on this Wall Street Journal article, "Women's World Cup: Why the U.S. Wins," might have some readers expecting a 538-esque statistical breakdown, but the story says it comes down to one thing: hard work. While the U.S. has certain innate advantages, such as "a deep pool of talent, the resources to develop its players and a federal law that guarantees equal opportunity for women’s sports," this doesn't discount the hours of hard work put in by the players. The story focuses on midfielder Carli Lloyd, who scored the critical go-ahead goal on a penalty kick in the U.S.'s semifinal game against Germany. She works with a trainer who has Lloyd doing six hours a day of training and fundamentals plus 90 minutes of leg exercises at night. Citing the way the U.S. has outscored opponents 7-0 in the second half, the Journal concludes, "The Americans, from the top of the roster to the bottom, have simply been fitter than every team they have faced, and as everyone knows, there are no shortcuts when it comes to being fit." (Brandon Weigel)


Consensus has been building in the suspicious corners of the internet that Overlea homeowner Julie Baker's story of receiving a homophobic note accusing her yard of being "Relentlessly Gay" is a hoax. Raw Story, for example, declares "Baltimore woman's 'relentlessly gay' fundraiser revealed as apparent hoax," leading to much tut-tutting on social media. But what's the smoking gun? Capitalization? As usual, the debunking specialists at Snopes have done the most to get to the bottom of Relentlessly Gay-gate. It seems the primary evidence that Julie Baker faked the note is that the note capitalizes random words, as does the note from Baker on the GoFundMe page she set up. That seems pretty thin. So does the idea that shutting off the donations on the page after $43,000 rolled in is somehow suspicious—the page is still up, it's just that Baker isn't accepting any more money. The most suspicious fact is that, when Snopes contacted local police about the incident, they said Baker was "unable or unwilling" to produce the note and said that Baker didn't want to meet with them. That certainly sounds fishy, but it's not as if the note didn't exist—there are pictures of it—and there any number of reasons, legitimate or otherwise, Baker wouldn't want the police involved. In short, it seems the verdict is still out on this one, and internet sleuths may be all too quick to declare another hoax revealed. (Evan Serpick)

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