2/15/21 Power Five

1. How Gonzaga Zagged – “Among the milestones: first tournament win (1999), first Elite 8 (same), first first-round stumble (2002), first No. 1 ranking (’13), first No. 1 seed (’13, too), first title game reached (’17). “I’m always amazed at how we think they’ve reached the ceiling,” says Dan Monson, the Long Beach State coach who is Few’s predecessor, friend and former boss. “But there does not seem to be one, and that’s the most amazing thing about it. Look at Duke, North Carolina; over the last 20 years, they’ve all had an ebb and flow. [Gonzaga] just continues to climb.”

2. How Did US Consumers Use Their Stimulus Payments? – “Most respondents report that they primarily saved or paid down debts with their transfers, with only about 15 percent reporting that they mostly spent it. When providing a detailed breakdown of how they used their checks, individuals report having spent or planning to spend only around 40 percent of the total transfer on average.”

3. The Ugly Secrets Behind the Costco Chicken – “Those commendable savings have been achieved in part by developing chickens that effectively are bred to suffer. Scientists have created what are sometimes called “exploding chickens” that put on weight at a monstrous clip, about six times as fast as chickens in 1925. The journal Poultry Science once calculated that if humans grew at the same rate as these chickens, a 2-month-old baby would weigh 660 pounds. The chickens grow enormous breasts, because that’s the meat consumers want, so the birds’ legs sometimes splay or collapse. Some topple onto their backs and then can’t get up. Others spend so much time on their bellies that they sometimes suffer angry, bloody rashes called ammonia burns; these are a poultry version of bed sores.”

4. Inside Facebook’s Supreme Court – “Facebook promised to change that with the Oversight Board: it would assemble a council of sage advisers—the group eventually included humanitarian activists, a former Prime Minister, and a Nobel laureate—who would hear appeals over what kind of speech should be allowed on the site. Its decisions would be binding, overruling even those of Mark Zuckerberg, the company’s founder. Zuckerberg said he had come to believe that a C.E.O. shouldn’t have complete control over the limits of our political discourse.”

5. Bill Gates Has Always Sought Out New Reading Recommendations – As always, any interview with Bill Gates is a must read.