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Belonging, 1941. Photo: Bernard Hoffman/LIFE/Getty
A seam running through the last three years of political turbulence is a loss of a sense of belonging — swaths of disoriented Americans and Europeans feel betrayed and under personal attack, and they are lashing out at institutions and leaders who they believe are responsible, or at least failing to do anything about it.
But that's only if you look at the public feeling toward the establishment "out there." If you ask about their own community, people are a lot more content. And what's making them so?
In a lot of cases, bowling.
What's happening: Public anger has been the most uniform signal from the raft of U.S. and European elections won by anti-establishment figures since 2016. As sociologists and other researchers have sought reasons why, a common answer has been a sense of loss of accustomed community and stature — a rising number of immigrants, a cratering of jobs from automation and the movement of factories abroad, and a feeling of siege by menacing outside forces.
As we've reported, a number of experts call this tribalism, a feeling of attack on a person's elemental identity. Now, CEOs and academics are looking for how to restore the lost sense of security:
The upside of bowling:
While McMillon suggests the answer is more trips to Walmart and Collier a rehabilitated sense of purpose, Samuel Abrams, a professor at Sarah Lawrence College, calls for more visits to traditional local hangouts. Abrams spent three years conducting a survey of 2,411 people along with the American Enterprise Institute and the National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago.
A major finding: If you want to create a sense of belonging, a bowling alley is a great place to start. "In bowling alleys, there is real interaction," Abrams says. "There is not texting. You are standing around doing something together."
This may sound superficial, but it's not, says Abrams. A study found a correlation between the presence of libraries or bowling alleys close to people's homes and their sense of community. And when they had that feeling, they tended to speak positively about their neighborhood.
But, but, but: A lot of people — perhaps lacking a nearby bowling alley — are still finding their anchor in partisan politics, according to Bruce Mehlman, a political lobbyist in Washington, D.C. "Politics increasingly fills the void previously served by rotary clubs and bowling leagues," he says, "with partisan tribalism replacing communitarianism."
A Tempo Automation employee prepares a circuit board assembly machine. Photo: Kaveh Waddell/Axios
China and its neighbors dominate electronics manufacturing, a key part of Beijing's aggressive push to become the globe's tech leader.
Kaveh reports: But, in a surprising turn, a vital part of the lucrative industry has remained in the U.S.: boutique factories that build prototype circuit boards.
A buzzy example: Tempo Automation is pumping out small batches of circuit boards for top tech and defense companies — attracted by its partially automated assembly line — from a squat white building tucked beneath a highway in the warehouse district of San Francisco.
Background: Before ordering up big shipments of circuit boards — the essential innards of nearly every electronic device — companies generally send out for a small set of prototypes to make sure everything works as it should.
The fast pace of prototyping favors smaller shops located near the firms designing the boards over reigning electronics makers like Taiwan's Foxconn. So there are still several hundred quick-turn shops in the U.S., even while large-volume production has fled the U.S. and Europe entirely, says Jeff Doubrava of consulting firm Prismark.
Tempo's customers upload their plans and select parts on an online form. It works a bit like a car website that lets you choose color and options before spitting out an instant quote.
The factory floor was far from empty when Kaveh visited. Employees in white coats twiddled with imposing machines or typed at standing desks in a corner of the cavernous space. But only about a dozen people touch any individual order, says Ryan Saul, Tempo's VP of manufacturing.
Commuting, 1955. Photo: Three Lions/Getty
For hundreds of local newspapers struggling across the country, the problem isn't Craigslist taking ad revenue or the internet taking readers — it's private equity ownership.
Erica writes: 882 U.S. newspapers are owned by 7 investment groups, reports the FT. And in many cases, the new owners are slashing the papers' budgets and staff.
In several states, the rise of private equity owners has correlated to a steep drop in newspaper circulations.
Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios
The secret lives of Facebook moderators in America (Casey Newton — The Verge)
The upside of tech you can’t afford (Ina Fried — Axios)
Hidden mechanisms that help the rich excel in elite jobs (Joe Pinsker — The Atlantic)
How New Orleans reduced its homeless population by 90% (Jeremy Hobson — WBUR)
Inside the secret sting to expose celebrity psychics (Jack Hitt — NYT)
Screenshot: Yahoo Sports
In 2001, Diamondbacks pitcher Randy Johnson exploded a dove that flew between his screaming fastball and the catcher's mitt.
Kaveh writes: In 2019, where everything is weirder, a college baseball game in Jacksonville, Florida, was briefly delayed when it began raining fish, USA Today reports.
Well, just one. Here is how Jacksonville University's Twitter account described the incident:
FISH DELAY | An Osprey just flew over John Sessions [field] with a fish in his claws, but was threatened by a pursuing bald eagle, causing the osprey to drop the fish behind second base (Error). The fish was recovered by a [Jacksonville University] Dolphin and removed from the field.