Thursday, October 30th, 2014



In an article in BloombergBusinessweek, Tim Cook spoke up about his sexuality: "I don't consider myself an activist, but I realize how much I've benefited from the sacrifice of others. So if hearing that the CEO of Apple is gay can help someone struggling to come to terms with who he or she is, or bring comfort to anyone who feels alone, or inspire people to insist on their equality, then it's worth the trade-off with my own privacy."

+ Cook's news doesn't necessarily come as much of a shock to industry followers, and public opinion related to this issue has dramatically shifted, so really, what's the big deal about Cook coming out? In part, this: In 29 states, you could be fired for doing the same.

+ The New Yorker: Tim Cook and the end of gay rights as a wedge issue.


Country Strong

At one point during last night's World Series Game 7, my son asked: "If the Giants win, can I stay up to see who gets the MVP?" I answered: "If the Giants win, you can stay up until Spring training." Of course, after the Giants won an excellent and exciting series over the Royals, there was little doubt about the MVP. As Giants starter Tim Hudson (who was pulled after 28 pitches) explained: "As soon as I saw him warming up out there in the bullpen, I knew it was over." The him was Madison Bumgarner. And it's safe to say you will never see a pitching performance like that again.

+ "I didn't know if he had enough left tonight. But I did know that boy would try to steal a steak off the devil's plate." Watching the game with Madison Bumgarner's dad. After last night's performance by the pitcher from Hickory, North Carolina (who once gave his wife a cow as a present), I love these country-isms and I listened to country music on the way to my office. I may be a Jewish vegetarian from the big city, but today, I Thank God I'm a Country Boy. (Speaking of which, someone stole a bust of John Denver.)

+ Bumgarner was legendary. But Joe Panik made the play of the night.

+ The game was played in Kansas City. But the postgame was held in "a van down by the river." Somehow, a Chevrolet zone manager from Louisburg tasked with delivering the MVP trophy (and a Chevy truck) became the hero of the night. Did he look more like Rob Ford or Chris Farley? He actually looked like most of us would if asked to speak in front of millions of people. And surprise: The truck that Chevy presented to the MVP has already been recalled.

+ And finally, the rich, middle class, and poor in San Francisco finally found something around which they can unify: A burning Muni bus. (If you're a fan "celebrating" harder than the players, there might be a problem...)


Trouble Mounts

Israeli officials closed the Temple Mount in Jerusalem following the killing of an activist. Mahmoud Abbas described the closure of the disputed holy site a "declaration of war."

+ Sweden became "the third Western European nation, after Malta and Cyprus, to recognize Palestine." And an Israeli foreign minister fired back (at Ikea).


The H Bomb

"There's a waiting list to get into the center's program, and the only applicants prioritized are pregnant women. Sullivan isn't above telling the sons of local tycoons to get in line. By the time they secure a spot, the average patient has been waiting for weeks or months." Welcome to the front lines of the new heroin epidemic.

+ How did we get here? Well, consider this: Opioids prescribed by doctors led to 92,000 overdoses in ERs in one year.


Double Stuff

Talk about bouncing back. Since the financial crisis, the number of billionaires in the world has doubled. According to OxFam, it would take Carlos Slim, the world's richest man, 220 years to spend his fortune. (Unless he really liked Sushi, in which case it would take about fourteen months.)

+ Harper's Alice Gregory with an interesting look at televised auctions and the Great Recession: "Despite the repugnant personalities and dismal quality of the goods in question, the found-money shows, with their blustering titles and cheap production values, can tell us something about the American economy ... What was once an occasion for pragmatic decision-making is now a lottery played by hopeful."

+ The Economist charts national money and happiness.

+ According a recent study, just thinking about money "turns people into antisocial, unethical pragmatists who are unwilling to help strangers." (I don't think my xenophobia, misanthropy and germ neurosis are being properly weighted in this study.)


Game Over?

"Anecdotally speaking, I have received dozens of attacks and threats about my own ethics, but haven't received a single example of an ethical breach. Gamergate supporters did, however, point to any works of criticism that showed my social convictions: When I said a game included torture, I was attacked; When I claimed threats on peoples' lives needed to stop, I was attacked; For a year-old article on video game violence, I was attacked." From Chris Plante in The Verge: Gamergate is dead.

+ It apparently wasn't dead last night, because Stephen Colbert tried to kill it.

+ The Atlantic's Robinson Meyer gets at the bigger issue: "Is living such a public life worth the trouble? Is such a life worth being constantly exposed to vitriol and rage and threats from strangers -- especially when the patterns of that abuse seem so random? Is the kind of work that would be required to sustain a 'good' public, online social network possible?"


Fear Itself

"I felt like a coward, the kind Ernest Hemingway wrote about with contempt, while my husband, the real target, slept soundly and went to work, unfazed. Yet it turns out that the difference between us is not moral but fiercely biological, the result of the well-known fight and flight response, which revs the hormone epinephrine, increasing blood flow in the body and focus in the brain." Aeon's Caren Chesler: Are some brains wired for courage and others for fear? (I'd like to think so, but honestly, I wouldn't say it to your face.)


Da Plane, Da Plane

"It looks like piece of an airplane. It's obviously a piece of an airplane." From The Daily Beast's Michael Daly: How Amelia's Plane Was Found.


Laugh Tracks of My Tears

"You know what's a popular network sitcom? The Big Bang Theory. In its eighth season, the show averages more than 16 million viewers a week. You know what else is a popular sitcom? The six-year-old Modern Family. It wins all the Emmys and is watched, without fail, by 10 million people. You know what else is a popular network sitcom? Nothing. Literally nothing." Grantland's Andy Greenwald with notes on the death of the American network sitcom.


The Bottom of the News

How are we doing in our national fight against obesity? Well, let's put it this way. They're now making bigger crash test dummies.

+ How do you know if a person is liberal or conservative. Just analyze their reaction to disgusting images.

+ Seriously people, stop taking selfies with bears. (From a Darwinist perspective, go ahead and take a few more.)

+ Google is being forced to pay a woman more than two grand in damages after her cleavage showed up on Street View. (Luckily, Apple Maps only got her shoulder.)