Friday, June 5th, 2015


Chinese Takeout

The next time America institutes the draft, it could be for coders. Espionage has moved online and and the U.S. is having problems keeping outsiders out. The latest breach (allegedly) by China exposed the data of 4 million federal workers (in other words, it's getting personal).

+ One big question (for the 2016 campaign and beyond) will be whether the U.S. government's snooping on you will soon be a secondary issue behind foreign governments doing the same. In the NYT, Edward Snowden argues the world has said no to surveillance.

+ "Americans understand that they live in a world that contains people and organizations intent on doing harm to the United States ... But they also want reassurance that the authorities aren't monitoring the every move and communication of ordinary people who have nothing to do with terrorism or any other form of wrongdoing." In the New Yorker, John Cassidy argues that it's time to bring Edward Snowden home.

+ Vice: Inside Washington's quest to bring down Edward Snowden.


The Game and the Blame

"Activists blame cops, police blame prosecutors, and the commissioner blames drugs." One thing is for sure. The ultimate victims are the same people who are usually victims of the crimes, the police brutality, and even the violent protests. The Atlantic's David A. Graham on what's causing Baltimore's crime spike?


Weekend Reads

"Not only did she look a lot like me, but she had obviously gone to some trouble to stage a photo in the same pose as my Google Plus profile photo." From Fusion's Kashmir Hill: How my doppelgänger used the Internet to find and befriend me. (If mine finds me, he's definitely watching my kids this weekend...)

+ "Today, one amateur sleuth has come close to solving the case — and upended his life in the process." Graeme Wood in The California Sunday Magazine: The Lost Man.

+ "Smoking is one of the perfect solutions to being a teenager, right up there with Manic Panic hair dye and murder." Choire Sicha: Farewell, My Lovely Cigarettes.

+ Rolling Stone: Inside the World's Biggest Magic: The Gathering Tournament.


The Revolution Will Be Television

Determined to help its poorest citizens keep up with the digital revolution, Mexican officials are giving away 10 million televisions. Oh, did I mention there's also an election coming up? (So I guess you can trade in your black and white TV for a gray area.)


Justice Just Ain’t

The world celebrated when Pakistan announced the arrest and imprisonment of ten people connected with the attempted murder of Malala Yousafzai. Eight of the ten (possibly including the crime's mastermind) have now been freed.


Living Among the Disintermediated

This week, Uber is celebrating its fifth anniversary. Uber is the most amazing startup story of an era blanketed by amazing startup stories. But, like many tech companies, its rapid rise has not been without victims, including many Ethiopian taxi-driving immigrants in Portland. (Our bubble in the Valley is not only financial.)

+ "People are working through a loss. Reassessing their place in the world. Trying to figure out what happens next. For some, it's shock, disbelief." From PRI: Appalachia is being hammered by the fall of coal.


Jeanetic Engineering

People could soon "use their legs as touchscreens -- swiping their thigh, say, to accept a phone call." Google and Levis are teaming up to make computerized pants. (I tried wearing a pair of these, but I couldn't stop calling myself.)

+ Virginia Postrel: Older than bronze and as new as nanowires, textiles are technology -- and they have remade our world time and again.

+ "What if the glamour of a personal stylist and the celebration of data science merely distract from, rather than actually fix, the problems of women's fashion." Buzzfeed's Anne Helen Petersen: Can Silicon Valley Fix Women's Fashion? (It already fixed men's fashion. All of us just wear t-shirts now.)


My Money on My Mind

We need more open communication about mental health. And those who are suffering need to be able to find a place to get help. So I salute the anonymous donor who just gave $50 million to the new UCSF psychiatric center.

+ If you are or know a teen who is in crisis, tell them about the amazing crisis text line. Some of the coolest tech companies are non-profits.


Step to It

"What is it about 10,000 steps? Is there any medical reason to embrace this number? Not really." I'm gonna sit down for a bit and find out where that number came from.


Bottom of the News

The Boston Globe's Britt Peterson: "As is often true with language, history is on the side of the mistake, not the correction. The word's definition has expanded for decades, and like it or not, Morissette's definitions of 'irony' are now mainstream." (Other things that are mainstream include flavored e-cigarettes, hipster beards, and Two and Half Men.)

+ It's Doughnut Day. Here's how it started. And here's where to get some.

+ And if you're at work or school, you can leave now. It's Ferris Bueller Day. (He took his day off 30 years ago.)