Friday, January 8th, 2016


Your Cloud Atlas

Your finances are in the cloud. Your social life is in the cloud. Your favorite binge shows are in the cloud. So where the hell is this cloud? By some estimates, about a third of all Internet traffic is powered by Amazon's Web Services. And about 70% of the Internet is coming at you from a single U.S. region. The Atlantic's Ingrid Burrington goes on a pilgrimage to get a glimpse of the cloud in northern Virginia; not too far from the source of the voice that first welcomed many of us to the Internet with the words, "You've got mail."


Cell Chapo

"Misión cumplida." With those words, Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto announced on Twitter that Mexican drug lord Joaquin Guzman Loera had been arrested. Or in this case, re-arrested. The Sinaloa cartel leader known as El Chapo "escaped" from jail last July -- stressing the ties between the U.S. and Mexico when it comes to the never-ending drug war. The latest arrest took place "after a shootout with Mexican marines in the city of Los Mochis." During his last stay in the joint, drug-related violence spiked in Mexico. (This time around, Mexican officials are trying to be more transparent by letting El Chapo enter his prison cell through an escape tunnel.)

+ If you're interested in this topic, I recommend following author Don Winslow on Twitter.


Weekend Reads

"Marietta attorney Lance Cooper was looking for answers behind a single crash. What he found led to a recall of 30 million vehicles." Atlanta Magazine's Max Blau: No Accident: Inside GM's deadly ignition switch scandal.

+ "Salt spray stung her skin. The wind whipped her bare legs. Her cheek rested on his sweatshirt as he cradled her against his chest. Phoebe's dad held her out over the guardrail, six stories above the black waves. And let go." From Lane DeGregory in the Tampa Bay Times: The Long Fall of Phoebe Jonchuck

+ "I think you have the wrong guy. Alex is right here with me." William D'Urso in SB Nation: Shadow Boxer Alex Ramos' 30-year fight with his own reflection.

+ The New Yorker: The Case of the Missing Hong Kong Book Publishers.

+ Sarah Kessler: What I learned in 12 weeks of therapy for social media addiction. (I might enter this program and live-tweet my experiences.)


Eating Grass

From WaPo: "Aid agencies expressed alarm Thursday about dire conditions in a besieged town west of Damascus where people have been eating cats and grass to stay alive and as many as 23 people are reported to have died of hunger."

+ Quartz: Horrifying images of starving Syrians are bringing Assad's atrocities back into focus. Do they also implicate the rest of the world where Syria coverage has been more about the geopolitical chess match and less about the ongoing human carnage?

+ "Her son is then said to have informed the group of her comment. They then ordered that she be killed." An Islamic State militant reportedly executed his own mother in Raqqa.


Imminent Front

The administration's top security brass are in Silicon Valley today to meet with tech executives to get some "help in figuring out how to thwart terrorists who use the Internet to recruit and radicalize people and to plan attacks."

+ This mind meld gives us a glimpse into the future of war. I just wrote a brief piece on this topic: Imminent Front: Silicon Valley Goes to War. And Vice Versa.



You can expect the heated debate on immigrants to get even more heated. In Germany, authorities now say that "at least 21 asylum seekers from the Middle East and North Africa are suspects in the New Year's Eve rampage of sexual assaults and thefts in the German city of Cologne."

+ And in Philadelphia, a police officer was ambushed by someone who shot him "in the name of Islam."


Cringe Watching

If you are accused of committing a crime in America, you'll get your day in Netflix. At least that seems to be the message coming from the surge in true crime series. But it turns out our obsession with this kind of content is nothing new. From The Guardian: True-crime stories: a centuries-old craze from Ben Franklin to Making a Murderer.

+ Want to get to the bottom of Making a Murderer? That might be a full time job. Digg has a reading list to get you started.


Soup Gone Nuts?

Campbell Soup Company will become the first major food player to voluntarily label products containing GMOs. And they're urging other big food companies to do the same.

+ FiveThirtyEight: How MSG Got A Bad Rap: Flawed Science And Xenophobia. (Someday I'll share my favorite recipe for xenophobic noodles.)


Don’t Bogart That Feedback

"A lot of people talk at you because they need to rant to someone. It's interesting to see how people open up over time -- then they unload on you." The very strange lives of budtenders, the people who sell you legal weed.


Bottom of the News

"Magazine covers featuring members of the Kardashian family lead to fewer sales. Viewing figures are down for their E! show." The Daily Beast's Tim Teeman longingly wonders whether we are witnessing the collapse of the Kardashian empire. Might be wishful thinking...although we're always close to the bottom.

+ NYT: This is the story of a woman who became famous on Instagram for smooshing her face into bread products.

+ This Snowy owl caught on a Quebec traffic camera provides a look at the beauty of nature, and a reminder that you're not a good photographer. Every camera gets a good shot if it just keeps taking photo after photo.