Wednesday, May 25th, 2016


Feel My Pain

Are today's campus protests and trigger warnings just a part of the typical cycle we've always seen on American campuses? Or are we sort of losing our minds? It turns out that if you consider some of the recent examples, the answer to that question is very much up for debate. The New Yorker's Nathan Heller takes a look at what's roiling the liberal-arts campus. "Sensitivities seemed to reach a peak at Emory when students complained of being traumatized after finding 'trump 2016' chalked on sidewalks around campus. The Trump-averse protesters chanted, 'Come speak to us, we are in pain!,' until Emory's president wrote a letter promising to 'honor the concerns of these students.'" I worry about the broader trend -- at universities, and on the Internet -- of forcing those with an opposing or even offensive opinion to keep it to themselves or risk getting shouted down or fired. The Internet promised an era of say anything; but instead we got the age of STFU.


Hogan’s Hero

"There had been rumors that a wealthy individual had funded Hogan's case though there was never any hard evidence that surfaced to prove that was true." Well, we now know that the person footing the bill for Hulk Hogan's lawsuit against Gawker is Pay Pal founder and well-known tech investor Peter Thiel. In World Wrestling terms, Peter Thiel just broke a folding chair over Gawker's back.

+ It's a sordid tale, and it goes back many years. Digg has a round-up of what's going on. (I didn't even know Hulk Hogan accepted Pay Pal.)


Slipped Disks

If the line at the Apple store is any indication, American consumers seem to believe they have to upgrade their systems and devices every few months. The American government suffers no such compulsion. Say someone wanted to send an emergency message the U.S. nuclear forces. The system they'd be using "is running on a 1970s IBM computing platform, and still uses 8-inch floppy disks to store data." (And to think I was embarrassed when someone noticed that my vacuum cleaner doesn't have Bluetooth.) According to a new report, about three-fourths of the $80 billion budget goes to keep aging technology running.


The Everlasting Email Thread

A State Department report criticized Hillary Clinton's use of a private email server, indicating that her email habits were "not an appropriate method" of "preserving documents and that her practices failed to comply with department policies meant to ensure that federal record laws are followed." The report had much the same to say about some of the Secretaries of State who preceded her.



"If it's Hillary Clinton on the stump, she'll talk about job retraining, new infrastructure, and better education. But if it's Donald Trump, the answer is simple: He promises to bring jobs back, and punish those who sent them away." The Atlantic's Andrew McGill with a very interesting look at messaging and meaning in coal country.


Hot Tub Slime Machine

"If you've ever wondered why Instagram and Twitter feeds are full of attractive people talking about detox teas, diet shakes, and new apps, it's because they're paid to." Bloomberg on why Snapchat's influencer economy runs on hot tubs, selfies, and whey protein. (I grew up in Marin County. We've been running on that for decades.)

+ WaPo: This is what it's like to grow up in the age of likes, lols and longing: 13, Right Now.


More Stall Tactics

Just in case you have any doubt about which social issue will rise above the din during the general election, there's this from ABC News: "Texas and 10 other states are suing the Obama administration over its directive to U.S. public schools to let transgender students use the bathrooms and locker rooms that match their gender identity."


Bert and Earnings

Tech investing is so hot these days that everyone is putting money into venture deals. Well, everyone except Sesame Street. Oh, wait. Sesame Street has a venture investing arm too.


Doggy Style

"It's easy to laugh at a grown man in a rubber dog suit chewing on a squeaky toy. Maybe too easy, in fact, because to laugh is to dismiss it, denigrate it -- ignore the fact that many of us have found comfort and joy in pretending to be animals at some point in our lives." (I find it's actually hard to laugh when your jaw drops this far). From The Guardian: The men who live as dogs.


Bottom of the News

"My mother can't sleep. Night after night, no rest, and it's ruining her. It's maybe post-menopause, maybe just old age. Or maybe it's her desperate anxiety; she never guessed she'd live this long ... She tried sleeping pills, but they didn't work. She takes Xanax, but its effectiveness has waned, and she's worried that if she starts taking more, it'll work even less. (Also, Xanax can't help you relax if taking Xanax is something that's making you nervous.)" GQ's Taffy Brodesser-Akner spends one crazy Shabbos exploring the new boundaries of pot, paranoia, and parenting your parents: Reefer Momness. (Luckily, my mom seems satisfied with her contact high.)

+ I call myself a news-addict, but somehow I am a day late reporting that Minnesota now has a Beyonce Day.

+ Baby Carrots are not really baby carrots.