Tuesday, June 28th, 2016


When the Brit Hits the Fan

A lot of people stop believing in (or utterly reject) the opinion of experts. Political parties, institutions and individuals that once held sway lose their ability to influence even their most ardent followers. The economic divide between the haves and have-nots rips open a bottomless gulf that swallows the middle class. Those were some of the factors that led to Brexit. But they are hardly unique to the UK. WaPo's Dan Balz on how the vote that shocked the world highlights a crisis in democracies worldwide. "The underlying factor is that many people no longer believe that, however imperfect things are economically, they will keep getting better."

+ "I feel like I can barely look at them. It sounds melodramatic, but I feel so betrayed by it all." The Guardian on how Brexit created splits among kids and parents. Thankfully parents instilled in me a strong sense of cynicism and hopelessness, and our positions remain in lockstep to this day.


Winter is Here

Brexit might end up being a historical blip compared to the other news to hit England this week as Iceland delivered its soccer team one of the greatest upsets in the game's history. (The population of Iceland would be England's 13th largest city.) Pathetic ... Humiliation ... Farce ... Disgrace... Those are just a few of the words gracing the covers of the tabloids after the Iceland's 2-1 shock. Consider that one of the Icelandic coaches is a dentist ... not that there's anything wrong with that.

+ Billy Haisley: Iceland Players Earn Spot In Valhalla By Toppling England. (And yes, the Icelandic commentator screamed.)



WaPo on the much-anticipated and quite exhaustive Benghazi report: "While it contains voluminous additional details of what happened before, during and after the attacks on State Department and CIA compounds in Benghazi, the report's overall narrative does not substantively differ from previous investigations and numerous news accounts over the years."

+ The Atlantic: What Happened the Night of the Benghazi Attack.


Enemies, a Love Story

"30 percent of married households contain a mismatched partisan pair. A third of those are Democrats married to Republicans. The others are partisans married to independents." FiveThirtyEight looks at the numbers related to the most contentious form of intermarriage. How Many Republicans Marry Democrats?

+ I still believe that voters from different parties hate each other more than politicians do. Behind the scenes, political operatives and spokespeople often have friendships and romances across political lines. Less often today than a few years ago, but it still happens. Why? Because part of politics is a show. I wrote about this in my post: A Picture is Worth a Thousand Trolls.


Trash Compact

"This shocking saga goes far beyond the stupidity of greedy gangsters. The Italian state is guilty of at best grotesque and fatal incompetence, at worst a murderous cover-up." Mosaic on how the mafia is causing cancer.


Summitt Kind of Wonderful

"We got beat by Vandy, first time ever. And we got off the bus at 3:30, went straight to her office, watched the game film, everyone had to confess everything they did wrong in the game. She told us we had five minutes to get our uniforms back on that we just played in, and go to practice." The Atlantic on the death of Pat Summitt, the winningest college basketball coach ever. All 161 of her players graduated.

+ "There's something about that woman. She gets things out of you that you never knew were in you." ESPN: There will never be anyone like Tennessee legend Pat Summitt.


The Bytes Watch

Pinboard founder Maciej Cegłowski has posted the transcript of his interesting remarks on surveillance and the state of the moral economy of tech. It's worth a read if you're in the business. And even more so if you're a customer. "We started out collecting this information by accident, as part of our project to automate everything, but soon realized that it had economic value. We could use it to make the process self-funding. And so mechanized surveillance has become the economic basis of the modern tech industry."


But It Feels So Right

"The marketplace of ideas, indeed, often confers authority through mere repetition -– in science as well as in political campaigning. You probably know, for example, that the human tongue has regional sensitivities: sweetness is sensed on the tip, saltiness and sourness on the sides, and bitter at the back. At some point you've seen a scientific tongue map showing this –- they appear in cookery books as well as medical textbooks. It's one of those nice, slightly surprising findings of science that no one questions. And it's rubbish." Steven Poole with some thoughts on why bad ideas refuse to die.


This Beta is No Test

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Bottom of the News

"It's the age of the self. You can be successful by being yourself. I think that takes a lot of hard work." That quote is from the expert on the topic, Kim Kardashian. And yes, there's an app for that. From The Verge: How Kim Kardashian gamified her life and made $100 million doing it.

+ Obama has hinted at a future as a VC. He should have done this before the presidency. He's wasted eight years of vesting.

+ The chatbot lawyer that overturned 160,000 parking tickets.

+ And if you missed Friday's What Tos -- picks for music, books, TV, longreads -- it's right here.