July 1st – The Day’s Most Fascinating News

Did Serial just get its subject a new trial? How many civilians have died from drone strikes? And your Weekend Whats.

If I ever get arrested, I’m using my one phone call to contact the producers of the Serial podcast. In a twist that confirms so much of what we already believed about the power digital media, a Baltimore judge has ordered a new trial for Adnan Syed — the subject of Serial’s incredibly viral first season.

+ WaPo back in Feb: How a podcast became a character in its own narrative.


What Drones Delivered

Between 2,372 and 2,581 militants killed. And between 64 and 116 noncombatant civilian casualties. Those are the drone strike numbers just released by the Obama administration. “The unintentional deaths came in a total of 473 CIA and military counterterrorism strikes up to the end of 2015 … in countries where the United States is not at war, which would include Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia and Libya.”


Weekend Whats

What to Binge: All the EU-related hubbub makes this the perfect weekend to binge watch the Danish series called Borgen. It’s like West Wing meets Copenhagen.

+ What to Book: Steve Hamilton is finally starting to get the the recognition he deserves with his well-reviewed novel: The Second Life of Nick Mason. Order that, but first read Hamilton’s book, The Lock Artist. I couldn’t put it down.

+ What to Stream: Nothing But Thieves is an excellent band out of Essex. And you’re going to love them. You can warm up with the official video for their hit, Trip Switch, then move on to a live version of Itch. And if you are so moved, here’s their full set from the PinkPop festival.

+ What to Geek: Tired of dragging your glasses to a restaurant just so you can read the menu without turning on your iPhone light? Grab a pair (or two) of these ThinOptics stick anywhere reading glasses. They fit into a flat case that sticks to your mobile phone. I love mine (even though I’m nowhere near old enough to need them.)


Insecurity Complex

From the NYT: “The deadly attack Tuesday at Istanbul Ataturk Airport, the city’s main international airport, highlighted a difficult truth in airport security: Subjecting passengers to more security before they board a plane doesn’t necessarily deter terrorists.” (Aside from advance intelligence work, is there really anyway to stop suicide terrorism?)

+ Authorities believe they’ve identified the organizer of the Turkish airport attack.

+ ISIS has already claimed responsibility for an attack and hostage situation at a cafe in a diplomatic zone of Bangladesh’s capital.


When Autos Go Auto

“It is the first known fatality in more than 130 million miles driven with autopilot activated, Tesla said in a statement which also expressed condolences to the driver’s family.” As we get reports of a Tesla driver killed while using autopilot mode, the debate over the use of these technologies is sure to heat up. There doesn’t seem to be much doubt that self-driving cars will ultimately be safer than those driven by humans. But this case points to a couple of issues. First, how soon should we hand over the steering wheel? And second, can we come to terms with the idea of something like a software bug killing us?

Brian Fung: The technology behind the Tesla crash, explained.


A PHD In Anguish

“I had to understand how my son could do such a thing. I had to make some kind of sense of it so I could live with myself.” When your child commits a school shooting, who do you turn to in order to try to understand the situation. Many parents of shooters, parents of victims, and law enforcement officials turn to Peter Langman. He’s been studying school shootings for more than a decade. From WaPo: The twisted minds of school shooters, and the anguished man who studies them.


Counter Revolution

Ah, yes, Independence Day. Time to have a cold Budweiser, eat a hot dog with ketchup, score some ice cream from the Good Humor truck, watch the fireworks, and maybe catch a movie on the big screen. In other words, it’s time to experience the Fourth of July, Brought to You by Belgium, Brazil and China.

+ FiveThirtyEight: Competitive hot-dog eaters have made America great again.

+ What’s a key thing Americans now have in common with those who reside in the country from which we gained independence? In both places, interest in moving to Canada is at an all-time high. Eventually, enough of us will actually move there to ruin Canada too.

+ 15 products you can (usually) only buy in Canada.


The Other One Percent

A question: “Why everyone is so mad?” An answer from Quartz: 99% of post-recession jobs went to those who went to college. Is this just more of the same? Not really. “For the first time ever, people who hold a bachelor’s degree or higher now comprise more of the workforce than people with only a high-school diploma.”


There’s (Kona) Gold In Them Thar Hills

“By Easter weekend word had spread outside the park and people were coming by the VW busload from Fresno, San Jose, and Berkeley. Ron Lykins, the Ahwahnee waiter who first found the wing, knew something was up when the climbers started leaving huge tips. He kicked himself for being so close to the score of a lifetime, only to walk right by it.” Greg Nichols with the true story of what happened when a plane loaded with 6,000 pounds of pot crashed in Yosemite.


Bottom of the News

Just in time for the holiday weekend, a reminder that everyone lies to avoid hanging out with each other. That’s why I always say FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) has been replaced by FOBIA (Fear of Being Invited Again).

+ There’s something so pleasant about watching NBA players reject little kids trying to make a basket.

+ There are some amazing shots among NatGeo’s travel photos of the year.

+ And let’s get the weekend started on a positive note: The Ozone hole is healing.

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