Tuesday, July 12th, 2016


We Can’t Dismiss It

"I've attended too many memorials. I've hugged too many families who have lost a loved one to senseless violence ... I've seen how inadequate words can be." President Obama spoke at a memorial for the slain Dallas police officers. It's impossible to overstate the importance of a speech by America's first black president at this moment in American history. He spoke on law enforcement, race, bias, guns, violence, danger, protests, etc: "None of us is entirely innocent. No institution is entirely immune." You should watch the whole speech. "Can we see in each other a common humanity and a shared dignity? ... I don't know. I confess that I too sometimes experience doubt ... If communities are mistrustful of the police, that makes those law enforcement officers who are doing a great job, and are doing the right thing, it makes their lives harder. So, when people say 'black lives matter,' it doesn't mean 'blue lives' don't matter, it just means all lives matter. But right now, the big concern is the fact that data shows black folks are more vulnerable to these kinds of incidents. This isn't a matter of us comparing the value of lives, this is recognizing that there is a particular burden being placed on a group of our fellow citizens. And we should care about that. We can't dismiss it. We can't dismiss it." This is a moment, folks.

+ Former President Bush also offered poignant remarks, especially for the Internet generation: "Argument turns too easily into animosity. Disagreement escalates too quickly into dehumanization. Too often we judge other groups by their worst examples, while judging ourselves by our best intentions."


The Truth Hole

"It can become very difficult for anyone to tell the difference between facts that are true and 'facts' that are not." The Guardian's Katharine Viner with an interesting look at how technology swallowed the truth. At the Internet's outset, it seemed like the transparency it offered would create a watch-dog effect, and make it more difficult to hide the truth. But maybe the flood of data just makes the truth harder to find.


When Things Went South

"China's territorial sovereignty and marine rights in the South China Sea will not be affected by the so-called Philippines South China Sea ruling in any way." So said Chinese President Xi Jinping after an international tribunal ruled against Chinese claims to rights in the South China Sea.

+ What's at stake. A lot. From NPR, here's a primer on the complicated battle.


Hillary’s Vermont Teddy Bear

Hillary Clinton is no longer feeling the spurn. After a few weeks of teasing, Bernie Sanders has finally endorsed his rival and stated that "Clinton will make an outstanding president." (Now all Hillary needs is the Larry David endorsement and the party will be fully unified.)

+ WaPo: Four reasons Bernie Sanders waited so long.

+ "This is the Gap I set out to understand. While reporting this story, I spoke to dozens of people who have worked with Clinton in every stage of her career, going back to her time in the Arkansas Governor's Mansion. Every single one acknowledged its existence. Many were frustrated and confused by it." Ezra Klein tries to understand the gap between the Hillary America sees and the Hillary her colleagues describe.


Notorious RBG Shoots Inglorious RPG

"I can't imagine what this place would be -- I can't imagine what the country would be -- with Donald Trump as our president. For the country, it could be four years. For the court, it could be -- I don't even want to contemplate that." Did Ruth Bader Ginsburg go too far in her comments about Donald Trump's candidacy.


Not Ready for Some Football

"I don't want to hear about any of that kind of stuff, I have a football season to worry about?" Even after a few years, the depressing Penn State sex abuse scandal can still surprise us on the downside. Joe Paterno knew of Jerry Sandusky abuse in 1976 per testimony in newly unsealed records.


Prime Time

Yes, we've reached that day again. A new sort of holiday created by a new sort of company. From Wired: Prime Day shows Amazon is so powerful it can make up its own holiday. So this seems like the right time to take a look inside one of Amazon's massive warehouses. Look, I know you might not need anything today, but just buy it anyway. Bezos has drones. He might use them.

+ Unfortunately for the ecommerce giant, many customers complained of problems during the checkout process. (That still beats getting trampled on the way into a black Friday sale.)

+ Many indie retailers are using this day to launch sales of their own. This includes my fearless sponsors at Betabrand where they're celebrating their sixth anniversary with a ridiculous sale.


The Other G Spot

The NYT on a nursing home that not only acknowledges that sex occurs among residents, they encourage it: "The Hebrew Home has stepped up efforts to help residents looking for relationships. Staff members have organized a happy hour and a senior prom, and started a dating service, called G-Date, for Grandparent Date." Forget retirement homes. I could have used this service in college.


The Sound of Silence

"Should we think of headphones, then, as just another emblem of catastrophic social decline, a tool that edges us even deeper into narcissism, solipsism, vast unsociability?" The New Yorker's Amanda Petrusich takes an interesting look at the meaning of the rise of headphone culture. (Today, I wore mine so I could avoid hearing people talk about Pokémon Go.)


Bottom of the News

OK, we get it. You really like the new friggin Pokémon game. But can you please stop catching Pokémon in the Holocaust Museum?

+ That time Texas inmates broke out of a cell to save guard's life.

+ Thumb-sucking, nail-biting kids may have lower allergy risk. (In my experience, they also grow up to be people who are pretty good with a pun.)

+ Why do we still have to get demos on how to use a seatbelt on an airplane?

+ The US Fish and Wildlife Service is going to use drones to unleash vaccine-laced M&Ms in bid to save endangered ferrets. (Thankfully, the anti-vax movement has not yet spread beyond the human race.)