Wednesday, July 13th, 2016


Ruthless People

"Her mind is shot -- resign!" So said Donald Trump in response to several comments Ruth Bader Ginsburg made about his candidacy, including one in which she referred to him as a faker. While Trump's tone is more ruthless than most, he is not alone in his opinion that the Supreme Court justice should keep her political opinions to herself. The editorial boards of both the NYT and WaPo have suggested that this time, RBG might have been a little too notorious. And Slate's Mark Joseph Stern suggests that RBG just risked her legacy to insult Trump.

+ There are two questions at work here. First, should the justice have made the politically charged comments? Answer: No. Second, could she have stopped herself? If millions of other Americans are any indication, that answer is also No. This election cycle has obliterated all historical norms and the public square has been turned into the Friar's Club. Triumph the Insult Dog thinks the candidates are taking things a bit too far. And obsessing about Donald Trump has become the only thing more addictive than Pokémon Go. As I explain in this open letter, Ruth Bader Ginsburg is Under the Influence. (And I should know.)

+ Meanwhile, Trump appears close to choosing his running mate.


A Grower, Not a Shower

We know we have body image issues. But we also have appearance issues when it come to produce. As The Guardian reports: "Vast quantities of fresh produce grown in the US are left in the field to rot, fed to livestock or hauled directly from the field to landfill, because of unrealistic and unyielding cosmetic standards, according to official data and interviews with dozens of farmers, packers, truckers, researchers, campaigners and government officials." Half of the food we grow is thrown away.


Larry’s Got a New Owner

"The government I lead will be driven, not by the interests of the privileged few, but by yours. We will do everything we can to give you more control over your lives." From the BBC: Theresa May vows to be 'one nation' prime minister.

+ The Guardian: Theresa May: unpredictable, moralistic, and heading to No 10.

+ And here's a look back at 10 key moments in David Cameron's time as leader.

+ Much of the talk in the UK has been about Larry, the Downing Street Cat. There is a feeling among many that Cameron disliked the cat. Cameron, on his way out of the building, offered proof to the contrary with a tweeted photo of Larry in his lap. It always comes down to Internet cat photos.


Land Rovers

"Terrorist acts are likely to continue and even intensify, at least initially, analysts say, as the group evolves from a quasi-state with territorial holdings to a shadowy and diffuse network with branches and cells on at least three continents." ISIS is consistently losing ground and quietly preparing for the loss of the caliphate.


Take a Vacation From Your Problems

The more you need a vacation, the less likely you are to take one. Those were basically the findings of a recent poll conducted by NPR that found "about half of Americans who work 50-plus hours a week say they don't take all or most of the vacation they've earned."

+ Newshour: Average CEO pay was $15.5 million in 2015. That's down from last year.


The Exposure Over Under

"The growing inter-communication of distant nations, the rapid transmission of intelligence over the globe -- the worldwide ramifications of commerce -- bringing together the knowledge, the skill, and the mental power of the world, cannot but dispel prejudice, dissolve the granite barriers of arbitrary power, bring the world into peace and unity." I'm not sure that's how our modern connectedness will play out. But that was what Frederick Douglass predicted about the power of new technologies like photography. Jill LePore with a thoughtful look at American Exposure.


Sometimes You Feel Like a Nut

Sales of Almond milk have soared 250% over the past five years. And traditional (ok, real) milk producers are having a cow. Time to go negative. I suggest a Not Milk? campaign.

+ This Economist article on the ability of small food companies to compete with the big players provides a lot of insight into the economy and the ways startups can thrive: Invasion of the bottle snatchers.

+ Quartz: Big Food is finally disclosing the nitty gritty details of our food. Using QR codes. (They might as well only make the data accessible on a Blackberry.)


Up Next

"The algorithm that can judge the merits of new Gucci Mane, or intuit that you want to sing 'A Thousand Miles' by Vanessa Carlton in the shower, has yet to be written. Until that day comes, the job has fallen to an elite class of veteran music nerds." Buzzfeed takes you inside the increasingly important playlist factory. I gotta say, my top music discovery service has long been SiriusXM, where I find almost all of my favorite new bands (during the few minutes a day when I'm not listening to Howard Stern.)

+ According to an MIT study, your taste in music is learned, not innate. Which makes Yoda's comment all the more applicable for most people: You must unlearn what you have learned.


Pokémon … Go

"It started as an April Fool's joke. Google released a funny video that mashed up Google Maps and Pokémon ... Two years later, Hanke and his team have turned that joke into a reality." The excellent Om Malik on how Pokémon Go will make you crave augmented reality.

+ Buzzfeed: An Adult's Guide To Pokémon Go.

+ The Verge: We spoke to the US veteran who took a break fighting ISIS to catch Squirtle.

+ A collection of photos of people playing the game. You know, we can joke about the rise of this game, but every single person working in tech is looking at this moment with both awe and a hint of envy. This is what we live for.


Bottom of the News

The co-founders who are trying to make Elon Musk's Hyperloop vision come to life are suing each other. "And the details involve a suspiciously overpaid fiancée, an attempted coup, and a noose."

+ Francois Hollande's high-priced hair stylist.

+ "People did not view this as barbaric; it was part of the legal process. The presiding justice in the case attended the fight, invoked the monarch's name, and followed a specific ritual that called for God to intervene and bring victory to whichever side was honest in its claim." Pricenomics with a brief history of trial by combat.