Monday, July 25th, 2016


Purple Haze

We pause to mark the end of an era. From its groundbreaking directory, to its rough transition into the search age, to its series of questionable acquisitions (almost all of which did worse than even the skeptics predicted), to its various leaders, to its infamous exclamation point, Yahoo's days as a standalone company are officially over. Verizon (already the owner of AOL) has acquired the core assets of the company for $4.8 billion. To give that number a little context, Yahoo paid more for Broadcast dot com than Verizon is paying for Yahoo.

+ Vox: From its heyday during the first internet boom to the Alibaba investment, here's Verizon's purchase of Yahoo, explained.

+ The WSJ tracks the rise and fall of the company via key moments in its stock price history.



Debbie Wasserman Schultz had been under fire as the chair of the DNC for months. But her resignation didn't come until Wikileaks released a series of embarrassing emails. What's amazing to me is that, as a society, we've totally accepted the fact that hacked, stolen, and leaked data is perfectly reasonable content for public discourse and even action. As the media and the public race to read and analyze the material, the fact that the data was hacked and leaked is barely a factor. This story is yet another reminder that the private has become public. I'm guessing that's gonna make the private pretty boring.

+ To add a little additional intrigue to this story, there are signs that the data was hacked by Russians. Information has been weaponized.

+ Motherboard: "This tactic and its remarkable success is a game-changer: exfiltrating documents from political organizations is a legitimate form of intelligence work. The US and European countries do it as well. But digitally exfiltrating and then publishing possibly manipulated documents disguised as freewheeling hacktivism is crossing a big red line and setting a dangerous precedent: an authoritarian country directly yet covertly trying to sabotage an American election." If Russia did the hacking, this email story is going to be a whole lot bigger than the last email story.


G Not So Easy

"Last March, when he made an appearance in Cleveland, Ohio, a seventh grader asked what advice he would give himself if he could go back to the start of his Presidency. Obama said, 'I think I would have closed Guantánamo on the first day.' But the politics had got tough, he said, and "the path of least resistance was just to leave it open.'" The New Yorker's Connie Bruck on why Obama has failed to close Guantánamo.


Error BNB

"Last night (Saturday), we decided to do a "stress test" where taps and toilets were simultaneously turned on in apartments on several floors to see if the system could cope once the athletes are in-house. The system failed. Water came down walls, there was a strong smell of gas in some apartments and there was shorting in the electrical wiring." In other words, the accommodations at Rio's Olympic village are not earning rave reviews. Every Olympics is preceded by a series of horror stories and then the event goes off without a hitch. Will this year break that model?

+ A New Zealand athlete claims he was kidnapped by the police in Rio.


Philly Cheese Stakes

Not to be outdone by their GOP counterparts, the Dems have started their convention off with chaos and controversy. The Wasserman Schultz emails and resignation (and brief appearance) ripped back open the gash between Clinton's backers and Bernie's supporters. From Politico: Mayhem breaks out at Democratic convention.

+ The Sanders supporters will undoubtedly own the first day storyline at the DNC. Polls suggest the vast majority of them will vote for Clinton. But vast majorities don't always get vast amounts of news coverage. And on Monday, Bernie got booed when he told his supports to help elect Clinton. 2016, folks. 2016.

+ Maybe chaotic conventions aren't so bad. Even with plagiarism scandals, the uproar on the floor, and lower than expected ratings, Trump got the traditional convention bump.

+ Back in 2004 in Boston, I was part of a group of bloggers who were the first to ever receive press passes to a major party convention. Back then, when conventions were still boring, we were the biggest story of the week. And we even got some decent speakers to show up at our Blogger's breakfast.


Eff Yourself

"Lead people to feel they have lost control of their country and destiny, people look for scapegoats, a charismatic leader captures the popular mood, and singles out that scapegoat. He talks in rhetoric that has no detail, and drums up anger and hatred. Soon the masses start to move as one, without any logic driving their actions, and the whole becomes unstoppable." Tobias Stone takes the long view on our current global state, from Putin to Trump to Brexit, and attempts to weave it all together in a storyline that makes the Game of Thrones plot seem upbeat. "We humans have a habit of going into phases of mass destruction, generally self imposed to some extent or another."


It’s Gotta Be the News

"As a proud American, a father who lost his own dad in a senseless act of violence, and a black man, I have been deeply troubled by the deaths of African-Americans at the hands of law enforcement and angered by the cowardly and hateful targeting and killing of police officers." After years of developing a reputation for steering clear of social issues, Michael Jordan breaks his silence.

+ NYT: One Police Shift: Patrolling an Anxious America.


Don’t Be So Sure About Positive

"Indulging in undirected positive flights of fancy isn't always in our interest. Positive thinking can make us feel better in the short term, but over the long term it saps our motivation, preventing us from achieving our wishes and goals, and leaving us feeling frustrated, stymied and stuck." In Aeon Gabriele Oettingen makes the case against wanton positive thinking: Don't think too positive. (That's the tagline for my personal brand.)


Peak Pikachu

Nintendo suffered a major stock price decline after they pointed out that they don't actually make the Pokémon Go game. Details...

+ WaPo: An Iowa football player's Pokémon Go game ends with four police guns pointed at his face. (This is why I never level up.)

+ "I don't want to see you catching any Pokémon's up in this bitch." Time: Now Pokémon Go Is Invading Beyoncé, Rihanna and Adele Concerts. If you can't look up from your phone when Beyonce is in the room, there's no hope for us.


Bottom of the News

Pokémon is dominating pop culture, but if you ask my kids (or just about any of their friends), the app of the moment is "The typical video is a 14-year-old holding her iPhone in her left hand, making sassy facial expressions while lip syncing to a hip-hop track." That makes my 7 year-old daughter a full-on prodigy.

+ Coffee's role in war.

+ "The people who rent me are just asking me to keep them company for an hour or two, mainly to listen to them." The Japanese 'rent men' who are paid just to listen

+ A guy named Hemingway won a Hemingway look-a-like contest.