Tuesday, August 16th, 2016


Like No

We now have some data to back up the assumption that you probably already held. Your politically-charged Facebook posts, no matter how impassioned and well-reasoned, are highly unlikely to make a dent in the opinions already held by those who encounter them. But all is not lost. While you might not change your friends' minds when it comes to politics, you're almost certainly changing the way they feel about your friendship. (Related: No one is buying the message implied by all those happy family photos you share either.)


Launch Parties

"Their deployment marks an intensification of the Russian air campaign -- perhaps a reflection of the scale of the fighting in and around Aleppo -- and it is a demonstration of the growing warmth in ties between Moscow and Tehran, the Syrian government's two closest allies." An alliance becomes more clear as Russia uses a base in western Iran to launch airstrikes in Syria.


He Who Shall Not Be Named

"We've made online heroes out of them. We call them lone wolf -- that sounds cool. Terrorist -- that sounds cool to people who want to be that." Many publications in France have adopted a new strategy when it comes to covering terror and mass shootings. They're not naming the perpetrators. Can removing the fame incentive make a difference in the mind of a sociopath? It's worth noting that during some recent mass murder events, the shooter actually accessed social media during the incident. Today's murderers don't have to imagine the coverage they'll get. They can experience it.


Finding the Founders

"Over the course of our more than 15 meetings with Abu Ahmad, we questioned him intensively about his knowledge of the jihadi group and his bona fides as one of the 'soldiers of the caliphate.' Over a period of 10 months, we spent more than 100 hours with him. He patiently answered our questions on everything from how he ended up with the Islamic State, how the organization is organized, and the identity of the European foreign fighters within the group." Want to understand something about the founding of ISIS? This well-researched Foreign Policy piece will get you a lot further than clownish political soundbites: Present at the Creation.


Five Ring Circus

Shaunae Miller should get two gold medals for her performance in Rio. One for the 400 meter final. And one for diving.

+ Christian Taylor won his second straight Triple Jump gold. But this time, he jumped off on a different foot. This would be like Roger Federer winning a tennis tournament left-handed.

+ Everything gets taxed. Even Olympic wins.

+ Who's bigger in Jamaica: Bob Marley or Usain Bolt?


Debate Team

"For Mr. Ailes, being connected with Mr. Trump's campaign could be a form of redemption after he was pushed out of the powerful network that he helped build. And for Mr. Trump, having Mr. Ailes taking a hand in his preparations for the debates adds immeasurably to the messaging and media expertise in his corner -- and could raise alarms within Mrs. Clinton's camp about just how aggressive Mr. Trump plans to be in those encounters." The most powerful person in media and the media's most omnipresent personality are set to join forces. From the NYT: Roger Ailes is Advising Donald Trump ahead of presidential debates. (These debates are going to be more popular than the Mash series finale.)

+ And the Clinton team is looking for someone to play the part of Trump in debate practice. One of the job requirements is bringing up the name Monica.


Hamlet Hits the Road

We've seen the stats that suggest a lot of things in Denmark are pretty great. But is it the place or is it the Danes? Some stats suggest that the Danes do even better when they move the the US.


I Don’t

"As soon as the festivities were over, Lumbaram pulled Durga aside and made her a vow. 'I will fix this,' he said." NPR on an arranged wedding, and a father who vowed to save his daughter from a marriage he forced her into.


Perchance to Deem

"This is how I'm running errands from now on." That's how Ellen DeGeneres described a photoshopped GIF of her getting a piggyback ride from Usain Bolt as he won the 100m race. CNN now has a headline that reads: Ellen's Usain Bolt tweet deemed racist. This is ridiculous in every way. But there's one important trend at work: The media pulls a couple comments from social media and then builds a case that there is a real story there. Ellen's tweet was not racist. The comments suggesting as much are stupid. And their amplification by a major media source is a poor example of journalism.


Bottom of the News

"Even during snack and play time, Fraley and the other instructors observed their students and gently pushed them to think more deeply." The LA Times takes you to a boot camp to get kids ready for kindergarten.

+ "When Takeo Morita worried that "tainted" power would affect the quality of his tunes, he installed a roughly $10,000 utility pole with his own transformer to get more electricity straight from the grid. And he's not alone -- there's a whole magazine dedicated just to selling audio-related power equipment, including poles." Audiophiles are pretty into sound.

+ The Olympics are child's play. Meet the 104-year-old cyclist named world's greatest centenarian athlete.

+ How the humble pencil conquered the world.