Thursday, August 18th, 2016


Stroke and Mirrors

No one ever remembers who comes in fifth place. Unless that person fabricates parts of a story about being robbed at gunpoint. The more we learn about the night Ryan Lochte and his fellow swimmers were supposedly held up in Rio, the more it looks like their version of events doesn't hold water. As you'd imagine, the Internet is going Brazil nuts. Bottom line: When you spend your life wearing a Speedo, you can't hide much.

+ He Said, She Said: According to the AP, "Lochte first lied about the robbery to his mother, Ileana Lochte, who spoke with reporters." (I don't get young people today. When I was a kid, I wouldn't have even told my mom I was competing in the Olympics.)

+ The NYT with this quote from the vice president for policy at Americas Society and Council of the Americas: "[The incident] has tapped into one of Brazilians' biggest pet peeves -- gringos who treat their country like a third-rate spring break destination where you can lie to the cops and get away with it." (Full disclosure: That's how we treat most American cities too...)

+ Maybe now we can drop that baseless stereotype that Rio is a place where one might get robbed.


End of The Green Mile

"They simply do not provide the same level of correctional services, programs, and resources; they do not save substantially on costs; and as noted in a recent report by the Department's Office of Inspector General, they do not maintain the same level of safety and security." The Justice Department just announced they would end the use of private prisons. Letting corporations profit off of incarceration? What could possibly go wrong... (Now that the US will no longer use private prisons, WeWork has some very raw, industrial startup space for rent.)

+ The poor performance of private prisons came to light thanks to journalism (yes, the very same media we love to attack), including an excellent MoJo piece I shared earlier this summer. And here from the publication: This is what's missing from journalism right now.


Photo, Bomb

"Images of the boy sitting in an ambulance were released by activists and have since been shared widely on social media. He was identified as five-year-old Omran Daqneesh, who was treated for head wounds on Wednesday." Another photo -- this one of a shocked and bloodied Syrian five-year-old victimized by an airstrike -- has sparked outrage. Photos like these can grab our attention and humanize distant events. But Syria has been ravaged from air and land for years, and somewhere around 400,000 people have been killed. I'm not sure we need another photo to convince us its not a pretty picture.



We often imagine autonomous vehicles has being part of some distant future. But Uber just announced that they'll be testing self-driving cars (with passengers ... and drivers, just in case) in Pittsburgh later this month. Uber also acquired Otto, a self-driving truck company that "includes engineers from a number of high-profile tech companies."


Five Ring Circus

Look, I know these guys are fast. But jokingly jogging across a finish line in times that broke several country's national records. Wow. Just wow.

+ "We're taught we can push through anything … and we're always told to not ask for help." The Atlantic on the dark side of going for gold, even if you get it. (I'm guessing there's also a dark side to sitting on your couch making critical comments about someone's floor exercise.)

+ Two brothers finished 1-2 in the triathlon. And three American women swept the 100m hurdles.

+ Just as amazing as many of the participating athletes are Rio's slackliners.


Gov in the Time of Cholera

"It provides highly combustible fuel for those who claim that U.N. peacekeeping operations trample on the rights of those being protected, and it undermines both the U.N.'s overall credibility and the integrity of the Office of the Secretary-General." That was part of a scathing report critical of the UN's refusal to acknowledge its role in Haiti's cholera epidemic. From the NYT: That role has now been acknowledged.


Hack Back

"The hacker tools' release 'demonstrates the key risk of the U.S. government stockpiling computer vulnerabilities for its own use: Someone else might get a hold of them and use them against us.'" The NSA uses a lot of tools to hack others. So it's an extra big deal when they get hacked.

+ Slate on the changing motives of shadow brokers.


New House, Same Foundation

"A decade on, the presumption is that the mortgage-debt monster has been tamed. In fact, vast, nationalised, unprofitable and undercapitalised, it remains a menace to the world's biggest economy." The Economist calls America's housing system a Nightmare on Main Street.


Gawk Box

Gawker was purchased by Univision, and most of the company's sites will live on. But that is not the case for it's namesake homepage. Gawker dot com is gone. The Internet has disintermediated so much. But it couldn't disintermediate Hulk Hogan.


Bottom of the News

I have watched Michael Cohen's instantly classic Say's Who interview on CNN about a hundred times. And I still can't wait to watch it again. Although I much prefer the shorter version that I asked someone on Twitter to splice together.

+ A baby girl born on a plane has been given a million frequent flier miles by the airline. With advanced medicine and today's science, she might live long enough to find an eligible flight.