Wednesday, August 31st, 2016


They’re Here…

"A very, very small quadcopter, one inch in diameter can carry a one- or two-gram shaped charge. You can order them from a drone manufacturer in China. You can program the code to say: "Here are thousands of photographs of the kinds of things I want to target." A one-gram shaped charge can punch a hole in nine millimeters of steel, so presumably you can also punch a hole in someone's head." It turns out we don't need many new technological advances to make small, weaponized, autonomous drones a widespread reality. From Buzzfeed: Can a small group of optimists stop the proliferation of killer robots and, just maybe, save humanity from itself?

+ "By 2040, the goal is to have 11 robots playing a full-field, FIFA-compliant game against star human soccer players." From Nautilus: The Unexpected Humanity of Robot Soccer. I don't know about saving humanity, but if we can merge the technologies in these two stories, you've got yourself a hell of a sport.


Dios Mio

Donald Trump is making a last minute trip to meet with Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto. Trump is scheduled to deliver a speech clarifying his immigration policy on Wednesday night, so his stay in Mexico will be brief (I wonder how quickly that wall can be built). Phil Knight wearing Under Armour running shoes? Tim Cook using an Android phone? Travis Kalanick calling a Lyft? No analogy quite fits. So we're left with this: Donald Trump visiting Mexico is like Donald Trump visiting Mexico.

+ The Atlantic: What does Enrique Peña Nieto want from Trump's visit? (Probably just to come out of it without a critical nickname.)

+ WaPo: A record number of Americans now dislike Hillary Clinton.


Unceremonious Closing

"Senators broke into cheering and applause after the electronic voting was announced and sang the national anthem." After a contentious debate, Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff has been officially ousted in an impeachment vote.

+ "Rousseff's impeachment is the final stroke in the disastrous fall from grace of the Worker's Party of Brazil, whose time in power started out with an era by unprecedented prosperity for many Brazilians and the country's growing swagger in global politics." From Quartz: Dilma Rousseff's demise in five charts.


Buena Vista Social Club

"The last time an American airline flew scheduled service to Cuba was more than 50 years ago on a propeller plane." BBC: A landmark US commercial flight lands in Cuba. So if you want to experience Cuba before American tourism takes its toll, leave now.

+ Now that relations have thawed and transportation routes are open, what will happen to the American fugitives of Havana?


Dream Catcher

"It might seem like a mystery at first, even a paradox: The income gap between rich and poor adults is growing, but the achievement gap between rich and poor kids is shrinking." The Atlantic's Derek Thompson looks at the possible factors behind this unlikely trend: The Pill, the Condom, and the American Dream.


Mic Drop

"The United States appears finally to have got its man -- one of the most wanted targets on its terrorism list." From The New Yorker's Robin Wright: Abu Muhammad Al-Adnani, The Voice Of Isis, Is Dead.

+ Russia: Our airstrike killed the ISIS spokesperson. US: We doubt that.


Taking Offense?

When Colin Kaepernick refused to stand for the national anthem, his actions were immediately decried as being offensive to the military. Well, at least some members of the military are taking to social media to stand up for Kaepernick's right to sit down. (Maybe Colin Kaepernick actually can read a defense...)

+ The NYT's Sam Borden raises some interesting questions such as, why is the national anthem a staple of sporting events to begin with?


Provoking in the Boy’s Room

"There was nothing remarkable about Gavin Grimm's first trip to the boys' bathroom at Gloucester High School. It was a little more than a month into his sophomore year, when the transgender teenager had begun quietly reintroducing himself to the student body as a boy." Moriah Balingit in WaPo: Gavin Grimm just wanted to use the bathroom. He didn't think the nation would debate it.


GoPro Ready to Go Pro?

A couple years ago, I was waiting in line for a birthday event with a bunch of 8 year-olds. There were two TVs nearby. One had an NBA game. One had a loop of videos shot on GoPro devices. Not a single kid in the line was looking at the NBA game. There's no doubt that GoPro's just announced move into media is the right strategy. The question is are they getting there soon enough.


Bottom of the News

"The guy showed no crime-fighting predilection -- certainly no inkling to become a vigilante who would face off against criminals while armed with little more than a smartphone, some spare time, and a pair of brass balls. He didn't choose to become Bike Batman. Sometimes in life, though, the cape finds you." From Outside: The Real-Life Superhero Who Beats the Cops to Bike Thieves.

+ Pricenomics: How do mathematicians cut cake?

+ That thing where your Ferrari gets repossessed while you're shopping for Bentleys.