Monday, April 3rd, 2017


This is What Drives Us

"Employing hundreds of social scientists and data scientists, Uber has experimented with video game techniques, graphics and noncash rewards of little value that can prod drivers into working longer and harder -- and sometimes at hours and locations that are less lucrative for them." The NYT's Noam Scheiber provides a very interesting look at how Uber uses psychological tricks to push its drivers' buttons. If these methods seem familiar, it's because many of them are used on all of us as we interact with our favorite sites and apps. Technology might not take your job. But it will almost certainly be your boss.

+ AP on the employees getting implanted with microchips so they can "open doors, operate printers, or buy smoothies with a wave of the hand." (Sounds like a fair tradeoff. My employer gets to turn me into a remote control cyborg, and I get my frozen drink like two seconds sooner.)


Bench Press

"Four more Senate Democrats confirmed they will support a filibuster of Gorsuch's nomination, giving the minority party the requisite 41 votes to maintain their procedural roadblock under pressure from Republicans." Things are about to come to a head in the Neil Gorsuch confirmation process as Senate Democrats have secured enough votes Monday to filibuster the nomination.

+ Will Mitch McConnell invoke the so-called nuclear option? From GQ: Here's everything you need to know about how Senate Republicans might end a Democratic filibuster of the president's Supreme Court pick.


Subway Explosion

"The discovery of an explosive device at another station, Ploshchad Vosstaniya, indicates the attack was deliberate, and reports in Russia say the explosion came from a briefcase left on the train." An explosion on the St Petersburg metro killed eleven people and injured many more.


Wok This Way

"China has great influence over North Korea. And China will either decide to help us with North Korea, or they won't. If they do, that will be very good for China, and if they don't, it won't be good for anyone." As he preps for his most important international meeting so far, Trump warns China to rein in North Korea or the US will go it alone.

+ Of course, the world expects Trump to make a serious issue of trade when he sits down at Mar-a-Lago with Chinese president Xi Jinping. While Trump's Tweet volume has been heavy across many issues, his thoughts on China taking advantage of the US have been especially prevalent. And apparently, they're laughing at us. From Quartz: 300-plus Donald Trump tweets have the same message on China.

+ One thing we're pretty unlikely to see during the Florida pow-wow: A round of golf.


The Road to Perdition

"For the authorities, one of the most confounding aspects of the sex trade is that Nigerian trafficking victims almost never denounce their captors. Most fear deportation, and also the consequences of breaking the juju oath. 'I hear this juju killed many girls,' Blessing told me. 'This spell is effective." The New Yorker's Ben Taub on a less talked-about migration story. The Desperate Journey of a Trafficked Girl.

+ "If I killed someone on the street in broad daylight, I‘d be entitled to an attorney. But those summoned before the immigration courts, including infants who have been brought here by their parents, have no right to counsel. They can hire immigration lawyers, but only if they can pay for them." From Dan Canon in Slate: I tried to represent an undocumented man rounded up by ICE. I couldn't even find him.

+ There's been an increase in media coverage and in the level of fear in many communities, but have deportation numbers spiked since Trump took office? Here are some numbers that might surprise you: "According to figures Immigration and Customs Enforcement (Ice) supplied to the Guardian: 35,604 removals in January and February, versus 35,255 over the same period last year."


Uh O’Reilly

"The reporting suggests a pattern: As an influential figure in the newsroom, Mr. O'Reilly would create a bond with some women by offering advice and promising to help them professionally. He then would pursue sexual relationships with them, causing some to fear that if they rebuffed him, their careers would stall." From the NYT: About $13 million has been paid out over the years to address complaints from women about Mr. O'Reilly's behavior.

+ Brian Stelter has some good background on the story, and how Fox News might (or might not) respond.

+ And on Monday, Julie Roginsky became the latest woman to bring a sexual harassment lawsuit against Fox News.


Pressing Issues

"Everything in life has a beginning and an end, and a price to pay, and if the price is life, I am not prepared for any more of my collaborators to pay it, nor am I prepared to pay it either." A newspaper in Juarez plans to stop printing after yet another one of its journalists is murdered.

+ Facebook, Craig Newmark, Mozilla and others are spending $14 million to try to fix the fake news problem and repair trust in the media. (Put me in, Coach.)


Where There’s Fire, There’s Smoke

"Trump's efforts to throw the investigation off track have been transparent and nonstop. From the phony wiretap distractions, to the false claims of a Democratic or media-driven witch hunt, to the epically humiliating performance by Nunes (think about it; our House Intelligence Committee has been rendered laughable at the very moment we needed them to rise above politics). And all of this is mixed into a swirling cocktail of outright lies." Did Trump collude with the Russians? We don't know. But we do know what he has done for sure: Forget the Smoke. We Already Found Fire.


Floor Plans

As UNC and Gonzaga get ready to hit the floor and compete for the NCAA basketball championship, ESPN provides some background into what it actually took to make the floor that they'll be hitting. 500 trees, 418 panels of wood, 10 miles of boards. From Tree to Tipoff.


Bottom of the News

"It was the perfect storm of cursing baby and celebrity and the internet. One million views … 2 million … 3 million. We were calling each other saying, 'What's going on?' I remember McKay yelling, 'We're going to be rich!'" From Wired: the oral history of Funny or Die.

+ The Guardian: British babies cry the most, Danish babies the least. Why? (I'm guessing it has something to do with Boris Johnson?)

+ From Motherboard: Hackers Can Easily Hijack This Vibrator Camera and Livestream the Inside of Your Vagina. (But the hackers were foiled, because that's not my vagina...)