August 1st – The Day’s Most Fascinating News

How a local laundromat explains everything, Dictators gonna dictate, and your browsing isn't as incognito as you think.

Let’s explore how dramatically changing economic trends can shift the ground beneath our feet. Instead of taking a macro view of stock markets and currency exchanges, we’ll visit San Francisco’s Mission neighborhood where one of the few remaining laundromats is closing its doors. “While families have been hauling their dirty towels, sheets, and underwear there for decades, the business’s future earnings now pale in comparison to the value of the land it sits on.” Like many urban centers, San Francisco is becoming too expensive for people who can’t afford a place with their own washer and dryer. This story of a single laundromat is a metaphor for a much broader American (and even global) saga: a growing geographic divide in which people from different socioeconomic groups are not only unequal, they’re completely separate. From The Atlantic: The Decline of the American Laundromat.


The Stars of Stripe

“They have the advantage of coming to California without being tainted and polluted by what’s in the water supply and air of Silicon Valley. They’re more humble and well-rounded. There’s such an improbability to their story—that these brothers from a little village would come to build what could well be one of the most important companies on the internet.” If you’ve bought something on the internet today, there’s a decent chance you used Stripe. And for that, you can thank the Collision Brothers. Ashley Vance with an entertaining look at how two brothers turned seven lines of code into a $9.2 billion startup. (If I did this, my dad would say, “So vhy didn’t you write an eighth line of code?”)


Dem Bones

“The trial is part of a post-coup crackdown that has imprisoned 50,000 people and seen another 110,000 fired from their government jobs. Many of the suspects Tuesday face life in prison for crimes including murder and attempting to overthrow the government.” AP: In one court, nearly 500 people are on trial for Turkey’s failed coup; many face life. And from Vice: Turkey packs 486 defendants in courtroom for massive coup trial.

+ In the increasingly unstable and undemocratic Venezuela, authorities arrested two opposition leaders in the middle of the night.

+ Paul Mason in The Guardian: Democracy is dying – and it’s startling how few people are worried


Dictators Gonna Dictate…

“The strategy, the advisers agreed, should be for Donald Trump Jr. to release a statement to get ahead of the story. They wanted to be truthful, so their account couldn’t be repudiated later if the full details emerged.” The boss had a different plan. The latest blockbuster story in a newscycle that never stops … from WaPo: Trump dictated son’s misleading statement on meeting with Russian lawyer. (It was rough at times, but looking back, I’m glad my parents pushed me to come up with misleading statements all by myself…)

+ For now, this is only a claim in a lawsuit. But because it seems to fit a pattern, it’s big news. NPR: “The Fox News Channel and a wealthy supporter of President Trump worked in concert under the watchful eye of the White House to concoct a story about the death of a young Democratic National Committee aide.”

+ “The conversation went a hundred seconds. It went from women in combat to Syria policy to the Chinese to energy independence, a little about public lands, a little about hunting access,” Zinke tells me. “Most of the conversation was not really Interior, per se.’ At one point, Trump proposed the Veterans Affairs post, to which Zinke quipped, ‘I don’t think you hate me that much.'” GQ on the former Navy SEAL tapped by Trump to be secretary of the Interior. Ryan Zinke, Trump’s Cowboy Enforcer, Is Ready for His Closeup.


The Promise

“You see this is coming from an incredible sense of guilt. I suppose what I’m trying to do is save my boy in retrospect. I stood next to his coffin in the church. It was packed with people –- a shattered community –- and I made him a public promise. I said that I would investigate what had happened to him and that I would seek reform for him, and on behalf of his generation. Quite simply, I’m just a guy honoring a promise to his son. And that’s probably the most powerful motivation that you could imagine, because I’m not about to let him down twice.” Mosaic on a father working towards a world without suicide.


Opiate of Emergency

“With approximately 142 Americans dying every day, America is enduring a death toll equal to September 11th every three weeks.” The Chris Christie-led White House Opioid Commission is out with its first recommendation to the president: Declare a state of emergency.

+ WaPo: Opioid abuse started as a rural epidemic. It’s now a national one.

+ Newshour: Almost half of all opioid misuse starts with a friend or family member’s prescription.


Iran Seizes the Moment

“Iran has built up a multinational network of tens of thousands of young men from across the Middle East, turning them into a well-drilled fighting machine that is outgunning the US on the battlefield, as Tehran outsmarts the White House in the corridors of power.” Buzzfeed takes you Inside Iran’s Mission to Dominate The Middle East


Like Bees to Money

“If Adam Smith had strapped on a bee suit, he could have discovered that the animal kingdom is, in fact, a chamber of commerce.” The always entertaining Ben Crair on the secret economic lives of animals. (Related: I have two dogs and three cats and they’re all costing me money; the dogs chew up all my stuff and the cats have, at times, embezzled.)


From Incognito to In Deep

“What would you think if somebody showed up at your door saying: ‘Hey, I have your complete browsing history – every day, every hour, every minute, every click you did on the web for the last month’? How would you think we got it: some shady hacker? No. It was much easier: you can just buy it.” All that anonymous web browsing you’ve been doing isn’t really all that anonymous.


Bottom of the News

Between the scandals, the international gaffes, the disturbing handshakes, and a White House that has more turnover than a red light district AirBNB, keeping up with the news is a full time job. That’s how it is for me (and maybe you too). So imagine how it is for Trump. Even if he wanted to govern normally, there’s just no way he’d have the time. This One Goes to Eleven.

+ If you’re reading this while walking across the street in Honolulu, stop. That’s now illegal. (You can mahalo me later.)

+ Here are the winners of the NatGeo Travel Photographer of the Year Contest.

+ Check out this hole-in-one that flies directly into the hole (along with some remarkably reserved commentary).

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