September 12th – The Day’s Most Fascinating News

Apple is selling some new products, Seattle's Mayor just resigned, and Russia invited you to a party (BYO Borscht)

I’ve been a tech addict and Apple fanboy since the 80s. Apple could release a 2×4 with a rotary dial for two grand and I’d buy it in a second. Today, Apple celebrated the tenth anniversary of the iPhone (the product that changed everything) by sharing a selection of updated products that serve as a reminder of how far personal technology has come, and the remarkable hold it has over most of us. In addition to updated iPhones that unlock when they recognize your face, Apple introduced a new version of its watch with a cell connection that keeps you connected at all times, while monitoring your heart rate and other vitals. That’s how integral tech wants to be to your life, and we’re only a decade into the iPhone revolution. As we’ve seen with all other tech advances, these will come with positives and negatives. Here’s a rundown of Apple announcements.

+ As I reported last week, facial recognition of all types will herald in a period of greater convenience, coupled with less privacy and increased weirdness.

+ As we put more of ourselves into the cloud, it’s worth remembering that pretty much everything we’ve ever shared has been stolen. The Equifax hack was the latest example, and exposes our identity crisis. “Considered along with the data stolen from various other breaches, hacks, and leaks, ‘it’s a safe assumption that everyone’s Social Security number has been compromised and their identity data has been stolen.'”

+ How does our tech keep moving forward while our security lags far behind? In the NYT, Zeynep Tufekci takes a look at Equifax’s Maddening Unaccountability. (Who would have guessed a company that named itself after a Fax would fail to be armed for modern threats?)


Bring Your Own Borscht

“Russian operatives hiding behind false identities used Facebook’s event-management tool to remotely organize and promote political protests in the U.S., including an August 2016 anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim rally in Idaho.” As the Daily Beast reports, it wasn’t just fake news. Russia Used Facebook Events to Organize Anti-Immigrant Rallies on US Soil.

+ Buzzfeed: Russia Sought A Broad Reset with Trump, Secret Document Shows. “The Kremlin’s reset plan came with an ambitious launch date: immediately.”

+ “Overall, the existence of ‘disputed’ tags made participants just 3.7 percentage points more likely to correctly judge headlines as false.” It turns out that tagging news as fake doesn’t make people much more likely to view it as being false. (We can’t get people to believe that evolution is real or that the earth isn’t flat. They’re not gonna believe a few measly tags…)


On Thin Ice

“The ability of Beijing and Moscow to shape the new sanctions hints at their power to also shape how the Korean drama unfolds in the years ahead.” Steve Mollman in Quartz: Russia and China are proving Trump right on North Korea: They hold all the cards.

+ “Organizers hope to attract more than a million spectators to the Games in five months’ time. Events will be held 50 miles from the South’s heavily armed border with North Korea.” Ticket sales are pretty sluggish for the upcoming Winter Olympics.


You’re Drinking Pea

“In recent years, alternative sources of milk have begun to disrupt the dairy industry, from soy to almond to rice. The latest contender for space in your refrigerator is milk made from yellow peas.” Bloomberg: For One Silicon Valley Startup, This Vegetable Is the Future of Milk.

+ Sports Drinks Makers are Waging an $8 billion Thirst War. (Because, everyone knows you can’t hydrate with water…)


When the Shishito Hits the Fan

“Let’s say you and I are neighbors. You’re an emergency room doctor, and I don’t work, thanks to a pile of money my grandparents left me. You spend your days and nights stitching up gunshot wounds and helping children survive asthma attacks. I’ve gotten really good at World of Warcraft, winning EBay auctions, and frying shishito peppers to just the right crispiness. Let’s also say we both report $300,000 in income to the Internal Revenue Service this year. Who pays more in taxes?” As tax reform moves to center stage, Ben Steverman provides a good overview of why American Workers Pay Twice as Much in Taxes as Wealthy Investors.

+ “Economists hailed the news as evidence the recovery is finally taking hold after years of frustration for the middle class, which watched the stock market soar while the average American’s income barely budged.” WaPo on the Middle-class income boost of 2016. (Lots of interesting numbers here.)


How Am I Doing So Far?

“Enormous foreign-policy failures are like heart attacks: unexpected and dangerous discontinuities following years of neglect and hidden malady. The vertigo and throbbing pulse one feels today augur something much worse tomorrow.” From The Atlantic’s series on the Trump Presidency Damage Report, Eliot Cohen argues that “for all the visible damage the president has done to the nation’s global standing, things are much worse below the surface.”

+ And from the same series: “Norms, not laws, create the expectation that a president will take regular intelligence briefings, pay public respect to our allies, and not fire the FBI director for declining to pledge his loyalty. There is no canonical list of presidential norms. They are rarely noticed until they are violated.” Jack Goldsmith: Will Donald Trump Destroy the Presidency?

+ And this update from WaPo: In 232 days, President Trump has made 1,145 false and misleading claims.

+ “No man ever entered the Presidency so profoundly and widely distrusted as Chester Alan Arthur, and no one ever retired from the highest civil trust of the world more generally respected, alike by political friend and foe.” From Politico: The Man the Presidency Changed.


What Irma Left Behind

“More than 30,000 out-of-state utility workers were aiding the effort to turn lights on across the state.” But it’s still going to take a long time to get power back on for 16 million people without power in Florida and across the region. USA Today on Irma’s Aftermath.

+ Miami Herald: Devestation in the Keys.

+ Vox: What Hurricane Irma’s destruction in the Caribbean looks like on the ground.


Til Death Do Us Part

“Ms. Windsor’s 2013 Supreme Court victory was followed by an avalanche of lawsuits attacking same-sex marriage bans in jurisdictions where they remained. And on June 26, 2015, the Supreme Court made same-sex marriage a constitutional guarantee all over the land.” From the NYT: Edith Windsor, Whose Same-Sex Marriage Fight Led to Landmark Ruling, Dies at 88.


Seattle Not Taking the Fifth

“While the allegations against me are not true, it is important that my personal issues do not affect the ability of our City government to conduct the public’s business.” The Seattle Times: Seattle Mayor Ed Murray has resigned hours after a fifth man — a relative — made public allegations Murray molested him when he was a child. (Amazingly, Murray’s political career had managed to survive the first four allegations…)


Bottom of the News

“Some of the videos depicted the Martins yelling at their children until they cried, screaming obscenities at their children, and — in one instance — shoving a child who then got a bloody nose.” The parents who ‘pranked’ their kids on YouTube have been sentenced to five years probation for child neglect.

+ Apple’s keynote is getting all the attention today, but do spare a few minutes to recognize Jack Ma’s performance (and I do mean performance) at the Alibaba anniversary event.

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