Monday, November 13th, 2017



"Millions of people saw their computers shut down by ransomware, with demands for payments in digital currency to have their access restored. Tens of thousands of employees at Mondelez International, the maker of Oreo cookies, had their data completely wiped. FedEx reported that an attack on a European subsidiary had halted deliveries and cost $300 million. Hospitals in Pennsylvania, Britain and Indonesia had to turn away patients. The attacks disrupted production at a car plant in France, an oil company in Brazil and a chocolate factory in Tasmania, among thousands of enterprises affected worldwide." Those are just a few recent cyberattacks that all have one very disturbing factor in common. The tools used against companies, individuals, and governments were all developed by the National Security Agency. And at this point, we're more certain that there will be more attacks and less certain that we'll find who stole the cyberweapons (or whether or not there are still high-level leakers inside the agency). As you can imagine, it's not a particularly fun time to be working at the NSA. From the NYT: Security Breach and Spilled Secrets Have Shaken the NSA to Its Core. "Morale has plunged, and experienced specialists are leaving the agency for better-paying jobs — including with firms defending computer networks from intrusions that use the N.S.A.'s leaked tools." (A subtext to this story is the extent to which the migration from traditional to cyber warfare has erased some military advantages and leveled the playing field.)


This Sucks

"Even if every country fulfills the pledges made in the Paris climate accord—and the United States has said that it doesn't intend to—carbon dioxide could soon reach levels that, it's widely agreed, will lead to catastrophe, assuming it hasn't already done so." So it's worth rooting for companies making machines that essentially suck carbon dioxide out of the air. According to one founder: "If we're successful at building a business around carbon removal, these are trillion-dollar markets." (Hopefully, they get paid in bitcoin. That much cash would result in a lot of off-gassing.) From Elizabeth Kolbert in The New Yorker: Can Carbon-Dioxide Removal Save the World?

+ In the meantime, you can do your part by wearing a climate beneficial wool hat that comes from carbon-positive sheep.


Pole Alt

"But for blocks and blocks and blocks beyond the central towers of Warsaw, a much larger crowd swelled beneath a cloud of red smoke. Tens of thousands of people had come from across Poland and beyond, and reporters documented their signs: Clean Blood. Pray for an Islamic Holocaust. White Europe. The terrible rise of far right groups marching on Poland's independence day.

+ "On the day of the march, one Polish woman reported that she had entered a church where men were wearing armbands marked with the political symbols of the far right. She unfurled a banner with a quote from Pope John Paul II, Poland's great pope: Racism is a sin. She was unceremoniously thrown out." Anne Applebaum: Why neo-fascists are making a shocking surge in Poland. (Reminder: Of course it can happen again.)


Roy, More

Another accuser has come forward to say that Roy Moore sexually assaulted her when she was 15 and 16. Mitch McConnell says he believes the women and Roy Moore should step aside.

+ "In their letter, the pastors said Moore was an 'immovable rock in the culture wars,' and has met attacks with a 'rare unconquerable resolve.'" 50 pastors sign letter of support for Roy Moore.

+ "Supporters of Sean Hannity say they are boycotting Keurig — with some even smashing their coffee makers — after the company said it would pull one of its ads from Hannity's show based on his support for Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore." (Hannity supporters are destroying their Keurig machines. Hannity haters are returning their Juiceros for a full refund. You do the math...)


Club Meddle

"There's nothing 'America First' about taking the word of a KGB colonel over that of the American intelligence community." John McCain was not pleased that President Trump believed Vladimir Putin's latest assertion that he had nothing to do with meddling in US elections.

+ "The US president made no mention of human rights during brief remarks to reporters prior to a meeting with his counterpart, and both leaders ignored shouted questions about the drugs crackdown." From The Guardian: Trump hails 'great relationship' with Philippines' Duterte.


Leb Anon

"The Middle East is consumed with a real-life thriller over the fate of Lebanon's Prime Minister, Saad Hariri, who abruptly resigned—on a Saudi television station, on November 4th, after being summoned to Riyadh. Hariri cited fears of an assassination attempt and blasted Hezbollah and Iran for meddling in Lebanese affairs. Then, holed up in the kingdom, he went silent, even to his own Future Movement party back in Beirut." The New Yorker's Robin Wright: The Mystery Deepens Over Lebanon's Prime Minister: Hostage or Free?


Kneel, Arm Strong

"It's not because he's hurt, or because he's broken any rules, or because he's not good enough. Approximately 90 men are currently employed as quarterbacks in the NFL, as either starters or reserves, and Colin Kaepernick is better—indisputably, undeniably, flat-out better—than at least 70 of them. He is still, to this day, one of the most gifted quarterbacks on earth. And yet he has been locked out of the game he loves—blackballed—because of one simple gesture" Colin Kaepernick has been named GQ's Citizen of the Year.


To Sir With Love

"Let it be known that Ashley Volk had loved Sam Siatta since elementary school, the age of True Love Always in sidewalk chalk. She loved him before he joined the Marines and went to war, before he descended into depression and alcoholism upon his return, before he was convicted on a felony charge for a crime he did not remember through a blackout fog." Trust me, this is no ordinary NYT wedding announcement. CJ Chivers: Love's Road Home.


These Little Town Cues

"The goal ... is to encourage more entrepreneurship in rural towns, and make more opportunities for remote work available to job seekers located there." My friend Matt Dunne just launched the Center for Rural Innovation, a great program to give a boost to those in small town America and the tech companies smart enough to hire there. Ex-Google exec has a plan to create a string of tech hubs across rural America.


Bottom of the News

Sex is unlikely to stop your heart. "That's the good news. The bad news is that if you do suffer cardiac arrest from an amorous encounter, there's a decent chance your partner will just let you croak." (If that doesn't convince you to be a more generous lover, nothing will...)

+ "Now a senior White House staffer banking the highest recorded salary allowable ($179,700 per year), Omarosa remains a mystery to many members of Washington's political class and even her White House colleagues."

+ Buzzfeed made 6 famous mashed potato recipes, and Tyler Florence smashed the competition. Tyler's winning trick is that he boils all the potatoes in heavy cream instead of water. (Pro tip: Anytime you're looking for the best recipe, find the one that just doesn't seem fair...)