Trust Nobody

"Ovadya saw early what many — including lawmakers, journalists, and Big Tech CEOs — wouldn't grasp until months later: Our platformed and algorithmically optimized world is vulnerable — to propaganda, to misinformation, to dark targeted advertising from foreign governments — so much so that it threatens to undermine a cornerstone of human discourse: the credibility of fact. But it's what he sees coming next that will really scare the shit out of you." Buzzfeed's Charlie Warzel on why the internet-powered information crisis that already dominates our discourse is just getting started: He Predicted The 2016 Fake News Crisis. Now He's Worried About An Information Apocalypse. Here's one example of what AI makes possible: "Imagine ... phishing messages that aren't just a confusing link you might click, but a personalized message with context. 'Not just an email, but an email from a friend that you've been anxiously waiting for for a while ... And because it would be so easy to create things that are fake you'd become overwhelmed. If every bit of spam you receive looked identical to emails from real people you knew, each one with its own motivation trying to convince you of something, you'd just end up saying, ‘okay, I'm going to ignore my inbox.'" (And therein lies one of the Internet's saddest ironies. What started out as a tool that empowered us with access to unfiltered information may ultimately be an uncontrollable spigot that floods us with so much data that we no longer know what to believe.)

+ "The stories varied, but most people told the same basic tale: of a company, and a CEO, whose techno-optimism has been crushed as they've learned the myriad ways their platform can be used for ill. Of an election that shocked Facebook, even as its fallout put the company under siege. Of a series of external threats, defensive internal calculations, and false starts that delayed Facebook's reckoning with its impact on global affairs and its users' minds." Wired's Nicholas Thompson and Fred Vogelstein with an excellent look inside the two years that shook Facebook—and the world.


The Oxy Con

"Purdue is credited with helping develop many modern tactics of aggressive pharmaceutical promotion. Its efforts to push OxyContin included OxyContin music, fishing hats and stuffed plush toys. More recently, it has positioned itself as an advocate for fighting the opioid addiction crisis, as overdoses from prescription drugs claim thousands of American lives each year." From Bloomberg: Pain Pill Giant Purdue to Stop Promotion of Opioids to Doctors. (Purdue should launch an anti-nausea drug because anyone who reads this story will be hard-pressed not to puke.)


Immigrant Throng

At "the heart of the debate is a pair of questions. First, how — if at all — should Congress protect young immigrants facing the end of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program? Second, what restrictionist policies are an appropriate 'trade-off' for those protections?" This week, the Senate kicks off its much-anticipated open debate on immigration. Vox: 9 questions about the Senate immigration debate you were too embarrassed to ask.

+ "President Trump promised that his administration would round up millions of immigrant gang members and drug dealers. And after he took office, arrests by Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers surged 40 percent ... But as ICE officers get wider latitude to determine whom they detain, the biggest jump in arrests has been of immigrants with no criminal convictions." We're cracking down. But who are we cracking down on?

+ Politics has turned MS-13 into a household name. Does that embolden the group?


Flu Clue

"We have a lot to learn still about influenza. It's a wake-up call about how severe influenza can be, and why we can never let down our guard." Fortune: The Flu is Killing Up to 4,000 Americans a Week.


Five Ring Circus

"Sure, there are many celebrity athletes who are professionals, have corporate endorsements and have their airbrushed faces on a Wheaties box. Snowboarder Shaun White and skier Lindsey Vonn compete in the Olympic Games and then return to a life of material comfort. But these folks are few and far between." MarketWatch: When the Olympic Games don't pay the bills for Team USA athletes. The always-excellent Real Sports has a great segment on this topic.

+ After paying their way to compete in the Olympics, many athletes are often left clueless about education, employment, and real life.

+ You've been Un-invited: So far, the biggest stories out of these Olympics have been political. Kim Jong Un Invites South Korea's Moon to Summit in Pyongyang.

+ The bullet man statues that are making Japan (and soon, one imagines, the world) go meme crazy.

+ FiveThirtyEight has an interactive tool to help you find the Olympic sport that's best for you. Mine, unsurprisingly, was Curling. I'm fine with that. Most Olympic athletes represent their country. The person who yells at the person with the broom in curling represents all humans.


Hack Jobs

"Unlike their counterparts elsewhere, who might seek to expose security vulnerabilities, steal corporate and state secrets, or simply sow chaos, North Korean hackers have a singular purpose: to earn money for the country, currently squeezed by harsh international sanctions for its rogue nuclear program." Businessweek: Inside North Korea's Hacker Army.


Do As I Say, Not As I Due

"People's lives are being shattered and destroyed by a mere allegation. Some are true and some are false. Some are old and some are new. There is no recovery for someone falsely accused—life and career are gone. Is there no such thing any longer as Due Process?" That was President Trump's tweet over the weekend. It's one of the reasons why The New Yorker's David Remnick argues that A Reckoning with Women Awaits Trump. (And Steve Bannon seems to agree.)

+ There's due process, and there's 'do process.

+ "Any sale of The Weinstein Company must ensure that victims will be compensated, employees will be protected going forward, and that neither perpetrators nor enablers will be unjustly enriched. Every New Yorker has a right to a workplace free of sexual harassment, intimidation, and fear." New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman just hit The Weinstein Company with a suit that could complicate (and maybe undo) the sale of the studio.


Knowing Larry

"I've spent most of my life in the world of gymnastics; I've competed, I've coached and I've been a fan since my dad took me to see the 1980 Olympic Team tour. The vast majority of my experiences with the sport have been positive. But I'm not naïve, nor was I then, about how cruel that world can be. Nassar seemed like one of the good ones. And everyone I asked said that he was. In 2013 I invited him on my podcast for an interview. Listening back now, it's chilling how normal a serial pedophile — one with twenty-five times the number of victims of notorious Penn State molester Jerry Sandusky — can sound." Jessica O'Beirne: Larry Nassar duped me. He would have duped you too.


Kill Shot

"This story, perhaps more than any other, is representative of the tornado of voices around Fultz, internally and externally, all thinking they know how to fix what ails the only top basketball prospect who ever forgot how to shoot." Philly Voice: What has really been going on with Markelle Fultz?


Bottom of the News

"Ending a case that electrified punctuation pedants, grammar goons and comma connoisseurs, Oakhurst Dairy settled an overtime dispute with its drivers that hinged entirely on the lack of an Oxford comma in state law." NYT: Oxford Comma Dispute Is Settled as Maine Drivers Get $5 Million.

+ "I tried to negotiate less gray hair, and Kehinde's artistic integrity would not allow him to do what I asked. I tried to negotiate smaller ears, struck out on that as well." Obamas' official portraits unveiled.

+ "They ate his body, nearly all of it, and just left his head and some remains." South African lions eat poacher. (Maybe they left the head so they could mount it on the wall as some kind of trophy?) Related: How to Survive Being Swallowed by Another Animal.

+ This is what the Super Bowl of ice fishing looks like.