Monday, April 9th, 2018


Sorry Not Sorry

"Facebook is an idealistic and optimistic company. For most of our existence, we focused on all the good that connecting people can bring ... But it's clear now that we didn't do enough to prevent these tools from being used for harm as well. That goes for fake news, foreign interference in elections, and hate speech, as well as developers and data privacy. We didn't take a broad enough view of our responsibility, and that was a big mistake. It was my mistake, and I'm sorry." Mark Zuckerberg is going to get an earful from Congress this week. Ahead of his appearance, you can take a look at his opening statement.

+ "I hope you understand, this is not how I meant for things to go, and I apologize for any harm done." That was Mark Zuckerberg saying sorry for a site that he built a year before Facebook was founded. And the apologies have been coming ever since. Zeynep Tufekci: Why Zuckerberg's 14-Year Apology Tour Hasn't Fixed Facebook.

+ The Guardian: Facebook's surveillance is nothing compared with Comcast, AT&T and Verizon.

+ Quick take: In my experience there's a disconnect between the tech story reporters spend the most time covering (privacy invasion) and the related tech story people are really worried about (social media and video game addiction). They're both important stories. I just never hear anyone talking about the former in real life, whereas I constantly hear people worrying about the latter.


Getting Off

"Long-term use of antidepressants is surging in the United States, according to a new analysis of federal data by The New York Times. Some 15.5 million Americans have been taking the medications for at least five years. The rate has almost doubled since 2010, and more than tripled since 2000." In many cases, the use of these antidepressants is really helping people. The trouble comes when they try to get off the drugs. From the NYT: Many People Taking Antidepressants Discover They Cannot Quit.


Chemical Equation

"It was atrocious. It was horrible ... This is about humanity and it can't be allowed to happen. If it's the Russians, if it's Syria, if it's Iran, if it's all of them together, we'll figure it out." President Trump says "Nothing is off the table" in response to Syria's alleged use of chemical weapons.

+ US officials confirm Israel hit Syria after suspected chemical attack. (America, Israel, Russia, Iran ... there are a lot of big players fighting a proxy war in what's left of Syria.)

+ John McCain tied the attack to Trump's suggestion America will soon pull out of Syria. "Assad and his Russian and Iranian backers have heard him, and emboldened by American inaction, Assad has reportedly launched another chemical attack." (Assad, like his father before him, has been emboldened by the world's inaction for decades.)

+ "Assad already has unraveled the global taboo against chemical weapons, in the process exposing the incoherence of the international community. Syria has exposed the international liberal order as a convenient illusion. Western bromides of 'never again' meant nothing when a determined dictator with hefty international backers committed crimes against humanity." The Atlantic: The Logic of Assad's Brutality.



"Myles Shumlanski was at home on his Tisdale acreage just before 5 p.m. Friday, winding down after the work week, when he looked out his window and saw the bus carrying his son Nick and the rest of the Humboldt Broncos junior hockey squad roll by. 'There goes the boys.' Minutes later, Shumlanski's phone rang. Nick, 20, was on the line, and he was hysterical. 'The bus was in an accident,' he screamed into the phone." National Post with the story of a tragic bus accident that killed many young members of a team from a small Canadian town in hockey's heartland.

+ "He said the coroner's office was following a standard procedure to identify the victims but it was difficult since the players had all dyed their hair blond for the playoff run." Coroner apologizes after mistaking Humboldt Broncos victim.


The FBI, That’s Who

From the NYT: "The F.B.I. on Monday raided the office of President Trump's longtime personal lawyer, Michael D. Cohen, seizing records related to several topics including payments to a pornographic-film actress.

+ (Cohen didn't even have time to say, "Says who?")


Sho Time

"Ohtani was so contained, so unerringly regulated that it became easy to forget the enormity of his quest. He has come here to hit three days a week and pitch once a week, at a level he has yet to experience, in front of a vast, impatient audience. The task is fascinating, difficult and so rare, the last person to do it was Babe Ruth 99 years ago ... We search for an external sign of the unease that must be -- that simply has to be -- hiding deep inside. And day after day, there is none." ESPN's Tim Keown on Shohei Ohtani: The One Baseball's Been Waiting For.

+ Deadspin: Shohei Ohtani Is Very Clearly Not From This Planet.

+ The crowd went wild several times at The Masters on Sunday. One of those times was not when the event's champion hit the winning putt. ESPN: Patrick Reed doesn't care what you think -- he's the Masters champion.


Machine Gun Selly

"From a 100-plus-acre ranch he shares with his wife, son and German shorthair puppy in rural Missouri, he runs a small empire of automatic weapons. Inside a tornado-proof vault, dozens of automatic firearms worth millions of dollars hang on the walls. There are Tommy guns, M2 Brownings, Uzis, a Sterling submachine gun and AK-47 assault rifles, the most popular machine gun in the world." Bloomberg with an interesting look at How One Man Got Rich Selling Machine Guns. (He'd probably do time if he were selling dime bags instead...)


Murder Mystery

"After police killed a burglary suspect in a shootout, the officer was not charged - instead a teenage boy who did not fire the gun has been found guilty of his murder." In the US, you don't have to kill to be a murderer.


All Good Things Must Pass

"For a one-time fee of $250k ($560k in 2018 dollars), this pass gave a buyer unlimited first-class travel for life. A companion pass could be purchased for an additional $150k, allowing the pass holder to bring along anyone for the ride." In the 1980s, American Airlines sold an unlimited, first-class ticket for life. Then the super travelers showed up.


Bottom of the News

"On April 10th, 2008, The Office topped itself with its best half-hour ever – and perhaps the best comedy episode of the decade." Rolling Stone: That One Night: The Oral History of the Greatest Office Episode Ever.

+ SNL: Introducing Nike Pro-Chiller Leggings, designed for endurance, but used mostly for sitting on the couch. (This is like my hip, new sneakers. Designed for running, but used mostly to distract you from my bald spot.)