Tuesday, April 24th, 2018


Life in the Fast Lane

In the land of the startups, the latest food trend is no food at all. According to many researchers, intermittent fasting is a path to better health (and maybe higher productivity too). And if there's a new health craze, you can be certain that there will be an app for that. From Bloomberg: Silicon Valley Wants to Cash In on Fasting. Being a card-carrying member of the tech elite, I've experimented a bit with this strategy. But for me, not eating required no new technology. Every morning I have a large chalice of black coffee and open up seventy-five news tabs. After that, I'm usually too nauseated to eat.

+ And soon, you'll be able to wash down that non-existent meal with a tall glass of nothing. World wine output has fallen to 60-year low.



"A reconstruction of Sri Lanka's descent into violence, based on interviews with officials, victims and ordinary users caught up in online anger, found that Facebook's newsfeed played a central role in nearly every step from rumor to killing." A very interesting report from the NYT's Amanda Taub and Max Fisher: Where Countries Are Tinderboxes and Facebook Is a Match. (It's not that all tech and social media is bad. But it sure is playing out a lot differently than we expected...)

+ "In down moments between stories, we looked for cases where Facebook could be linked to instances of violence — a barometer for generalized social disruption — that wouldn't have occurred otherwise. They were everywhere. They piled up in our notebooks." On Twitter, Max Fisher explains more about what led to the story.


Dread and Shoulders

From the legendary handshakes, to the giant white hat, to the tree planting, to the odd dandruff-wiping, there have already been plenty of meme-able moments from the French President Emmanuel Macron's state visit. But the key question around the world is whether Macron can convince Trump not to pull out of the Iran nuclear deal. On Tuesday, Trump continued his critique of the deal and answered a question about Iran potentially restarting its nuke program with a threat: "They're not going to be restarting anything. They restart it they're going to have big problems, bigger than they've ever had before." (If we're talking about them restarting the program, doesn't that imply that they've actually stopped it? And doesn't that imply it's working?)

+ While Trump was tough on Iran, he was complimentary when it came to North Korea: "We're having very good discussions ... Kim Jong Un -- he really has been very open and I think very honorable from everything we're seeing." (I'm pretty sure that's the first time Kim Jung Un's LinkedIn profile got endorsed for honor ...)


Toronto Tragedy

From Reuters: The man accused of plowing a rental van into pedestrians on a crowded Toronto sidewalk in Canada's deadliest mass killing in decades was charged with 10 counts of first-degree murder on Tuesday."

+ "The Incel Rebellion has already begun! We will overthrow all the Chads and Stacys! All hail the Supreme Gentleman Elliot Rodger!" On social media, the attacker appeared to relate to the incel (or involuntary celibate) movement. "What had started out as a support group for the lonely and sexually isolated had become a forum whose users not only raged against women and the ‘noncels' and ‘normies' who get to sleep with them, but also frequently advocated rape." More on the history of the group from Amia Srinivasan in the London Review of Books.

+ "Shoot me in the head." NPR: Toronto officer praised for restraint in standoff with suspected van driver.


Doc Holiday

"I don't want to put a man through a process like this ... It's too ugly, and it's too disgusting ... I said to Dr. Jackson, what do you need it for? To be abused by a bunch of politicians? ... If I was him … I wouldn't do it." White House physician Ronny L. Jackson was scheduled to begin confirmation hearings on the way to becoming the next head of the Department of Veterans Affairs. Those hearings are on hold because of various allegations. It looks like that delay could be permanent.

+ The Atlantic: The Negligent Nomination of Ronny Jackson.


Grabs Popcorn

"Of course there's the massive cash burn. Just ignore that for a second. The rest of the story is doing something that's quite unique ... Netflix is essentially in its own league." LA Times: Netflix is selling $1.9 billion of junk bonds to fund more shows. Netlfix is massive. And massively leveraged. And much of Hollywood is being fueled by that dough. Stay tuned.

+ I dig Netflix. But I wonder why they are so determined to overpay for and amass way more original content than they seem to need? It's not just the shows. Netflix is now the biggest producer of original films in America.


Red’s Dead, Baby. Red’s Dead.

"The world lacks a great all-around red. Always has. We've made do with alternatives that could be toxic or plain gross. The gladiators smeared their faces with mercury-based vermilion. Titian painted with an arsenic-based mineral called realgar. The British army's red coats were infused with crushed cochineal beetles. For decades, red Lego bricks contained cadmium, a carcinogen." BusinessWeek on the quest for the next billion dollar color.


Underworld Cup

"For the past two decades the Russian state has encouraged groups of violent far-right fans. As the World Cup approaches, it is struggling to tame them." Simon Parkin in The Guardian: The rise of Russia's neo-Nazi football hooligans.



"The Power Vest is practical and casual, yet it somehow enhances the illusion of a man's professional competence, unlike, say, flip-flops. It's a contradiction: It shouldn't be office appropriate, and yet it's ubiquitous." Buzzfeed's Katie Notopoulos: I Wore A Fleece Vest To Work To See If I Felt Like A Tech Bro.


Bottom of the News

Over the course of three years, Dylan McWilliams was bitten by a shark, attacked by a bear, and bitten by a rattlesnake. The odds of that are 893 quadrillion to one. And yet, he still considers himself an outdoor enthusiast.

+ The Labrador Retriever is the most popular dog breed in America. This year. And for the last 27 years.