Thursday, August 2nd, 2018


I Found My Trill

I have a sticker on my laptop that says: "I was a Mac user when Apple was doomed." Back in the day, when Apple had a tiny marketshare, a small band of true believers and Never Windows users would make continuous pilgrimages to dank stores South of Market (before it was SOMA) where sweaty, bearded, heavy-breathing sales clerks would laud their expertise before deigning to sell us a computer product that often cost twice as much as the competition. And we loved it ... much like people who bought and held Apple stock back then are loving today's milestone as that little computer company catering to designers and geeks just became the first company to hit a $1trillion valuation. Of course, the turning point came with the introduction of the iPhone. Not everyone saw it right away. Steve Balmer explained: "There's no chance that the iPhone is going to get any significant market share. No chance." Blackberry's co-founder predicted, "In terms of a sort of a sea-change for BlackBerry, I would think that's overstating it." While those guys were particularly off the mark, it's hard to imagine anyone understood back then how much the iPhone and its followers would change our world, for better and worse. But not as hard as it would have been for me and the other weirdos at that old school corner Mac store to imagine that our beloved little Cupertino Mac maker would be the subject of an article titled: Apple's Trillion Dollar World.


Fuel’s Gold

From Bloomberg: "The Trump administration, taking aim at one of former President Barack Obama's signature environmental achievements, is proposing to suspend required increases in vehicle fuel economy after 2020 and unwind California's authority to limit tailpipe greenhouse gas emissions in the state."

+ You'd think undoing another Obama achievement, pissing off California, and accelerating the pace at which the Earth turns into little more than a rotating fireball would be enough. But, no. According to the NYT, proponents have come up with an amazing reason for the change: It will make us safer! "First, people who buy fuel-efficient vehicles will end up driving more, increasing the odds that they will get into a crash. Second, the fuel-efficient vehicles will themselves be more expensive, slowing the rate at which people buy newer vehicles with advanced safety features. Third, automakers will have to make their cars lighter in response to rising standards, slightly hurting safety." (You've got to huff a lot of supreme to believe that argument...)


Remains to be Seen

President Trump thanked Kim Jong Un "for keeping your word & starting the process of sending home the remains of our great and beloved missing fallen! I am not at all surprised that you took this kind action." It could take years to identify the 55 remains that were returned last week. The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency "usually also relies on any items that may have been found with remains like uniforms, dog tags and wedding rings to identify remains. But North Korea only provided one dog tag with the 55 boxes it handed over last week."


That Censor Ship Has Sailed

"Google removed its search engine service from China in 2010 and said at the time that it 'could no longer continue censoring our results' in the country." Now, apparently, Google can no longer keep itself away from the massive Chinese market. NPR: Google Testing a Censored Search Engine Just for China.

+ Spiegel: China's Xinjiang Region. A Surveillance State Unlike Any the World Has Ever Seen. (But one that will be seen in many other parts of the world before long...)


Coats Island

"We continue to see a pervasive messaging campaign by Russia to try to weaken and divide the United States." So said Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats as America's top intel and defense players explained the ongoing threat posed by Russian interference.

+ Most amazing part of the press conference: Top intel guy Dan Coats saying, "I am not in a position fully to understand what happened in Helsinki."

+ To further understand why Helsinki was such a big deal, I recommend this Preet Bharara interview with Jeremy Bash. Calm, clear, informative as hell.


Cored Values

"They try and punish me for something that happened a long time ago, but they're not punishing me, they're punishing my husband, my kids. It makes you think if it's really worth fighting for this country when it comes down to this, putting your life at risk for a country that doesn't take your service into consideration." Military family shattered as wife of decorated US marine deported to Mexico. (Feel safer?)


Cat Got Your Tongue

"Lawmakers approved the law in a second reading late on Wednesday, days after outrage erupted in France after a man attacked a young woman, Marie Laguerre, when she responded to lewd noises he made at her outside a Paris cafe." Reuters: France outlaws lewd cat-calls to women in public amid attack uproar.

+ France also banned smartphone use in schools. (It's a shame to make kids drag their Minitels back and forth to school every day...)


James, Dean

"Part of the reason the school is beginning with kids in third- and fourth-grade is because that's when he believes kids begin to succumb to chronic absenteeism and outside pressures. 'In the fourth grade, I missed 80 days of school.'" Quartz on LeBron James' new school for at-risk kids.


Catalog Jam

"Typing 'socks' into Amazon's search bar yields a seemingly infinite number of options. But the Hammacher Schlemmer spring catalog supplement offers only the Best Circulation Enhancing Travel Socks and the Plantar Fasciitis Foot Sleeves, 45 pages apart." Chicago Mag: How does catalog-loving retailer Hammacher Schlemmer, famous for such eccentric and extravagant products as the Navigable Water Park, continue to survive in the age of Amazon?


Bottom of the News

"Around 10 years ago, Baker was raising chickens with her daughter on their small farm in Claremont, New Hampshire when she first saw a YouTube video of a chicken wearing what looked to be an upside-down apron that stretched across its backside." The Outline on The Booming Business Of Luxury Chicken Diapers.

+ "It's an ugly looking jacket. Mine is much nicer. He should've gone to Gucci if he's going to waste money." Shopaholic Buzz Bissinger has some feedback on Paul Manafort's purchasing decisions.

+ How will we know when TV's remake madness has gone from fun to dangerous? Hint: Alf.