August 9th – The Day’s Most Fascinating News

Social mediators wanted, may the space force be with you, and why it took Dunkin Donuts a decade to make a new cup.

“In journalism, reporters who lie are fired. But no newsroom has a structure like Facebook, with 2 billion individuals publishing stories and no real editors. On a platform where users can publish freely, and provocations and misinformation are incentivized by the very architecture of the platform, what’s a publisher to do? Perhaps a better question is: What is the publisher’s moral or ethical responsibility?” Adrienne LaFrance in The Atlantic: The Most Powerful Publishers in the World Don’t Give a Damn. — I’m not sure that they don’t give a damn. But what we’ve learned (again) over the past few weeks is that Mark Zuckerberg and Jack Dorsey aren’t up to the task of establishing and expressing clear policies when it comes to content moderation on their networks. And that’s not necessarily a surprising revelation. It’s a difficult, and in some ways, unprecedented challenge. Two steps would help. First, bring in more journalism experts who have some experience managing these kinds of problems. Second, bring users into the process. This is, after all, our public square. We are Twitter. We provide the content. We built the community. Why are we ignored when it comes to what gets said and who gets to be part of that community? We are everything else. So we should also be the editors.

+ “Twitter is doubling down on the same squishy point of view that has allowed too much of it to become a cesspool over the last several years, and it has little intention of truly cleaning up.” Kara Swisher in the NYT: Rules Won’t Save Twitter. Values Will.

+ It turns out tech companies can edit when they want to. The Intercept takes you inside Google’s effort to build a censored search engine in China.


Recommending Letters

“In fact, 75 percent of survey respondents said receiving personal mail ‘made them feel special’—and we all know how much Millennials are supposed to like that.” CityLab on a new report that suggest how Millennials can save the Postal Service. (Letters are personal, tactile, and Alex Jones almost never makes an appearance in one…)


Space Force Fed

“Just as we’ve done in ages past, the United States will meet the emerging threats on this new battlefield. The time has come to establish the United States Space Force.” So said Vice President Pence as he provided the early details for the creation of the Space Force in what would be the sixth branch of the military? (Hopefully, this includes the space between our computers and the internet, because that sure seems to be where the war is being waged…)


Argentina’s Abortion Vote

“The power of the Catholic Church in Argentina, the homeland of Pope Francis, played a vital role in the bill’s demise, with rural areas deeply hostile to the proposed change in the law.” Vice: Argentina’s final push to legalize abortion just got voted down.


Liquid Assets

“In the worst-case scenario, it foreshadows a future in which drinkable water is up for grabs to the highest bidder rather than democratically accountable officials. And it underscores a dystopian threat that campaigners have worried about for decades: that one day every last drop of water, whose scarcity threatens cities from Australia to Asia to Latin America, will be controlled by profit-hungry private companies.” Buzzfeed: A company at the center of Flint’s water crisis is on the shortlist to serve millions in Africa.


Pop Top

“On Monday, Nooyi announced that she will step down as PepsiCo’s CEO, in October, after twelve years in the role. Her departure will leave only twenty-three women with top jobs at companies in the S&P 500 stock index.” The New Yorker: Indra Nooyi and the Vanishing Female CEO.

+ “Although there are a few signs that the gap is shrinking, a variety of data shows that girls still spend more time on household chores than boys do. They are also paid less than boys for doing chores and have smaller allowances.” Claire Cain Miller in the NYT: A Generationally Perpetuated Pattern: Daughters Do More Chores. (We’re bucking this trend in my household…)


Another Nick in the Wall

“Nearly 19 months into his presidency — and three months ahead of pivotal midterm elections — the envisioned $25 billion border wall remains unfunded by lawmakers. Deportations are lagging behind peak rates under President Barack Obama, while illegal border crossings, which plummeted early in Trump’s tenure, have spiked.” WaPo: Trump hits a wall in efforts to curb illegal immigration.

+ Buzzfeed: “Immigrants run up lower health care costs than people born in the US and contribute more to public health programs than they use themselves.”

+ Not all the immigrant-related news is bad. Melania Trump’s parents were just sworn in as US citizens.


Stalling All Cars

If you’re on a corner in NYC waiting for your Uber, it might be a little late. Like a year. The city just announced a 12-month pause when it comes to issuing new licenses. “New York would be the first city in the U.S. to cap the number of Uber and Lyft vehicles, as well as establish a minimum wage for drivers. It would also impose a new license requirement with more robust data-sharing requirements for the fiercely proprietary companies.” CityLab: New York City Just Changed the Uber Game. (If you can’t find a car, you can always try to squeeze on the back of someone’s scooter…)


Plier and Brimstone

“Getting your teeth straightened no longer means paying $4,000 or more and schlepping to a million appointments. Like pretty much everything else being disrupted these days, startups with good funding are here to upend the teeth straightening industry. And they’re not doing it quietly. They have gone head-to-head in legal and public relations brawls with the dental establishment, detractors, and even regulatory and professional bodies as more and more competitors enter the market.” Racked: The Cutthroat World of Orthodontic Invisible Aligner Startups. (Editor’s note: I’ve found it’s a poor idea to anger an orthodontist.)


Bottom of the News

“About 10 years ago, Dunkin’ Donuts execs began talking seriously about ditching the foam cups most stores were still using for most medium, large and extra-large hot drinks in favor of something more sustainable.” And now, they’re ready to roll out the new cups. Entrepreneur: Why It Took Dunkin’ Donuts 10 Years to Build the Perfect New Cup.

+ I Say LOL, You Say Ek 1: How People Around The World Laugh Online.

+ An in the park homerun is a pretty rare and exciting event in the MLB. More rare is when the homerun comes off a bunt. (Don’t normalize this.)

+ It’s Time to Admit That Iceberg Is a Superior Lettuce.

+ “If it seems when you scroll through your feed that everything looks similar, that’s probably because it is. That artfully constructed shot of your latté and avocado toast brunch? The shot of your feet dangling over the edge of a waterfall? You in the back of a canoe? It’s been done before. To death.” Let’s cut to the chase: You Are Not Original Or Creative On Instagram.

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