Friday, October 26th, 2018


Chill, Baby Chill

"Mindfulness and meditation have become big business for tech-savvy entrepreneurs. But can you really unplug and reset while tied to an app on your phone? Companies like Headspace and Insight Timer say yes. But longtime practitioners, philosophers, and scientists aren't so sure." In The Ringer, Mike Powell looks at Meditation in the Time of Disruption. (It seems to me the first thing we need to do is acknowledge that the recent surge of interest in meditation is probably a result of the stress we feel from being in front of these screens all day. I'm guessing that same stress has helped move marijuana legalization and fueled a near obsession with getting enough sleep. The big question, of course, is whether technology can solve the problems technology has created.)


Florida Man With a Van

Yesterday, I predicted that the mail bomber would be apprehended within 24 hours. And this morning, a man in his fifties was arrested in Florida as authorities hauled away a white van covered with stickers. President Trump praised law enforcement and said, "The bottom line is that Americans must unify. We must show the world that we are united together in peace and love and harmony as fellow American citizens." (And no, there was no rimshot after he said that...) Here's the latest from CNN and Buzzfeed.

+ Buzzfeed: Pipe Bomb Suspect's Social Media Is Filled With Pro-Trump And Anti-Democrat Memes.


Weekend Whats

What to Book: This week's stock market suckage makes this as good a time as any to read Gary Shteyngart's latest novel about a down-on-his-luck hedge fund star who sets out on a cross country Greyhound trip. Author Elizabeth Gilbert sums it up: "This is a novel that seems to have been created in real time, reflecting with perfect comedy and horrible tragedy exactly what America feels like right this minute." Check out Lake Success.

+ What to Read: "Through documents and audio recordings, some never before made public, and interviews with key people who have never before spoken, the Globe's Spotlight Team has compiled the story of a profoundly troubled young man and the ugly underside of America's most popular sport." From Boston Globe's Spotlight: Gladiator Aaron Hernandez And Football Inc.

+ What to Review: If you missed it yesterday, be sure to read this fast-paced and excellent reflection on dunking and depression. What the Hell Happened to Darius Miles?


Bull …. Shit…

The US economy continued to grow at a solid pace in the third quarter, but investors are still seeking a portfolio in the storm as the near decade-long bull market took several kicks to gut this week. And the tech sector, already facing a significant pullback, was further distressed by weak earnings from Amazon and Alphabet. (It's always a key market indicator when I'm writing about stocks while curled up in a fetal position and weeping...)


This Guy’s a Real Prince

"The crown prince appears to be aware of the dangers ahead. He also already appears to be gaming his political rehabilitation, both at home and in the eyes of the outside world." Robin Wright in The New Yorker: Can Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince, Mohammed bin Salman, Survive the Jamal Khashoggi Murder?

+ The Atlantic: Khashoggi's Murder Heralds a New Era of Impunity.

+ Vox: Saudi Arabia repressed free speech in the past, but under MBS things have gotten a whole lot worse.

+ NYT: "Mohammed bin Salman is the latest in a long line of 'courageous modernizers' who turned out to be vicious dictators. Why do people keep falling for it?" (I've said it once, I'll say it again: Beware of reformers wearing crowns...)


Borderline Personality

"The move would be the most drastic in a series of steps that Mr. Trump has taken or threatened to take in recent days — including preparations on Thursday to send as many as 1,000 active-duty Army troops to help secure the southern border — as he works to stop what he has called an 'onslaught' of immigrants only days before the midterm elections." NYT: Trump Considers Closing Southern Border to Migrants.


Dodge Challenger

"Citing road construction, officials recently moved it for the November election to the Expo Center outside of town and more than a mile from the nearest bus stop." Moving Dodge City's Kansas polling place outside the city limits was the first step in a process that seemed to be aimed at making it harder to vote. Then voters got a mailing that included a wrong address for the new polling place. AP: New voters get notices listing wrong Dodge City polling site.


The Hurt Grokker

As REM so aptly stated, Everybody Hurts. But it turns out, not everybody hurts the same. "Pain is the single most common symptom reported when seeking medical attention. Under normal circumstances, pain signals injury, and the natural response is to protect ourselves until we have recovered and the pain subsides. Unfortunately, people differ not only in their ability to detect, tolerate and respond to pain but also in how they report it and how they respond to various treatments." Why do some people hurt more than others.

+ Want some idea of how prevalent opioid overdoses have gotten? Every U.S. Public Library and YMCA Will Soon Get Narcan for Free.


Different Strokes

"The artwork was produced using an algorithm and a data set of 15,000 portraits painted between the 14th and 20th centuries." A portrait painted using artificial intelligence just sold for $432,000.

+ "The company asked a team of six people to watch and annotate 109 hours of p-rn and hired machine learning engineers to create a model to take all that data and translate it into what the toy does. This entire process took three years." Motherboard: Scientists Processed 109 Hours of Oral Sex to Develop a Very Specialized AI. (Hey, it's about time we had a feel-good tech story!)


Feel Good Friday

"While this Starbucks looks like every other outlet of the coffee chain -- mermaid logo, mugs for sale, baristas in bright green aprons -- there's one thing that makes it very special. Every single employee here is fluent in American Sign Language." Starbucks opens its first US sign language store in Washington, DC. (Whether you're speaking it or signing it, everyone feels sort of silly calling a Large a Venti...)

+ A Kindergarten Class Learned To Sign Happy Birthday For Their Hard-Of-Hearing Custodian

+ European Parliament Approves Ban On Some Single-Use Plastics.

+ Scientists Create Artificial Wood That Is Water- and Fire-Resistant.

+ "There's only one hockey team in all of Kenya. They had nobody to play. So, we brought them to Canada."

+ He spent 30 years shining shoes -- and raised more than $200,000 for sick kids

+ Twisted fiber optic light breakthrough could make internet 100 times faster. (In the business, we call this a speedball.)

+ Billionaire Diamond Merchant Gives 600 Cars as Gifts. (Your move, Oprah...)

+ The Cotton Bureau hosted store for NextDraft shirts, hats, and stickers just got a major upgrade. It now takes Apple Pay. It's easier than ever to dress for success!