Thursday, December 6th, 2018


Can You Watch My Kids?

Are we selling out our kids' futures in exchange for a few extra likes? (I'm not judging, just asking.) The collection of data about our children can start even before they're born. A new "report calculates that by the time a kid turns 18, there will be 70,000 posts about them on the internet. The report calls on parents and schools to examine the type of gadgets children play with, like smart speakers, wifi-powered toys, and gaming apps, all of which are collecting data on kids. It also recommends that local governments start pressuring big tech for answers about surveillance and data collection." Vox: Big tech has your kid's data — and you probably gave it to them. (If the posts I see on Facebook are any indication, big tech probably thinks your kids are a lot more agreeable than they really are...)


Dollars and Senescents

Sophocles wrote: "Old age and the passage of time teach all things." Well, it turns out that those lessons can be brutal. "Some 5 million older Americans are financially exploited every year by scammers [and] at the hands of greedy, desperate or drug addicted relatives and friends, among others. The total number of victims is increasing as baby boomers retire and their ability to manage trillions of dollars in personal assets diminishes. One financial services firm estimates seniors lose as much as $36.5 billion a year. But assessments like that are 'grossly underestimated,' ... For every case reported to authorities, as many as 44 are not." From telephone pitches to online scams to screwed up relatives, this is How Criminals Steal $37 Billion a Year from America's Elderly. (Sophocles also wrote about Oedipus, so I'm pretty sure he saw this trend coming...)


She’s Got Huawei About Her

"Meng Wanzhou, Huawei's chief financial officer and the daughter of Huawei's founder, is set to appear in court Friday for a bail hearing after being arrested in Vancouver while changing planes on Saturday. Meng was arrested on a U.S. request because Huawei is suspected of trying to evade American sanctions on Iran." Remember several months ago when Trump had dinner with Xi and suggested that the trade riff with China was cooling and the markets soared? Oh wait, that wasn't months ago. It was earlier this week. Since then, as your stock portfolio can tell you, things have gotten a little complicated. And they just got more so. WaPo: China protests despicable hooliganism after arrest of Huawei executive


Our Conclusions Are Overdrawn

Derek Thompson in The Atlantic: "The 80 million–plus people born in the United States between the early 1980s and the late 1990s stand accused of assassinating various hallmarks of modern life. The list of the deceased includes golf, department stores, the McDonald's McWrap, and canned tuna ... With the national murder rate in long-term decline, it may even be said that Millennials are killing killing." But the truth is that millennials habits and desires are pretty similar to those that came before. It's the environment that changed. Millennials Didn't Kill the Economy. The Economy Killed Millennials. (And if recent market signals are any indication, it's coming for the rest of us too...)


Unknown Soldier

"He knew the mission was in support of border agents combing harsh borderland terrain to arrest anyone unlawfully in the country. People like him." WaPo: He's a U.S. soldier deployed on the southern border — and an unlawful immigrant.


Getting the Picture

InFocus marks the end of the year with three collections of photos: How the First Months Unfolded (from the Winter Olympics to Zuck facing Congress). A Look at the Middle Months (World Cup to lava destroyed neighborhoods in Hawaii). And Wrapping Up the Year (Kavanaugh raging to California's raging fires). In all, there are 120 images that provide a great way to review 2018.

+ NatGeo 2018 Photo Contest.


Suffrage Against the Machine

"Now two women intimately involved with McCrae Dowless's absentee ballot machine have revealed to BuzzFeed News its grim and chaotic workings, in which Dowless tracked votes on yellow paper and paid his workers, including family members, from stacks of cash, and that some were on opioids while they worked." Buzzfeed: Inside The North Carolina Republican Vote Machine: Cash, Pills — And Ballots.

+ WaPo: Republican officials had early warnings of voting irregularities in North Carolina. (And it wasn't all partisan. It started as a GOP on GOP crime.)


Eat, Drink, and Be Wary

"The woman took a seat at one of the tables in the center of the room. She wore a light-blue dress with a high neckline, little makeup, and no jewelry. There was nothing remarkable about her appearance, and her demeanor was quiet and unassuming, as if designed to deflect attention—a trait indispensable for her profession." John Colapinto in The New Yorker: Lunch with M. Undercover with a Michelin inspector.

+ Used Car Dealership in Tottori Recognized by the Michelin Guide for its Ramen. (What the pho?)


Globe Spotter

"Vice led the way for film, while The Assassination of Gianna Versace: American Crime Story collected the most chances for a trophy on the TV side of the business." Here's the complete list of Golden Globe nominees.

+ The 22 Biggest Snubs and Surprises.


Bottom of the News

NPR: "As December draws its darkest hours ever longer, inching moment by moment toward the shortest day of the year — in the northern hemisphere, at least — the Pantone Color Institute is striking a defiant tone. The global experts in hue have crowned 'living coral' as their annual color of the year for 2019." (Given the state of the nation, it's a little more orange than I'd like...)

+ NYT: The inventor of the water bed is reprising and updating it for a Casper world. "Mr. Hall said that he hopes Afloat's market will be not just aging, achy boomers, but Gen Xers and millennials. 'It's like salmon,' he said. 'They'll return to the place where they were spawned.'" (If that's true, my daughter will be most comfortable sleeping drunk in the back of a Volvo...)