Thursday, March 28th, 2019


Traffic Stop

Things quiet down. It's good for the environment. Residents have a chance to clear the air. But there's more to Bogota's Ciclovía. Something sorely needed in the age of smart phones and increasingly stratified urban areas: Community. This city bans cars every Sunday—and people love it. "The most important thing is the social fabric that gets woven [among people who use] the Ciclovía ... The Ciclovía is the moment when motor vehicles make way for human beings ... Our objective is to make citizens take over the city's public space." (This is an idea I can totally merge with.)

+ Let's keep the vibe going with David Bowie and Mick Jagger performing Dancing in the Streets, live in 1986. And Springsteen singing Out on the Streets in 1980. It would be nice to stop here, but even on days when the car traffic stops, the news traffic doesn't.


Duck Dynasty

"In Beijing, it's often cheaper to have food delivered than to get it yourself. Like, way cheaper. Abey Lin, a 19-year-old Californian studying at Beijing Film Academy, uses his smartphone to order a local restaurant's roast duck dish for 20 yuan ($2.99), about 80 percent less than it costs at the register ... Across the country, millions of people like Lin are ordering in two or three meals a day, as well as groceries, office supplies, haircuts, massages, and whatever else they might want. Behind this $35 billion delivery market isn't exactly efficiency." Bloomberg: The World's Greatest Delivery Empire. (There's no such thing as a free lunch. But nobody said anything about a subsidized one.)


Schiff Loving You Is Wrong…

"Your actions both past and present are incompatible with your duty as chairman. We have no faith in your ability to discharge duties." Following the no collusion Mueller report summary, House intelligence Republicans are calling on Chairman Adam Schiff to resign. Schiff didn't do that, but he did respond, listing several things we know the Trump campaign did. "You might think it's ok ... I don't." (Let the healing begin!)

+ Meanwhile, there is increasing pressure to release the full Mueller report, which runs a cool 300 pages (ensuring that few Americans will actually read it). So far, we've only seen a 4 page synopsis from AG Barr (at least he didn't double space).

+ "Trump's financial statement for 2011 said he had 55 home lots to sell at his golf course in Southern California ... But Trump had only 31 lots zoned and ready for sale at the course. He also claimed his Virginia vineyard had 2,000 acres, when it really has about 1,200. He said Trump Tower has 68 stories. It has 58." WaPo: How Donald Trump inflated his net worth to lenders and investors.

+ Bloomberg: Trump Fed Pick Stephen Moore Owes $75,000.


Drug Counter Revolution

"The billionaire owners of Purdue Pharma LP were sued by New York state for allegedly triggering an addiction epidemic with their marketing of the Oxycontin painkiller, just two days after the company agreed to pay $270 million to settle similar claims by Oklahoma." (Lucky for them, you can't overdose on lawsuits.) Bloomberg: Sackler Family to Be Sued by New York Over Opioid Catastrophe. (The Sacklers deserve all the heat they're getting, and more. But they didn't create this crisis alone. It was a perfect storm of bad behavior, awful decisions, and yet again, a wildly counter-productive war on drugs.)


Foreign Affairs

"How did the world's horniest social network become a national security issue? CFIUS wouldn't comment — as one source tells Reuters, 'doing so could potentially reveal classified conclusions by U.S. agencies.' But as a former Grindr user, I have some... informed speculation to share!" Casey Newton in The Verge: How Grindr became a national security issue.

+ "Facebook is discriminating against people based upon who they are and where they live. Using a computer to limit a person's housing choices can be just as discriminatory as slamming a door in someone's face" Facebook has been charged with housing discrimination by the US government.


False Branding

"That contact with the Christchurch suspect has renewed concerns that despite a self-conscious effort by Europe's 'new right' to rebrand itself with more careful language and a youthful face, its ideology is not much different from that of the neo-Nazis of old." NYT: Donation From New Zealand Attack Suspect Puts Spotlight on Europe's Far Right.


This Doesn’t Wow Me

"Wow customer Alison Fath says she and her fiancé are looking into Icelandair's offer, because the pair no longer have a ticket on a return flight from Paris to Baltimore this Sunday. And in a sign of how travel problems often cascade into each other, she says they can't meet Icelandair's proof-of-travel requirement — because Wow isn't available to issue an e-ticket she could convert into a new ticket." Wow, Indeed: Airline Ceases Operations, Leaving Travelers Stranded And Angry. (At least it didn't happen while anyone was in the air.)

+ Bloomberg: Wow Air's Demise Is Latest Threat to Iceland.


Endless Loop

"Every year on the closest Saturday to April Fools' Day, about 40 hand-picked runners line up behind the yellow metal gate that marks the entrance to northern Tennessee's Frozen Head State Park. Cantrell stands on the other side of the gate with a fresh Camel in hand. With a quiet flick, he lights the cigarette and lets out a stream of smoke: the signal that the race has begun. Over the next 60 hours, runners will attempt to complete five laps on a 20-mile course through the mountainous, forested park. More than 98 percent will fail." Outside: Meet Lazarus Lake, the Man Behind the Barkley Marathons.

+ I do not recommend running this race. However, I highly recommend watching the documentary about it. The Barkley Marathons: The Race That Eats Its Young.


The One Singular Sensation

"The Matrix has endured as both touchstone and Rorschach blot, a way for people of vastly different ideologies to make sense of the world around them. The effects are still a marvel, but the film's ideas have taken root in a destabilized culture where conspiracy theories flourish and individuals are defining for themselves what is and isn't real, and what constitutes freedom in a heavily monitored, highly synthetic technological space." The Matrix at 20: how the sci-fi gamechanger remains influential. (Fun Fact: When it first came out, no one had any idea it was actually a documentary.)


Bottom of the News

"The fluffy, frozen beverage is a sweet-tooth staple; the lab store's innovation is the organic Slurpee, made with 'farm to fountain' flavors like coconut, blood orange, and cucumber from Idaho's Tractor Beverage Company, which boasts that its syrups are USDA certified organic, GMO-free, and "entirely" natural. In the organic Slurpees, buzzy superfoods like celery and turmeric are ingredients in the cucumber flavor; allegedly stomach-soothing licorice root adds an extra veneer of health to the cherry cream flavor; the blood orange flavor also features turmeric, along with black carrot." Eater: The 7-Eleven of the Future Is an Organic Hellscape of Turmeric Slurpees.
Vox: The Avengers: Endgame theory that Ant-Man kills Thanos by expanding inside his butt, explained.

+ The Air Force is exploring AI-powered autonomous drones.

+ Look in the background during Interior Secretary Nominee David Bernhardt's opening statement. (The weirdest part is that this doesn't even qualify as weird in today's Washington...)

+ 50 Fascinating Facts About Cats (Because, apparently, it's Respect Your Cat Day!)

+ OK, I buried the lede. Baseball is back. Here's a look back at how the 1869 Cincinnati Red Stockings turned baseball into a national sensation.