Monday, September 16th, 2019


Tick, Tick, Tik Tok

Americans have been pretty frustrated with some of the content that spreads on social networks like Facebook and Twitter. But, at least in those cases, users have some recourse and can take action to ensure platforms are following rules regarding speech (both free, and hate). But what happens when the hottest social network is run by a Chinese company? Tik Tok, formerly known as Musically, has long been one of the hottest apps among kids. And now it's attracting a lot of adults, including celebrities. One thing Tik Tok isn't attracting is accurate stories about what's going on Hong Kong. Tik Tok could be just a fun Karaoke-like app for teens. But it also could be at the front lines of the ongoing information wars. From WaPo: TikTok's Beijing roots fuel censorship suspicion as it builds a huge U.S. audience.


Bord at Work

"To have gone from where people didn't know much about us to where people actively hate us, it's difficult. There's no doubt morale has been poor in the past, and it's abysmal now. I know a lot of guys just want to leave." The NYT checks the morale of Border Patrol agents who have the same old titles, but entirely new job descriptions. 'People Actively Hate Us': Inside the Border Patrol's Morale Crisis.


Priming the Pump

"The United States has issued satellite images and cited intelligence to back its allegation Iran was behind attacks on major Saudi oil facilities." BBC: Saudi oil attacks: US says intelligence shows Iran involved.

+ Reuters: "An attack on Saudi Arabia that triggered the biggest jump in oil prices in almost 30 years was carried out with Iranian weapons, a Saudi-led coalition said on Monday, as President Donald Trump said Washington was 'locked and loaded' to hit back."

+ The Atlantic: Seven Questions That Need Answers Before Any Attack on Iran. One of those questions: "Who's in charge? It's not clear that anybody is. The president said in June that he would talk with Iran without preconditions. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo reaffirmed that offer only last week. Then on Twitter yesterday, Trump denied that such talks had ever been considered."


A Real Looker

"Can you see it? ... A single tree burning doesn't put up much smoke. There's a flash of lightning, sizzling across the sky. Then a pause as bark smolders and flames creep, building heat until poof: a signal in the sky. Philip Connors, gazing outward from a tower, sees it as a new dent on the crest of a distant ridge. He's spent thousands of hours contemplating the contours of southwest New Mexico. The fuzzy smudge is out of place." Technology has put a lot of people out of work. But it hasn't quite replaced the fire lookouts, people who spend their summers, perched high and alone, watching for fires. NPR: A Fire Lookout On What's Lost In A Transition To Technology. (If GrubHub delivers that far, this actually seems like a pretty cool job...)


Wired on Wireless

"The name 'FlankSpeed' was proposed, but they ultimately trademarked the name 'Wi-Fi'—a riff on 'hi-fi,' or high-fidelity from the era of home stereos." As Wi-Fi turns twenty years old, Wired explains how It Almost Didn't Happen. (Interestingly, the timing of the advent of Wi-Fi and the termination of my personal potential sync almost perfectly.)


Coal Position

"It has been a hot and mean summer in Letcher County, with a rash of coal mine bankruptcies and layoffs even crueler than the ones that came before. From the barstools at the American Legion post to the parking lot of the unemployment office, there was little debate: The coal business around here is going under. The only question was what would keep everyone afloat. These days, the answer has been: women." NYT: The Mines Shut Down, the Women Went to Work and the World Quietly Changed.


The Brett Offensive

A new book on Brett Kavanaugh has resurfaced stories and opened still raw political wounds. NPR: Reporters Dig Into Justice Kavanaugh's Past, Allegations Of Misconduct Against Him. "Several Democratic presidential candidates are calling for the impeachment of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh after The New York Times published an essay Sept. 14 describing alleged sexual misconduct that occurred during his college years at Yale."

+ "It's quite alarming, and that's just the tip of the iceberg because this study is only including women aged 18 to 44. You can imagine that if we asked this of women of all ages, the absolutely number would be many millions higher." 1 In 16 Women Reports First Sexual Experience As Rape.


Someone Forget to AB Test

"According to the police report of an August 2017 incident, Kyriss accused Brown of throwing a bottle of cologne and a bottle of lotion at her during an argument, then leaving for a preseason game. Officers observed no injuries to Kyriss, who, according to the report, was hesitant to pursue charges for fear of it affecting Brown's career." Sports Illustrated: There's More History to Antonio Brown's History. (This is not the controversy the NFL wanted during its 100th season, but it could be the controversy it deserves...)


Pink Link

"I would say thank you to all those who showed up today wearing pink or thinking pink. They don't know my wife and they don't know me and they didn't have to do it. I'm very grateful and honored and obviously overwhelmed." There was a pretty amazing scene at the Georgia football game this weekend as the home crowd wore pink to honor the passing of the wife of an opposing coach. "I'll be a Georgia fan the rest of my life," Arkansas State center Jacob Still said.


Bottom of the News

"Suddenly the man gets down on one knee, rips off his mask and shouts: 'Marry me!' It's Sergei, and it turns out he's the only one here who actually works in law enforcement. The others work for an 'extreme proposal' service - part of an industry established in Russia in recent years." BBC: 'Freeze... and marry me!' - Russians who propose at gunpoint.

+ Nice summer-ending photo essay from the NYT: Welcome to the party. The New York City block party.

+ And clearly, I buried the lede. Because you want to see a baby otter drinking milk.