Thursday, November 14th, 2019


Human Nature

Wanna get away? Tired of living in a surveillance society where your every step (and click) is being tracked? Maybe you thought you could escape to nature to nurture the need to be off the grid? Well, it turns out there are cameras out there too. These cameras were put there to capture and study animal activities. But they don't discriminate. "The humans who end up as bycatch aren't always pleased to have the cameras around ... Cameras were covered or blocked, or had their SD cards removed. Some were stolen, smashed, or shot at. In one instance, a tree was burnt down to eliminate the camera strapped to its trunk." From One Zero: Wildlife Cameras Are Accidentally Capturing Humans Behaving Badly. (I'll report back if one catches a human behaving well.)

+ At least one human with a camera caught something of note out there in the wild. A three antlered deer.

+ Humans feel entitled to invade nature and spoil the fun for the animals. Payback, as they say, is a bitch. GQ: Feral Hogs Steal $22,000 Worth of Cocaine From Drug-Trafficking Ring. (And you thought bacon was popular in the past...)


Backup Plan

"Servers and flash drives aren't durable enough for this purpose, so the data is encoded on what look like old-school movie reels, each weighing a few pounds and stored in a white plastic container about the size of a pizza box. It's basically microfilm. With the help of a magnifying glass, you—or, say, a band of End Times survivors—can see the data, be it pictures, text, or lines of code." Bloomberg: Open Source Code Will Survive the Apocalypse in an Arctic Cave.


Circle Turk

Axios: Erdogan upends Oval meeting to play anti-Kurd film on iPad. "An Oval Office meeting yesterday with Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan took a dark turn when Erdogan pulled out his iPad and made the group watch a propaganda video that depicted the leader of the primarily-Kurdish Syrian Democratic Forces as a terrorist, according to three sources familiar with the meeting."

+ In addition to attempting to propagandize US officials in the Oval Office (where'd he get the idea that would work?), Erdogan returned Trump's letter advising him not to invade Syria. NYT: Erdogan Hands ‘Tough Guy' Letter Back to Trump. But don't worry. Relations between Erdogan and Trump are still tight. Erdogan referred to Trump as a "dear friend" and Trump countered with, "I'm a big fan."


Socal School Shooting

"Some students remained locked in classrooms for more than an hour as authorities searched for the shooter. Eventually, they were led off the campus by deputies. Some were in tears. As they walked, one student asked aloud a question on the minds of many others across the state: 'What kind of a world is this?'" LA Times: Santa Clarita shooting: 1 dead, at least four others wounded at high school. Here's the latest from CNN.

+ "After the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida, Saugus High students joined thousands in nationwide walkouts in March 2018, leaving their classrooms for 15 minutes to protest gun violence ... The next month, a few of them hosted a gun control town hall with local leaders advocating for safer schools."

+ Related: "The Supreme Court said Tuesday a survivor and relatives of victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting can pursue their lawsuit against the maker of the rifle used to kill 26 people."


Bar Scene

"The only way I can describe is it's hell on Earth. You're either a wolf or sheep in here. The wolves run in packs and the sheep don't have a chance. If you do lash out, and you do try to stand up, you have to stand up to a pack of wolves by yourselves. The best thing you can do is lay low and watch the insanity." A Montgomery Advertiser special report from inside Alabama's prisons: 'American horror story': The prison voices you don't hear from have the most to tell us. (This is hard to read, which is why you should.)


Quid Pro, So?

Maybe there will come a moment when we need political pundits to explain what we just saw. But the first day of public impeachment hearings wasn't that moment. It was a clear, devastating, uncontested story of a corrupt president doing corruption. Which brings us to a question from The Atlantic's Ron Brownstein: Just How Far Will Republicans Go for Trump? "The larger question the hearings may raise, then, is whether the partisan divide has widened to the point where Republican voters and elected officials alike will not consider valid any process controlled by Democrats, no matter how powerful the evidence it produces. If that's the case, it points toward a future in which partisan loyalties eclipse, to a growing extent, any shared national commitment to applying the rule of law across party lines. Even given the decades-long rise in political polarization, such a rejection of common standards would constitute an ominous threshold for the nation to cross." (We've been blowing past ominous thresholds nonstop for three years...)

+ "It didn't take long for the crazy to start." The New Yorker's Susan Glasser on the G.O.P. Plan to Keep Impeachment Partisan.

+ Here's the latest from the impeach pit from WaPo and CNN.


Check Out the Hub, Bub

"At first glance, Roundup does not appear to be a hub for much of anything. Founded by homesteaders and ranchers in the late 19th century, it enjoyed boomlets as a coal town and a station along the Milwaukee railroad, but the coal tapped out and the train shut down, and the town's population has now sunk below 2,000. Its Main Street is lined with homages to its frontier past: silhouettes of cowboys painted on boarded-up windows; dust-covered wagon wheels in otherwise empty storefronts ... With a lone traffic signal flashing red, it just makes the cut for being a one-stoplight town. Roundup is, in short, just about the last place you might expect to become a nexus of international e-commerce." Josh Dzieza in The Verge: The Everything Town in the Middle of Nowhere. How the tiny town of Roundup, Montana, became a hub in Amazon's supply chain.

+ Your packages end up in weird places. And so does your money. The Guardian: The great American tax haven: why the super-rich love South Dakota. "It's known for being the home of Mount Rushmore – and not much else. But thanks to its relish for deregulation, the state is fast becoming the most profitable place for the mega-wealthy to park their billions."


Bridge the Gap

"The billboards that line the stretch of California's Interstate 8 headed toward Los Algodones make it clear travelers are not on their way to a typical tourism destination." HuffPo: Welcome to Molar City, Mexico, The Dental Mecca America's Health Care Costs Built.


Canal Street

"Among the rejected amendments were measures to fund renewable sources, to replace diesel buses with 'more efficient and less polluting ones,' to scrap polluting stoves and reduce the impact of plastics, he said." CNN: Italian council is flooded immediately after rejecting measures on climate change. (Thankfully, irony is waterproof...)

+ Photos of Venice Underwater: The Highest Tide in 50 Years.


Bottom of the News

(The Forever Young) Rod Stewart reveals his epic model railway city. "Sir Rod has released 13 studio albums and been on 19 tours during the time it took to build the city, which is modelled on both New York and Chicago around 1945. 'A lot of people laugh at it being a silly hobby, but it's a wonderful hobby.'" (I don't think so, but Maggie May...)

+ "Fortunately, I quite like heights, so it's lovely being up there." What It Takes to Maintain the Biggest Hedges in the U.K.

+ The Motorola Razr is back as a smartphone. And it folds.