Wednesday, November 27th, 2019


Hole Puncher

I believe in science. I worry about climate change. I'm just not sure a world without bagels is worth saving. Fortunately, only citizens of Montreal have to face this stark choice between life and that which makes life worth living. The seeds of the issue boiling over stem from "environmentalists who want to abolish the pollutant-producing ovens where the bagels are made." The bagel, already endlessly schmeared by gluten-free aficionados and anti-carb paleo protagonists, now faces its biggest threat since Lenders poked a hole in white bread and tried to pass it off as a bagel. The impasse has forced Canadians to choose a side, and in some cases, that choice is making for odd breadfellows. NYT: A Montreal Bagel War Unites Rival Kings.


The Apple of My Ire

"Russian forces annexed Crimea from Ukraine in March 2014, drawing international condemnation. The region, which has a Russian-speaking majority, is now shown as Russian territory on Apple Maps and its Weather app, when viewed from Russia. But the apps do not show it as part of any country when viewed elsewhere." In the grand scheme of things, how a digital map appears in a single region seems small. But it's just one more example of how big tech is becoming its own form of big government. And that government might not represent the values of its constituencies. BBC: Apple changes Crimea map to meet Russian demands.

+ Apple recently banned vaping apps. Again, it's a pretty small issue. But it's more evidence that there's a new sheriff in town. Daring Fireball with a roundup: L'Affaire Vaperware.

+ Of any tech company, Apple is probably the least likely to be called to task by its users (I've been one since the term the one percent referred to Apple's marketshare). Nick Bilton on Teflon Tim in Vanity Fair: Apple's carefully managed good guy aura is a powerful shield against criticism—but it may not last forever.


Seal of Approval

"It would be a mistake, however, to view Trump's pardons as stemming from a deep reverence for the military or an understanding of the difficulties faced by service members. Rather, he views these crimes as acts of nationalist solidarity against Muslims, against whom crimes are not simply acceptable but praiseworthy. Trumpists are capable of recognizing the evils of excessive state power—but only when it is directed at those they see as like themselves. When it is directed at those they hate and fear, such excesses are not crimes but virtues." Adam Serwer in The Atlantic: The War-Crimes President.

+ I'm guessing this topic might come up around your Thanksgiving table (assuming the Montreal bagel controversy can't get you all the way through the day), so here's some background from an episode of the Daily: A Secret in the Navy Seals.


Tales From the Crypto Crypt

"Bitcoin bros the world over became millionaires. And then the bubble burst, everything went to hell, everyone consoled your cousin while breathing a sigh of relief, because crypto had disappeared, and none of you needed to figure out what the hell it had been. Only crypto didn't disappear, it just went quiet. And this Thanksgiving, the evangelists will tell you it's bigger, more relevant than ever, only they're not just your cousin anymore. They're the People's Bank of China. They're Mark Zuckerberg. Talking about crypto today is more like talking about the climate crisis. Forget real or unreal. It's 'how soon,' and 'oh crap.' Crypto is life. You just don't know it yet." The excellent Rosecrans Baldwin in GQ: Cryptocurrency Will Not Die. (This year, I'm grateful that, among my extended family members coming over for Thanksgiving, none are cryptocurrency evangelists.)


Dire Ed

"About 250 students have now been arrested since January on immigration violations by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) as part of a sting operation by federal agents who enticed foreign-born students, mostly from India, to attend the school that marketed itself as offering graduate programs in technology and computer studies, according to ICE officials." Detroit Free Press: ICE arrests 90 more students at fake university in Michigan. (There's nothing the boss likes more than a fake university...)

+ "Anytime there is information that indicates that any country has messed with American elections, we not only have a right, but a duty, to make sure we chase that down." Mke Pompeo wants us to investigate election meddling. Ukrainian election meddling. Yes, really. NPR: Mike Pompeo Says Ukraine, 2016 Election Interference Should Be Investigated.

+ Meanwhile, Rudy? Rudy who? CNBC: Trump denies sending Rudy Giuliani to Ukraine to push Biden, election probes.

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


Tick Tact Dough

"As frenzied as fan conversations about the best way to buy tickets can be, the advice in Book of Resell makes them look downright legible. Various strategies include: using five different credit cards tied to different email addresses to get five different presale codes from five different merch purchases; borrowing a handful of phones with a handful of Ticketmaster accounts from a handful of siblings; buying $10 burner phones on eBay and setting them up with ultra-cheap phone plans; timing the burner phones as they move through less competitive ticket queues to see if one happens to be, for whatever reason, a little faster." There aren't as many bots trying to beat you to those concert tickets. But there are still a lot of humans. The Atlantic: The New Ticket Scalpers Are Young, Unashamed, and Very Online. (That may be true. But ain't nobody stopping this guy from scoring prime seats to the Doobie Brothers reunion tour...)


Salad Bowl Salad Days Tossed

"Over the past eight years, there has been a 37 percent loss of low-rent units in the city, while rents have shot up by almost 60 percent since 2014 — roughly four times the national average. According to the National Low Income Housing Coalition, the "housing wage" necessary to afford a modest two-bedroom apartment in Salinas, whose costs now exceed those of Miami and Chicago, is $29.62 per hour." California Sunday Magazine: South of San Francisco, in a fertile corner of California that feeds much of the country, working families are sleeping in shelters and parking lots. 3 kids. 2 paychecks. No home.


Ghost Preppers

"Since ghost guns are put together outside of licensed gun manufacturing systems and don't have serial numbers, they are almost impossible for law enforcement to trace." Time: The Saugus High School Shooter Used an Illegal 'Ghost Gun.' Authorities Warn More Criminals Are Using Untraceable Weapons to Get Around Gun Laws. (Gun laws?)


(Bo) Vine

"The project subjected cattle to a simulated summer field with colors tuned for the animals' eyes, giving them a decidedly more pleasing landscape than a plain, confining farm." Cows wearing VR headsets might produce better milk.


Bottom of the News

"The internet should have killed the Butterball Turkey Talk-Line years ago, but all the Google searches, YouTube videos and turkey tweets in the world can't match the small-bore magic that happens here on the fifth floor of a suburban office building 34 miles southwest of Chicago." NYT: Turkey Trouble? At Butterball, Operators Are Still Standing By. (I have a recurring nightmare that I call this number and a turkey picks up...)

+ WaPo: How legal weed turned Thanksgiving into a high holiday. (Actually, it was hanging out with your relatives that did that...)

+ Why Do the Lions and Cowboys Always Play on Thanksgiving?

+ And because he needs to ruin everything, Donald Trump Is Now Saying that Democrats Want to Change the Name Thanksgiving. (I don't care what you call it, as long as it's fact baste.)