Tuesday, May 17th, 2022


Sign of the Times

"After an unbearable silent dinner, she posted a broken-hearted message around 7 p.m., explaining to the world what her young son had lost and what it would mean to get it back. It was a half-court heave, and the whole family went to bed that night unaware that an unlikely savior was about to emerge overnight: the internet." The internet is terrible. People are awful, divided, and cruel. The world sucks. Everything is going wrong. Except in those cases where none of that is true. And it's worth reminding ourselves of those moments as often as we're reminded of the others. With that in mind, take a few minutes to catch up on the story of an 11 year-old kid named Elyjah Blankenberg. The young Yankees fan who lost his autographs.


White Noise

Joe Biden visited Buffalo on Tuesday, and told those who lost loved ones, "Jill and I have come to stand with you, and to the families, we have come to grieve with you." He added: "Now's the time for people of all races, from every background, to speak up as a majority and American and reject white supremacy." Traveling the country to grieve with families mourning mass shootings shouldn't have to be a key part of the job of being an American president. But it is. And there's zero sign that will change.

+ NPR: The Buffalo suspect bought a rifle months after cops ordered a psychiatric evaluation. (Look at our gun laws. Our whole country needs a psychiatric evaluation...)

+ "The hate — and the demented ideology — that has killed their neighbors and wounded a city forever has many sources of power. One of them is the nightly swill served up on Fox News.
Changing that — unlike regulating social media platforms or reforming gun laws — is something that could be accomplished overnight, with a mere wave of a Murdoch's hand.
But it won't be. And Buffalo, I'm sorry to say, will not be 'the last place this ever happened.'" Margaret Sullivan in WaPo (Gift Article): A racist theory drove the Buffalo tragedy. The Murdochs thrive on it. Of course, for hateful racism to sell, it needs a receptive audience. And, sadly, there is one.

+ WaPo: Only 22 saw the Buffalo shooting live. Millions have seen it since. "It is exactly the kind of horrific terrorist video that the world's biggest tech companies have vowed to block. But two days after the shooting, the footage was still widely available online — just as the gunman had hoped, according to a screed he wrote beforehand, bringing more attention to his racist cause."


Crypto Night

"The economic analogies are gambling and a Ponzi scheme. Because the profits that are given to the early investors are literally taken from the later investors. This is why I call the space overall, a 'self-assembled' Ponzi scheme. There's been no intent to make a Ponzi scheme. But due to its nature, that is the only thing it can be." UC-Berkeley's Nicholas Weaver has never been a fan of cryptocurrencies. But with all the hype (and the recent drops), it's probably at least worth considering why he says all cryptocurrency should die in a fire. (Mining for crypto is already carbon intensive. Maybe we can kill it in a more environmentally friendly way? CompostCurrency?)


You Take the Low Road

"The tunnel is in one of the most fortified stretches of the border, illustrating the limitations of border walls. While considered effective against small, crudely built tunnels called 'gopher holes,' walls are no match for more sophisticated passages that run deeper underground." U.S. authorities on Monday announced the discovery of a major drug smuggling tunnel — running about the length of a six football fields — from Mexico to a warehouse in an industrial area in the U.S.

+ Some drug tunnels are less fortified. A Narco Sinkhole Swallowed a Guy Sleeping on His Couch. (Oddly, I've always imagined that as the first line of my obit.)


Extra, Extra

Mariupol Pot: "The capture of Mariupol would make it the biggest city to be taken by Moscow's forces yet and would give the Kremlin a badly needed victory, though the landscape has largely been reduced to rubble." Fall of Mariupol appears at hand; fighters leave steel plant.

+ Finnishing School: "During the Cold War, the term Finlandization was coined to describe a nominally independent country whose foreign (and, to some extent, domestic) policies were dictated by a neighboring great power." Slate: Why Finland Joining NATO Is More Shocking Than Anyone Realizes. The big question now is whether or not Erdogan will let them join. All NATO members have to give a thumbs up. Turkey threatens to block Finland and Sweden Nato bids.

+ Transformer: The vaccines are doing a great job of preventing serious illnesses. But Covid is doing a great job at morphing just enough to reinfect people. NYT: How Often Can You Be Infected With the Coronavirus? (Repeatedly, sometimes within months.) Meanwhile, the FDA authorized Pfizer Covid booster for children.

+ Rock Bottom: "I've got to tell you, I wasn't feeling very good before I came out here. Feeling a little bit insecure, like, ‘I'm an old guy, can't play anymore' — all this bulls— that I tell myself in my head. So I talked to these guys, and they helped me — as simple as that. They gave me a hug and said, ‘Hey, if you're struggling onstage, we've got your back.' And I tell you, it means the world to me." Metallica frontman opens up about mental health struggles, cries onstage in Brazil. Depression doesn't care how metal you are. We all just have to find a way to rock on.


Bottom of the News

I don't know if it tells us much. And it's certainly not a surprise. But news articles about the Depp/Heard trial have generated more total social media interactions than coverage about abortion and the Supreme Court or inflation. (At least now we know who shit the bed: social media.)

+ I wandered lonely as a cloud. And then I saw a delivery robot powered by the cloud.