🎧 ‘The Daily’: The Return of Rudy Giuliani | New York Times

Listened to ‘The Daily’: The Return of Rudy Giuliani by Michael Barbaro from nytimes.com

Since joining President Trump’s legal team, Rudolph W. Giuliani has repeatedly made attention-grabbing TV appearances in which he has antagonized Robert S. Mueller III, the special counsel overseeing the Russia investigation. The strategy is reminiscent of one that Mr. Giuliani has used before — 30 years ago, as a prosecutor in New York City taking on the Mafia.


On today’s episode:

• Michael Winerip, who covered Mr. Giuliani’s rise as a Manhattan prosecutor in the 1980s for The New York Times.

Background reading:

• Mr. Giuliani’s revelation that President Trump reimbursed his personal lawyer for a $130,000 payment to Stephanie Clifford, the pornographic film actress known as Stormy Daniels, may expose the president to new legal and political troubles.

• In an interview on Sunday, Mr. Giuliani suggested it was possible that other women had received hush money on behalf of Mr. Trump and that the president might invoke the Fifth Amendment to avoid testifying in the Russia investigation.

• Mr. Giuliani’s recent criticism of law enforcement has come as a surprise to those who have known him as one of its fiercest advocates.

So the implication here is not so much that Trump is bringing in someone who has been a champion for him, but that he’s brought in someone with experience prosecuting massive corruption and criminal enterprise similar to the mafia.

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🎧 Caliphate – Chapter Three: The Arrival | New York Times

Listened to Caliphate - Chapter Three: The Arrival by Rukmini Callimachi, Andy Mills from nytimes.com

ISIS turns fantasy into reality for a new recruit.

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👓 The platform patrons: How Facebook and Google became two of the biggest funders of journalism in the world | Columbia Journalism Review

Read The platform patrons: How Facebook and Google became two of the biggest funders of journalism in the world by Mathew Ingram (Columbia Journalism Review)

Taken together, Facebook and Google have now committed more than half a billion dollars to various journalistic programs and media partnerships over the past three years, not including the money spent internally on developing media-focused products like Facebook’s Instant Articles and Google’s competing AMP mobile project. The result: These mega-platforms are now two of the largest funders of journalism in the world.

The irony is hard to miss. The dismantling of the traditional advertising model—largely at the hands of the social networks, which have siphoned away the majority of industry ad revenue—has left many media companies and journalistic institutions in desperate need of a lifeline. Google and Facebook, meanwhile, are happy to oblige, flush with cash from their ongoing dominance of the digital ad market.

The result is a somewhat dysfunctional alliance. People in the media business (including some on the receiving end of the cash) see the tech donations as guilt money, something journalism deserves because Google and Facebook wrecked their business. The tech giants, meanwhile, are desperate for some good PR and maybe even a few friends in a journalistic community that—especially now—can seem openly antagonistic.

A stunning and relatively detailed overview of where we’ve been in the last several years on the journalism front with too many questions about where we may be going.

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👓 Donald Trump’s Business Empire Is No Longer Growing | Mother Jones

Read Donald Trump’s Business Empire Is No Longer Growing by Russ Choma (Mother Jones)
The art of not making deals.

Hard to grow when so many begin hating you. And if suggestions of money laundering are true, then it’s even harder to grow while under such scrutiny.

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👓 How Same-Sex Couples Divide Chores, and What It Reveals About Modern Parenting | New York Times

Read How Same-Sex Couples Divide Chores, and What It Reveals About Modern Parenting (nytimes.com)
They divide chores much more evenly, until they become parents, new research shows.

This is fascinating, though I now have so many additional questions…

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👓 After 5 years and $3M, here’s everything we’ve learned from building Ghost | Ghost

Read After 5 years and $3M, here's everything we've learned from building Ghost by John O'Nolan, Hannah Wolfe (Ghost)
It's always fun to use these milestones to take a step back and reflect on the journey so far. On previous birthdays I've talked about revenue milestones and product updates, but this year I'm going to focus more on all the things we've learned since we started.

In reading this, I took a look at downloading and self-hosting a copy of Ghost for myself, but the barrier and work involved was beyond my patience to bother with. For an open source project that prides itself on user experience, this seemed at odds. Perhaps this is playing itself out better for the paid monthly customers? But in this case, it doesn’t support many of the pieces of infrastructure I find de rigueur now: Webmention support and microformats which I understand they have no plans to support anytime soon.

Looking at their project pages and site though it does seem like they’ve got a reasonable layout and sales pitch for a CMS project, though it’s probably a bit too much overkill on selling when it could be simpler. Perhaps it might be a model for creating a stronger community facing page for the WithKnown open source project, presuming the education-focused corporate side continues as a status quo?

They did seem to be relatively straightforward in selling themselves against WordPress and what they were able to do and not do. I’m curious what specifically they’re doing to attract journalists? I couldn’t find anything specifically better than anything else on the market that would set it apart other than their promise on ease-of-use.

There were some interesting insights for those working within the IndieWeb community as well as businesses which might build themselves upon it.

Highlights:

Decentralised platforms fundamentally cannot compete on ease of setup. Nothing beats the UX of signing up for a centralised application.

We spent a very long time trying to compete on convenience and simplicity. This was our biggest mistake and the hardest lesson to learn.

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🎧 ‘The Daily’: The Hunt for the Golden State Killer | New York Times

Listened to ‘The Daily’: The Hunt for the Golden State Killer by Michael Barbaro from nytimes.com

Paul Holes was on the verge of retirement, having never completed his decades-long mission to catch the Golden State Killer. Then he had an idea: Upload DNA evidence to a genealogy website.

On today’s episode:

• Paul Holes, an investigator in California who helped to crack the case.

Background reading:

• A spate of murders and rapes across California in the 1970s and 1980s went unsolved for decades. Then, last week, law enforcement officials arrested Joseph James DeAngelo, 72, a former police officer.

• Investigators submitted DNA collected at a crime scene to the genealogy website GEDmatch, through which they were able to track down distant relatives of the suspect. The method has raised concerns about privacy and ethics.

A stunning story with some ingenious detective work. I worry what the potential privacy problems are off in the future, though one of the ideas here is that it actually helps protect the privacy of some individuals who are wrongly and maliciously accused and thus saves a lot of time and money.

The subtleties will be when we’re using this type of DNA evidence more frequently for lower level crimes while at the same time the technology gets increasingly cheaper to carry out.

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🎧 ‘The Daily’: Sexual Harassment’s Toll on Careers | New York Times

Listened to ‘The Daily’: Sexual Harassment’s Toll on Careers by Michael Barbaro from nytimes.com

In a case that highlights the economic consequences of sexual harassment and retaliation, Ashley Judd is suing Harvey Weinstein for the damage he did to her career after she rebuffed his advances.

And in the second part of the episode, three women who pioneered the language of consent reflect on being far ahead of their time on the politics of sex.

On today’s episode:

• Jodi Kantor, one of the investigative reporters at The New York Times who broke the story about the raft of sexual harassment accusations against Mr. Weinstein, discusses the implications of a new lawsuit.

• We hear from Juliet Brown, Christelle Evans and Bethany Saltman, who helped to establish an affirmative consent policy for sex at Antioch College in 1990.

Background reading:

• Ms. Judd filed a lawsuit on Monday accusing Mr. Weinstein of harming her career by spreading lies about her after she rejected his sexual requests. Her claim is corroborated by the director Peter Jackson, who revealed last year that Mr. Weinstein had warned him not to hire the actress for his “Lord of the Rings” franchise.

• Antioch College students developed a sexual consent policy in the 1990s. It was mocked by much of the rest of the world. Since then, campuses across the country have caught up, and a new generation of Antioch students is pushing the conversation further.

• A Times video journalist recalls being asked to sign a verbal consent form during a visit to Antioch College in 2004, long before the language of sexual consent had entered the mainstream.

It’s long been an open secret in casting related discussions that people’s character and habits are maligned to push decisions in one direction or another, and often in ways that harm not only the person’s career, but their future potential for hiring. In most other industries, this would be easily litigated or at least brought up. I’m glad to see it may be banned outright as a result of cases like these.

Having gone to college in the 90’s myself I also remember the Antioch College agreements. Though they may have gone a bit too far, it’s obvious they were generally right in re-balancing the power in relationships as well as being well ahead of their times.

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🎧 ‘The Daily’: The Taxi Driver’s Plight | New York Times

Listened to ‘The Daily’: The Taxi Driver’s Plight by Michael Barbaro from nytimes.com

A New York City taxi driver, Nicanor Ochisor, took his own life in March. His family says he grew increasingly hopeless as ride-hailing services like Uber took over the industry. Mr. Ochisor’s suicide is one of several in recent months that have called attention to the economic straits of professional drivers.


On today’s episode:

• Nicolae Hent, who has been a taxi driver in New York City for three decades and was a friend of Mr. Ochisor.

Background reading:

• Four drivers have taken their lives in five months, bringing renewed urgency to calls for stronger regulations on for-hire vehicles in New York City.

• Mr. Ochisor’s family has created a fund-raising website to help pay off the balance on his taxi medallion, the value of which decreased dramatically after 2014.

• Last year, the number of Uber trips surpassed the number of yellow cab rides taken in New York City for the first time.

This has long been a fixable problem. Cities that have or had taxi-cab medallion systems should absolutely be on the hook for buying them back at at-market-level prices if they’re going to allow ride-sharing services like Uber and Lyft to enter their jurisdictions. I’m all for disruption, but these services have obviously been skirting or flaunting the law to operate. It should also be permissible for these services to be dinged by these cities for a large share of the loss of value in cities like New York.

I’m surprised that with the amounts of money involved and the fact that there are suicides that no enterprising attorney has taken up cases like these against large municipalities.

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🎧 ‘The Daily’: Mueller’s Questions for Trump | New York Times

Listened to ‘The Daily’: Mueller’s Questions for Trump by Michael Barbaro from nytimes.com

The New York Times has obtained the list of questions that Robert S. Mueller III, the special counsel looking into Russia’s election interference, wants to ask President Trump. The wide-ranging queries offer a rare view into an investigation that has been shrouded in secrecy.


On today’s episode:

• Michael S. Schmidt, who has been covering the Russia investigation for The Times.

Background reading:

• The Times reports that Mr. Mueller’s team shared with the president’s lawyers a list of at least four dozen questions, the majority of which focus on possible obstruction of justice in the Russia investigation.

• Here are the questions, along with a look at their context and significance.

If his attorneys couldn’t have guessed all of these questions by themselves, they should be fired. The real secret is to know the hidden questions to things they’re aware of, but no one knows they’re privy to.

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👓 Ultra-Accurate Clocks Lead Search for New Laws of Physics | Quanta Magazine

Read Ultra-Accurate Clocks Lead Search for New Laws of Physics (Quanta Magazine)
Atomic clocks are letting physicists tighten the lasso around elusive phenomena such as dark matter.
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👓 A Linguist Explains Why 'Laurel' Sounds Like 'Yanny' | The Atlantic

Read A Linguist Explains Why 'Laurel' Sounds Like 'Yanny' (The Atlantic)
It’s the audio version of The Dress.

The science is far more interesting than the meme portion at least.

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👓 How Many Genes Do Cells Need? Maybe Almost All of Them | Quanta Magazine

Read How Many Genes Do Cells Need? Maybe Almost All of Them (Quanta Magazine)
An ambitious study in yeast shows that the health of cells depends on the highly intertwined effects of many genes, few of which can be deleted together without consequence.

There could be some interesting data to play with here if available.

I also can’t help but wonder about applying some of Stuart Kauffman’s ideas to something like this. In particular, this sounds very reminiscent to his analogy of what happens when one strings thread randomly among a pile of buttons and the resulting complexity.

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📺 "Black-ish" Dream Home | ABC

Watched "Black-ish" Dream Home from ABC
Directed by E. Langston Craig. With Anthony Anderson, Tracee Ellis Ross, Marcus Scribner, Miles Brown.

Thank goodness the show seems to have come back after a few awful/painful episodes. I watch this for the comedy and social satire, not for the poignancy and pain the producers think they’re entitled to play around with for the sake of character. They almost lost me.

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👓 Why We Need the IndieWeb | Cathie LeBlanc

Bookmarked Why We Need the #IndieWeb: A Short History by Cathie LeBlanc (Desert of My Real Life)
Members of the IndieWeb community are building tools to try to make moving your web presence off the corporate web easier, giving you more control over your digital identity. I like to think of the IndieWeb as a way of trying to regain the democratic ideals of early Web 2.0. IndieWeb wants us all to have a web presence that we own and control. We can still use tools like Twitter and Facebook to bring us together but we publish our content first on our own web sites and then decide where we want to share them. An example is this post. I’m writing it on http://cathieleblanc.com/blog. But I want others to see it. So after publishing it on my own site with my self-hosted installation of WordPress, I will put a link to it on Facebook and on Twitter for others to see. Facebook and Twitter serve as today’s interactive hotlist. Everything old is new again.

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