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

Listened ‘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 ‘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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🎧 ‘The Daily’: A Family Divided by the Korean War | New York Times

Listened ‘The Daily’: A Family Divided by the Korean War by Michael Barbaro from nytimes.com

In a historic summit meeting, North and South Korea vowed to pursue a peace treaty to formally end the Korean War after more than 65 years. That could bring reunions for the thousands of families who have been separated since the war broke out.

On today’s episode:

• Sylvia Nam tells the story of her grandfather, who went to North Korea a few months after the Korean War started and never returned.

Background coverage:

• After more than six decades, the Korean War is technically still not over. Here are photographs of the war, and a video explaining what happened— and why it matters.

• At a summit meeting on Friday, the leaders of North and South Korea signed a joint statement affirming that “a nuclear-free Korean Peninsula” would be a common goal of the two countries.

• The South Korean government said on Sunday that Kim Jong-un, the North’s leader, had declared he would abandon his nuclear weapons if the United States agreed to sign a peace treaty and promised not to invade his country. Skeptics warn that North Korea has made similar pledges in the past.

A fascinating story…

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🎧 Caliphate – Chapter Two: Recruitment | New York Times

Listened Caliphate - Chapter Two: Recruitment by Rukmini Callimachi, Andy Mills from nytimes.com

Who is it that ISIS appeals to, and how? Rukmini speaks with a former ISIS member about how and why he joined the fold.

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🎧 ‘The Daily’: The Cosby Verdict and #MeToo | New York Times

Listened ‘The Daily’: The Cosby Verdict and #MeToo by Michael Barbaro from nytimes.com

Bill Cosby has been convicted of sexual assault following years of accusations from dozens of women. What changed between the first trial, which ended in a hung jury, and this one?

On today’s episode:

• Graham Bowley, an investigative reporter at The Times, joins us from Norristown, Pa., where he has been covering the Cosby proceedings.

• Lili Bernard, a former guest star on “The Cosby Show” and one of more than 50 women who have spoken out against the entertainer, describes her experience attending the trial.

Background reading:

• In one of the first high-profile court cases of the #MeToo era, a jury convicted Cosby of three counts of aggravated indecent assault against Andrea Constand, a former Temple University staff member who had looked up to him as a mentor.

• We also look at the timeline of events in the Cosby case, and at reactions to the verdict.

A stunning and well-deserved victory. I’m glad to see depraved predators caught and put away.

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🎧 ‘The Daily’: The Allegations Against Ronny Jackson | New York Times

Listened ‘The Daily’: The Allegations Against Ronny Jackson by Michael Barbaro from nytimes.com

The nomination of Dr. Ronny L. Jackson, President Trump’s personal doctor, as the next head of Veterans Affairs has come to an abrupt stop. Now, Congress is beginning to examine several alarming allegations from unidentified whistle-blowers that derailed the doctor’s Senate confirmation process.

On today’s episode:

• Michael D. Shear, a White House correspondent for The Times.

Background reading:

• President Trump hinted at a midday news conference that Dr. Jackson might soon withdraw from consideration for the role of Veterans Affairs secretary. By the evening, however, the White House moved to aggressively defend the doctor, calling his record “impeccable.”

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🎧 Bonus: Malcolm Gladwell debates Adam Grant | Revisionist History

Listened Bonus: Malcolm Gladwell debates Adam Grant by Malcolm GladwellMalcolm Gladwell from Revisionist History

In a special live taping at the 92nd Street Y in New York, Malcolm talks with WorkLife’s Adam Grant about how to avoid doing highly undesirable tasks, what makes an idea interesting, and why Malcolm thinks we shouldn't root for the underdog.

While there was a great conversation here, I was most struck by the incredibly well done and specific nature of the way Gladwell did the embedded advertisement in this episode.

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🎧 Hunger and Malnutrition | Eat This Podcast

Listened Hunger and malnutrition by Jeremy Cherfas from Eat This Podcast

One week jam, the next global hunger and malnutrition. That’s the joy of Eat This Podcast; I get to present what interests me, in the hope that it interests you too. It also means I sometimes get to talk to my friends about how they see the big picture around food. Dr Jessica Fanzo, Assistant Professor of Nutrition at Columbia University’s Insitute of Human Nutrition, Special Advisor on Nutrition Policy at the Earth Institute’s Center on Globalization and Sustainable Development, also at Columbia, and much else besides, is one such friend. She was in Rome recently for a preparatory meeting for a big UN conference on nutrition next year, so I took the opportunity to catch up, and to ask some very basic questions about global hunger.

I confess, I have very little time for the global talk shops that meet so that, somehow, magically, the poor can eat. And having attended a few, there does seem to be a dearth of people who have studied malnutrition and hunger first hand, and made a difference. Jess Fanzo has been promoting the idea of nutrition-sensitive agriculture as a way to make a difference locally, while recognizing that there can be no simple, global solutions. You have to see what works in one place, and then adapt it to your own circumstances. There are no simple global solutions. The primary point – that governments have some responsibility for ensuring that their citizens at least have the opportunity to be well-nourished – seems often to be lost in the din of governments talking about other things. And interfering busybodies declaring war on hunger don’t seem to have much luck either. I don’t have any solutions.

Notes

  1. Check out Dr Fanzo’s credentials at the Institute of Human Nutrition and the Center for Globalization and Sustainable Development.
  2. She was also the first winner of the Premio Daniel Carasso; there’s a videoabout that too.
  3. She’s written about her fieldwork and how it informs her global view. (And, as an aside, how come big-shot bloggers don’t care about spam? Come on, people. Your negligence makes life worse for everybody.)
  4. The Integration of Nutrition into Extension and Advisory Services: A Synthesis of Experiences, Lessons, and Recommendations reports on ways to promote nutrition-sensitive agriculture. And the research extends to social media.
  5. The paper I mentioned, from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, is Comparative impact of climatic and nonclimatic factors on global terrestrial carbon and water cycles.
  6. Photo of Jess Fanzo in Timor Leste by Nick Appleby.

I love plumbing the archives of this podcast and relistening to old episodes. This is easily my second time around on this episode.

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🎧 Season 2 Episode 10 The Basement Tapes | Revisionist History

Listened Season 2 Episode 10 The Basement Tapes by Malcolm GladwellMalcolm Gladwell from Revisionist History

A cardiologist in Minnesota searches through the basement of his childhood home for a missing box of data from a long-ago experiment. What he discovers changes our understanding of the modern American diet — but also teaches us something profound about what really matters when we honor our parents’ legacy.

There’s a little bit of everything here.

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🎧 Season 2 Episode 9 McDonalds Broke My Heart | Revisionist History

Listened Season 2 Episode 9 McDonalds Broke My Heart by Malcolm GladwellMalcolm Gladwell from Revisionist History

McDonald’s used to make the best fast food french fries in the world — until they changed their recipe in 1990. Revisionist History travels to the top food R&D lab in the country to discover what was lost, and why for the past generation we’ve been eating french fries that taste like cardboard.

I love the double entendre “broke my heart”! This does make me curious to try making my own beef tallow french fries.

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🎧 Season 2 Episode 6 The King of Tears | Revisionist History

Listened Season 2 Episode 6 The King of Tears by Malcolm GladwellMalcolm Gladwell from Revisionist History

Revisionist History goes to Nashville to talk with Bobby Braddock, who has written more sad songs than almost anyone else. What is it about music that makes us cry? And what sets country music apart?

Why country music makes you cry, and rock and roll doesn't: A musical interpretation of divided America.

The big idea in this episode that there is a bigger divide in America that falls along musical lines more than political ones is quite intriguing and fits in with my general experience living in South Carolina, Georgia, Connecticut, Maryland, Kentucky, and California. Having been raised by a Catholic family with one parent from the city, another from the countryside, and having lived in many blue/red states surrounded by people of various different musical tastes, I do have to wonder if there isn’t a lot of value in this thesis. It could make an interesting information theoretic political-related question for research. This might be the type of thing that could be teased out with some big data sets from Facebook.

Beauty and authenticity can create a mood. They set the stage, but I think the thing that pushes us over the top into tears is details. We cry when melancholy collides with specificity.

Malcolm Gladwell in The King of Tears

He then goes on into a nice example about the Rolling Stones’ Wild Horses:

And specificity is not something that every genre does well.

This reminds me of a great quote in Made to Stick from Mother Theresa about specificity.

Mother Teresa once said, “If I look at the mass, I will never act. If I look at the one, I will.”

There’s something very interesting about this idea of specificity and its uses in creating both ideas as well as storytelling and creating emotion.

There is one related old country music joke I’m surprised not to have seen mentioned here, possibly for length, tangential appropriateness, or perhaps because it’s so well known most may call it to mind. It plays off of the days of rock and roll when people played records backwards to find hidden (often satanic) messages.

Q: What do you get when you play a country music song backwards?
A: You get your job back, your wife back, your house back, and your dog back.

The episode finally rounds out with:

If you aren’t crying right now I can’t help you…

Thanks Malcolm, I was crying…

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🎧 This Week in Google 455 CanuckCanoeCast | TWiT.TV

Listened This Week in Google 455 CanuckCanoeCast by Jeff Jarvis, Stacey Higginbotham, Mathew Ingram, Andrew Allemann from TWiT.tv

Facebook soothes our privacy fears by launching a dating service. Cambridge Analytica shuts down. GDPR is going to be a mess. What will Google show at I/O? Signs point to Assistant updates, Maps, and social gaming. Google launches secure .app domains. NBC and Google team up to create VR shows. Sprint / T-Mobile merger is good for business, bad for consumers.

  • Jeff's Number: Nacho Cheese Fries and IMHO controversy
  • Mathew's Stuff: Snap's stock slumps
  • Stacey's Husband's Thing: New Top Level Domain Name Stats
  • Jason's Tool: You can review Google Assistant actions

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🎧 ‘The Daily’: A Syrian Voice | New York Times

Listened ‘The Daily’: A Syrian Voice by Michael Barbaro from nytimes.com

The United States says that the suspected chemical weapons attack on the rebel-held town of Douma, Syria, this month was part of a military push by President Bashar al-Assad’s government to break the will of the people still living there.

One of them tells his story.



On today’s episode: Mahmoud Bwedany, who grew up in Douma and was there when Syrian forces attacked this month.

Background reading:
• Dozens of people died in what rescue workers said was a chemical attack on a suburb of Damascus.
• After repeated delays, international inspectors are examining the site.

🎧 ‘The Daily’: James Comey Opens Up About Ego, Distrust and More | New York Times

Listened 'The Daily': James Comey Opens Up About Ego, Distrust and More by Michael Barbaro from nytimes.com

James B. Comey, the former F.B.I. director, spoke with me for Friday’s episode of “The Daily,” as he wraps up a publicity tour for his book, “A Higher Loyalty.” Our conversation focused on his decision, before his firing, to document his interactions with President Trump in a series of memos — and to eventually share the contents of one of those memos with a journalist, in the hopes of pressuring the Justice Department to appoint a special counsel in the Russia investigation.

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🎧 Season 2 Episode 4 The Foot Soldier of Birmingham | Revisionist History

Listened Revisionist History Season 2 Episode 4 The Foot Soldier of Birmingham by Malcolm GladwellMalcolm Gladwell from Revisionist History

Birmingham, 1963. The image of a police dog viciously attacking a young black protester shocks the nation. The picture, taken in the midst of one of Martin Luther King Jr.’s most famous marches, might be the most iconic photograph of the civil rights movement. But few have ever bothered to ask the people in the famous photograph what they think happened that day. It’s more complicated than it looks.



S2e4 content
CREDIT - Bill Hudson, AP
S2e4 content 2
“The Foot Soldier” by Ronald S. McDowell

What a stunning and unexpected story. I do so love this podcast.

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