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

Listened to ‘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 to '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 to 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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🎧 Season 2 Episode 5 The Prime Minister and the Prof | Revisionist History

Listened to Season 2 Episode 5 The Prime Minister and the Prof by Malcolm GladwellMalcolm Gladwell from Revisionist History

How does friendship influence political power? The story of Winston Churchill’s close friend and confidant — an eccentric scientist named Frederick Lindemann — whose connection to Churchill altered the course of British policy in World War II. And not in a good way.



S2e5 content
Winston Churchill (second from right) with his scientific advisor Lord Cherwell (extreme left), watching a display of anti-aircraft gunnery in 1941.

Several interesting ideas in this episode:
* What unseen influence do friends and advisors have on political leaders? Should this be better disclosed?
* Did Churchill, while trying to stop the atrocity of the Holocaust, cause one of his own in India through inaction and selfishness?

The famine caused in India is not too dissimilar to the havoc and death wreaked in Puerto Rico following the hurricane in late 2017 for which the US Government very likely did not do enough to mitigate the aftermath.

🎧 30 and Counting, Episode 5: Leaving Facebook… and replying over email?

Listened to 30 and Counting, Episode 5: Leaving Facebook... and replying over email? by Eddie HinckleEddie Hinckle from 30andcounting.me
In this episode, I talk about my plans to leave Facebook and how I plan to in some ways replace it with a monthly newsletter. Then I brainstorm about how to receive replies and reactions from it.

Eddie shouldn’t have warned so heavily about the technical nature of this microcast. The general ideas are very clear, it’s their implementation which is likely more technical than some would appreciate.

This reminds me that I ought to get back to working on my own newsletter that I’d started to set up ages ago. It’s certainly an interesting way to target friends and family (who are unlikely to use RSS or readers) with updates outside of the traditional silos.

I’m also reminded that David Shanske is using Postmatic as an email newsletter service and it has functionality built in that allows recipients to reply to emailed updates via email which then posts the comments back to the comment section of the particular posts. Might be worth either checking this out or attempting to replicate this type of functionality? The way Postmatic is doing things is on a more post by post basis however, so it might take some additional work to get things to work properly in a newsletter with multiple stories/posts.

Another option is to add “web actions” into posts for replies. Or perhaps even adding other social context UI into newsletters similar to the way I’ve done in prior posts to allow people to respond via Twitter.

Certainly lots of options and ideas to explore.

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🎧 This Week in the IndieWeb Audio Edition • April 14th – 20th, 2018

Listened to This Week in the IndieWeb Audio Edition • April 14th - 20th, 2018 by Marty McGuireMarty McGuire from martymcgui.re
IndieWeb Leaders Summit planning, escaping social media maniplation, and printing out websites. It’s the audio edition for This Week in the IndieWeb for April 14th - 20th, 2018.

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🎧 This Week in the IndieWeb Audio Edition • April 21st-27th, 2018

Listened to This Week in the IndieWeb Audio Edition • April 21st-27th, 2018 by Marty McGuireMarty McGuire from martymcgui.re
Readers on the rise, APIs on the decline, and Reddit regrets. It’s the audio edition for This Week in the IndieWeb for April 21st - 27th, 2018.

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🎧 Season 2 Episode 8 Mr. Hollowell Didn’t Like That | Revisionist History

Listened to Season 2 Episode 8 Mr. Hollowell Didn't Like That by Malcolm GladwellMalcolm Gladwell from Revisionist History

A man named Willie Nash is arrested for the murder of a white man in 1954, in Augusta Georgia. Witnesses place him at the scene. The victim picks him out of the lineup. He confesses. He is headed for the electric chair. Until his young black attorney, Donald L. Hollowell, mounts a defense that rivets black spectators and gives them hope.



S02e08 content
Wanted: The Man in the Pyramid Hat (pdf)
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🎧 Season 2 Episode 3 Miss Buchanan’s Period of Adjustment | Revisionist History

Listened to Season 2 Episode 3 Miss Buchanan's Period of Adjustment by Malcolm GladwellMalcolm Gladwell from Revisionist History

Brown v Board of Education might be the most well-known Supreme Court decision, a major victory in the fight for civil rights. But in Topeka, the city where the case began, the ruling has left a bittersweet legacy. RH hears from the Browns, the family behind the story.



This is a stunning episode with several ideas and thought’s I’d not previously heard or considered. I feel guilty that I’ve been ignorant to some forces in society like these, but I suspect far too many others are as well. Veritas vos liberabit.

The brilliant idea here is that even the romantic view of Brown v. Board of Education many have isn’t really the victory it might have been. Because the continued racism and segregation of the teachers, things may have become even worse! The Supreme Court should and could have done better and the world would have healed a bit quicker.

Sadly we’ve still got similar problems today and they stretch across many other professions including law enforcement. I wonder what we can do to dramatically improve the teacher diversity problem?

Those who appreciated this episode are likely to appreciate this recent episode of The Daily’s podcast: Racism’s Punishing Reach which has several examples that underline the importance of teachers and provides some studies that just weren’t available at the time of Brown v. Board.

I hope to circle back and create a playlist of some of the more interesting things I’ve heard in the last year on the history of race and racism in the United States. This would certainly fit into that list.

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🎧 Season 2 Episode 2 The Road to Damascus | Revisionist History

Listened to Season 2 Episode 2 The Road to Damascus by Malcolm GladwellMalcolm Gladwell from Revisionist History

What happens when a terrorist has a change of heart? An Islamic militant, who left a trail of destruction in Europe, crosses over to work for the CIA. And then, one day, vanishes.

I’ve wanted to read both John Rizzo1 and Tim Weiner‘s2 books for a while. This is a good example of some of what I’ve apparently been missing here.

I can see this story being an awesome movie. In particular the crossing of the spy world, morality, and ethics have great potential for characters and some action.

References

1.
Rizzo J. Company Man: Thirty Years of Controversy and Crisis in the CIA. Simon and Schuster; 2014.
2.
Weiner T. Legacy of Ashes: The History of the CIA. Anchor; 2008.
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🎧 Season 2 Episode 1 A Good Walk Spoiled | Revisionist History

Listened to Season 2 Episode 1 A Good Walk Spoiled by Malcolm GladwellMalcolm Gladwell from Revisionist History

In the middle of Los Angeles — a city with some of the most expensive real estate in the world — there are a half a dozen exclusive golf courses, massive expanses dedicated to the pleasure of a privileged few. How do private country clubs afford the property tax on 300 acres of prime Beverly Hills real estate? RH brings in tax assessors, economists, and philosophers to probe the question of the weird obsession among the wealthy with the game of golf.

References
FORE! AN ANALYSIS OF CEO SHIRKING PDF 2.1MB

I wouldn’t say that I “hate” golf more now, but I do think that the structure holding the system up is way worse than I did before. It’s truly deplorable that the system is propping up courses in Los Angeles like this. The statistics explored here are truly painful. I love that someone has delved into open statistics to come up with the ideas underpinning this episode.

I knew that prop 13 was destroying California slowly but surely, but some of the smaller subsections are even more egregious.

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🎧 Season 2 Trailer | Revisionist History

Listened to Season 2 Trailer by Malcolm GladwellMalcolm Gladwell from Revisionist History

Revisionist History is Malcolm Gladwell's journey through the overlooked and the misunderstood. Every episode re-examines something from the past—an event, a person, an idea, even a song—and asks whether we got it right the first time. From Panoply Media. Because sometimes the past deserves a second chance.

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🎧 Episode 10 The Satire Paradox | Revisionist History

Listened to Episode 10 The Satire Paradox by Malcolm GladwellMalcolm Gladwell from Revisionist History

In the political turmoil of mid-1990s Britain, a brilliant young comic named Harry Enfield set out to satirize the ideology and politics of Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. His parodies became famous. He wrote and performed a vicious sendup of the typical Thatcherite nouveau riche buffoon. People loved it. And what happened? Exactly the opposite of what Enfield hoped would happen. In an age dominated by political comedy, “The Satire Paradox” asks whether laughter and social protest are friends or foes.

An interesting dissection of satire and the effects it does (or doesn’t) have on society. Sadly, a lot of the best biting satire doesn’t have the effect that many of us would like it to have. How can we subtly change this to create more desirous effects? I’d like to delve more deeply into the paper he references.1 [pdf]

Some of this reminds me of the ideas relating to doublespeak that I’ve written about in the past, but here, it’s actually comprehensible and understandable.

References

1.
LaMarre HL, Landreville KD, Beam MA. The Irony of Satire: Political Ideology and the Motivation to See What You Want to See in The Colbert Report. T. 2009;14(2):212-231. doi:10.1177/1940161208330904
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🎧 Episode 09 Generous Orthodoxy | Revisionist History

Listened to Episode 09 Generous Orthodoxy by Malcolm GladwellMalcolm Gladwell from Revisionist History

A pastor officiates at the wedding of his son—under ordinary circumstances, an affirmation of family and community. But what if the son is gay? And what if the pastor belongs to the most traditional of religious communities?

“Generous Orthodoxy” is the story of Chester Wenger, a 98-year-old Mennonite minister who chose to confront his own church over a question of deepest principle. It asks: What do you do when the institution that has defined your life comes between you and your family? Wenger offers all of us a master class in the art of dissent.

Chester Wenger’s Letter

Generous orthodoxy is a truly intriguing idea.

I like the example he also provides regarding Princeton University and Woodrow Wilson, whose reputation is now waning in comparison to where it was just a few decades ago. I suspect that Gladwell’s protest idea would have worked much better, particularly in light of the recent 60 Minutes segment I saw recently: ‘60 Minutes’ features Princeton’s transformative efforts to increase socioeconomic diversity

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🎧 Episode 08 Blame Game | Revisionist History

Listened to Episode 08 Blame Game by Malcolm GladwellMalcolm Gladwell from Revisionist History

In the summer and fall of 2009, hundreds of Toyota owners came forward with an alarming allegation: Their cars were suddenly and uncontrollably accelerating. Toyota was forced to recall 10 million vehicles, pay a fine of more than $1 billion, and settle countless lawsuits. The consensus was that there was something badly wrong with the world’s most popular cars. Except that there wasn’t.

“Blame Game” looks under the hood at one of the strangest public hysterias in recent memory. What really happened in all those Camrys and Lexuses? And how did so many drivers come to misunderstand so profoundly what was happening to them behind the wheel? The answer touches on our increasingly fraught relationship to technology and the dishonesty and naiveté of many in the media.

Billions of dollars lost and still the most important moral of the story (actually put your foot on the brake) isn’t known at all.

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