Links

----- 4 stars -----

The Great Buenos Aires Bank Heist / GQ

They were an all-star crew. They cooked up the perfect plan. And when they pulled off the caper of the century, it made them more than a fortune—it made them folk heroes. [...] The Argentines who had sat glued to their televisions that Friday the 13th would spend the next weeks engrossed by the story of the Banco Río job—and years after enthralled by a saga that provided one unbelievable twist after another. The incident is still as legendary today as it was 14 years ago. Long after its mysteries were untangled, the so-called Robbery of the Century endures as a modern-day Robin Hood saga—one that immortalized a crew of colorful thieves who set out to become rich and became folk heroes instead. And it all began with Fernando Araujo. Araujo had a crazy idea, and he shared it with his friend Sebastián García Bolster. This was a few years after the botched Ramallo heist had lodged itself in Araujo's brain. It would be crazy to rob a bank but not leave, he mentioned to Bolster. To disappear through a hole. Bolster had been friends with Araujo since high school, and he agreed: That did sound like a wild way to rob a bank. But he assumed it was just some lark; his pal Araujo smoked a lot of weed.

http://bit.ly/3cmHsV6


From Nazi Germany to Australia: The Incredible True Story of History’s Longest Kayak Journey / Vanity Fair

With Germany in tatters, his small business bankrupt, Oskar Speck got into his kayak in 1932 for what would become an epic, seven-and-a-half-year paddle—30,000 miles, packed with hero’s welcomes and near-death escapes, all the way to Australia. But as Speck battled sharks, hostile locals, and malaria, Hitler rose to power and W.W. II began. This is the story of Speck’s voyage, an adventure nearly lost to history.

http://bit.ly/2PStRLN


----- 3 stars -----

The Wind Delivered the Story / Bitter Southerner

Her eyes were fixed on a shred of paper that blended in with the browning edges of the winter grass and she looked back at me. “Why is this here?” The urgency in her voice told me that she wasn’t just scolding me for keeping a messy yard. I walked to where she stood and read the headline on the bottom half of the torn paper that lay at her feet. From May 22, 1947: "28 White Men Get Blanket Acquittal in South Carolina Mass Lynch Trial." “The wind found it!” I gathered up the damp remnant and ran into the house. “Come, come! You have to see this!” I pulled out the front-page story that Michael had found a few months earlier and laid the two papers side by side on the table. “So, this is how the story ended.” We read the stories. While our children played in the other room and her infant settled peacefully in the warmth of a Southern winter sun, we felt the weight of it sink in. I was not surprised, but it still hurt to read the follow-up piece. Even with a preponderance of evidence and testimonies, every man on trial got away with murder. This fact was not front-page news but tucked beneath odd stories called “Flashes of Life”: A baseball fan fell asleep in the stadium, a mother cat began nursing baby rats. The short piece quoted how the defense urged the jury to resist “Northern ‘interference’ and demanded an acquittal to ‘show them it’s no use meddling in Greenville County.’” Three of the 31 men received direct acquittals, it took less than six hours for the all-white, all-male jury to acquit the other 28 who were charged with “murder, conspiracy to commit murder, and of being accessories both before and after the fact.” Perhaps most troubling was to read of the cheerful atmosphere in the courtroom as children and wives sat with their husbands as if it were a church picnic. “The acquittals set off a wave of jubilation among the defendants and their relatives.”

http://bit.ly/2wYv0dT


Book Review: The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work
After all the positive press I've read on Gottman, I wasn't quite expecting this...though maybe I should have been:

John Gottman is a legendary figure, and the legend is told best by John Gottman. He describes wading into the field of marital counseling as a young psychology postdoc, only to find it was a total mess. [...] Gottman decided the field needed statistical rigor, and that he – a former MIT math major – was exactly the guy to enforce it. He set up a model apartment in his University of Washington research center – affectionately called “the Love Lab”, and invited hundreds of couples to spend a few days there – observed, videotaped, and attached to electrodes collecting information on every detail of their physiology. While at the lab, the couples went through their ordinary lives. They experienced love, hatred, romantic dinners, screaming matches, and occasionally self-transformation. Then Gottman monitored them for years, seeing who made things work and who got divorced. Did you know that if a husband fails to acknowledge his wife’s feelings during an argument, there is an 81% chance it will damage the marriage? Or that 69% of marital conflicts are about long-term problems rather than specific situations? John Gottman knows all of this and much, much more. Using his mountain of data (the legend continues) Gottman became a Divorce Prophet. [...] Okay, but can John Gottman really predict divorce with 91% success rate and do all the other things he says he can do? Haha, no. All of that stuff is totally false. [...] I really wanted Gottman Marital Counseling to work. I wear a psychiatrist hat and a therapist hat. I love the psychiatrist hat. It is blue and pointy and has little glowing stars and moons on it. When I wear it, then with sufficient knowledge and understanding I can give people substances that release obsessions, calm fears, and brighten sorrows. Sometimes I can help people solve their unbearable hopeless problems, and it’s the best feeling in the world. I hate wearing the therapist hat. I put it on as rarely as possible. I don’t advertise myself as a therapist, and if people ask me to therapy them, I try to refer them to someone else. But if someone wants to talk about their problems in a session, you can’t just say no. And so they tell me about being trapped in an abusive relationship, or haunted by guilt, or trapped in a dead end job with no prospects for improvement. And then they expect me to be able to say something that makes it all better. I know that the textbook response is something about how therapy does not solve problems per se, but by sharing them with someone else it makes them more bearable and adds perspective. Unfortunately, my patients didn’t read that textbook, and they put hope in me, and as often as not I betray it. I think every therapist feels this way. I once talked to an important professor of therapy, who admitted to me something like “even at my stage, I feel like in the end we only have five or so techniques”, and I got really excited and blurted out “wait, what are the other two?!” [...] Bad marriages are so, so bad. They’re so bad it’s shocking. The first time I saw one, I didn’t know what to do. [...] A lot of my patients are horrifying soul-sucking messes. I wish there was something I could do about it, but instead I just sit and listen as they spend forty-five minutes describing every way their spouse has wronged them. I’m terrified of this. How did it happen? At some point these people must have loved each other. How does any human relationship get this bad? [...] In conclusion, I have no idea what makes marriages work, and I am not convinced John Gottman does either.

http://bit.ly/2uF1nxo


Email Addresses and Razor Blades / Stratechery
Another example of Ben Thompson's excellent analysis...and this week a bit more excellent than usual:

At first glance, the proposed (and now-withdrawn) acquisition of Harry’s Razors by Edgewell Personal Care Co. — the makers of Schick — and Intuit’s announced acquisition of Credit Karma don’t appear to have much in common. There is, though, a common thread: digital advertising, and the dominance of Facebook and Google. [...] This takes us back to Harry’s, and the decision to pursue bricks-and-mortar retail in the first place. It’s a choice that doesn’t make much sense in the theoretical value chain I sketched out above, where DTC companies integrate marketing and retail. However, once it became apparent that Facebook and Google squeezed far more value out of the online value chain than offline, the only option left was to pursue some sort of low-end disruption in the old value chain. Or, to put it in blunter terms, be cheaper. This, though, resulted in two problems: first, there was no technologically-based reason that Harry’s razors should be cheaper than Schick’s or Gillette’s; that meant that Schick and Gillette responded by lowering prices to match Harry’s. Secondly, because price as a proxy for consumer welfare is the most important factor driving regulatory review of acquisitions, Harry’s actually closed off their most viable exit. The fact of the matter is that Schick and Gillette specifically, and large CPG companies broadly, are unsurprisingly better suited to compete in the bricks-and-mortar markets they were built to dominate. Harry’s, despite its factory in Germany and omnichannel distribution strategy, faces a long road to actually achieving that $1.37 billion valuation on their own. [...] Harry’s outcome seems paritcularly unfair in light of yesterday’s news that Intuit is buying Credit Karma for $7.1 billion. Credit Karma doesn’t have a factory in Germany. Indeed, they don’t make any money from customers at all. Rather, Credit Karma offers free services that attract users to their site, and monetizes those users by directing them to credit cards and other financial products that pay an affiliate fee. [...] This gets at the real commonality between Harry’s and Credit Karma: Harry’s is less valuable than it might have been because of Facebook and Google’s dominance of digital advertising; Credit Karma is more valuable than it might seem because they offer a way to acquire customers without depending on Facebook and Google.

http://bit.ly/2Tx1Uda


----- 2 stars -----

The Bible That Oozed Oil / Slate

In the summer of 2016, God gave Johnny Taylor a prophecy. It wasn’t a specific vision, but something more like a promise. After the presidential election that fall, so the prophecy went, God would begin to “position” Johnny and his group of friends to do great things. Months later, when Donald Trump won—no surprise to Johnny—God provided another message: After the inauguration, he said, “I’ll show you what I’m doing.” Trump was inaugurated on Friday, Jan. 20, 2017. On Monday night, as they did most evenings, Johnny and a small, informal prayer group met to pray in the backroom of a small Christian gift shop called Grace 251. Johnny’s girlfriend, Leslie, was there, along with her father, John Barker, and their friend Jerry Pearce and his wife, Joyce. They usually broke up by 8:30, but on this night they kept praying until after midnight. At one point, Jerry fell down on the floor for 45 minutes in a kind of catatonic state that he describes as being “out in the Spirit.” Within a few days, he told me, he opened his Bible to Psalm 39—an uneasy poem of both praise and gloom that includes the words “every man at his best state is but vapor”—and noticed a small spot of oil. Joyce assured him the grandkids hadn’t been near the book. It could only have come from God. From then on, more oil appeared almost every time Jerry picked up the Bible, a leather-bound copy of the New King James translation. The oil moved to the back of the book, saturated the endpapers—a heart-shaped splotch appeared over a map of Israel—and then started at the beginning, in Genesis 1. Eventually Jerry had to put the book in a Ziploc bag, and then in a large plastic bin he bought at Tractor Supply. [...] By all accounts, Johnny and Jerry have never asked for money in exchange for the oil. Anyone who came to Dalton for the prayer service received a free vial; many asked for more than one, and I didn’t see a single person turned down. Until the volume of requests became too overwhelming, the group freely mailed the vials to anyone who requested one. They did not take an offering at the service, and there were no receptacles in the theater for accepting cash. If an attendee wanted to make a donation—and some did—they had to figure out on their own how to seek out a member of the leadership team and hand the money to them directly.

http://bit.ly/2VzgNOX


You’re Likely to Get the Coronavirus / The Atlantic
Thoughts on the virus / The Bellows

The Harvard epidemiology professor Marc Lipsitch is exacting in his diction, even for an epidemiologist. Twice in our conversation he started to say something, then paused and said, “Actually, let me start again.” So it’s striking when one of the points he wanted to get exactly right was this: “I think the likely outcome is that it will ultimately not be containable.” [...] Lipsitch predicts that within the coming year, some 40 to 70 percent of people around the world will be infected with the virus that causes COVID-19. But, he clarifies emphatically, this does not mean that all will have severe illnesses. “It’s likely that many will have mild disease, or may be asymptomatic,” he said. As with influenza, which is often life-threatening to people with chronic health conditions and of older age, most cases pass without medical care. (Overall, about 14 percent of people with influenza have no symptoms.)

http://bit.ly/2VEeGcz

But where we generally know how to deal with demand-induced deflation—by throwing a lot of fiscal and monetary stimulus at the problem—we’ve got much less of a handle on what to do when it’s a supply problem. It doesn’t matter how much newly printed money you put in people’s pockets if there are no stores open and no trucks to supply them anyway. Markets, I think, have taken a certain degree of reassurance from the fact that governments, and central banks especially, have been ready and waiting with stimulus whenever markets turn a little wobbly. But it’s one thing to rev up the economy when jobless workers are desperate to get back on the job and quite another when workers aren’t sure they want to leave the house. Beyond that, we are in uncharted territory. The world has never experienced a supply shock with this disruptive potential in the era of hyperglobalization.

http://bit.ly/3cf26Gy


Bernie Sanders, nominee / The Economist

Last is the effect of a President Sanders on America’s political culture. The country’s political divisions helped make Mr Trump’s candidacy possible. They are now enabling Mr Sanders’s rise. The party’s leftist activists find his revolution thrilling. They have always believed that their man would triumph if only the neoliberal Democratic Party elite would stop keeping him down. His supporters seem to reserve almost as much hatred for his Democratic opponents as they do for Republicans. This speaks to Mr Sanders’s political style. When faced with someone who disagrees with him, his instinct is to spot an establishment conspiracy, or to declare that his opponent is confused and will be put straight by one of his political sermons. When asked how he would persuade Congress to eliminate private health insurance (something which 60% of Americans oppose), Mr Sanders replies that he would hold rallies in the states of recalcitrant senators until they relented. A presidency in which Mr Sanders travelled around the country holding rallies for a far-left programme that he could not get through Congress would widen America’s divisions. It would frustrate his supporters, because the president’s policies would be stymied by Congress or the courts. On the right, which has long been fed a diet of socialist bogeymen, the spectacle of an actual socialist in the White House would generate even greater fury. Mr Sanders would test the proposition that partisanship cannot get any more bitter. The mainstream three-quarters of Democrats have begun to tell themselves that Mr Sanders would not be so bad. Some point out that he would not be able to do many of the things he promises. This excuse-making, with its implication that Mr Sanders should be taken seriously but not literally, sounds worryingly familiar. Mr Trump has shown that control of the regulatory state, plus presidential powers over trade and over foreign policy, give a president plenty of room for manoeuvre. His first term suggests that it is unwise to dismiss what a man seeking power says he wants to do with it. If Mr Sanders becomes the Democratic nominee, America will have to choose in November between a corrupt, divisive, right-wing populist, who scorns the rule of law and the constitution, and a sanctimonious, divisive, left-wing populist, who blames a cabal of billionaires and businesses for everything that is wrong with the world. All this when the country is as peaceful and prosperous as at any time in its history. It is hard to think of a worse choice. Wake up, America!

https://econ.st/39bIAZO


Consciousness Isn’t Self-Centered / Nautilus

But how does felt experience arise out of non-sentient matter? The Australian philosopher David Chalmers famously termed this the “hard problem” of consciousness. Unlike the “easy problems” of explaining behavior or understanding which processes in the brain give rise to various functions, the hard problem lies in understanding why some of these physical processes have an experience associated with them at all. And the fact that the hard problem has persisted for so many decades, despite the advances in neuroscience, has caused some scientists to wonder if we’ve been thinking about the problem backward. Rather than consciousness arising when non-conscious matter behaves a particular way, is it possible that consciousness is an intrinsic property of matter—that it was there all along? This notion sounds crazy, but the question has been seriously posed. [...] When considering panpsychic views it’s important to first distinguish between consciousness and thought. We should be careful not to reflexively rail against the idea that rocks and spoons are conscious, which is obviously false when put this way. [...] For instance, if the individual atoms and cells in my brain are conscious, how do those separate spheres of consciousness merge to form the consciousness “I’m” experiencing? What’s more, do all of the smaller, individual points of consciousness cease to exist after giving birth to an entirely new point of view? This is referred to as “the combination problem,” and according to the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, it’s “the hardest problem facing panpsychism.” It has kept many scientists and philosophers otherwise willing to entertain the idea that consciousness is a fundamental property from fully endorsing panpsychism. However, it seems to me that the obstacle one faces here isn’t a combination problem but the confusion of consciousness with the concept of a self. [...] Perhaps the term panpsychism, because of its history and associations, will continue to pose obstacles to progress in consciousness studies. We might need a new label for the work in which scientists and philosophers theorize about the possibility that consciousness is fundamental.

http://bit.ly/38doiOj


That Time Obama Pardoned a Guy Who Stole Charlie Sheen's Honus Wagner Card / Sports Illustrated

A Coen Brothers-esque tale about knuckleheaded kitchen staffers at the All-Star Café, a Hollywood A-lister, the Mona Lisa of baseball cards and a plan that went horribly wrong.

http://bit.ly/2TcHMyd


How a Neighbors’ Feud in Paradise Launched an International Rape Case / New York Times

The Bahamian pleasure palace featured a faux Mayan temple, sculptures of smoke-breathing snakes and a disco with a stripper pole. The owner, Peter Nygard, a Canadian fashion executive, showed off his estate on TV shows like “Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous” and threw loud beachfront parties, reveling in the company of teenage girls and young women. Next door, Louis Bacon, an American hedge fund billionaire, presided over an airy retreat with a lawn for croquet. Mr. Bacon preferred hunting alone with a bow and arrow to attending wild parties, and if mentioned at all in the press, was typically described as buttoned-up. The neighbors had little in common except for extreme wealth and a driveway. But when Mr. Nygard wasn’t allowed to rebuild after a fire, he blamed Mr. Bacon. Since then, the two have been embroiled in an epic battle, spending tens of millions of dollars and filing at least 25 lawsuits in five jurisdictions. Mr. Nygard, 78, has spread stories accusing Mr. Bacon of being an insider trader, murderer and member of the Ku Klux Klan. Mr. Bacon, 63, has accused Mr. Nygard of plotting to kill him.

https://nyti.ms/32DuhKS


‘Astounding new finds’ suggest ancient empire may be hiding in plain sight / Science

On 16 January 378 C.E., a stranger arrived in Tikal, a large Maya city in what is now northern Guatemala. His name was Sihyaj K’ahk’ (SEE-yah Kak), or Fire is Born, and he was likely a mighty warrior from a distant land. Many archaeologists think he hailed from Teotihuacan, a metropolis of 100,000 people about 1000 kilometers northwest of Tikal, near today’s Mexico City. And he may have come with an army. The stone Maya monuments that record Sihyaj K’ahk’s arrival don’t say why he came or how he was received by Chak Tok Ich’aak, or Jaguar Paw, the long-reigning king of Tikal. But the day Sihyaj K’ahk’ marched into the city was the day Jaguar Paw died. The engravings suggest Sihyaj K’ahk’ had been sent by a powerful foreign ruler called Spearthrower Owl. Within 2 years, Spearthrower Owl’s young son was crowned the new king of Tikal. In portraits carved on stone monuments there, the new king, named Yax Nuun Ayiin, holds an atlatl, a spearthrower used by Teotihuacan warriors, and wears a Teotihuacan-style headdress adorned with tassels. Some images of him and his father on monuments at Tikal are even carved in the flat, geometric style of Teotihuacan art, distinct from the intricate, naturalistic portraits of the Maya. Under the exotic new king and his descendants, Tikal became one of the most powerful cities in the Maya region. Archaeologists have known the outline of those events for decades, but have long debated their meaning. Now, new evidence from both Teotihuacan and the Maya region has brought the relationship between those two great cultures back into the spotlight—and hints it may have been more contentious than most researchers had thought.

http://bit.ly/388CIyV


Why Hank Azaria Won’t Play Apu on ‘The Simpsons’ Anymore / New York Times

In a 2012 performance on the FX series “Totally Biased With W. Kamau Bell,” the comedian Hari Kondabolu celebrated the growing number of Indian-Americans on television while singling out Azaria for an obsolete portrayal. “There’s now enough Indian people where I don’t need to like you just because you’re Indian,” Kondabolu said in the segment. “Because growing up, I had no choice but to like this: Apu, a cartoon character voiced by Hank Azaria, a white guy. A white guy doing an impression of a white guy making fun of my father.” Azaria said he saw Kondabolu’s routine online but was too defensive then to take in its message. “My first reaction was to bristle,” Azaria said. Recalling his feelings at the time, he said he had justified Apu to himself by noting that many “Simpsons” characters were based on stereotypes. “We make fun of everyone,” Azaria said. “Don’t tell me how to be funny.” [...] By the time “The Problem With Apu” was shown on truTV in 2017, Azaria was well aware of the debate surrounding Apu but unsure of what he should do. “I didn’t want to knee-jerk drop it if I didn’t feel that was right, nor did I want to stubbornly keep doing it if that wasn’t right,” he said. Azaria said he continued to read articles and essays about representation, and he attended seminars about racism and social consciousness. As a white Jewish man, Azaria said he had asked himself, if there were a prominent character in popular culture that mocked those same traits, how would he feel about it? That alone might not bother him, he said. “But then I started thinking, if that character were the only representation of Jewish people in American culture for 20 years, which was the case with Apu, I might not love that,” he said.

https://nyti.ms/2Tevjd6


The ‘Dating Market’ Is Getting Worse / The Atlantic

The old but newly popular notion that one’s love life can be analyzed like an economy is flawed—and it’s ruining romance. [...] It’s understandable that someone like Liz might internalize the idea that dating is a game of probabilities or ratios, or a marketplace in which single people just have to keep shopping until they find “the one.” The idea that a dating pool can be analyzed as a marketplace or an economy is both recently popular and very old: For generations, people have been describing newly single people as “back on the market” and analyzing dating in terms of supply and demand. In 1960, the Motown act the Miracles recorded “Shop Around,” a jaunty ode to the idea of checking out and trying on a bunch of new partners before making a “deal.” The economist Gary Becker, who would later go on to win the Nobel Prize, began applying economic principles to marriage and divorce rates in the early 1970s. More recently, a plethora of market-minded dating books are coaching singles on how to seal a romantic deal, and dating apps, which have rapidly become the mode du jour for single people to meet each other, make sex and romance even more like shopping. [...] Daters have—or appear to have—a lot more choices on a dating app in 2020 than they would have at a provincial dance party in rural England in the 1790s, which is good, until it’s bad. The human brain is not equipped to process and respond individually to thousands of profiles, but it takes only a few hours on a dating app to develop a mental heuristic for sorting people into broad categories. In this way, people can easily become seen as commodities—interchangeable products available for acquisition or trade. “What the internet apps do is that they enable you to see, for the first time ever in history, the market of possible partners,” Illouz, the Hebrew University sociology professor, said. Or, it makes a dater think they can see the market, when really all they can see is what an algorithm shows them.

http://bit.ly/2TauO3Y


Amazon made a bigger camera-spying store—so we tried to steal its fruit / Ars Technica

The last time I tried to trick Amazon Go into coughing up freebies, I didn't have any luck. I know I confused the heck out of its default tracking system, because my second visit's receipt took a full hour to process, as opposed to my first visit's incredibly simple "grab two things, put them in bag, and leave" process. My second visit in 2018 included a jacket removal and a ton of silly item juggling. On Tuesday, I doubled down on shopping silliness, though mostly in the produce section—where AGG must contend with items whose color and shape can vary significantly within the same product line. Avocados come in "medium" and "large" sizes, and they're priced differently. Loose fruits and root veggies like oranges, potatoes, and watermelons differ more wildly within their own families, not to mention the battle eternally waged between the russet potato and the yam. And conventional bananas sit next to the organic ones; the latter are bundled with yellow tape like most grocery stores, lest you dare pull a banana switcheroo at a Piggly Wiggly! But it's still a possible point of camera-sensor confusion. Sometimes, I just grabbed and juggled a few produce items of different types before putting them back. Other times, my behavior got weirder. At one point, I grabbed a variety of fruits and veggies, bundled them in my arms, and pressed up against the railing to steady some of my bundle. Then I took various items with two hands, reached behind my back and beneath my backpack to exchange which was in which hand before putting them back in their respective spots. (I didn't put items back in the incorrect places for the sake of my experiment, because this shop does employ stockers, and I don't mess with retail workers. That's a golden rule of mine, experiments be damned.) Eventually, I arranged a set of conventional bananas in a bundle, almost resembling a taped-together organic set. After walking a lap around the shop, I returned to grab the conventional banana bundle with one hand and an organic bundle with another. Then I passed both sets behind my back... but got one loose banana stuck between my back and my backpack. I put the rest of the bananas back in their respective bins, then walked to something I hadn't seen at an Amazon Go store before: a bathroom.

http://bit.ly/39fNO6y


----- 1 star -----

Former CIA Chief of Disguise Breaks Down 30 Spy Scenes From Film & TV | WIRED / YouTube

Jonna Mendez, former CIA Chief of Disguise, takes a look at spy scenes from a variety of television shows and movies and breaks down how accurate they really are.

http://bit.ly/2IasSSE


The North Face Presents: Lhotse / YouTube

In 2018, Hilaree Nelson and Jim Morrison completed the first ski descent of the 27,940-foot Lhotse, the fourth-highest mountain in the world. This is their story.

http://bit.ly/2TcM7RV


DrDrunkenstein’s Reign of Terror / Slate

Magnus Carlsen, the best chess player alive, has been slipping into online speed tournaments behind pseudonyms to crack jokes, let loose, and destroy the competition. [...] Carlsen’s first showing as DrDrunkenstein was in Lichess’ second Titled Arena the following month. DannyTheDonkey was missing, and the mysterious Drunkenstein soared to the top of the elite competition. Commentators soon started speculating that the world champion had returned. He won commandingly; Carlsen ended the two-hour match with a score of 199. His three closest rivals were two grandmasters and an international master, who scored 132, 120, and 111, respectively. Carlsen streamed the games on Twitch, where he lived up to his username, pounding Coronas while bantering in Norwegian with his friends. Chess fans were astonished. There’s something hypnotizing about watching a guy known as “the Mozart of chess”—a player who is quantifiably better than Bobby Fischer—taking a big gulp of beer, announcing his position as “completely winning,” then singing along to Dr. Dre saying “motherfuck the police” while coasting into another quick checkmate. [...] Other times, he’d fidget his knights back and forth from their starting squares, offering his challenger a six-move time advantage. In this tournament he filled with gags, he came in first again.

http://bit.ly/39pSTcw


Mug / Kottke

This slow and meditative video features a potter making a mug from scratch. There’s no dialogue but don’t skimp on the sound…headphones are best. I could have watched this for an hour.

http://bit.ly/39fhZuG


A women's basketball team went viral after hitting five half-court shots in a row / CNN

South Dakota State University's Jackrabbits hit five half-court shots in a row, and it was all caught on video.

https://cnn.it/399yCbc


What Happened to the Company That Raised Minimum Wage to $70k/yr? / Kottke

Remember a few years ago when the owner of a credit card payment processing company based in Seattle raised the minimum wage of his employees to $70,000/yr while taking a huge pay-cut himself and capitalists the world over, afraid of their beloved & apparently suuuuper delicate system collapsing from such madness, flipped out? The BBC recently checked in with Gravity Payments and its owner Dan Price to see how things were going. Pretty damn well, as it turns out.

http://bit.ly/2TgztS9


Mercedes' New Dual-Axis F1 Steering System Is Counter-Intuitive And Brilliant. Here's How It Works / Digg

Our basic conception of a car's setup is for the each pair of wheels to be perfectly aligned. Mercedes has come up with an innovative new technique which lets each wheel point inward or outward independently, with fascinating results.

http://bit.ly/38fkWdm


Archaeologists Have Discovered a Lost Ancient Kingdom in Turkey / Vice

A farmer led archaeologists to an ancient stone, which told the tale of a great king defeating King Midas. Yes, that King Midas.

http://bit.ly/2IaK6PW


The Horrifying Things I’ve Seen as an Office Manager in Silicon Valley / The Bold Italic

Being an office manager in Silicon Valley is a difficult and thankless job that’s lowered my self worth more than anything I can think of. But the larger takeaway is that the tech industry’s culture of providing abundant perks has cultivated a level of employee entitlement that I find shocking. It can be so extreme that it isn’t sustainable for facilities staff to cater to effectively. The infantilization of tech workers that I witness on a day-to-day basis is alarming but inevitable when everything is taken care of for them: Meals and snacks are prepared to their requests, dishes they throw in the sink will magically disappear, and their free kombucha spilled all over the floor will be cleaned up by someone else. It’s this very environment that leads people to believe that it’s appropriate to send a picture of human shit via Slack at 10 p.m. to the office manager, effectively ruining the one thing that relaxes them: reruns of The Office. I never intended to become an office manager, much like Pam Beasley. I don’t see it as my career, or at least I hope to God it isn’t. In a past life, I was an academic, a broke and jaded “intellectual” barely treading water in an American Studies doctoral program in the epicenter of coastal liberalism. After four years of sitting through seminars in which people snapped in agreement with one another and where prefixes like “post-post-” were common, I decided to pursue more creative endeavors. Of course, I needed a 9-to-5 to support this lavish lifestyle of sitting in front of my laptop writing painfully Sarah Vowell-esque essays. I applied for this job at a startup and somehow convinced them I was up to the challenge. And just like that, here I am.

http://bit.ly/38flqQI


Breakfast Is Canceled / Medium

New research indicates that for some people, breakfast may be a waste of time

http://bit.ly/2I5GazQ


How to Make Aleppo Soap Using Traditional Methods / Kottke

Since 1945, Syrian company Pearl Soap has been using traditional centuries-old methods of making “Aleppo soap” from olive oil and laurel oil. Here’s how they do it (I love the contraption they use to cut the soap).

http://bit.ly/2I9nK1d


Click here to subscribe and to see previous issues.