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daily 07/03/2014

    • But the Tommy Bahama drink menu was designed by an alcoholic child—nothing BUT drinks I want to drink.
    • Max described this as “a great bad idea.”
    • Absolutely not. I love Diet Coke. Diet Coke is my favorite thing to drink. My second favorite thing to drink, I have recently learned, is “Coconut Cloud Martini” from the Tommy Bahama store on 5th Avenue. That was the first cocktail I ordered this afternoon, and I remember it like it was yesterday.
    • Everyone was nice. About five different people stopped by to ask us how our binge drinking was going.
    • While we drank, we heard a disco edit of Fleetwod Mac’s “Dreams” and a cover of Sade’s “Smooth Operator” by a guy, which made me want to buy dad jeans. The people who were dining at Tommy Bahama were the kind of people you’d expect to see on an all-inclusive resort that banishes anything exotic about the locale you’re visiting at least partially because of its exoticism. Unsmiling fiftysomething women in cream and bone. A thin, tan woman dining alone listening to an iPod.
    • Caity: The bathroom smelled like walking into a coconut. If you were small enough to live inside a fruit, coconut is not bad.
    • Rich: When he described the crème brûlée as “iconic,” I wanted to scream “YAAAAAAAASSSSS” at the dessert tray. As we were waffling on dessert plans, Curtis, being the chill, beach-going dude that he is paid to be, told us, “Chill out, take it slow, ya got sailboats going by.” And at that point, I was like, “He’s just fucking with us now.”
    • Rich: I would go back because dining here is the culinary equivalent of listening to “Kokomo” and I still like that song.
    • Caity: YES! You will eat like kings. Like Kings of Hawaii prior to the 1893 coup d’état. (The restaurant didn’t feel particularly Hawaiian or Bahamanian or like any other chain of Islands. It felt like a Florida airport.)
    • Rich: Yeah, just get drunk and screw or chill out, take it slow. Either way, ya got sailboats going by.

      Caity: Sure! It was surprisingly serpentine inside.

    • In a recently published patent filing, the plane manufacturer describes a plane where the “cockpit lacks any glazed surfaces” and where the pilot uses only display monitors for piloting the plane.
    • “In particular, the presence of the cockpit requires a large glazed surface to be provided in order to give operational physical visibility and to meet the rules and requirements for certification, such a glazed surface being very heavy which requires numerous structural reinforcements to be put in place which increase the mass of the aircraft still further.”
    • The patent suggests other locations for a “viewing platform” from which the pilot would control the plane. For instance, it could be — according to Airbus — put below the cabin or up in the vertical stabilizer at the rear of the plane.
    • Then there is also the issue of visibility. While a series of monitors (or heck, a pair of VR goggles) could indeed provide views that are equal to or better than what pilots see from the cockpit windows, they’re not of much use when a camera is knocked out or — heaven forbid — the plane loses power.
    • Studies also show that in addition to altering mood, people have more trouble performing mental activities during Ramadan because they’re less alert. (This may explain the high incidence of traffic accidents during the month). A recent study tried to explain this surprisingly complex phenomenon by examining sleep-wake patterns in soccer players who were fasting. Researchers discovered that athletes sleep nearly ninety minutes less per night during Ramadan. It’s unclear precisely why this happens but it appears that hunger makes circadian rhythms go haywire.
    • Soccer is strange, in that it isn’t very strange at all. One would think that such a low-scoring game would lend itself to randomness, to the odd fairytale ending, to relatively shitty teams fluking their way into the history books. This doesn’t happen.
    • The tournaments, as we have already seen this year, appear crazy in the moment, close up. But when the smoke clears, the best teams in the world always emerge unscathed, victorious.
    • Soccer is different from hockey, or baseball, or football, or college basketball, in that it’s coldly predictable, for mysterious reasons that no one can really adequately explain. Cinderella doesn’t exist in this world—there are no Miracles on Ice, no 1969 New York Mets, no Buster Douglases—and through that specific lens, if you were so inclined, you could call it un-American.
    • But in the first half of the match, the Americans had lost starting striker Jozy Altidore to a hamstring injury. He’d miss the rest of the tournament. Altidore is not a particularly good player, and in any case, he’d just come off a comically bad year for English club Sunderland, where he tallied just one goal and an assist in 31 appearances. Still, he is one of the USMNT’s best players,
    • After 90 minutes, though, somehow the game was tied. Then, 30 seconds before overtime, American poacher Chris Wondolowski found himself free, six yards from goal, with a chance to put the Americans through. He missed.
    • In the second half of overtime, the United States dominated the Belgians. Seven of the USMNT’s 17 shots came in the last 15 minutes. Six minutes before time, the Americans executed a perfect set piece that found Clint Dempsey in on goal, six yards out. He missed. Then the final whistle blew, and Belgium emerged the deserved winners.
    • Through a specific, objective lens, it would have been a travesty, an affront to the game itself, if the United States had won. And this is what Klinsmann was talking about before the tournament. His message has never been that this country can’t win—it’s that it can’t yet, because it hasn’t earned it and because there are no shortcuts.
    • They weren’t close to winning the World Cup, just as they won’t be in 2018, or in 2022. Because their death was always certain, though, what mattered wasn’t what happened, but how.
    • It would’ve been no great shame or surprise if they’d given in to nihilism, but even though the Americans only briefly played well, they still fought valiantly, against the very nature of soccer itself, until they were cut down by an overwhelming foe and carried out on their shields.
    • We knew how it would end, and still we applauded. They couldn’t have done any better, or any more.
    • The tipping points in question include “the 2011 Egyptian revolution, the 2011 Russian Duma elections, the 2012 Nigerian fuel subsidy crisis and the 2013 Gazi park protests in Turkey,” according to the website of the Minerva Initiative, a Defense Department social science project.
    • The military will be spending an increasing amount of the $50 billion intelligence budget on private contractors to perform open-source intelligence gathering and analysis, according to Flynn. That’s evidenced by the rise in companies eager to provide those services.
    • For example, you are interested in monitoring an election somewhere in Africa and you want to know who are the people tweeting on one side of an election versus the other, or who are the most influential tweeters or you what if you have intelligence that an explosion is about to happen at a particular square, can you confirm that using Tweets?” That’s the sort of thing Palantir wants to help you with.
    • One of them is a company out of Austin, Texas, called SnapTrends, founded in 2012. They provide a “social listening” service that analyzes posts to provide insights about the circumstances of the poster, one of the most important of which is the poster’s location.
    • SnapTrends says that the tool was extremely helpful in the investigation following the 2013 Boston Marathon bomb attacks. Using social network analysis, “we found the college kids that had access to the computers [owned by the suspects]. We were able to get to them first,” said Robins
    • ”I’m a retired intelligence guy,” he said. “This is not that difficult, people.”
    • In the same way that observing the behavior of some subatomic particles changes the behavior of those particles (called the observer effect), watching the tweets and posts of targets can create an environment where people tweet less.
    • People will constantly adapt to their environment in order to survive,” he said.

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

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