(Last) Weekly Roundup: The Flattest Humans Edition

Are you a Twitter user? Well, that’s a shame. It can be hard to let that bad habit go; I have had trouble walking away myself, even though I should delete the app and never look back. Someone recently described the general tone, and effect, of Twitter as “a hangover without the party that comes first.” It’s a nonstop avalanche of political rage, bad opinions, and unnecessary combativeness. It’s now commonly understood that the net effect of most social media is depressive, but Twitter is the worst of a bad bunch.

With that said, if you’re still on the Twitter train, stop what you’re doing and follow Humans Of Flat immediately. It’s not just another smart-guy-dumps-on-bad-design account. It’s bigger than that.

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(Double) Weekly Roundup: Where I Belong Edition

It’s the most expensive city in the world, and it can feel a little straitlaced to an American, but if I had the means to live anywhere Singapore would be at, or near, the top of my list. Danger Girl and I spent the last two weeks in Asia taking part in the EVO Enduro from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia to Phuket Island, Thailand and we took a couple of decompression days at the Marina Bay Sands to wind the whole thing up. It wasn’t super-cheap, and we didn’t have any friendly automakers to foot the bill for it, but I have no regrets.

Singapore is squeaky-clean and completely safe. It’s one of the least corrupt countries in the world, which feels like a breath of fresh air after watching Jeffrey Epstein “commit suicide” in a closely-observed prison cell. Incidentally, the Epstein murder is probably an all-time low point in the history of American governance, regardless of whether you think he was killed by Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump, or Ehud Barak. It is also a damning indictment of the media which tells us that everything is a “conspiracy theory”. This guy had a private pedophile island and somehow he was able to get Bill Clinton to dismiss his Secret Service protection so the two of them could… play Magic:The Gathering? How far-fetched does “PizzaGate” seem right now? What about the Vince Foster and Seth Rich stuff? Is there any “conspiracy theory” out there that is more outrageous than what actually happened in and around Epstein’s circle of friends?

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(Last) Weekly Roundup: Chrome Camry Edition

Let’s all laugh at the Chrome Camry, this jumped-up Kentucky prole-mobile with toothy delusions of grandeur. Let’s all take a moment to chuckle at the idea that this could be an upscale car in other markets. The idea that one would pay extra to ride in it, as was probably the case with this particular Camry spotted by me on the way back from yet another McDonald’s lunch in yet another foreign country. Isn’t that hilarious?

It’s definitely hilarious, as long as you don’t think too much or too hard.

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Weekly Roundup: You Get The Minimum for the MAX Edition

The Boeing 737 MAX 10 costs $134,900,000 — that’s about half of the price tag for an F-22 Raptor, but it’s five times as much as you’d pay for an Embraer 175 super-sized regional jet. Given that American Airlines was paying $48.4 million each for 737-800 jets a decade ago, you’d expect that the MAX 10 offers a lot of additional utility and capacity to go along with that significantly increased price. What you would not expect: that much of the software responsible for keeping the big little Boeing in the air was developed in Chennai, India at a cost of $9/hour.

But it was.

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Weekly Roundup: I Used To Do A Little But The Little Didn’t Do It Edition

This is CNN’s front page as of 9PM EST, 14 July 2019. I brought it up because I was curious to see what they are saying about Willen Van Spronsen, the fellow who brought a rifle to a privately-run immigration detention facility, started throwing Molotov cocktails at a propane tank, and died after being shot by police. His actions were no doubt at least partially influenced by media coverage of “concentration camps” and various calls to violent action from progressive media sources.

Think of him as Tim McVeigh, only far less effective, I guess. It has long been an article of faith among America’s left wing that McVeigh was stirred to action by a rising chorus of antigovernment voices such as Rush Limbaugh and G. Gordon Liddy. If you buy that argument, then it almost certainly applies to Van Spronsen as well, with the added unpleasantness of the voices in this case being so-called papers of record in the United States.

In any event, if you get your news from CNN you’ll learn a lot this evening. A YouTube star died. “Duchess Meghan Meets Queen Bey”. Serena Williams “drops the mic” on a reporter’s question. But you won’t see anything about Von Spronsen. He’s been memory-holed. Was it ever going to be any other way? So let’s focus instead on CNN’s headlines for the night. As you can see, particularly if you aren’t red/green colorblind, there’s a common theme.

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Weekly Roundup: PC Is For Political Children Edition

If you think political violence in this country is limited to Portland fascism, er, anti-fascism, you should see what’s been done to an eight-year-old girl who makes fun of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. The idea of threatening or intimidating children because their politics disagree with yours is utterly beneath contempt…

…hold on a minute…

…do eight-year-olds really have any politics of which to speak? Aye, there’s the rub.

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(Last) Weekly Roundup: Here Comes The YEET CANNON Edition

There are more things in heaven and in earth, Patricia, than are dreamt of in your philosophy. Such as the YEET CANNON. It’s a joke, but it’s also a very real product. For $199, you can buy an American-made 9mm pistol with “YEET CANNON” printed on the side.

“Yeeting”, by the way, refers to the practice of violent displacement, often with some style: “He yeeted that Mountain Dew can into the trash.” My son tells me that “Get yeeted on!” is considered to be quite the insult among his peers.

The existence of the Yeet Cannon, and the story behind it, suggests that the future is going to be a little more complicated than some of us would like to believe.

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Weekly Roundup: Scrap Lover, My Brother Edition

There was a whole year of our lives — some time in the late Nineties, I think — where brother Bark and I did not speak to each other. I cannot remember what started the argument, nor how it resolved. Our friends were not surprised; if anything, they seemed shocked that we didn’t argue more often than we do. Two men, cut from the same cloth, both of us disagreeable and contentious and prideful. How could we not argue? We are also both prone to consider ourselves the smartest person in the room, which makes our shared time in a single room slightly awkward.

Bark and I are not as alike in person as we are on the page. He loves to travel, he goes to church, he enjoys social events, he has a better handle on the world as it truly exists in any given moment. Bark is a team player, a great salesman, a great motivator. Most people, having met both of us, like him better. He is more wholehearted in his enthusiasms, more forthright with his opinions, quicker to anger and quicker to forgive. Plenty of people confuse us as writers but that’s simply because they don’t care enough to look at the byline or because they aren’t paying that much attention. Which is fine. We’re in the entertainment business, not doing pediatric heart surgery.

I mention all of the above because Bark’s contributions to TTAC have been absent from these Weekly Roundups and it’s led to some speculation that he and I are in some sort of conflict about said contributions. It ain’t so. I no longer read TTAC so I wasn’t entirely aware of what he was writing — and he was loath to remind me because he knows I ended my time over there on relatively unpleasant terms.

Everything’s square now, and the Roundups will now contain Bark’s TTAC articles as they’re published. Which raises another question: how is that Bark still writes for TTAC and I do not?

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Weekly Roundup: This Is (Probably Not Made Anywhere Near) BRAZIL! Edition

There’s a new language appearing all over product marketing nowadays and I’ve dubbed it Sustainish. Here’s an example:

We are constantly trying to do things better. When it comes to our leather production, we’ve mindfully approached the process to make our leather sneakers in the most sustainable way possible. Our supplier operates under strict local and international environmental standards (ISO 14001). Their sustainability action demands that 100% of the water that is used in the leather process is reused and treated (with zero chemical waste output). They use solar panels as their primary source of energy. Plus, they also produce electricity from hydro-generated and thermal energy (both renewable sources).

Ah, shades of S’Well, the magic sustainable bottle-maker whose products are also made with solar power and recycled water and zero waste in A MYSTERIOUS PLACE THAT NEVER SEEMS TO APPEAR ANYWHERE NEAR THE MARKETING MATERIALS. And so it is with Cariuma, a new sneaker brand “from Brazil” that describes its procurement processes in hyperactive detail right down to a picture of the device used to get rubber out of a tree but which suffers from a sudden and convenient case of amnesia when it’s time to discuss where their “supplier” is.

Anybody want to guess at the provenance of these Brazilian sneakers?

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