Today’s Most Interesting Reads, 12/10/18

Okay, I’m cheating a little. Some of these are things I read over the weekend.

  • Conservative pundit takes a GOP campaign’s theft of absentee ballots in North Carolina and weirdly pretends it’s some sort of vindication for GOP voter suppression efforts. To recap: Trump and the GOP claimed (without evidence) Democrats were engaging in widespread voter fraud, which included millions of undocumented immigrants voting illegally. In North Carolina, someone working for the GOP candidate assembled a team to at minimum steal absentee ballots and trash ones he didn’t like. “At minimum” because his team probably filled some of those ballots out themselves and submitted them. 
  • The Two Faces of Lummie Jenkins — a helluva story about the differing portrayals of the same guy. This gets at something critical in examining history, telling and enjoying stories, and being an adult person who isn’t an asshole: point of view.
  • Behind the scenes of John Kelly’s departure as Chief of Staff.
  • Adam Davidson with a superb article detailing just how incompetent Trump’s shitty henchmen actually were. Davidson has done some great work chronicling the corrupt and almost certainly illegal business practices of the Trump Organization since at least 2006.
  • This article about why the Spurs offense is effective is from five years ago, but it’s worth a read or re-read because it so accurately describes what NBA teams are trying to do today.
  • An interview with Steven Pinker about why we think civilization is worse than it used to be despite optimism about our personal lives and objective facts that show civilization is much better than it was in the past.
  • Manafort, Cohen and Invidual 1 are in grave danger.
  • Programmers created AlphaZero, a system that taught itself to play chess (and other strategy games) in a closed system — meaning, they didn’t let it study human games. The program taught itself by playing randomly at first and developing its own strategies. It found its way to classic human strategies and worked out novel ways of playing that humans hadn’t figured out.
  • And, former world chess champion Garry Kasparov, writes about AlphaZero.
  • Quickly becoming one of my favorite basketball reads, Caitlin Cooper breaks down how Bojan Bogdanovich uses screens. Side note: there’s literally nothing he does that wasn’t taught during a Station 13 at Five Star basketball camp in Pittsburgh during the summer of 1987.
  • Shane Young writes that Stephen Curry is the best player in the game. Back in 2016, I wrote for Vice about how Curry was having the best single season ever. Shane has some cool video to go with his piece. Really good stuff, even if he misuses “desolated.”
  • Glenn Kessler and the fact-checking team at the Washington Post have come up with a new category for Trump’s incessant lying: the Bottomless Pinocchio. To qualify, a false statement needs to be repeated at least 20 times. Trump is the only politician to accomplish this feat. I’m glad they’ve come up with something, but I would prefer they just called it what it is: Disinformation Campaign.
  • I didn’t read or write this — it’s the #SoWizards podcast, which consists of Ben Becker and me running our mouths about the Washington Wizards. 

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