Hillary Clinton's Book Recommendation for Trump Tops This Week's News Roundup

If you’re starting to wonder if last week was just one long bout of déjà vu, you’re not alone in that feeling. From new talk of Obamacare repeal to another terrorist incident in London, a lot of news stories over the last few days have sounded like tales people have heard before. It’s been apparent for a while that 2017 is a strangely accelerated year, but who knew that it would run out of new material and be forced to repeat itself by September? It wasn’t all predictable, though. There was, of course, all of this.

Hillary Clinton Has Book Recommendations for President Trump

What Happened: Some people just aren’t big readers. And, for them, there’s always something else to leaf through.

What Really Happened: So, Hillary Clinton has a new book out. You might have noticed by the fact that it’s been talked about everywhere this past week. Even if you missed the news, President Trump definitely did not.

Let’s ignore the fact that Clinton, you know, won the popular vote, because nuance might not be the best course of action here. Still, Clinton did seem to realize from these tweets that maybe the book wasn’t for him, and instead suggested an alternative:

Let’s just say that Twitter approved.

Because it’s Donald Trump, and it’s Hillary Clinton, and it’s Twitter, the media got involved, as well. At least these aren’t important figures who should be caring about important things or anything.

The Takeaway: Well, there is another, snarkier way to look at this.

Have You Checked Ted Cruz’s Twitter Likes Recently?

What Happened: Whoever was in charge of Ted Cruz’s Twitter account on Monday should have realized that some tweets were not meant to be “liked” on there.

What Really Happened: Late on Monday night, a lot of Twitter users started suggesting that their followers go check out the most recent “liked” tweet by Senator Ted Cruz. A lot of people.

But what could this be referring to?

Oh. Oh. Concerns about, well, not publishing hardcore pornography on this website mean that we won’t post the tweet itself here, but suffice to say, it certainly looked as though Cruz—a man who once argued against the sale of sex toys—had used his professional Twitter account to like a video of a woman masturbating while watching a couple have sex, all of which was clearly visible on camera. This kind of hypocrisy was, as you might expect, prime Twitter fodder:

It wasn’t just Twitter, of course; the media was all over the story, because, well, come on. And some took it upon themselves to defend Cruz—because, let’s be honest, there are far worse things than watching porn or even accidentally liking it on your work account—even if those defenses weren’t entirely sincere.

Cruz blamed an anonymous staffer for what happened, and said that the matter would be dealt with internally. But, in trying to defend himself, it turned out that he broke new ground in terms of his beliefs, even if it was probably accidental.

If it takes public shaming because of his porn habits to get to this point, that’s—OK, it’s actually kind of unfortunate. But still! It ended well… ish?

The Takeaway: If nothing else, this whole thing did kind of humanize Ted Cruz a bit, didn’t it?

President Trump’s Terrorist Tweets

What Happened: Shortly after Friday’s explosion on a London Underground train, President Trump took to Twitter to share some thoughts. He might’ve spoke too soon.

What Really Happened: Early Friday morning an improvised explosive device (IED) detonated in at a London tube stop, injuring dozens. As a manhunt ensued to find the perpetrator or perpetrators, President Trump tweeted the following.

Putting aside the idea of “cutting off” the internet—how does that work, exactly?—it should be noted that Trump did not really have all the facts when he made his comments. How do we know this? Because the British prime minister said so:

She wasn’t the only one responding to Trump’s comments.

The president’s supporters, on the other hand, saw a different problem: people upset at Donald Trump.

On Saturday, police in the UK arrested an 18-year-old man in connection with the attack, but Home Secretary Amber Rudd said it was “too early” to determine whether those involved were previously known to authorities.

The Takeaway: Some folks were too distracted by what was actually going on to have a position on this sideshow, of course.

The White House Will Accept Your Resignation Now

What Happened: Turns out, the Trump Administration doesn’t take kindly to criticism.

What Really Happened: It started with a tweet from ESPN host Jemele Hill:

With such a bold statement, it’s no surprise that some people were upset, and ready to share their frustrations.

Also unsurprising was ESPN acknowledging that Hill’s tweet was a personal statement, and not speaking on behalf of the network.

That wasn’t enough for the White House, however, with press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders raising eyebrows midweek when she claimed Hill’s tweet was afireable offense.” The notion that the White House would call for anyone to be fired for criticizing the president is a strange one, especially considering that this particular president has criticized the previous administration on numerous occasions.

Nevertheless, Hill addressed the situation in a second tweet.

And, even as calls for her ouster continued, it turned out that many had her back.

The Takeaway: Well, at least things aren’t likely to get any worse anytime soo—


Facebook’s Other Ad-Based Problem

What Happened: And you thought selling ads to Russians was the most trouble Facebook could get in…

What Really Happened: It was only last week when we were talking about Facebook selling ads to Russians during the 2016 election—they still don’t know how many ads were purchased, if you’re keeping track—but, this week, there was a whole other Facebook ads story to get upset about.

No, really: ProPublica ran the astounding story that, up until last week when the site asked Facebook about it, it had been possible to target ads directly to Facebook users who expressed interest in the topics of “Jew hater,” “how to burn jews” and “History of ‘why jews run the world.'” This isn’t just theoretical; the site actually went head and purchased promoted posts based on those terms, only to get the accepted within 15 minutes. The response was as you might expect.

Of course, it’s not as if Facebook lets anything go on its platform, as some were happy to share:

As the story started getting traction in the media, Facebook issued a statement that rang more than a little hollow.

“We don’t allow hate speech on Facebook,” the statement read. “Our community standards strictly prohibit attacking people based on their protected characteristics, including religion, and we prohibit advertisers from discriminating against people based on religion and other attributes. However, there are times where content is surfaced on our platform that violates our standards. In this case, we’ve removed the associated targeting fields in question. We know we have more work to do, so we’re also building new guardrails in our product and review processes to prevent other issues like this from happening in the future.”

“Guardrails.” That’s certainly one way of putting it.

The Takeaway: At least not all social networks are like this.



NASA's Mission To Saturn Is Over — But These Facts Will Leave You Breathless For a Lifetime

I have a sincere answer to the question, “What did you want to be when you were a kid?”

I wanted to be an astronaut.

In fact, I still do, and now that SpaceX has worked out most of its kinks, I’d be the first to volunteer for a citizen crew.

And while that my not be a reality — for now — I instead have long been living vicariously through the ongoing missions of NASA.

So it is with a little sadness that I watched as the Cassini-Huygens Saturn Mission (more commonly known as simply Cassini) ended this past week with a glorious plunge into the atmosphere of Saturn. Cassini spent the past 13 exploring Saturn, collecting a mountain of data and amazing photos of the mysterious planet and its many moons.

And while the images alone would have been enough to satisfy all aspiring space adventurers, Cassini actually accomplished a great deal more than any of us even noticed. Here are just a few of the amazing facts about the Cassini Mission.

  • The mission was named after Christiaan Huygens (1629-1695), a Dutch scientist who is credited for discovering Saturn’s rings, its largest moon (Titan), and the narrow gap that separates Saturn’s rings known as the “Cassini Division.”
  • Cassini launched on October 15, 1997 on a million mile journey to Saturn and entered Saturn’s orbit just seven years later on July 1, 2004.
  • Cassini was big, about the size of a 30-passenger school bus, and weighed roughly 6 tons (5,600 kg), half of which was rocket fuel. It is the heaviest unmanned spacecraft ever launched into space.
  • The spacecraft was powered by nuclear thermoelectric generators, fueled by 65 pounds (30 kilograms) of plutonium.
  • Because of its size, Cassini required a significant amount of speed to reach Saturn. To achieve this, the mission used “gravitational slingshotting” to generate speed. Essentially, the mission included two passes of Venus and one by each Earth and Jupiter before it had enough momentum to make it to Saturn.

    All of this required a unique alignment of the planets (not to mention a heck of lot of math and brainpower), which happens once every 600 years.

  • The Cassini Mission was originally meant to spend only four years around Saturn but was extended after several successful attempts. It ended up spending 13 years passing around Saturn and its moons collecting data.
  • The mission successfully landed a module (the Huygens part of the spacecraft) on Saturn’s moon of Titan on January 14, 2005, the first landing accomplished in the outer solar system and the first on a planetary moon other than Earth’s own.
  • The Huygens probe discovered on Titan many geologic features similar to Earth, as well as organic molecules that could be capable of generating organic, alien life.
  • Saturn is between 71 to 86 light minutes from Earth (depending on the orbits), which means a significant amount of power is required to send data back. Cassini actually introduced revolutionary technology that enabled it to continue working longer that originally anticipated. According to Dr. James Dayton, the Founder and Chief Technology Officer of Teraphysics, one of the original scientists who developed the technology, “Enhancements to traveling wave tube (TWT), a radio frequency amplifier used on communication satellites and deep space probes, was used on the NASA Cassini mission to Saturn, (during which) these amplifiers transmitted more than 900 gigabytes of data back to earth, resulting in the publication of some 4000 scientific papers.”
  • The mission included flyby’s — 162 of them — of several of Saturn’s 53 moons.
  • Cassini traveled a total of 4.9 billion miles (7.9 billion kilometers).
  • In April 2017, nearly seven years after the original planned conclusion of the mission, Cassini initiated its “grand finale,” a series of bold and risky passes by Saturn, the closest the probe had ever gotten to the planet. After the 22nd and last pass, it ran out of fuel and, traveling at 69,368 mph (111,637 kph), was allowed to be de-orbited and burn up in Saturn’s upper atmosphere.


The Award-Winning $8 Supermarket Wine Has Finally Made It To The U.S. (Here's How You Can Get It)

Absurdly Driven looks at the world of business with a skeptical eye and a firmly rooted tongue in cheek.

America sometimes has to wait.

Especially, I find, in matters of taste.

Europe still has that gastronomic something on occasion and here we clamor for it like children for screen time.

I bring, therefore, good news.

Recently, I mentioned that the Exquisite Collection Côtes de Provence Rosé, 2016 had won a silver medal at the International Wine Challenge 2017.

This was slightly remarkable because it costs a mere $ 8.

No, not for a glass. For a bottle. This rosé was one of Aldi’s fine specials.

Of course, Americans also being keen for a bargain, they couldn’t work out why they weren’t able to buy it. The pain of knowing that it’s only in the U.K. only made things worse.

Please, therefore, prepare.

The $ 8 world beater arrives on Aldi’s shelves in the U.S. on September 20.

This might make you fear it will disappear on September 20. After all, it’s only available for a limited time.

I therefore have an idea.

Please immediately sidle along to your nearest Aldi.

There, befriend someone who looks important. Alternatively, someone who is sure to be on duty on the morning of September 20. (These are basic business tactics, after all. Network for success.)

Make sure that this particular Aldi is getting supplies of this allegedly exquisite rosé, which defeated other pink wines that cost multiples more.

Explain just how great your need is to obtain this particular rosé.

I suggest you make up some very believable story.

Sample: It’s your daughter’s wedding next week, you lost a lot of money betting on Conor McGregor and there will be 120 guests. Tears will help.

It will surely also help if you’re already a regular at said Aldi. That way, you might even glean the precise hour and minute these bottles will appear.

It might be an idea to go all Apple fanperson on the whole thing and camp out the night before. Or even two nights before.

That way, you might not only get a few bottles of exquisite(ly cheap) rosé, but local TV news stations might come by to wonder why you’re doing it. (And to wonder if you’re sane.)

Please be clear. I’m not suggesting any illegal subterfuge, such as slipping into the store the night before and sleeping over. Or slipping an Aldi employee a couple of dollars for some sort of inside track.

However, just as all politics are local, so is all business. Your ingenuity is now being challenged.

I haven’t myself tasted one of these fine rosés. And I just checked where my nearest Aldi store is located. The answer: 262.94 miles away.

So I’m relying on you. Please don’t let me down.


Admit your mistakes if you want to succeed in the cloud

It’s 8:00 a.m. and I get a call from a client. It sounds like the workloads that the CIO had IT move to public cloud are not performing well. The data, by the way, was left on-premises, so all database calls are being made across the open internet.

Can you guess what’s wrong here?

[ Learn all about the cloud at InfoWorld. Start with the basics: What is cloud computing? Everything you need to know now. Then learn what is IaaS (infrastructure as a service) and what is PaaS (platform as a service). ]

In this case, the client admitted that the separation of the application and the database by 3,000 miles was a key mistake, and it was willing to redo the implementation. Obviously, that meant more costs, risk, and time. However, the client got a workable workload in the end. And a valuable lesson learned.

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