How To Win An Argument
July 1, 2019
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“Suffering is humbling. It pays to know how to get your butt kicked.”
“If you don’t think you were born to run you’re not only denying history. You’re denying who you are.”
– Christopher McDougall, Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen
Nuclear Negotiations Or Business Meeting?
The last leg of President Trump’s official trip to the G20 in Osaka, Japan was a stop in South Korea. Before the trip White House officials told reporters no meeting with North Korea’s leader Kim Jong-un was scheduled.
But the president was not about to let an even bigger media show slip by, so early Saturday Trump tweeted an invitation to North Korea’s Kim Jong-un to meet him at the DMZ so the two could ‘say hello’ and shake hands.
Trump’s tweet made the gesture seem totally casual, in the event it weren’t to happen. But Kim agreed and the two greeted each other at the demarcation line on Sunday. Trump walked with Kim a few steps into North Korean territory, the first sitting US president to do so, and the two shook hands and posed for photos before reentering South Korea. Trump said stepping over the demarcation line was “a great honor.”
It was the third time the two leaders had met face to face. Trump walked out of their second meeting in Vietnam in February; this time the two met privately for almost an hour. Afterward Trump told reporters they hoped to resume nuclear negotiations and “get it right.” The president made other glowing remarks about the murderous North Korean dictator, including that they had developed a “very good relationship” and that “we understand each other.” He also said something many interpreted as the real purpose behind the impromptu meeting: “I want to thank Chairman Kim. If he did not show up, I know the press would make me look really bad.”
- Ivanka Trump: Adviser, daughter, and, this week, diplomat (CNN)
- A Breakfast Invitation Helps Rebuild a Crown Prince’s Standing (NYT, $)
- Saudi Arabia Is Running Out of Friends: The Anglo-American relationship with the House of Saud may be entering a perfect storm. (NYT, $)
Donald Trump, MbS, Kim Jong-un, Climate Change,
Jimmy Carter, Trade Relations, G20 Summit.
We Didn’t Start The Fire It Was Always Burning Since The World’s Been Turning
- Some takeaways from the G20 Summit: President Trump will not impose any new tariffs on China for now, and he will lift the ban on American companies selling their equipment to tech giant Huawei. In exchange China agreed to buy a “tremendous amount” of American food and other agricultural products, as well as other goods.
- Trump’s hosting of a personal breakfast for, and lavishing praise on, Saudi Prince Mohammed bin Salman signaled to the world the US relationship with Saudi Arabia is more important than the murder of one dissident, even if it is an American journalist. Much like a press event and lavishing praise on North Korea’s leader is more important than Kim Jong-un’s murder of one 22-year-old American tourist.
- The US will continue to deny the threat of climate change by fully withdrawing from the Paris Climate Accord, encouraging the production of fossil fuels everywhere possible, and rolling back any environmental pollution regulations.
- Trump kept close tabs on politics back home, saying Kamala Harris’s performance at the Democratic debates “wasn’t that outstanding,” and Jimmy Carter was a “terrible president.” (NYT)
- Putin Makes a Splash at the G20 Summit (NYT, $)
- Trump’s Ignorant Comments About Japan Were Bad Even for Him: His needlessly provocative remarks should take everyone’s breath away. (NYT, $)
- White Powder, Red Faces: Cocaine Cargo Aboard Brazil Presidential Plane (NYT, $)
This Is Basically The Plot Of Iron Man: MCU or Our Universe?
- Libyan government fighters found a cache of powerful American anti-tank missiles last week at a captured rebel base south of Tripoli. Markings on the missiles’ shipping containers indicate they were originally sold in 2008 to the United Arab Emirates, an important US partner.
- Somehow the missiles wound up in the arsenal of a military commander waging a campaign to take over Libya and overthrow a government the US supports. (NYT)
Hackback Clapback: The Digital is the Real
- The governments of the US, Britain, Australia, New Zealand and Canada declined to comment on the report that hackers working for Western intelligence agencies had broken into the Russian internet search company Yandex in late 2018 and deployed a rare type of malware in an attempt to spy on user accounts.
- The malware, called Regin, is known to be used by the “Five Eyes” intelligence-sharing alliance. (Reuters)
- This is a very important article and this is a highly recommended read: How a trivial cell phone hack is ruining lives: This is a personal security red alert. (Engadget)
- The Bitcoin Bite: Iran Says Power Grid Hit By Cryptocurrency-Mining Surge (Radio Free Europe)
- Regulators Have Doubts About Facebook Cryptocurrency. So Do Its Partners. (NYT, $)
- Stanford Law Professor Grundfest on Hurdles for Facebook’s Proposed Cryptocurrency Libra (Stanford Law) Grundfest taught Daily Pnut’s publisher and is one of the most entertaining and engaging law school professors on securities.
- Destroyer of worlds: How a childhood of anger led the founder of 8chan to create one of the darkest corners of the internet (Tortoise Media)
The One Percent Has All The Wealth And Health
- According to a study published in JAMA Network Open on Friday, Americans’ self-reported health across all groups has declined since 1993.
- Researchers assessed the degree to which race, income and gender influenced health outcomes over time, a measure they called “health justice.” They discovered those three categories played a bigger role in predicting health outcomes now than they did in 1993.
- Income was the biggest factor in predicting health outcomes, with white men in the highest income bracket being the healthiest overall. (NPR)
US Foreign Affairs’ Deus Rex Machina
- A newly released transcript of Rex Tillerson’s testimony before the House Foreign Affairs Committee revealed the former Secretary of State was kept out of the loop and in the dark on emerging US policies and simmering geopolitical crises.
- Tillerson said President Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner operated independently with powerful leaders around the world without State Department coordination. He was often blindsided by Kushner’s discussions with world leaders, noting “Because I didn’t have a say. The State Department’s views were never expressed.”
- Tillerson also described the challenge of briefing a president who does not read briefing papers and often got distracted by peripheral topics. Tillerson said he learned to keep his message short and focus on a single topic. (WaPo)
Combating Shallow & Uninformed Opinions (Or: How To Win An Argument On Facebook)
- The latest psychological research helps unravel why people who appear to have next to no understanding of world events can talk with the utmost confidence and conviction about them, a phenomenon called the “illusion of explanatory depth.” Because of this many political arguments based on false premises are delivered with great confidence, yet there is a minimal understanding of the issues at hand.
- A simple but powerful way of deflating someone’s argument is to ask for more detail about how a policy works, rather than why someone believes that it does. Once the shallowness of someone’s existing knowledge is revealed, room is made available for a more moderate and humble viewpoint.
- Besides our knowledge being less substantial than we think, it is also highly selective: we conveniently remember facts that support our beliefs and forget others. Using only selective facts to bolster one’s position is called “motivated reasoning.” So it’s important to fill someone’s “knowledge gap” with a convincing alternative narrative.
- Each of our beliefs is deeply rooted in a much broader and more complex political ideology; attacking a deeply held belief may threaten to unravel someone’s whole worldview, which in turn triggers emotionally charged motivated reasoning. A better strategy is to disentangle the issue at hand from someone’s broader beliefs — reframe the issue — or explain how the facts can still be accommodated into their worldview. (Guardian)
- How Ambient Chill Became the New Silence (Topic)
- In the Energy Drink Market, Advertising and Science Collide: Energy drinks are wildly popular among teens, despite being loaded with stimulants. How did that happen, and is it a concern? (Undark)
- Subway Got Too Big. Franchisees Paid a Price.: Sabotaged meatballs. The wrong soap. Franchisees say supervisors manipulated inspections — then took their stores. A company ‘hit man’ says it’s true. (NYT, $)
- The War Inside 7-Eleven: The company has been battling its store owners for years. It seems to have found a new tool: U.S. immigration authorities. (Bloomberg, $)
“Real success is finding your lifework in the work that you love.”
“The longer I live, the more I read, the more patiently I think and the more anxiously I inquire, the less I seem to know…do justly. Love mercy. Walk humbly. This is enough.”
– David McCullough
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