China sent you an invitation on LinkedIn
August 30, 2019
There will be no Daily Pnut on Labor Day (Monday, 9/2). We hope everyone has a delightful Labor day weekend!
“In the name of God, stop a moment, cease your work, look around you.” – Leo Tolstoy
Join the LinkedIn Spy Network
- Western Intelligence Agencies are claiming that popular business networking site LinkedIn, which currently boasts a userbase of over six hundred and forty-five million people, is being used by Chinese Spies to recruit and contact thousands of foreign citizens.
- Many former politicians from across the globe have reported that they were approached by Chinese agents, who offered them great rewards and payment if they were to come to China and meet them.
- Multiple cases of internal espionage cases have been discovered in the past year, including incidents in which a former employee of the C.I.A. as well as a Chinese intelligence agent were arrested and sentenced to jail after they were found spying for China. Both cases sprouted from relationships which began over LinkedIn.
- Other social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram have also been targeted by foreign agents looking to penetrate overseas operations. Main targets include former politicians, academics, and business elites. Spokespeople from their respective companies have stated that attempts to crack down and delete fake profiles have begun,though many thousands of accounts still remain active, with “new users” entering sites such as LinkedIn daily.
Your Network is Your Net Worth & Your Net Reputation (or The Power of Networks)
- Jeffrey Epstein and the power of networks: The billionaire child rapist bought his way into an elite crowd of intellectuals that defined the last three decades of science, tech, and culture (WIRED, $)
- Jeffrey Epstein’s Links To Scientists Are Even More Extensive Than We Thought: Scientists took Epstein’s money or associated with the financier after he was jailed for soliciting an underage girl for prostitution. Some say they are sorry. Others didn’t comment. (BuzzFeed News)
- “I collect people, I own people, I can damage people”: the curious sociopathy of Jeffrey Epstein: Epstein was a monster who portrayed himself as a “man of mystery,” says one of his ex-girlfriends. But Epstein also epitomized the larger transactional nature of fin de siècle New York society—the sociopath who proved the rule. (Vanity Fair, $)
- How a Ring of Women Allegedly Recruited Girls for Jeffrey Epstein: After Mr. Epstein’s suicide, his inner circle of girlfriends, employees and other associates is now under scrutiny by prosecutors. (NYT, $)
- Trial of High-Powered Lawyer Gregory Craig Exposes Seamy Side of Washington’s Elite (NYT, $)
- You Are The Average Of The Five People You Spend The Most Time With (The Polymath Project)
- Silicon Valley’s Saudi Arabia Problem: Technology companies can no longer turn a blind eye to the human rights abuses of one of their largest investors. (NYT, $)
- The Baroness Fighting to Protect Children Online (NYT, $): “The idea that it’s O.K. to nudge kids into endless behaviors, just because you are pushing their evolutionary buttons — it’s not a fair fight,” Lady Kidron told me, as she sat a few tables away from a Facebook policy executive. “It’s little Timmy in his bedroom versus Mark Zuckerberg in his Valley.”
Open for Brawling
- China’s first Costco store opened its doors to rabid citizens in the commercial capital of Shanghai, and the results were not pretty. Wrestling, fighting, and grappling over everything from detergents to meats to teddy bears, Costco issued an alert to members warning them not to come to the newly opened store, and promptly closed the store early.
- Rowdier than the wildest of Black Friday sales, the discount retailer truly faced chaos and saw three hour lines out the door into the parking lot. Costco reported to ravenous customers that they would work with local authorities to better control the chaos once they decide to reopen their doors.
- Beyond the lines and chaos, however, there lay a line of political intertwinement between the United States and China – clearly portrayed by the American retail chain’s first location opening in China. Many national newspapers reported on how there is a “very powerful link” between the two countries’ economies, and it would only continue to become stronger as more situations like this arise in the future. (WaPo $)
- It is said that “Countries that both have McDonald’s have never been involved in war with each other.” Hopefully countries that both have Costcos will never go to war with each other.
Pound for Pound? Not So Much Anymore
- Originally minted in the eighth century, when Britain was little more than a collection of warring factions being plundered by the Vikings, the British pound sterling now stands as the oldest currency used in the world.
- However, as the centuries have come and gone, the pound has lost more and more value – with economists suggesting that the looming threat of Brexit will only harm its value more. Never moving away from the pound as their national currency, many believe it has become not only a symbol of Britain’s glory days, but also a symbol of its culture.
- A proud nation, which used to boast the strongest naval fleet in the world, Britain’s pound notes have been adorned with pictures of some of the most prominent figures in their history, such as William Shakespeare, Jane Austen, Winston Churchill and Charles Darwin. Even as other European countries began shifting away from the pound in the 1990s, Britain stayed true to their one and only currency.
- Still, there are many concerned about the future of Britain’s economy if they continue to rely on the pound sterling (or as it is locally known, the quid) in the wake of a possible no-deal Brexit. (NPR)
Additional World News
- The Amazon Is Not Earth’s Lungs: Humans could burn every living thing on the planet and still not dent its oxygen supply. (Atlantic) And How to Save the Amazon Without Condescending to Brazil: We need to figure out how to sustainably use the rain forest for the benefit of its inhabitants and the world. Give Brazil a hand without disrespecting its sovereignty. (NYT, $)
- Peru: skeletons of 227 victims unearthed at world’s largest child sacrifice site Experts believe the children were sacrificed by the Chimú culture to appease the El Niño phenomenon (Guardian)
- Canada: workers race to free millions of salmon trapped after huge landslide Rockslide on banks of Fraser River created impassable barrier Heavy machinery and helicopters used to help gather fish (Guardian)
- Iranian Rocket Launch Ends In Failure, Imagery Shows (NPR)
- Violence Follows Pro-Independence Protests In Indonesia’s Papua Region (NPR)
That’s a Violation
- Justice Department inspector general Michael E. Horowitz stated that former F.B.I. Director James Comey violated policy by disclosing memos about his interactions with President Trump, and had set a “dangerous example” for officials with access to government secrets.
- President Trump was quick to attack Comey following the report’s release, telling him that, “He should be ashamed of himself!”
- The latest chapter in the long, grueling story of Mr. Comey, he swiftly responded to the report by stating that the new report found that he had broken no laws and lashed out at those criticizing him or accusing him of lying and leaking information. He also stated that if he were faced with the same situation again, he would do nothing different. (NYT)
Additional USA News
- The Battle of the Billionaires: Death and destruction: this is David Koch’s sad legacy: Anarcho-capitalism was the real cancer plaguing the billionaire libertarian. And it spread across universities, halls of Congress and the White House (Guardian) And Can $100 Million Buy a Spot at the Debate? Tom Steyer, the billionaire former investor, is an unlikely populist. But he is poised to be a deeply disruptive figure in the Democratic primary race. (NYT, $)
- Farmers’ Frustration With Trump Grows as U.S. Escalates China Fight (NYT, $)
- The Federal Election Commission Needs 4 of 6 Members to Enforce the Law. It Now Has 3. (NYT, $)
Facebook Friends or Real Friends
- The paradox of ubiquitous social media is that it is, in fact, isolating. While it is fundamentally human to crave connection and friendship with others, what does being a friend mean in a world where hackers are trying to be your “friend” on Facebook?
- Making and being a friend is not automatic — it requires nurturing, much as a plant cannot be sustained in a vacuum. Experts offer suggestions for finding new friends and taking better care of the friendships you already have. (NPR)
- Is Late-Night Snacking Really So Wrong?: What the science has to say about your bedtime snacks. (Self) and Why food memories are so powerful: Lured by a food from her childhood, a woman returns to a country that no longer exists to confront her family’s secret past. (BBC)
- Should You Take Your Shoes Off at Home?: It isn’t even a question in many homes, but here’s what the science has to say. (NYT, $)
- The Hedonic Rush of Exercise: When working out becomes a personal — as well as self-affirming — indulgence. (NYT, $)
- Humans Are Impetuous and Shortsighted. Can We Change? (NYT, $)
- The air conditioning trap: how cold air is heating the world: The warmer it gets, the more we use air conditioning. The more we use air conditioning, the warmer it gets. Is there any way out of this trap? (Guardian)
- How to Stay Motivated at Work When You Hate Your Job (Lifehacker)
“This is the real secret of life — to be completely engaged with what you are doing in the here and now. And instead of calling it work, realize it is play.” – Alan Watts
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