The World’s Most Dangerous Man
December 20, 2019
The entire Daily Pnut team wishes you all a Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, and Happy Holiday season. We will be back on 1/2/2020.
“Dwell on the beauty of life. Watch the stars, and see yourself running with them.” – Marcus Aurelius
“For myself I am an optimist – it does not seem to be much use to be anything else.” – Winston S. Churchill
The World’s Most Dangerous Man: Hangin’ With Putin
- During his traditional end-of-year news conference, Russian leader Vladimir Putin spoke on a variety of topics ranging from domestic to international affairs. Putin spoke about his disappointment toward the World Anti-Doping Agency following their decision to ban Russia from the upcoming Olympic Games, stating that individuals should be punished rather than the entire team. Putin stated that the decision to ban Russia’s teams was an “attempt to get rid of competition.”
- Putin also spoke on the topic of the House of Representatives’ decision to impeach President Donald Trump. Putin said he was confident the impeachment process would not go through due to the Senate being majority Republican, and attacked US Democrats for attempting to impeach Trump on false charges.
- Putin also spoke on the souring US-Russia relationships and stated that if the US did not endorse a new Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty, the world could plunge into a new arms race.
- The topic which triggered the most attention, however, was Putin’s suggestion that he should make a constitutional change to limit presidents to serving only two terms maximum. Currently, Russia’s system allows presidents to serve no more than two consecutive terms, but moving forward, their political system may see a major shakeup.
- This statement gathered a lot of speculation on Russia’s future leadership. Putin originally served two terms from 2000 to 2008, then retook office in 2012 and was recently re-elected in 2016. Statements from officials close to the Kremlin have stated that he has no intention of seeking re-election in the future. (WaPo, $)
- Deadly Gunfire at Russia Spy Agency’s Moscow Headquarters (NYT, $)
- Trump administration opposes bill meant to deter Russia (CNN)
- Fool Us Once, Shame on You. Fool Us in 2020, Shame on Us.: The last election weakened our democracy. Why aren’t we preparing for the next one? (NYT, $)
They See You When You’re Texting, They Know When You’re Online
- Over two dozen Pakistani government officials had their mobile phones targeted by hackers using technology owned by the Israeli spyware company NSO Group. NSO has vigorously contested the claims and has insisted that their technology is only used by law enforcement agencies around the world to snare criminals and terrorists. However, representatives for NSO declined to comment on questions about whether the company’s software had been used for government espionage.
- It is still unclear what group of hackers has been targeting Pakistani officials, but many believe that the group or groups may be linked to the Indian government. The government of the Indian prime minister, Narendra Modi, has recently faced questions from human rights activists about whether it has bought NSO technology after over a hundred WhatsApp users were allegedly targeted earlier this year. (Guardian)
Sponsored Niceness: This Side Of Paradise
- German multimillionaire Karl Reipen is looking for “nice people” to live on his “paradise” estate in New Zealand. Reipen has been posting advertisements in local newspapers looking for 10 people to share in his communal-living dream.
- Awakino estate spans 550 acres on the west coast of North Island, and has an estimated value of 5.6 million US dollars. Reipen’s advertisements stated that adults aged up to 70 can apply, and are also welcome to bring their own horses to the property.
- In the advertisement, Reipen states that he has a background in “international business” but has always enjoyed working on farms in Germany. He has been building toward his dream “paradise” of Awakino for over ten years and simply wishes to share it. (Guardian)
Additional World News
- Italian politicians and police among 300 held in mafia bust (Guardian)
- ‘Why My Baby?’: How Measles Robbed Samoa of Its Young (NYT, $)
- Is the Netherlands becoming a narco-state? (BBC)
- Lebanon protests: University professor Hassan Diab nominated to be PM (BBC)
- Indonesia Lets Plastic Burning Continue Despite Warning on Toxins (NYT, $)
- U.N. Peacekeepers in Haiti Said to Have Fathered Hundreds of Children (NYT, $)
- Sudanese celebrate uprising anniversary, demand justice for victims (Reuters)
- Who Made Your Clothes? (NYT, $)
- This holiday season give yourself the gift of convenience – meet Bee & Kin – where fashion and tech intersect. Bee & Kin is a collection of luxury handbags and accessories that help you work smarter, not harder.
- Designed with interior LED lights and a customizable bluetooth smart button, you can illuminate your bag and execute various functions like find my phone, track time or even play your Spotify at the push of a button.
- Bee & Kin was recently included in TIME magazine’s list of the 100 Best Inventions of 2019.
- It’s time to learn more about how Bee & Kin are revolutionizing the interior of the handbag.
LET’S GET READY TO RUMBLE! Maybe. Eventually. We’ll See
- Democratic House speaker Nancy Pelosi and Republican majority leader in the US Senate, Mitch McConnell are looking to engage in a huge showdown over who will have control over the impending congressional impeachment trial of President Donald Trump.
- Following the historic vote on Wednesday night, Ms. Pelosi stated that she would wait and see what the trial in the Senate will look like before sending the two articles of impeachment in a bid to take control of the timing of the trial.
- McConnell quickly lashed out at her “delay tactics” early Thursday morning, when he stepped onto the Senate floor to give a long speech on Wednesday’s proceedings. He also stated that articles of impeachment are the “thinnest and the weakest” in American history. “Nothing else comes close.”
- The Senate vote was originally planned for mid-January, but Ms. Pelosi’s recent remarks have left the upcoming timeline uncertain.
- Some Trump opponents have begun to call for the articles of impeachment to be withheld from the Senate indefinitely – a move which would leave Trump in a state of limbo, with the dark cloud of impeachment hanging over his head while investigations continued. (Guardian)
- Trump impeachment: ‘Toxic’ move driven by ‘partisan rage’, McConnell says (BBC)
- Democrat opposed to Trump impeachment officially switches parties – as it happened (Guardian)
- Less than half of all Americans want Trump ousted post-impeachment: Reuters/Ipsos poll (Reuters)
- Trump impeachment and a US state divided (BBC)
From Rags To Rich-ish
- San Francisco used to hold the hopes and dreams of aspiring zillionaires – now the Golden City only hosts tech workers who got rich-ish following the IPO boom of early 2019.
- Unicorn start-ups such as Uber, Lyft, Pinterest, and Slack have all seen major slumps in stock prices, with tech workers funding mundane ventures like college savings plans rather than fancy cars and yachts. These tech workers once held dreams of being the next Jeff Bezos, but in the end, the rich got richer and everyone else stayed the same.
- “This year brought a lot of people back to reality,” said Ryan S. Cole, a private wealth adviser at Citrine Capital. Many tech workers and entrepreneurs have even gone as far as saying the days of the unicorn are over. It seems that for now, new wealth will come from older, stable tech companies such as Apple and Alphabet, who have seen soaring stock prices over the past year. (NYT, $)
- SoftBank Vision Fund Employees Depict a Culture of Recklessness (Bloomberg, $)
- Housing discrimination goes high tech: How algorithms, ad targeting, and other new technologies threaten fair housing laws (Curbed)
The Future Of Eating Is The Past
- For the last year, Rob Greenfield did not buy a single bite of the food he consumed. Greenfield, who lived in a self-built tiny home in a backyard in Orlando, Florida, chose to grow or forage all of the food he ate in 2019.
- In exchange for the living space, Greenfield transformed his landlady’s front yard into a pantry, building rainwater harvesting, composting systems, and planting raised beds for produce.
- He planted nutrient- and calorie-rich foods such as sweet potatoes, pumpkins, and bananas, as well as raised bees for honey. Besides growing food, Greenfield also foraged and fished, and grew medicinal plants for health.
- In addition to growing his own food, Greenfield also helped others in their journey to find more local, sustainable food sources. Through building gardens, sending out seed packs, and planting fruit trees, he gave back to the people around him.
- The year-long experiment was a lesson to Greenfield, and his community: with careful planning and cooperation it is possible for communities to step away from the reliance on globalized, industrial food which we have all become accustomed to.
- Amazon is a big Christmas winner and Is It Too Late to Stop Amazon?
- Amazon’s Delivery Blitz Is Good Business for Makers of Vans (Bloomberg, $) Hopefully none of the drivers are part of the Millions of Americans are driving under the influence of marijuana, CDC says (CNN)
- You Might Be Buying Trash on Amazon—Literally (WSJ, $)
- Cell phone calls on airplane flights: Are they inevitable? (CNN) & First, the Smartphone Changed. Then, Over a Decade, It Changed Us. (WSJ, $)
- World’s oldest known fossil forest found in New York quarry (Guardian)
- Choose a Last-Minute Gift Anyone Would Love (NYT, $)
- The Decade in Pictures (NYT, $)
- How game theory can help to give your love life a boost (BBC)
- First human ancestors to leave Africa died out in Java, scientists say (Guardian)
- Christmas Trees: Is Bigger…Worse? (WSJ, $)
- The science news events that shaped 2019 (Nature)
- Don’t be any of this over the holidays: Alienated, Alone And Angry: What The Digital Revolution Really Did To Us (BuzzFeed News)