The U.S. Army Has A New Plan To Recruit Gamers [Cecilia D’Anastasio/kotaku]

The Army sees interacting with gamers at conventions and online as a powerful recruiting tool. As part of that initiative, it’s outfitted an 18-wheeler with the latest, greatest consoles and PCs, and is wheeling it around to gaming conferences. Meanwhile, teachers have to drive for Uber to survive, and they have to buy school supplies out of their own pockets.

Why Are We Suddenly Surrounded by ‘Grift’? [Nitsuh Abebe/The New York Times]

We live in the age of the grifter:

The two most jarring events in the past decade of American life both had the whiff of a grand con about them. One was the crisis of 2008, after which a lot of ordinary Americans turned their attention to the financial-services industry and discovered something that looked, on the surface, uncannily like a classic bilking: There was a lot of hard-to-follow shifting about of who owned what and who owed what to whom, and in the end a lot of people found that their retirement savings had vanished. The other was the election of Donald Trump, who has always been fairly open about his talent for old-school hucksterism. To the very end, many people were convinced his entire campaign had been a long-game self-promotional exercise — a man wandering past real estate, casinos, reality television, mail-order steaks and wealth-building seminars to arrive at right-wing politics as a high-quality grift….

But it’s not just these two events. Grift is everywhere.

… it’s not exactly outlandish (or unpopular) for a modern person to note that many of the systems she encounters have been carefully constructed to extract maximum profits, to sustain themselves, to get what they can while the getting is good — not unusual for a modern person to suspect it would be easier to deal with an actual con artist than with Wells Fargo or a budget health-insurance company.

However, there’s hope:

… The opposite of a grift, you find, is creating things of real value, paying fair wages, asking what is right more than what is profitable. The opposite of grift is a square deal.

Grift is complemented by “bullshit jobs,” jobs that create no essential value. As defined by economist and writer David Graeber, an essential characteristic of the bullshit job is that the person who has the job knows that the work they do is worthless, but they need to show up to draw a paycheck. Hypothesis: Grifters hire people to do bullshit jobs to make the grifter look important.

WordPress 5.0 arrives with block-based editor, new default theme, and developer features [VentureBeat]

WordPress 5.0 is here. I don’t like the Gutenberg editor, or the Twenty Nineteen theme. And I couldn’t even upgrade — which is good because I acquired common sense while waiting for the upgrade to fail, and decided I’ll just be smart and wait for the first patch. And then wait a little while longer, to see if the patch has any bugs.

Do not adjust your set: Hats off to Apple, you struggle to shift iPhones ‘cos you’re oddly ethical [Andrew Orlowski/The Register]

Apple has trouble selling new phones because its old phones are too good. Unlike Android phones, which become obsolete rapidly, iPhones just keep on keeping on.

The main reason I chose to upgrade this year is because I got tired of lugging around a big-ass iPhone 7 Plus. If I’d gone instead for the iPhone 7 two years ago, i’d still be using it.

I still see many people using phones that appear to be the iPhone 6. That’s a four-year-old phone.

Huawei CFO Wanzhou Meng Arrest Threatens Trump-Xi Trade Truce [Bloomberg]

While the U.S. routinely asks allies to extradite drug lords, arms dealers and other criminals, arresting a major Chinese executive like this is rare — if not unprecedented.

“The timing and manner of this is shocking,” Andrew Gilholm, director of North Asia analysis at Control Risks Group, said by phone. “It’s not often the phrase OMG appears in our internal email discussions. ”


How Tumblr went from being the most porn-friendly social media site to banning porn [The Verge]

Tumblr once pushed porn as a feature of its platform. Now, under Verizon ownership, it’s banning porn.

Earlier I said Verizon’s recent decision is bullshit because banning porn leads to banning content about LGBTQ rights and lactation. It also leads to blocking content about contraception, sex education, sex worker advocacy, trans rights and other issues.

But the porn ban is also bullshit because we don’t need, or want, Verizon protecting us from porn. Nope. We can avoid porn on our own if we want, and if we want to look at porn, it’s none of Verizon’s business.

The decision doesn’t even make sense from a business standpoint. Porn filters could solve whatever problem Verizon is looking to solve.

I enjoy sharing midcentury ads and photos, particularly from the 70s. These are entirely G-rated and wholesome (maybe the occasional PG-rated image for the 70s. The entire decade of the 70s was PG at best.) I get a lot of them from Tumblr blogs. And two of my favorite Tumblr blogs for those things also run porn. I hope those guys don’t disappear because of Tumblr’s decision.