The Box

This is a fascinating account of the very analog part of the Edward Snowden leak: how he moved the documents from point A to point B. It involves code words and, surprisingly, the United States Postal Service. The piece also points out that, while the narrative of the leak is fairly well known at this point, the story from Snowden's point of view still hasn't been told by Snowden.

“We would call the unnamed source the “architect” and refer to the mysterious shipment as “architectural materials.” The recipient of the package would be called the “sink.” Should that person prove to be unavailable, I would find a backup choice, whom we would call the “other sink.” The NSA or FBI would be called the “co-op board” — a tribute to the truculent nature of such boards in New York City. And if either of us wrote, “The carpenter quit the job,” that meant it was time to start over with a new plan.”

Shakedown in Oklahoma

Until 2008, Oklahoma experienced an average of one to two earthquakes of 3.0 magnitude or greater each year. (Magnitude-3.0 earthquakes tend to be felt, while smaller earthquakes may be noticed only by scientific equipment or by people close to the epicenter.) In 2009, there were twenty. The next year, there were forty-two. In 2014, there were five hundred and eighty-five, nearly triple the rate of California. Including smaller earthquakes in the count, there were more than five thousand. This year, there has been an average of two earthquakes a day of magnitude 3.0 or greater.

“Scientifically, it’s really quite clear" that these earthquakes are the result of oil and gas production. Probably something we should be paying more attention to...

Pyrotechnic Party of Legend, Killed Off by Social Media

“It was 300 hipsters from Bushwick coming down the driveway, and I nearly died,” Ms. Alderson said. Last year, guests, most of them not known to their hosts, could be overheard arguing about whether the property was a state park or a municipal park. One generation’s utopia had encroached upon another’s.

on naming

Slate has a piece called Gchat Was the Future of Messaging, But Google Didn’t Know What It Had. Not sure I agree with the premise that Gchat was Slack before Slack, but I did find this yarn interesting:

The first sign that Google didn’t love Gchat the way consumers did was in the name. We can talk about Gchat all day, but Google never officially acknowledged that as the service’s title or explained why it wasn’t. The company staunchly referred to the application (released in 2005) as Google Talk and the Gmail integration (released in 2006) as Google Chat or just Chat.

A gentle reminder that product names matter a lot.

[sidebar: There's a yarn in the recent episode of The Talk Show where John Gruber and MG Siegler talk about the name challenges in Amazon's Echo/Alexa product. The product is called Echo, but the activation word (and even the app name) is Alexa. This is challenging for consumers and doesn't feel very thoughtful.]

mobile advertising is awful

“US iPhone adblocking (if you used one of the top 10 blockers we have identified) could save users as much as $7.19 per month in excess data charges, or around $8.3 billion”

This is insane.