The Sahara, 3.6 million square miles of sand, is compared to billionaire Barry Rosenstein’s new sand dune. / Tony Netone
The Baffler,  August 11, 2015

Daily Bafflements

The Sahara, 3.6 million square miles of sand, is compared to billionaire Barry Rosenstein’s new sand dune. / Tony Netone


The Oath Keepers have shown up in Ferguson, again, to monitor the riots following the anniversary of the death of Michael Brown. How this squares with the organization’s stated intention to “NOT obey any orders which infringe on the right of the people to free speech, to peaceably assemble, and to petition their government for a redress of grievances” is not clear. As Chase Madar wrote in his review of Jennifer Carlson’s Citizen-Protectors in the current issue of The Baffler: “It’s hard not to compare this group to the Freikorps militias that patrolled Germany in the chaotic interwar years, most of whom were not fervent Nazi ideologues but just zealous defenders of a conservative vision of public order.”

• Using an aesthetically refined montage of found footage and a puzzling soundtrack, Lawrence Lessig has announced that he is raising funds for a protest presidential campaign. His anti-corruption platform is remarkably redolant of other current Democratic campaigns.

• Today in Innovation: Google’s changing its name (kind of) to Alphabet, perhaps because it wants to separate its risky venture capital program, funding projects like Loon—Google’s balloon-based internet access scheme—from the safe, moneymaking part of the organization that cautious investors assess. On the Google blog, Larry Page explains that the new name is suitable because language is “one of humanity’s most important innovations.” 

• Today in Sand: billionaire hedge fund manager Barry Rosenstein has erected a large sand dune on his property. In response to neighborly complaints that “Barry Rosenstein’s sand mountain looms up above the trees and fills the horizon. As you face the sea, it looks like the Sahara,” a spokesperson for Rosenstein responded: “Yes, it is a pile of sand and dirt.”

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 June 8

Putin plays chess, not poker—short term material sacrifices can ensure a long term positional advantage. 

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