The Ostrich pillow is perfect for burying your head in the sand. / John Lester
The Baffler,  August 26, 2015

Daily Bafflements

The Ostrich pillow is perfect for burying your head in the sand. / John Lester


• There’s something familiar about the new features that Uber is rolling out—“pre-determined routes with fixed pickup points and continuous passenger pickups—it sounds remarkably like a gently optimized version of currently existing mass transit.” Indeed, Matt Buchanan writes on The Awl, “What Uber and Lyft are building toward, in other words, is best understood as a privatized mass transit system built on top of public roads.” As a result, in this brave new Ubertopia, “The people left riding public transit become, increasingly, the ones with little or no political weight to demand improvements to the system.”

• The backlash to the Internet of Things is a series of products that valiantly—and expensively—stand between the e-addicted and the Internet. Behold the Offline chair, IKEA’s “logged out” placemats with pockets to banish your phone from your eye line, and the paint and bags that block WiFi signal.

• Today in billionaire gazettes: Billionaire Magazine tweeted a photo of a Bentley with the self-congratulatory quotation “First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win,” which it attributed to Mahatma Gandhi. Tastelessness aside, it’s more likely this phrase comes from trade unionist Nicholas Klein.

• Mantra for the age of Stingray surveillance: “Spy first, ask judges later.”

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Further Reading

 December 11

Our leading political savants last week settled the sort of controversy that’s the NPR equivalent of an opioid rush—the proposition that “liberals hold the moral high ground.”