Trump's preferred method for punching his time card. / Twitter
The Baffler,  February 24, 2017

Daily Bafflements

Working nine to five

Trump's preferred method for punching his time card. / Twitter
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• Perhaps considering how they’ll fill their time if they join the group of outlets excluded from White House press briefings, the Washington Post has compiled a neat little pie chart tracking Trump’s hours since taking office. That includes thirteen hours of tweeting, twenty-five hours of golf, and a whopping 106 hours at Mar-a-Lago. Read it and weep.

• In the midst of a spate of media coverage of Uber’s self-driving car efforts, one startup founder has his sights set slightly higher, on long-haul trucking. “We chose this industry because it’s focused and it has an immense scale and impact on everyday lives,” says Alex Rodrigues of Embark, noting that the conditions of freeway driving could make a self-driving truck much easier to complete than a self-driving car for city travel. According to The Verge,

Most important for the trucking industry is that a robot truck driver would not need to stop for mandatory rest breaks, or even such mundane tasks as eating and using the restroom. . . . That means trucks will be on the road for more of the time (helping make the big rigs themselves more profitable), and it would mean faster delivery times as loads wouldn’t be stationary once they’ve departed. But Embark doesn’t plan to replace truck drivers entirely. The plan is that human drivers will take over from the autonomous truck at prepositioned staging areas outside of cities, just off the highway. This human touch will handle delivery and pickup of freight between the staging area and the destination.

How thoughtful.

• Over at Columbia Journalism Review, Lee Siegel delves into the debate over how to approach the president’s mental health, from the professional obligations of psychiatric experts, to the fears of reporters and news outlets on the defensive with the new administration, to the public concern over stigmatizing the mentally ill.

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Further Reading

 February 12

The NYPD’s secret M.A.R.C.H. operation has been closing the city’s venues for years—should it be abolished?