Good Wednesday morning. Situational awareness: "Russia has opened a new battlefront with NATO ... by exploiting a point of vulnerability for almost all allied soldiers: their personal smartphones," The Wall Street Journal reports. The sophisticated equipment used to compromise soldiers' phones, including drones carrying surveillance gear, suggests state-level coordination.
And per NBC, "Secretary of State Rex Tillerson was on the verge of resigning this past summer" because of "fury at Trump." But Vice President Pence intervened, and other administration officials urged Tillerson to stay at least until the end of the year.
It's been a bumpy 2017 for Snap Inc. and 27-year-old CEO/founder Evan Spiegel:
Spiegel, making a rare public appearance at Vanity Fair's New Establishment Summit in Beverly Hills yesterday, admitted the market debut was harder than he thought, but insisted that he's got a great story to tell and will put a lot more effort into telling it:
That's why investors who know him best remain very high on him as a CEO and Snap as an authentic, long-term Facebook threat:
Be smart: Evan is six years younger than Zuck; has 166 million daily users — with half of the new ones under 25 — most of them hyper-addicted to his product. Imagine if he could figure out the hardware part, perhaps a camera with a keyboard and phone attached, instead of the other way around.
Be smarter: Spiegel's biggest threat is Facebook and its Instagram Stories, which in April passed Snapchat in daily active users, now at 250 million. He needs a fierce response and strategy to combat Facebook's ability to leverage billions of user and billions of dollars to steal his best innovations.
On the day after, investigators learned that the Las Vegas horror was the result of extensive, meticulous planning:
"The trigonometry of terror: Why the Las Vegas shooting was so deadly" — L.A. Times: "From a perch 320 feet above ground in a hotel whose base was about 1,050 feet from the concert venue, Paddock was firing down the 1,098-foot hypotenuse of a right triangle — and would have to adjust his aim for the arc of the bullet over that distance."
"Russian-linked Facebook ads targeted Michigan and Wisconsin," by CNN's Manu Raju, Dylan Byers and Dana Bash:
Today at 12:15 p.m., Senate Intelligence Chairman Richard Burr (R-N.C.) and Vice Chairman Mark Warner (D-Va.) will hold a press conference "on the status of the Committee's inquiry into Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. elections."
In honor of the victims in Las Vegas, flags fly at half-staff at the foot of the Washington Monument, as the sun rises over the U.S. Capitol dome yesterday.
Why a swath of Americans want to keep their guns:
N.Y. Times columnist Thomas Friedman, "If Only Stephen Paddock Had Been a Muslim":
If only Stephen Paddock had been a Muslim … If only he had shouted "Allahu akbar" before he opened fire … [N]o one would be telling us not to dishonor the victims and "politicize" Paddock's mass murder by talking about preventive remedies. No, no, no. Then we know what we'd be doing. We'd be scheduling immediate hearings in Congress about the worst domestic terrorism event since 9/11.
Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.), the third-ranking Republican in the Senate, suggesting that little could be achieved through legislation in preventing gun deaths: "I think people are going to have to take steps in their own lives to take precautions. To protect themselves. And in situations like that, you know, try to stay safe. As somebody said — get small." (N.Y. Times)
"Trump suggested that the government debt accumulated by bankrupt Puerto Rico would need to be wiped clean to help the island recover from the devastation caused by Hurricane Maria," per Bloomberg:
Defense Secretary Jim Mattis signaled a shift in administration position by saying the United States should consider staying in the Iran nuclear deal:
WashPost columnist David Ignatius, "Sand in the presidential gears":
"New revelations that a 2013 security breach at Yahoo affected all three billion of its [accounts] has triggered a sharp rebuke from the U.S. Senate, which now plans to drag company representatives back to Capitol Hill for a hearing in the coming weeks," Recode's Tony Romm writes:
LiftIgniter, a San Francisco-based AI startup, says it has devised a predictive algorithm that allows smaller players to perform one of the main functions that make Big Tech so financially successful — forecasting in real time what a user wants to click on next, and then provide it.
"The Downside of Baseball's Data Revolution — Long Games, Less Action: After years of 'Moneyball'-style quantitative analysis, major-league teams are setting records for inactivity, prompting talk of rule changes," by Wall Street Journal's Brian Costa and Jared Diamond (subscription):
Be smart: In your organization, be wary of the possible collateral effects and unintended consequences of what you measure — the behavior that the metrics reward, and the signal they send your colleagues about what you value most.
In ancient Rome, the nosebleed level of the Colosseum were the cheap seats, since they were farthest away from the spectacle.