This Week in Tech 605
Leo Laporte: It's time for TWiT, This Week in Tech! We've got a big show for you. Baratunde Thurston, Ashley Esqueda from C Net, and Mike Elgan! We're going to talk about the big dump of CIA hacks and what it all means, South by Southwest and why Uber isn't there. We'll even take a look at a very funny video that's making the rounds these days and break it down. It's all coming up next, on TWiT.
NETCASTS YOU LOVE FROM PEOPLE YOU TRUST, THIS IS TWIT!
Bandwidth for This Week in Tech is provided by CacheFly at cachefly.com.
Leo: This is TWiT, This Week in Tech, episode 605, recorded Sunday, March 12, 2017
Think of the Koalas
This Week in Tech is brought to you by Casper, an online retailer of premium mattresses for a fraction of the price, because everyone deserves a great night's sleep! Get $50 off any mattress purchase by visiting Casper.com/twit and entering the promo code TWiT.
And by TrackR, a coin-size tracking device that pairs with your Smartphone and keeps you from losing your most valued possessions. Visit the thetrackR.com and enter the promo code TWiT to receive a free TrackR bravo with any purchase.
And by Texture; access the world's most popular magazines anytime, anywhere, using your Smartphone or Tablet. Try it free for 14 days at Texture.com/TWiT.
And by WordPress: Wordpress salutes all the small businesses out there making a big difference. Create your small business or website and get 15% off any new plan or purchase at wordpress.com/twit.
It's time for TWiT, This Week in Tech, the show where we cover the week's tech news. And a big week this was! Fortunately we got the big brains on the show today. Mike Elgan is here in studio with me.
Mike Elgan: The biggest of the brains!
Leo: Elgan.com. Becomingnomad.com.
Mike: That's an interesting story, Leo. We might want to talk about it. Gastronomad.net. We are leaving and taking these people with us.
Leo: I'd like to hear about that. Also joining us, Baratunde Thurston. It's great to have you. He's an Internet person of interest.
Baratunde Thurston: Yes I am. It's great to be back, I missed TWiT.
Leo: We love having you on, from Brooklyn. Anything big in your world these days? What are you up to?
Baratunde: I revised my website at baratunde.com. I've rebooted my email lists. I actually send messages to my email list now. It's a revolution in Email, where I press send much more than I used to. Subscribe to that, there's a little bar at the top of my site, people can get that on. I've been engaging in active Democracy, using Internet tools to help me do it.
Leo: When does your run for Congress begin? I will vote for you.
Baratunde: Right now I'm putting pressure on Congress. I've been doing Facebook live every Tuesday of my calls to Congress and I play Hamilton music in the background and we try to make more fun and engaging in Congressional calls than it generally is.
Leo: I'll give you full credit. You worked at the Onion for years, Producer at the Daily show with Trevor Noah. According to your website, you advised the Obama white house and cleaned bathrooms to pay for your Harvard education.
Baratunde: These are all true facts.
Leo: Still doing About Race, right?
Baratunde: No. My podcasting days have ceded.
Leo: Does that mean we'll see more of you here?
Baratunde: It could mean that. It would be nice! I like it here.
Leo: I want to introduce a new comer! Not new to TWiT. She's been on Tech news today many times, of course we all know Ashley very well. Ashley, I've been instructed on how to pronounce your name, I've been saying it wrong all this time. Esqueda.
Ashley Esqueda: You were so close!
Leo: I'll get it right one day. Not today.
Ashley: It's all good.
Leo: Do other people know how to pronounce your name?
Ashley: No. One time somebody guessed quesadilla, which is kind of racist. But... maybe they were just really hungry. She was at a taco bell.
Leo: I'm sorry you said that.
Ashley: I'm down for cool nick names and quesadillas are delicious. I'm fine with it.
Leo: Ashley is a senior editor at Cnet. We're glad to have you. this is the week that we could talk about nothing else but Vault seven. The big dump. 8000 plus pages of hacks purportedly, allegedly from the CIA. Julian Assange and Wikileaks dumped them all. They said in their press release that they have only put out part of this trove. It has more pages than the Snowden leak. Now. I have to say, it seems credible when you read it. You'd be hard pressed for somebody to put this together as a fake.
Mike: There would be no reason to. What this essentially says is the CIA collects and develops methods for hacking and spying on people.
Leo: I am shocked! Gambling is occurring on this premises?
Mike: The idea that this might be fake information is ridiculous, because if those are real hacks, the CIA now has them, and will now use them because if they're any good, they will use them. The fact is they're kind of old, they're a little dated, two or three years old at the newest. People are freaking out more than they should.
Leo: A lot of that caused by mainstream media, which...
Ashley: It's so hard sometimes, especially with tech security to keep people calm, because there's always the question of your privacy and your data, and people are protective of those things and they should be. Then you have a lot of journalists who are not technology journalists or maybe don't have access to or don't talk to a lot of security experts a lot, so they take it at face value and say we think this is what it means. Then people take that as Gospel, and it's probably not the best thing.
Leo: A lot of the press worked off of the press release that Wikileaks led the coverage. This was one line that fooled them. These techniques permit the CIA to bypass the encryption of Whats App's signal telegram, and then they immediately wrote that story. By hacking the Smartphones they run on and collecting audio and message traffic before encryption is applied.
Mike: So what that means is I can fool a bank's vault by mugging you on the way to the bank.
Leo: The vault doesn't work!
Ashley: The vault is broken.
Leo: Open Whisper systems, which creates Signal, of course immediately jumped on this. Said the CIA Wikileaks on Twitter about getting malware on your phones, none of the exploits are in signal or break signal protocol--encryption or any of those others. But I do like what they said. The story isn't about Signal or WhatsApp, but the extent that it is, we see this confirmation that what we're doing, our encryption is working. Ubiquitous and encryption is pushing intelligence agencies from undetectable mass surveillance to expensive, high risk targeted attacks. That's the key here. Expensive, high risk, targeted attacks. That's basically what we're seeing in this vault. It's not surprising, as you say, Mike, that the CIA would have these.
Mike: Exactly. If you think about a CIA scenario, you've got somebody on your radar that you think is a terrorist suspect in Pakistan, and they want to listen in on conversations that person is having somewhere else. Can we plant a bug? No, we can't do that. Can we tap a phone? That's problematic for XYZ. Do they have a Samsung TV? Great. They want a laundry list of ways to get access to a specific target, this is very different from the controversy around the NSA, which is about mass surveillance, and phishing expeditions, where they listen to everything looking for key words and essentially trying to find out who's a criminal. They have a bunch of tools at their disposal. Nothing is surprising about that.
Leo: Expensive, because you have to make them. High risk because it's easy to get caught, you put a bug on a Samsung TV, targeted, otherwise it's aimed at specific attacks. It's a very different kind of attack.
Mike: The CIA is a spy organization. Their primary mission is to steal secrets. The controversial aspects of the CIA are when they veer from that, When they target assassinations. Those are the things we should be concerned about. When they're just doing their job and gaining the capability to steal secrets, that's our tax dollars at work. We want them to do that....
Leo: Isn't it so weird that now from the Left we are defending the CIA.
Baratunde: As a black American, as a left leaning liberal American to be somehow cheerleading the CIA is at minimum awkward. And I think Mike's point is super clear. The distinction from what Snowden released was a massive level of unconstitutional behavior with domestic spying on millions of people, just a dragnet of surveillance by Americans against other Americans. This is more targeted, and thus seemingly better. If there's a surprise in this, it's not the revelations. It's how Wikileaks has changed in the public mind and its focus over the past several years. It started as a seemingly more journalistic, more high integrity effort to shine a light on these dark areas of our Democracy that weren't so Democratic. Now, it's much more propaganda, the timing, the correlation, if you look at this in a broader soup of what's happening in national politics, this isn't a politics show of course, but I think it's impossible to ignore that we have a new President who is seemingly at war with the intelligence community and this is a perfect time to undermine the credibility of the intelligence community when they have been leaking and raising doubts about how he even ascended to power, That's the strongest threat that comes out of this, isn't about my Alexa snitching on me. It's more about my President not upholding the constitution in the way he's oath bound to do.
Mike: In other words, Wikileaks used to look out for the little guy, now they look out for the Russian guy.
Leo: Contrast this to how Snowden released his material. Snowden had a large trove of NSA exploits, instead of dumping it on Wikileaks, which Assange must have wanted, he decided to contact journalists, independent and associated with the Washington Post and the New York Times, said here's the trove, as journalists what I'd like you to do is vet this and release it safely. He also strategically did the right thing. It took a long time for the materials to release, so it kept our attention for a longer period of time. By dumping this on Wikileaks, it's going to make a big splash and we'll forget it in a month.
Mike: I think we're almost ready to forget it. The fact is these are capabilities, not things that have actually happened, it's about individual legitimate surveillance, instead of mass surveillance that is unconstitutional. This was designed for impact. Wikileaks seems to have had an agenda to impact the political conversation and whereas the agenda with Snowden was public understanding of what's really happening, so that's a big difference in how it was leaked, I think this harms the reputation of Wikileaks among the majority of people who are paying attention.
Leo: There are a couple issues, though, that don't reflect well on the CIA. One of course is how long they've known that these tools have been leaked out. Almost all these tools involve exploits of security flaws that have been previously unreleased in Google devices and Apple devices, Microsoft devices, Samsung TVs. If the CIA knew about this a year ago, wouldn't they have a responsibility to compel those companies... this is not unprecedented. I know I don't expect them to, because if they let people know they'll patch the holes. Then if they patch the holes, they won't be able to use these any more. President Obama created a process, it's called the vulnerabilities equities process or VEP. This happened a year ago when a bunch of stuff belonging to the NSA was leaked out by the shadow brokers. There were 15 exploits, including a member of the CISCO, Juniper. The question was should the NSA have warned CISCO once they knew this stuff was released? As a result, in January of 2014, President Obama made it Government policy, a policy by the way that has been honored more by ignoring it than by doing it, a Government policy must disclose be default any new vulnerability. If an agency finds a zero day, they have to argue their case through the vulnerability equity process to an equities review board chaired by the National security council and attended by representatives of other agencies. The whole idea being you've got to justify keeping this a secret because there's a risk to the American people that these vulnerabilities be used against them.
Mike: What a concept. To protect the American people above and beyond the aims and struggles of one's own organization. This is one of the biggest issues they should be talking about in all this. What is the responsibility of federal agencies in protecting the American people from espionage. If you think about the relationship technology has had with China, then to a very large extent, a question of the Chinese Government stealing US tech secrets, everything from spy planes to ship technologies. It's a wholesale theft of all kinds of trade secrets. what has the Government done to protect the American people from this theft? very little.
Ashley: One of the things that I think is the biggest issue towards that end is a lot of our politicians are lead-ites. They don't use technology, they don't like it. They have their aids use technology, they run their Twitter accounts for them. They don't have an understanding of a lot of the technology that surrounds them on a daily basis. The people that end up shaping that policy are people who give them money for their campaigns for Good or bad. They end up saying this is how we should do it.
Mike: That's why Baratunde is going to run for the senate. Funny people can run for the senate.
Baratunde: Funny people do it every day, but they're not funny on purpose. To tag team on MIke and Ashley, if you take the alarmism around the Muslim ban, the travel ban, and this alleged effort to protect the American people using the language of the constitution, if we were serious about protecting US citizens and residents we would take these threats of "the cyber" far more seriously. It would be second nature and non-controversial and obvious to alert the public to make sure we are safe. The actual damages and negative financial impact from tech based attacks is much higher than bombs in public spaces. This idea that we're going to block people from majority Muslim countries to keep us safe, meanwhile we are allowing exploits in our tech infastructure to allow trade secrets, personal information, doxing, blackmail, and whatever else is going on, unfettered, it reveals the lie of what it means to have priority, the defense of the American people. They're connected and a true defense of the Republic would be a tech defense, a cyber defense, and that's not what's happening if we're sitting on these exploits and not informing people how to protect themselves.
Leo: 2012, Baratunde.
Ashley: Do you think the question is do tech companies need to work with our Government to have a small team of security experts that have clearance that can interact with them and be able to get information without... it's so hard. You have to worry about are companies giving away certain pieces of data that they feel is OK? It's really strange gray area that we haven't figured out yet. Do you think tech companies should have some role in those intelligence communities that is different and direct than what we have now.
Baratunde: More transparent, yes. More direct, very skeptical. The tech companies they don't have a lot of credibility when it comes to their first priority which is us as customers and citizens and consumers, and they abuse our data constantly. They're selling our stuff up and downstream, the data brokers, they're building profiles on people who never joined social networks to begin with. So they lack a certain moral authority to claim to defend us when they're selling us out in both directions constantly because of the ad based... it's all. Their business model forces them to not respect our data as the basic premise of their profit making entity. It's hard to talk about how much you care about consumer privacy and data when your business model means you sell us out.
Leo: One thing we did learn was that the CIA has much better code names than the NSA. I didn't know this, Weeping Angel, which is the Samsung TV exploit developed in conjunction with the MI5, the British spy agency. It's not clear if it was a remote exploit. Best I could tell, the information isn't clear in the Wikileaks documents, it was designed to sit on an SD card or a thumb drive, and when you get access to the subject's premises, besides bringing in the house when you plug in a wall and the phone you can now put on the TV, and the TV even though it looks to be off is still recording audio and video, which is nice. Andy. That's called Weeping Angel. What I didn't know, that's a doctor who reference. That's why MI5 had more to do with this. Ricky Bobby from Talladega Nights! What does Ricky Bobby do?
Mike: It targets Windows computers.
Ashley: It doesn't know what to do with its hands.
Leo: Sweet baby jesus!
Baratunde: Let's laugh about the erosion of civil liberties! It's hilarious!
Leo: What are you going to do? You can't cry for four years. You got to look up...
Baratunde: I wasn't being sarcastic. It's hilarious.
Leo: They did have code names for Windows itself, for Macintosh and for Linux. The code names are hysterical. They have to do with parties. The CIA is having a good time...
Ashley: Let's come up with code names for us. I already have quesadilla, so I'm good. What do you guys want for code names?
Leo: Windows code name was bartender. I guess this is so you can, when you're communicating with other spooks, you can talk the goose is flying high on the bartender at midnight. Mac OS was Juke box. Linux was the dance floor.
Ashley: That's where the crazy stuff goes down.
Leo: configuration utilities among others are called Margarita.
Ashley: Mac OS is closed.
Baratunde: They're going to prescribe music you want through a juke box.
Ashley: Windows is a bartender because the software updates make you want to get drunk.
Baratunde: This is some basic trade craft 101 from the CIA. You should speak in code, don't speak openly in the secure channels about what you're talking about, so we should come up with code names for all kinds of other stuff.
Leo: This story broke on Tuesday, and Steve Gibson who didn't have time to fully review it, it's 8,000 plus pages, says he will be talking about this Tuesday on Security Now. He'll look, not from the political point of view, or the capabilities point of view, but each of these different exploits and tell us what they mean. Wikileaks did not release Code. They merely released the single page descriptions of a lot of...
Mike: Didn't they hint that stuff was coming?
Baratunde: Wikileaks is good at hinting at things that are coming but never do. Tuffeki wrote for the New York Times and helped deflate the inflated bubble of alarm around this and reminded everyone of how Wikileaks is operated in the past with promises to deliver that never come through and they don't need to release Code. They were trying to effect to Mike's point, the news cycle, the political conversation. We all know you don't need facts to effect a political conversation these days. Wikileaks is playing the game the way it has been redesigned. They're really good at it.
Leo: She writes "Security experts I spoke with, however, stressed that these techniques appear to be mostly known methods — some of them learned from academic and other open conferences — and that there were no big surprises or unexpected wizardry."
Ashley: That makes sense. If your phone is compromised, you're screwed. Everybody knows that. These methods have to do with having physical access to the device. There's so many of them that need physical access. The CIA uses these techniques for foreign agents, and sometimes they'll sweet up US citizens in that. That's not good, but I worry about foreign agents using this on US citizens that do not have up to date OSs. Out of date Smartphones... like somebody I know in the White house.
Leo: He's using a Galaxy S3 as far as we can tell. By zooming in center. The s3 can't get past Kit Kat. It's using a very old version of Android that is unsafe.
Ashley: That's the thing that worries me. There are people in our Government who are not tech savvy people. They use old cell phones with not updated operating systems and very unsafe practices, and that is the thing that concerns me the most about this Vault 7 dump. I do have concerns about civil liberties and our privacy, but to me, the big fear on my part is that we have so many Government officials that have phones that are old and unsecured.
Leo: Don't worry. Signal is still secure. WhatsApp is still secure. But the President tweet phone is not. If you're one of the leakers in the White House who is using Confide, that has been hacked. So stop using that, and go back to Signal. The real problem with Confide is not so much that a third party can intercept it, but the people who have confide have access to the keys, so they could, either under a Government subpoena or a rogue employer look at your messages. Or because they got hacked.
Baratunde: Whoever has the master key ring is susceptible to compromise.
Mike: How much do we know about confide as a company?
Leo: I don't know why that became the standard for White House leakers. Is it really? It may not be. What I hear on the street...
Ashley: Some people have said that.
Baratunde: Real CIA people right now.
Leo: I would, you've got to think every hacker is thinking how to hack President Trump's S3. Not because they want to see the tweets before they're posted, but did the secret service take out everything else? Is there a camera? Is there a microphone? What capabilities did that phone have? I think at this phone it's secure or we would have heard something right now.
Ashley: He needs a cha cha but with a Twitter button rather than a Facebook button.
Mike: It's possible there's no risk there. We know he's at Mar a lago. What is some hacker going to do? Tweet crazy things from the phone?
Leo: I walked right into that one. All right. We're going to take a little bit of a break. This is a fun panel. Mike Elgan is here, he writes for Computer world, Infoworld! You also see him on Google plus still. I love Google Plus. After everybody left, it got peaceful.
Mike: It was always the best social network as a social network, but not the best place to find people.
Baratunde: You used the word social and also that it's hard to find people. I would like to point out that semantic disconnect there. Are you like I am Legend of Google Plus?
Leo: he goes home at night, that's when the scary people come out. Actually, David Brinn who is a science fiction writer posts there a lot. Lauren Weinstein, great photographers, bakers, it's nice now.
Mike: If you have an obscure hobby, it will have an active community on Google Plus.
Leo: Here's the Geek's community, 70,000 members.
Mike: There are literally 70,000 food communities. A hundred bread baking communities.
Leo: Isn't that where social media is the best, where it's not a mass of people but communities of narrow interest?
Mike: I think so. I like to see them as a cross between Reddit and Instagram or something like that. What's great about Reddit is very narrowly categorized. You join a community that talks about some specific thing, and that's all the community talks about. Google Plus is more visual...
Baratunde: Pinterest with words.
Leo: Doesn't it look like Pinterest with words? Where else are you going to see Adam West and Ivan Cragin on the set of Batman in 1968? All right. You got em. Trying to give these guys some credit here.
Ashley: Google Plus might need your help, but maybe not Google.
Leo: Why is he riding a stingray?
Ashley: It gets chilly in that leotard.
Leo: Also with us: Ashley... now I can't say your last name! Ashley Esqueda.
Ashley: Yes. You did it. Senior editor at C Net. Baratunde Thurston, I don't know why I don't have trouble with your name.
Baratunde: I've been around the way so many times now. Maybe this is my 12th visit here?
Leo: If I could get you on every time, I would . You're always great, all three of you. Thank you for being here. Our show to you today brought to you by my Mattress. You know what? When we get back, I want to talk about this travesty known as daylight saving time. Thank god I have my mattress, because I lost an hour of sleep last night, but fortunately it was an hour in my Casper so I am very much relaxed and not as exhausted as I would be. Casper makes the best darn mattresses. They sell them direct to you, so you don't pay them middle person markup. They pass the savings directly onto you. Casper mattress: they made hundreds of prototypes. They're obsessive about this. They engineered a mattress that they wanted to give you both support and give. This is a hard thing to do. But a great mattress is going to support you. You don't want it to sag, you'll have a bad back in the morning, but at the same time, you don't want your hip bone to press into the thing, they made a combination of supportive memory foams, so it's got just the right sink, just the right bounce, 3000 to 4000 hours of testing. That's not very much if you think they were sleeping on them. But they do testing as well. It's breathable too. So you don't get hot, summertime is coming. The worst thing in the world is a hot sweaty night, but you'll always sleep cool, provides long lasting comfort and support. You can buy it online, comes in a surprisingly compact box, which is great for those third floor walkups in Williamsburg. My son we got him a Casper mattress for his dorm room, and it was easy for him to get it in, and you open it up and it becomes a beautiful comfortable, luscious mattress. I know you're saying Leo, I'm not going to buy a mattress if I can't try before I buy. You can. Casper offers free delivery and painless returns for free with a hundred day trial period. You can try it for a hundred days, if any time in the first 400 nights, you say that's not for me, call them they come and pick it up, get it out of your hair, and they refund every penny. This is so much better than trying it in the show room. You can try it out right now. Call them, get online. Get a Casper, Free shipping and returns in the US and Canada, and you will save an additional $50 on your mattress purchase if you got to casper.com/twit and use the promo code TWiT. Casper.com/twit promo code TWiT. Terms and conditions apply. Our friend Clayton Morris is starting a movement to abandon Daylight saving time. I do this every year and by two weeks we'll have forgotten. We're going to live with this thing. There will be tomorrow 24% more heart attacks because we jumped forward. 24%.
Ashley: I didn't know that. That's a terrible statistic.
Leo: It kills people! There will be a dramatic increase in traffic accidents, more people will put their hand in the drill press by accident. I'm making that one up. 24% more heart attacks. Traffic accidents go up. Judges, get this, on the Monday after daylight saving time, tomorrow, do not go to court. Judges dole out harsher sentences because they're cranky. According to the New Yorker, employees are more likely to cyber loaf on the Internet after Daylight's saving's time. The funny thing is when we revert, street crime goes up. Traffic accidents involving wildlife, it's the peak time for Deer and elk migration. In fact, this is true. They have fact checkers. Researchers in Australia have calculated ending daylight's savings time throughout the year would reduce the number of koalas killed by motorists by 8%. Think of the koalas! By the way, it doesn't save energy.
Baratunde: If getting rid of daylight's savings would lower taxes, everybody would be for it in this country.
Ashley: Everybody would be in. Right?
Mike: This is such an antiquated idea that we're all marching in lock step to the same kind of schedule. All kinds of different schedules. By the way, why don't we go ahead and abolish time zones as well? In the airline Industry and any kind of aviation, they have something called Zulu or UTC. We should all do UTC.
Leo: No. Then this show would be at two in the morning. You wouldn't call it two in the morning. You'd call it 2300. 2200. That's another thing. Even though we do this show at 3PM Pacific, that was 2300 UTC, but now we've changed what Pacific is, so people in England who haven't changed yet have to know the show starts an hour earlier and then their time will change.
Mike: There's some places that have a half hour difference, like an hour and a half difference.
Baratunde: Those places shouldn't exist, first of all. They were asking for it. I've been monitoring the chat room. Someone over there, maybe many. Abolish daylight's savings and the electoral college.
Leo: One thing for the farmers and one thing not. Perfect.
Baratunde: Everybody can get something out of it.
Ashley: Give me a short list of honest benefits I get out of daylight's saving's time. I can't find any.
Leo: Even the farmers, it was initially to save energy, but it doesn't, because people spend more time with the A/C. You turn off lights at the office, but you turn them on at home, so it's a net zero. People said it's for the farmers. The farmers hate it, because the farms do not honor daylight's savings time. The cows say it's not time. I don't want to be milked.
Baratunde: Could I be super simple minded about this for a moment. It's called daylight savings. Are we not saving daylight?
Ashley: I have a local radio DJ who is adamant about this.
Baratunde: I'm thinking about Casper, I'm thinking about tax refunds, because it's coming through.
Leo: WE may finally, I've been wailing about this for years. This wasn't a national thing until 1966. So this did not become common in the United States until 1966.
Baratunde: This country came to a lot of things late, like women voting and black people have the right to walk down a street in peace. I wouldn't knock lateness as a ding.
Ashley: That decade, we can attribute to... there was a lot of drug use. Fantasia.
Leo: Fantasia. How do you explain purple hippos in tutus? Apparently at the state level there are 2 dozen bills pending. Legislators in Maine and Rhode Island have suggested permanently removing New England from EST to Atlantic Standard Time. They would be one hour ahead of New York and in sync with Nova Scotia and Labrador. The New Hampshire bill stipulates it only goes into effect if Massachusetts does it too. Only going to do it if Massachusetts does it too!
Ashley: Don't we all just want to be free of time? Like time constraints? Just get rid of the concept of time.
Leo: Didn't swatch create an Internet time of some kind.
Mike: The main benefit of time is to synchronize activity. That's why we don't need time zones. We need a number that says at this point in the space time continuum we can have our meeting or whatever. That's it. All these time zones and 8:00 in the morning, depending on what part of the earth you're on. It's antiquated beyond belief.
Baratunde: This whole idea of abolishing time zones, don't time zones give us a sense of synchronicity with our regional neighbors providing an us vs. them which is a valuable tool to create a coherent society, like east versus west.
Mike: You're in Brooklyn time, right?
Baratunde: Live conversation. Brooklyn time. go on.
Leo: Heart attacks go up, there's no increased risk to children in rural areas. Traffic accidents spike, workplace injuries go up. Strokes go up.
Baratunde: I'm going to write something in defense of daylight savings just to piss you guys off.
Leo: Workplace productivity goes down. Permanent daylight's savings time will help decrease air pollution. Clock changing, according to the Wall Street Journal, harms relationships.
Ashley: If you've ever tried to watch your husband change a clock on a VCR, let me tell you it does harm a relationship.
Leo: You have a VCR?
Ashley: Just saying.
Leo: Honey, it's blinking 12 again.
Baratunde: I found a scientific, it's Stanford.edu. The benefits of saving time, it shifts summer daylight to evening hours when it can be enjoyed more. I think this is a good reason.
Leo: We stay on daylight savings time. We don't go back.
Leo: The length in the day is not governed by daylight saving time. Here's the sun. Here's the earth.
Baratunde: Leo, I'm doubting everything. Time, facts, science.
Ashley: This is a simulation, guys. It doesn't even matter.
Leo: You know since Elon said that, chances are a billion to one we're not in a simulation. This is a game.
Mike: Takes a lot of pressure off.
Leo: He says next year let's send two people around the moon. Just for funsies. Who cares? Simulation.
Ashley: They're just glitches in the system, anyway.
Leo: That is a mind worm because ever since he said that, I think it a lot. Oh, it's just a simulation.
Baratunde: I'm sorry guys. I got to bring it back to daylight savings time. Last night I watched an episode of Twin Peaks and I looked at my clock, it was 3:45 in the morning, It stole something from me. My sense of reality. If we had a single time zone, it means at any point in the world, at this moment, it is 22:17, or whatever. I associate time with the position of the sun. Wouldn't that ruin that?
Mike: You'd do that, but based on where you live. You get used to it. The sun rises at 17:00.
Baratunde: You're insane.
Mike: It's only insane because you're conditioned.
Leo: I think Celsius temperatures are insane. I understand your issue. We'd get used to it.
Baratunde: Let's abolish time zones, daylight savings, and the...
Ashley: WE are getting so much done for the world right now.
Mike: Can I defend the US not being on the metric system? That is as a writer, you can't use metric measurements in poetry or literature. There wouldn't be a song that would say I would walk 500 kilometers. It ruins the... it's terrible. Feet and inches are poetic, sort of.
Leo: Here's a map of the world. In red, the three countries that still use the imperial system.
Baratunde: That's not a fair representation. You have to show an image that represents the amount of guns or nuclear weapons and that will explain more the persistence of the Imperial System.
Leo: The United States, Myanmar, and Liberia. That's it. The last three. This is the alliance of good.
Baratunde: I apologize for bringing this into a debate about time if you want to move into the other stories.
Leo: No agenda here.
Baratunde: Are you going to get sued by Dvorak?
Leo: Oh crap. I'm in trouble now. There is an agenda here. I hope this gets abandoned. I think it's terrible. There's a book called Spring Forward, the annual madness of daylight's savings time. There's a website which you can get all these facts from if you want. SCO.tt/time. Ending, changing the clocks for daylight's savings time. I love the world time. We should just have a world time.
Ashley: It's one step closer to the United federation of planets, that's all I'm saying. It's very sci-fi.
Baratunde: Once we have leisure and other activities we will need a more standardized...
Leo: You always know you're reading sci-fi when you see there's a black President in the room. Then you know that this is the future. Right?
Baratunde: Or the recent past.
Leo: What was it Zach Galifinakis asked Barack Obama? how does it feel being the last black President?
Mike: He asked Hillary Clinton are you concerned about being young people's first white President. Or something like that.
Leo: That's funny too. It's not going to happen, but Clayton Morris is starting this as well, and I agree. Here's another crusade that's hopeless. Online political advertising should be regulated. He thinks that the problem is the targeted advertisements on Facebook and Google that no one sees except intended recipient. "Targeted advertising allows a campaign to say completely different, possibly conflicting things to different groups. " But who the hell is going to regulate this? It's a free speech issue.
Ashley: The fairness doctrine, which is long gone. Cable news killed the fairness doctrine, but is there some value in re-visiting this concept for the Internet?
Leo: It's funny how your battles change. Maybe a few years ago you said we should bring back the fairness doctrine, Now we should bring back fairness. The FCC has thrown out all regulations including regulations that prohibit phone companies from stealing information about you and selling it to the highest bidder. Net neutrality, forget that.
Mike: Let me scare the pants off everybody listening here.
Baratunde: My pants are still on, you can scare me, Mike.
Mike: Right now there are a lot of people looking at social posts. HR departments' insurance companies! The Government is talking about visitors from certain countries hand over their passwords to their social network so they can see who you're following, what you're reading. People are poor processors. What we're entering into is an era where AI will identify which are your profiles, scan every post and comment, and every person you've followed, and crunch those numbers and profile you. They will send each and every person a customized ad pushing the one button that you really care about the most. This is the threat. AI is going to make profiling people very efficient. You look at what's happening in China, they have this thing called the social credit score. They have four areas where they give everybody a score. It's out of black mirror. They look at your credit score, they look at your data, or whatever is going on there. They look at your relationship with the law, if they have parking tickets and you've been arrested or whatever, and they look at your social networking post and they give you an overall score. You can raise your score by saying nice things about the Chinese Communist party, you get a lower score if you don't pay your debt on time, or whatever. They've already banned 7 million people from riding the train in China because of the debts they didn't pay.
Mike: They want to make it so people who are untrustworthy in general can't move or get a job. This is the future. AI will radically accelerate the effectiveness of AI based trust metrics. The insurance Industry wants to know what kind of risk you are. The Universities want to know what kind of academic you'll be, and they'll be able to custom tailor it in a way that's beyond our imagination. Yes, it's just like Black Mirror.
Baratunde: If you still have our pants on, let me add to this. These assessments, these scores are not just based on you in a vacuum starting from the point of your birth. Who is more likely to be arrested, who is less likely to have access to capital and run up debts, who is more likely to have a prison history or financial troubles? That skews heavily along class, gender, and racial lines in the Individual single act. You are going to build on the historical profile you've already seen happen.
Leo: That would argue for you to create a social profile to post because absent that. people are going to look at you and say he looks like a terrorist, at least if you have a social media history and they are basing it on more information than the color of your skin and what kind of hat you wear.
Baratunde: The challenge is all of these tools that Mike talked about, they will be used to claim we're not discriminated against skin color. They'll be like it's a neutral science score, there's nothing that says black or African American and there's nothing that says Muslim or Pakistani in there. Somehow, all these indicators will be a proxy for black and Muslim.
Leo: How much hummus have you... you quote in your article, Mike, that according to a career builder survey, 60% of employers look at social media posts from prospective employees. We do that. Is there something wrong with doing that?
Mike: You're not very good at it because you're a human being. But you not profiling, getting a sense, do I see anything incendiary. Profiling will take things that look super innocuous, this person likes this kind of tennis shoe and people who like this and hummus and have been to Brooklyn, those people are more likely to do xyz.
Leo: You are saying in public stuff about yourself.
Baratunde: Most of these statements are implicit. I'm making a statement by the geolocation of my phone. If I visit a mosque, I'm making a statement, but it's not a traditional statement in the definition of speech. My existence is statement in a data rich network world. We are being judged by statements. It's behavior and physical presence and association with other individuals. Uber knows who Muslims are by their prayer breaks in terms of the time of day they're off from their route. They didn't ask that question. Did those drivers make a statement declaring their Islamic faith?
Mike: An Ai would go further. People who you've never met will affect your score. One of the worst things about this is you'll never know. All of this action will happen behind the scenes, when you don't get the job, you'll never know it was an AI's judgment about your social post that led to you not getting the job.
Ashley: The even scarier part is that things like Google's one true answer are wrong. Often. We are not at a stage yet in AI and deep machine learning to where they can make an accurate representation of who you are with that data. Machines still make mistakes because they are programmed by people.
Mike: That's right, but the people who run these machines don't realize that. Google won't accept the fact their AI doesn't work often.
Baratunde: They realize it, but they're unwilling to accept it. Kathy Oneil has written a great book on this subject. Weapons of math destruction!
Leo: How did I have that up ready to go before you said anything?
Baratunde: Because we abolished time zones. We're in sync right now.
Leo: That's the point of this book. Big data may be agnostic, but the silly algorithms express our own bias into the data and the data can be used against us.
Mike: remember Microsoft's Tay. We'll have this AI chat-bot out there and harvest the sentiment of people... which they taught to be racist.
Leo: Everybody should read weapons of math destruction. Her blog talks about this at Mathbabe.org. She's a trained mathematician and realized that working in Wall street for a hedge fund that the numbers and the data were one thing but the way it was interpreted was another thing entirely. So many people don't understand statistics and math. Yet are quick to judge based on information that they see in the data.
Baratunde: Here's something that may emerge from this. first of all, I won't be able to wear pants again after this episode.
Leo: You look good in shorts.
Baratunde: Second is getting to connect this Google One answer that Ashley brought up back to the Tim Burner's regulation of political speech through ads, we're in this arms race that we as individuals have lost for the next multiple generations. If you're a big company, you're Amazon, you're Google, you're Facebook, you can bend this world to your will in a way that no individual person could ever counter. So we would need some way to balance that power out, which is why we develop labor unions, for example. No individual worker could stand up to the family that owned the plant and all the other plants in the country. Is there a version of collective rights holding transparency? All these bots that are going to be used against us, we have to flood the zone with our own bots, and basically obscure some of the reality. If you're going to be automatically profiling me, then I'm going to do what I can with the same tech tools and my colleagues to throw you off and have counter measures to preserve individuality and freedom. We're coming down to what freedom is at this point, and if your future is prescribed by a score based on BS history and imprecise science, that's not freedom, and your choices are not your own. That's like an epic battle, and I'm not sure what we do about it, but it seems like some kind of organizing around it and again the one sided use of these weapons is in order.
Mike: So what you're saying is that the ultimate defense in the future will be disinformation.
Leo: You should cultivate your social presence to project the image you wish to project.
Ashley: That's hard, because when you promote disinformation you promote fake news, false facts.
Leo: Only about you. I'm promoting false news about myself. That's ok.
Ashley: I mean I don't think I'm—yea, Leo, it's like I'm king of a small island nation.
Leo: I'm not saying anything about you. I'm saying only about me and aren't I a great person or look at all these great things. I tell teenagers that all the time in high school. Seriously. If you don't create—
Baratunde: I thought you meant you told—
Leo: I always tell them how great I am but after I tell them that. I tell the youths. You ought to have a website. Be careful about what you're posting on Facebook. You know, consider the fact that you're creating a persona and if you don't—but the thing is, if you decide not to, if you say, "I'm only using Snapchat," then that vacuum will be filled by whomever wants to fill it. That's even worse. So you need to get out there and present yourself I think.
Baratunde: You might be leading them to the slaughter.
Leo: Really? What should they do?
Baratunde: Might be. So Matt—
Mike: Delete your account.
Leo: No, because the absence of an account—
Mike: Looks suspicious.
Ashley: It's not having a credit. It's like not having credit. Like, oh, well I can't give you—I don't trust you. I don't know what you're even about at all.
Leo: No because—no, it's even worse than that because the way it works.
Baratunde: This is so black bear, yea.
Leo: It's even worse.
Ashley: It's really black bear.
Leo: Let's say that I'm a smart kid. I have no Facebook, no Twitter. If I use anything I use Snapchat. But then my worst enemy from trigonometry decides to post a video of me peeing on a wall, that's what Google finds. So that means that somebody else is now in control of your reputation because you did nothing to create a reputation. So that's my point is that if you don't create one, then anybody who says anything about you, that's now the Google result.
Ashley: It's just a real, a real terrible Sophie's Choice situation.
Baratunde: Yeah, and maybe when you talk to these teenagers like you do on a regular basis for some reason, are you also encouraging them to be as critical and as active in the creation of this as possible. I think if we just tell people, "You need a website. You need a My Space account. You need a Twitter account. You need an Oculus." That's the feeding to the slaughter that I'm concerned about.
Leo: Yea, I understand.
Baratunde: Getting them used to filling up these data troughs for these companies without even questioning what happens to that data without demanding like a user bill of rights for your information. Pair that request to participate with what full participation means, which is just like democracy. You don't just get to live here. You have to vote. You have to do jury duty. Like there's some active steps you've got to take. And so I think in the techy world we should start demanding from our fellow youths some challenging and some criticism or they'll be feeling themselves through a mill that will chew them up.
Leo: I will from now—actually they don't let me talk to teenagers anymore but if I were, I would—no, because my kids were teenagers once. And I use to speak at the high school and stuff. And then always ask tech people, "Can you talk to our kids about tech," because teachers don't know.
Mike: So you go there and say, "Don't do it."
Leo: Well, I'd say—I don't know what to say now. But actually, I think you actually said a very good thing. You should be an activist. You need to participate and that's really important to, and make sure that people aren't misusing that information that you're posting.
Baratunde: And that's probably healthier advice than a massive disinformation campaign which assures a sense of truth, facts and reality.
Leo: I didn't say they should like.
Baratunde: No, that was basically my implied advice. I'm sort of updating my testimony a la Jeff Sessions to add that I'm not pro mass disinformation. I'm just trying to think on my feet about—
Leo: No, you're actually right.
Ashley: We will amend the official transcript.
Leo: Don't lie. I agree with you. Don't lie but at the same time if you don't post anything then you're a little bit at risk.
Mike: And don't pee on the wall.
Leo: And actually, probably if you're going to pee on the wall, make sure nobody around has a camera phone which is pretty much impossible.
Ashley: Which everybody does. Don't do that. Find a nice bathroom is all I'm saying.
Leo: Our show today—we're going to take a break. Come back with more. This is a good panel. There's a lot to talk about. Make up something—find something else that you think will be a deep, rich subject for our conversation. Please, all right?
Leo: Our show today brought to you by The TrackR, a coin sized tracking device. It's Bluetooth. It's awesome. It pairs with your phone. It's about the size of a quarter. It's lighter than a quarter. It's anodized aluminum. It will go on a bunch of things. I certainly have one on my keychain. But you can put it on your bicycle. Put it underneath the seat. You can put it anywhere that you don't want to lose something and then you pair it to your phone. You can have up to 10 TrackR devices paired to your phone. They've got 2-way separation alerts. This is all customizable so for instance if you leave your keys behind, your phone howls. If you leave your phone behind, the TrackR howls. There's a button the TrackR you can press that will get your phone to go beep, beep, beep. You know, if you really love the Fine My iPhone feature, who doesn't, right? That's a great, brilliant feature. Android does it too. This is like that for everything. Know where everything is at any time. Now, it is Bluetooth so after 100 feet you're going to lose sight of your TrackR, but here's the good news. TrackR has the world's largest crowd GPS network. See, there's 4.5 million TrackRs all over the world and whenever you come within, your TrackR comes within the purview of somebody who has the software running on their phone, another TrackR owner, their phone will go, "Oh, I see Leo's TrackR." Hey, and then ping my phone and say, "Your keys, they're in Abu Dhabi." How'd they get there? I don't know but that's where they are right now. And that is called crowd sourced tracking. It's awesome. We've got the custom laser engraving. These are great if you put it on a pet. Small enough, light enough for a pet. They have a waterproof enclosure you can put on them. You can also have image printing. They use a really neat UVLE technology that will not rub off. They have a variety of other accessories. And here's the really great deal. If you go right now to TheTrackR.com and place your order, order as many TrackRs and other accessories that you need, and then enter the promo code TWiT, they're going to throw in an extra TrackR Bravo with any order. An extra TrackR Bravo free with any order when you use the offer code T-W-I-T. I love the TrackR. Unlike some of these other devices, the battery is replaceable. You don't throw it out. When the battery dies, you put a new battery in. Just one of those little coin sized batteries you can get at the drugstore and that is a nice thing too. 30 day money back guarantee. No reason not to give it a try. T-H-E-T-R-A-C-K-R.COM and the promo code TWiT will get you a free TrackR Bravo. I put them in my suitcase, in my luggage. That's also a great idea. Yea.
Leo: All right. You know, there's many, many stories we can talk about. But we have so much fun with the first two or three.
Mike: Can I quickly—I don't mean to plug an article I wrote.
Leo: Go right ahead.
Mike: But I've discovered in writing an article—as you know, I'm a digital nomad. I live nomadically. Often times abroad, sometimes in the US and this lifestyle started in the 90s. The idea for it was arrived at a Hitachi executive who wrote a book called Digital Nomad and it was an obscure thing. The book was ignored.
Mike: Yea. And then Tim Ferriss in 4-Hour Workweek epitomized the idea a lot more than he did. That was about 10 years ago now that book was written. And now there's something that I call the Digital Nomad Industrial Complex. There are so many companies out there that provide all kinds of services for digital nomads, from incredible apps—and everybody can use these services. Anybody who travels. But you know, incredible apps. Incredible like—the biggest things you can be a digital nomad temporarily like for a week or a month or two months. There's somewhere you take a train across Africa. There are others where you live in a bunch of different cities with different people and you can switch. There's a service where you throw your house into the mix and then you can move every month to a new house of another member while other people are living in your house. And when you're done, you call it quits and you go back to your house. You don't have to sell your house to live abroad for two years or something like that. There's so much creativity in this. All kinds of things where they give you, they'll lease you, they'll rent you a ticket for $10-bucks so you can enter a country without a return ticket, because a lot of countries don't let you enter without a return ticket. And it's a wonderful world. This is on Fast Company. You can find it and search for it and stuff like that. But it's just an amazing thing to check out, this world of digital nomad living. And if I can plug one thing, Leo—
Leo: I would love—every time you talk about it, I want to do it. Unfortunately, I'm kind of stuck here.
Mike: Well, I've told you twice on this show that when I've been on the show that my wife was working on a secret project.
Leo: Oh yea.
Mike: And that secret project is called, they're called Gastro Nomad Experiences. And so she's—
Mike: You get to be a digital nomad foodie for about a week, give or take a couple of days.
Leo: Oh, I like this idea.
Mike: So, go to gastronomad.com.
Baratunde: Please tell me Instagram is sponsoring your wife. They're made for this. Pictures of food around the world? Come on.
Mike: So the next 2 are the Barcelona Experience and the Morocco experience, both of which are happening this year.
Baratunde: What's the website?
Ashley: I want to go to there.
Mike: Yes. So what—as you know, my wife is a super foodie like—
Leo: She's great. One of the best cooks I've ever had.
Mike: She knows all of these people in Barcelona for example, are going to come and we're going to do cheese tasting and wine tasting. We're going to go to wineries.
Leo: I'm on my way.
Mike: We're going to have cooking classes where you can learn to make Pallela and things like that. And so it's just a deep dive into Catalonia cooking in that case, and in Morocco, the Moroccan food scene in Fez. You know, Fez is not just a hat. You know that, right?
Baratunde: Wait. Is your wife basically letting everyone be Anthony Bourdain?
Mike: Yea, exactly.
Baratunde: I feel like we have just scaled Anthony Bourdain. And that's a dream to me.
Mike: Exactly. So, if you watch his show, that's what it's all about because food is more than food. Food is a window into a culture.
Leo: So, this is really a new business for you.
Mike: It's a new business. It's mostly my wife's business and I'm sort of an employee of her business to a certain extent. But it's a new business that she's launching.
Leo: So, you're going to—people will—it will be like a tour. People will buy this and go on a tour with you, or?
Mike: It's in one place. So it's focused on the city. So the Barcelona Experience, we've already, she's already rented the place. It's a big, beautiful, old, apartment house, well appointed.
Mike: Everybody goes and stays in the same place from morning to night. It's like classes, adventures, go to places, do things but it's all around and in the city.
Leo: This is a great idea.
Mike: Yea, it's a great idea.
Leo: Good for you.
Mike: It's going to be great. And it's also, we have to do the research, right? So we're going to be going to Barcelona in a couple of months.
Leo: Aw, so sorry.
Mike: We're going to go to Morocco so we have to find—
Ashley: That's terrible.
Mike: It's all deductible.
Baratunde: Guys, they're suffering. This is work.
Mike: We bleed our work.
Leo: I think we should have a Williamsburg Gastro Nomad and you can have a guest Gastro Nomad with Baratunde Thurston.
Mike: That would be awesome.
Baratunde: So just let me clarify. I don't want to give away my actual address but—
Mike: You have to wear pants though.
Baratunde: I do not, nor have I ever lived in Williamsburg. I do live in Brooklyn.
Leo: Well, I just made that up. I know you live in the heights. I know. I know.
Baratunde: The southern part of Brooklyn that is I live south of Williamsburg. I'll leave it at that.
Leo: OK, well that's close enough.
Ashley: You live right next door to Lin-Manual Miranda, right?
Leo: (Laughing) That's right!
Baratunde: Me and Lin, we're like this.
Ashley: You guys are all best friends I'm assuming.
Leo: To the rest of the world, all of Brooklyn is of a piece. You know, you guys in Brooklyn, you've got all these different neighborhoods. It's Brooklyn to us.
Baratunde: That's great. Is your wife working with Airbnb on any of this, Mike? It sounds very in the—
Mike: She is not working with the company, but she's working through Airbnb. She's like the Airbnb master. I mean she spends enormous amounts of time on Airbnb constantly looking for these amazing places to stay. And the places that she's locked down for both Morocco and for Barcelona are fantastic. The place in Morocco is a 400-year-old riad. That's what we're staying in.
Leo: What's a riad?
Mike: A riad is like a Moroccan style compound house. It's like a house where everything's around a central area with really tall ceilings and really cool stuff.
Baratunde: Riad was also a guy on my high school wrestling team, so.
Leo: (Laughing) So is the house named after him or is he named after the house?
Baratunde: It's apparently a bigger deal than I imagined. I should have been nicer to him.
Leo: Yea, yea. Good idea. I'm glad you're doing this.
Mike: I'm really excited about it.
Leo: Gastronomad.net if you want to know more and the first two are Barcelona in September and when is Morocco going to be?
Mike: Probably at the end of September so we're probably going to bang those out in rapid succession.
Leo: Yea, very nice.
Mike: Yep. And we're already planning the ones for next year. So, we're going to be going to Prosecco in a month and do deep research in Prosecco. Now, Prosecco is a—has not been overwhelmed with tourists yet. But this is what we're doing and it's really exciting and we invite everybody to check it out and come along because—we want to get you and Lisa there.
Leo: Yea, I'm in.
Mike: We'll comp it.
Leo: I'm in. No, no, no, don't comp it. But I'm in.
Mike: We'd just love to have you.
Leo: Lot of fun. Lot of fun. You guys want to talk about Uber?
Baratunde: Oh, yea.
Ashley: Any day.
Baratunde: What horrors have they inflicted?
Leo: (Laughing) No, that's the news. This week, there was no news about Uber this week. That's the story.
Mike: That's big news.
Baratunde: No, I don't believe you. I don't believe you.
Leo: How many delete Ubers do we have here?
Baratunde: Oh, but I did it before it was fashionable. Before it was trending because, well—
Ashley: I deleted Uber before it was cool.
Baratunde: Business practices, man. I live in New York. Juno gives a much better split to the drivers. Juno only takes 10% commission versus a closer to 30% roughly for Uber. Juno gives the driver a phone number they can call when they're experiencing issues rather than just forcing text messaging. And you can tip, you know, and Lyft allows you to tip as well. I think it's really—I mean if someone's gone above and beyond, which a lot of these drivers do because they're trying to maintain this 5-star rating. I've had drivers help me with my luggage, make sure I get safely into my house, do my taxes for me, like these guys are doing a lot of extra work. And so I want to—
Ashley: I need that driver. He can call me.
Baratunde: It's the luck of the draw but if you can't represent that, if you can't account for that financially, it just sends a weird signal. Plus, the early culture says all this other stuff is coming out later sort of validates it. But I think company culture is so important now and we have—the beauty, unlike our broadband environment, we have choices in most places, certainly between Uber and Lyft in most places and so I'm going to choose to spend my money in a place that is less horrifically misaligned with my values.
Leo: I have to say, a lot of—so, the first big Uber-free experiment's going on right now in Austin, Texas. South by Southwest began this week. And already there are ride sharing solutions. Already they're having massive problems. Ride Austin which is one of the local ride hailing alternatives was down for 5 hours. I mean, here's Ryan Hoover of ProductHunt, says, "Spent an hour trying to find a ride. Austin is broken without Uber or Lyft." I should point out, the reason there is no Uber or Lyft in Austin is because Austin didn't want them. And basically said, "You can't be here." But there are other local. I like the idea of local ride sharing apps. You lose some of, I guess, the economies of scale.
Ashley: Sure. I live in LA so I have to have a car. It's like—
Leo: Wait a minute. What?
Ashley: Yea, I just drive myself and it's super weird.
Mike: I don't understand.
Ashley: When I hear other people say they would die without Uber or Lyft. I'm like, I can't remember the last time—
Mike: So, you drive yourself. So you're a self—it's a self-driving car.
Leo: Self driven.
Ashley: I am my car's own self driver. That's it. I pre-ordered a Model 3 last year so I'm like I'm dying for my robot car to like take me. That's what I want.
Leo: Yea, that will drive you around.
Ashley: More than Uber, more than Lyft, I just—guys, can we just live the Jetsons and have my robot car take me to work? That's all I care about.
Mike: And then fold into a suitcase.
Baratunde: Your robot car is going to take you to the moon. That's the trick when Elon says we're going to the moon, he means like we, like people with his car.
Ashley: If My Model 3 can make it to Trappist One? Done.
Leo: Yea, that's the one with the 7 planets, yea.
Mike: Well, did you see that thing in Wired? It was a concept for—I don't remember who was promoting this concept, but they have these pods and the pod goes on this chassis for a self-driving car and then you go to the airport and a drone picks up the pod and you don't even get out. You go from driving around to flying in the same pod. I love that idea. It's never going to happen but I love that idea.
Ashley: Why can't we just live Jetson? Everyday this is the question I ask when I wake up.
Mike: There it is.
Baratunde: I love that headline.
Ashley: Pod/car/drone also coming to NBC this fall on prime time.
Mike: Yea, yea.
Ashley: Pod/car/drone sounds like an outdated, like—
Leo: I'm looking. I see no bad stories about Uber this week which in and of itself is a story since they—
Baratunde: There was one story which the CEO was hiring a person and make them less of a—
Mike: A COO, yes. They're hiring a COO.
Baratunde: He's like, "I've realized that I'm not such a great person sometimes."
Leo: Well, that's a good thing.
Ashley: A COO, a Chief Operating Officer, officer to make sure that he operates not like a jerk. That's what I think it is.
Baratunde: These headlines in Recode are amazing. Uber CEO Travis Kalanick just told staff he's hiring a COO to help him.
Leo: Well, that's fair.
Baratunde: I just need some help.
Ashley: Maybe he just needs a life coach. I think he just need a life coach. Maybe that's better.
Leo: This is what Travis said, Travis Kalanick the CEO of Uber said, he's looking for a peer who can partner with me to write the next chapter in our journey. Maybe he needs an editor.
Mike: Translation, don't let me be a jerk anymore because I want to get really, really rich.
Leo: But it's not—Uber's not going away. Is it?
Baratunde: No, but you shared—there's some articles about how—so let me rewind. I was speaking with someone who works at a tech company about two months ago talking about how change actually happens. And this person worked at a company that went through a public scolding and a lot of shame and a lot of negative headlines. And what changed him inside the company, what changed their practices wasn't the public outcry. In fact, that made people dig in more.
Leo: Yea, that makes sense.
Baratunde: And like it was us versus them. It was like time zones, right, the thing that's destroying humanity. And so what actually effected change was that the employees felt bad about working there. Like the news was so bad that it affected their morale. People were literally drinking at work, not in a fun way. Not like beer pong on Fridays. Like at their desk alone with whiskey. And they were ashamed to tell their friends where they worked.
Mike: Sound like a newsroom.
Baratunde: And so—or the White House. So there's—I think when you—there's a tipping point sometimes in culture where if you are part of the organization, you know, you signed up. People joined Uber to make money probably first and foremost. To be a part of some disruptive change, maybe a limited scope of what disruption can mean in society but they didn't sign up for like fully endorsed at the executive level sexual harassment and dismissal. They didn't sign up for a CEO who berates his driving partner on camera and then spreads a ridiculous—like that was the most offensive thing about that video to me was like you're taking out like 3 people at the knees, dude. So if there's pressure building inside of Uber against these practices, like that's the thing to watch out for because the trending topics and the public outcry, that implodes. People protest and they stop. People have to go back to work. People use an Uber to get there sometimes. But if you employees of Uber are feeling frustrated, angry, upset and motivated to bring about change, then we'll probably see something shift, much more than Travis' statements about trying to be a better person through hiring a COO.
Leo: That's actually a really, I think astute point because—
Ashley: Change comes from the inside. We all learned this when we were in like Kindergarten.
Mike: And we can affect it from the outside. We in the media can shame and ridicule.
Baratunde: Because without that external pressure, those employees probably wouldn't feel so bad. But there's this moral point where you look up and you say, "What am I a part of?" And if you feel like I'm part of something I didn't sign up for—and so the stories that I was getting to that are coming out are other employees looking at people who excelled at Uber as like a negative mark. It's like wait, you drove in a culture of misogyny? I don't know if you're right for SpaceX or Gastro Nomad or whatever the company might be.
Leo: You can't though and the information which broke the story, Amir Efrati writing, says that privately two Uber investors who spoke to The Information expressed confidence in Mr. Kalanick to right the ship. And one of them, I have to say, this is probably the feeling of a lot of investors and employees, "You can't ignore the sheer scale of what he's built and the strategy. Can he be radically changed? I think so. Can you bring in a Sheryl Sandberg for instance?" She's Mark Zuckerberg's number two at Facebook. "Yea, absolutely. I'd go there before looking for a major change. Let things play out a little bit." There doesn't seem to be on the board anyway, any interest at all among investors in changing the leadership.
Mike: Part of it and I think they nailed it. Part of the story here is that the things that make companies successful startups are the things that can kill them when they're big companies.
Leo: Uber had to be pugnacious.
Mike: Gloves off, don't care what the law is. Don't care what's right. Just get it done and that's what's put them on the map. But if they don't change that culture that made them possible, then they're going to go away.
Ashley: When you scale a company culture, or when you scale a company you also scale your culture. And that is why Uber is facing so many problems now because this is now a systematic problem throughout the company that has scaled to an unmanageable level.
Baratunde: They got big breaking rules. Like they were proud of it. You know, they would undermine governments that didn't want them there. They were so aggressively competitive. And there's something admirable about it, honestly. Like you got the killer instinct. Like I admire it. That's why people watch sports. Why people like winners in general.
Ashley: He breaks all the rules. Like it's exciting.
Baratunde: Yea, but then you're like 5 years in, you're like, "Wait, this guy is breaking a lot of rules."
Ashley: Yea, yea, exactly. Like wait a minute. I don't like this now. I thought it was really interesting. There was an article that said to your point, Baratunde, there was an article about how people were waiting to see how many people left Uber after they got their profit-sharing bonuses.
Leo: When is that? I wonder when that is.
Ashley: I think it's like this week or next week. It's very soon.
Leo: Oh, hold on a second. I'm sorry. Auto play. By the way, can you tell your boss not to do it on CNET either because it drives me crazy.
Ashley: Listen, listen.
Mike: She's the thing playing though.
Leo: (Laughing) At least—
Ashley: It's real close to my heart here.
Leo: At least if it's Ashley Esqueda, at least if it's Ashley Esqueda (laughing).
Ashley: I can assure you if it's a video with me that auto plays, you'll at least be entertained.
Leo: I enjoy it. And that's the difference. Yea, exactly. Yea, Tech veteran says he's wary of hiring someone who did well at Uber.
Mike: Well, this is the other aspect of this is the reputation. In order to right their reputation, they can't just be a normally ethical company if that's an oxymoron. They have to be super, super ethical now. Look at Bill Gates. Bill Gates was—people don't remember the Bill Gates when he wasn't so warm and fuzzy. He used to be the biggest jerk in tech. And he had a terrible reputation for being rapacious and just hyper-aggressive and it took him curing major diseases and spending all of his money on saving lives for people to go, "Yea, I guess he's ok."
Baratunde: (Laughing) He had to try to wipe out malaria.
Mike: Malaria. That's what it took.
Ashley: I think his turning point was when he started doing those Reddit Secret Santa's. Let's all be honest. Let's all be real here. That was his un-Grinch moment. That's when his heart grew 3 sizes.
Baratunde: The un-Grinching. It's a process.
Ashley: The un-Grinching of Bill Gates. That's going to be the next book that I write.
Leo: I think he's un-Grinched. We'll just call it un-Grinched.
Ashley: Un-Grinched. The Story of Bill Gates.
Baratunde: There is a precedent. It can happen. But Bill Gates doesn't run Microsoft anymore so, there's a clear direction.
Leo: Did you see the--- oh, it was a funny video. Did we play this last week, Karston? Mark Zuckerberg and Bill Gates talking because Mark as you know—did we play it last week?
Mike: Great acting. Great acting.
Ashley: Truly great acting. Yes, we need to give the Oscar to this.
Karston: Yes, we did.
Leo: We did. All right. So, you saw it last week. Mark and Bill sat down to eat some goldfish and talk about Mark's honorary—
Baratunde: Like eat living goldfish to prove how tough they are?
Leo: No, just—I zoomed in to find out. It was crackers.
Baratunde: Ok, good.
Leo: Yea, just checking.
Ashley: Do you guys feel like he got that degree, that Zuck got that honorary degree at Harvard because somebody at Snapchat did it first or—
Baratunde: Oh, Harvard wants money!
Leo: They gave Evan Spiegel an honorary degree?
Ashley: I would love, I would love it so much if I heard that Evan Spiegel got an honorary degree at Harvard and then Mark Zuckerberg's like, "I want one of those."
Leo: I need that too.
Ashley: I need that too.
Leo: How much—just give me a number. How big of a check do I have to write (laughing)?
Ashley: That's right.
Leo: You're a Harvard—is there a Zuckerberg Library or a Zuckerberg Garden, Baratunde, or?
Ashley: Pond maybe?
Baratunde: (Laughing) yea, let me tap into the Alumni—
Leo: You know everything, don't you?
Baratunde: Tap into the—no, as far as I know he has nothing named after him on campus.
Leo: I want to say that I'm very proud of Yale.
Baratunde: Maybe there will be now.
Leo: Very proud of Yale because Yale renamed Calhoun College. Remember, Yale had a college named after one of the—
Baratunde: John C. Calhoun.
Leo: The worst proponents of slavery, member of Congress, John C. Calhoun. Eventually people said, "You know, maybe we shouldn't have this Calhoun College." And what did they name it? They loved it. They named it Hopper College?
Mike: Grace Hopper after Grace Hopper.
Leo: After Grace Hopper. I don't know if it's the Grace Hopper college or Hopper College. But I think they'd have a great intramural softball team if they're called the Hoppers. I think it'd be awesome.
Ashley: I like it.
Mike: The entomology lab should have been named after Grace Hopper because she invented the bug.
Leo: Because she invented the bug. All right. Who went out and bought a Switch this week?
Baratunde: I've been trying to buy a Switch since December.
Leo: Ashley Esqueda.
Ashley: It's right there.
Baratunde: How do you get one?
Mike: You said it really well once and we can drop that in digitally.
Leo: Ashley Esqueda. I didn't get in line. I just went to eBay and bought it. Does that count?
Ashley: Oh, you eBayed it? No, that doesn't count. You're not a real gamer.
Leo: I didn't pay my dues but I did get one.
Baratunde: Ashley, what was your process? How did you end up with this?
Leo: I—oh, Ashley, yea.
Ashley: Stayed up late the night of the original event in January and my best friend Mike and I sort of knew that some pre-order would open at some point. I think if it hadn't opened that night we would have been extremely tired and not in a good place the next day. But we stayed up and then I actually, I think I may have fallen asleep on the couch and I left my ringer on because I knew he'd be awake. And then he texted me and said, "They're up!" And so I actually pre-ordered 2. I got one through Amazon. One from Amazon and one from Best Buy for pickup. But I didn't trust Best Buy. So I left the Amazon pre-order open and then it turned out Amazon had a bunch of delivery problems with the Switch so I did end up getting both, though.
Leo: Oh, now you have two.
Ashley: Well, I ended up selling one of them to one of my good friends who didn't get a pre-order. So, she had been really busy with work and was dying to have one on launch day for Zelda so I had her take that one and I went and picked up my neon one at Best Buy for a midnight launch which I have to say I was really impressed. The Best Buy launch was really smooth. They had three tables set up and they let the pre-orders walk in first, about 15-minutes before midnight and pick out all of the extra accessories and Amibo and anything they had in stock, strategy guides, whatever. And yea, just say that, "Well, you know, if you need a Pro controller or whatever, we have that here." I was able to buy a couple of things. I got a couple of Pro controllers. I got some Amibo and I bought—I already had a case from Amazon coming so I ended up buying all of that and then leaving. It was a very easy process. So I was very impressed with the whole thing. And then I went home and probably fell asleep because I'm an old woman.
Mike: So I've heard, there's rumors that the screen gets scratched really easy. Is that true?
Ashley: So the dock, some of the docks are reported to be a little bit bent. So when you put in the actually Switch into the dock, some people are reporting the bottom left in particular is getting scratched up. So just be really careful when you put your Switch into the dock. Don't fling it out and throw it back in there. And also a screen protector I think is always a good idea for anything like the Switch they're carrying around. I mean a phone has kind of a little – I feel like I want to say that the screens on our cell phones are probably a little bit better in terms of quality of glass, things like that. They're a little more scratch proof but yea, I would say just put a screen protector on it if you're going to be throwing it in a bag.
Leo: I don't think I'm ever going to use the dock. I think I just see it as a portable device. Not that I've been able to get my hands on it. My 14-year-old took it and I haven't seen it since.
Ashley: You'll never see it again because Zelda is a—
Mike: You should have put a TrackR on it, Leo.
Ashley: Leo, get a TrackR. Put it on the back.
Baratunde: Quick techy question. So, I misrepresented myself. I did not try to buy a Switch in December. That was impossible. I tried to get the NES Classic.
Leo: Oh, who didn't?
Ashley: Oh, the little NES Classic, yea. I gave up.
Baratunde: So can someone walk me through what's the Switch? What's the Classic? What are these two Nintendo products that I cannot get?
Leo: Go ahead.
Ashley: The Classic is the little, tiny NES. So, it's real small and you have actual old school NES controller that comes with it and you can play 30 NES games.
Leo: Is it made by Nintendo or is it a 3rd party?
Ashley: It's made by Nintendo.
Ashley: And that's the first one that we've seen that Nintendo has actually made and manufacture and like put out there for everybody to play old school NES games.
Leo: And it's cute. It's like a little NES.
Ashley: Really cute. It's actually, it's adorable because it is just so small. It's like a little kind of a hockey puck. It's really adorable. And then, yea, the controller is as wide as the system itself. Like the real, normal sized NES controller is the same width as the NES Classic which is pretty cool. So yea, that was the big thing. That was a huge holiday gift. Like you could not find one of these for the holidays.
Baratunde: That was December and I'm still—then the Switch is not that. The Switch is a new thing?
Leo: No, it's the new thing.
Ashley: The Switch is Nintendo's new console. So this is a hybrid, the handheld and entertainment console that you can dock. There's a dock that you put a little kind of tablet into and then you can play on your television. But then, it's actually really seamless, you just pull it out of the dock and it switches almost instantaneously to the actual Switch. And then there are little controllers that you can remove from the sides called Joy-Cons. They call them Joy-Cons like it's share the joy. That's like their big thing. And yea, so I've been playing The Legend of Zelda Breath of the Wild on this which has been quite fun and really delightful and super interesting in terms of open-world Zelda games. But I'm really enjoying it.
Baratunde: Can you play classics on the Switch?
Ashley: So not yet. They have not yet opened up the virtual console function on the Switch. They will at some point, I'm guessing probably maybe summer of this year. I know they'll probably want to have it up and running before the holiday which is when they're going to want to sell a lot of Switches. There's a new Mario game coming out probably in November of this year so that will be the big sort of push to sell the Switch. But it did do better—it's the best console launch they've ever had.
Ashley: I think it's going to be a really huge success.
Leo: Yea, it beat the Wii.
Ashley: The Wii was really a sleeper hit at first. Like people didn't really know what it was. And then all of a sudden it sold over 100 million units.
Leo: Nick Wingfield at the failing New York Times interviewed Nintendo of America President, said it was the best 2-day sales in their history. And Zelda was the bestselling standalone launch title in Nintendo history, beating Super Mario for the N64.
Ashley: That's the only good launch title they've really had since Mario.
Leo: I think it did hurt the Switch that they only have that. They don't—it's not a lot of games yet, you know?
Ashley: There's some indie games. I mean Shovel Knight is really good. It's really fun. But a lot of people have already played that and there's a lot of games that are indie games that people have already checked out on other consoles and other devices. So, yea, but Zelda is such a big game—
Mike: How many acres is that open world?
Ashley: It's massive.
Mike: Like thousands of acres.
Leo: I was talking to Tanner last night, one of Michael's friends. He said that he spent half an hour just walking, trying to get to—like in real time half an hour, walking to a TOR over there where there was supposed to be something. And there was a guy who said something and it was useless and that was it. Now he has to walk back half an hour. So it's kind of big. It's big.
Ashley: It's a really big—just the game space is really big. And also I read a great story, I think it might have been on Kotaku, where Miyamoto, the guy who created Mario, when he got to play Legend of Zelda for the first time, he actually spent just hours climbing trees in the game because you had never been able to climb before in a Legend of Zelda game.
Leo: I can't wait. Someday I hope to have a Switch of my own. I've completely lost it. And yea, Zelda is I guess a very—I've never played. I'm ashamed to admit but I guess it's not surprising for a person who can't pronounce Esqueda, but I have never played Zelda.
Mike: Me either.
Baratunde: Me either.
Ashley: It's a legendary game franchise. A legendary game franchise. But this is really the first time we've seen a true kind of open world—
Leo: So, for my first Zelda, is this a good one?
Ashley: I would say this is a great one.
Leo: Ok, good.
Ashley: You might be spoiled for previous Zelda games.
Leo: I can't go back now. Yea maybe I should—
Ashley: I mean there's still some—I mean, look. Ocarina of Time, Twilight Princess, they're all—there's so many amazing Zelda games. I mean they're all almost—almost all of them are really, really good. Even the ones on DS are great. But I would say this one in particular is just—you can be so creative. I saw the other day on Twitter—so there's chickens in the game but they're called Cuccos. And so in this particular Legend of Zelda game, somebody posted a video of them throwing a chicken at an enemy and then the enemy using it's AI swipes at the chicken and the chicken gets mad and the Cuccos come in a big swarm and kill the enemy, yea. This is the best thing I've ever seen in a Legend of Zelda game.
Leo: The guy is getting killed by chickens.
Mike: By poultry.
Leo: By poultry.
Ashley: This is grade-A futuristic Cucco combat system. I'm here for it. I love the creativity in the game. People are finding all sorts of ways to defeat enemies, accomplish tasks, solve puzzles. I mean it's really, really fun. But also very overwhelming. There's a lot to do.
Leo: I feel like I'm just going to get in bed and play it until the battery dies.
Ashley: Two and a half hours.
Mike: And then fall asleep.
Leo: And then fall asleep. Good, thank you for that review. I'm excited about this and I'm glad Nintendo had a success. It's not like they're going to go anywhere but they haven't had a lot of success. Just the Wii. The Wii U was kind of a flop. It's nice to see them doing something that people are excited about. It's really a portable gaming system more than a console.
Ashley: I think so. I mean when it's in the dock, it's great. I love to play a game on my TV. It's fantastic. But the real beauty of this is being able to just pull it out of the dock. There are some really great auto-saving features in it. It saves a lot and often. And you can just take it anywhere you want to go and just open it up and just play Zelda, a console level and console quality Zelda game or any other. Mario obviously will be out later this year. Splatoon, Mario Kart. I mean there's a million games that you can play. The one thing it doesn't have that the Vita used to have, cellular capabilities. So you were able to sort of connect on the go. With this you have to have Wi-Fi. Or you can—
Leo: PS Vita. Wow.
Ashley: I've been actually like tethering my Switch to my phone. That's how I like it.
Leo: Wow. Wow. Wow. So you can't play Zelda offline?
Ashley: You can. It's just a cartridge. But if I want to check my—if I want to go buy something in the store, the E-Shop or I want to check my friend requests or things like that I just use my phone as a hotspot.
Leo: That is also something new from Nintendo. You can buy digital games. You can download games now.
Ashley: So you were able to do that on the Wii U.
Leo: Oh you were. Ok.
Ashley: Yea, the E-Shop's been around for a while. And so it's just I think it's a lot cleaner. It's a lot faster I'll say that much. The E-Shop on Wii U was really slow. The loading screens were just brutal. But yea, I think overall they're still really struggling I think a little bit with software and Nintendo is a lot like Apple in a way in that they really like this kind of closed ecosystem that makes it sort of hard for developers or 3rd parties.
Baratunde: It's a juke box.
Ashley: Yea, juke box. It makes it hard for 3rd party developers to sort of get in but supposedly they have been opening the gates a little bit more to make it a little bit more developer friendly. And I hope that's the case because I love good games from just about anybody obviously and so the more the merrier.
Leo: They've got Skyrim coming, Splatoon, Minecraft, NBA2K. They've got some interesting titles but they're all later this year. The next one is going to be Mario Kart.
Baratunde: I've got another technical question. One is I've discovered how to present myself very dramatically. Like I can get real close to the screen. Back it up and recede like into the darkness.
Leo: It's the head of Baratunde come to revenge.
Baratunde: More important than understanding how webcams work in the dark is, is it still a feature of the Nintendo Switch that you are forced to blow on the cartridge at high intensities for the game to work?
Leo: No, no longer.
Ashley: No, and you should also not lick them. You should also not lick them. This has been like this thing that's been going on apparently. Nintendo coated their cartridges for the Switch in some stuff that makes it taste incredibly bitter. I'm guessing that's probably just to discourage kids from putting them in their mouth. Because these cartridges are tiny. They're about the size of—they're like a little bit thinner than a micro-SD card.
Baratunde: Oh, wow. Ok.
Ashley: They're really small. And so yea.
Leo: I licked one. I had to do it. It's bitter. And it's the same stuff that parents put on their kids' thumbs so they won't suck them. In fact, it's Denatonium Benzoate if you're curious. And in fact, one of our hosts kind of had a weird flashback to when he used to suck his thumbs. He's like, "Oh, my God. I hate that." I think it was Kevin Rose on the New Screen Savers. He said, "Oh my, God."
Ashley: I'm going to grab my Switch real quick and show you guys the cartridge.
Leo: All right. While you're doing that, we're going to take a break. Ashley Esqueda is together with us along with Baratunde Thurston and Mike Elgan.
Mike: Have you been sucking your thumb again?
Leo: Yea, I've been sucking my thumb. And the Denatonium Benzoate has gotten to me.
Leo: Our show today brought to you by Texture. If you like magazines—who doesn't? Really, it's some of the best writing in the world. Thank God, good journalism still happens in Rolling Stone, in Vanity Fair. But there's also Consumer Reports and there's photo journalism from National Geographic. Here's a way to get them all together without subscribing, without buying the newsstand editions at their horrific prices and get them on your iPad or your iPhone or your Android device. It's called Texture. Texture is the Netflix of magazines. Unlimited access. Normally $10-dollars a month to get 200 magazines. New Yorker's in there. Vanity Fair. The Atlantic. Some of the best investigative journalism. I know we're all obsessed with US politics, domestic and international news. But here's gossip. I've got People Magazine in there too which is nice because I would feel guilty buying that. I kind of try to like quickly look at it when I'm in the grocery store.
Mike: When nobody's watching.
Baratunde: Here's some of my Texture magazines, Leo. We've got Fast Company.
Baratunde: We've got Esquire. We've got Ebony as well.
Leo: Yep, yep.
Baratunde: And Modern Farmer and AARP.
Leo: (Laughing) Wait a minute.
Mike: Modern Farmer is a great publication.
Ashley: I like to read about politics so is Teen Vogue included?
Leo: Yes, it is.
Mike: That is a great publication.
Ashley: I need that.
Leo: Grownup Vogue is there. I don't know if Teen Vouge is there. It must be.
Ashley: Lauren Duca is a great writer for Teen Vogue.
Leo: She is.
Ashley: She's been crushing it.
Baratunde: You guys should follow Lauren Duca. She is murdering Twitter, also longer form texts.
Leo: It's really amazing, isn't it? See, we love magazines. The thing is, it's clutter on the coffee table. If you subscribe, you feel guilty. I subscribe to The New Yorker and it was like an assignment every week that I had to go through all this. And I felt guilty if I didn't read it. But this way, you know, you get, you can favorite your magazines. It will auto-download. You can read them offline. You can put them on up to 5 devices so you can share it with the family. It's one of Apple's top 2016 iPad apps but it works on Android as well.
Mike: This is a solution to the filter bubble problem. There are two problems.
Leo: Yes, open your eyes.
Mike: Getting your stuff—reading whatever comes down across your social media has two problems. One, there's a lot of garbage. And two, filter bubbles create themselves through the algorithms. You subscribe to Texture, you get the National Review for smart right-wing politics.
Leo: I love the National Reivew.
Mike: You get The New Yorker for smart, left-wing politics. And in-between there's stuff that isn't political. And you can just shatter your filter bubble and eliminate garbage content from your life and get the highest quality content.
Leo: Shatter the filter bubble.
Baratunde: It's like a commercial within a commercial.
Leo: (Laughing) I also like that there's stuff like Variety and Ad Week and Billboard that I like to read but I wouldn't subscribe to, they're very expensive. And this way it's there.
Mike: Make Magazine.
Leo: Make is great. Sports Illustrated.
Ashley: I'd like to plug CNET Magazine I saw up there.
Leo: Yay, yay. See? So there's the deal. We've got 2 weeks free for you right now. 14-day free trial if you go to Texture.com/twit. Texture.com/twit. 2 weeks aren't going to be enough but at least it gives you a start. I love it. I just love it.
Leo: We had a great week, a fun week and we have a highlight reel that we put together because we're all looking for work right now. Take a look.
Narrator: Previously on TWiT:
Denise Howell: Apparently, e-cigarette device batteries are also something that you need to keep an eye on or they might light your pants on fire in your defendant's arson case. The jury can't believe a lawyer who's clearly a liar, right?
Leo: We've got a great one today. Cyber Junkie is here, Marc Rogers, Principal Security Researcher at Cloudflare. He's head of security at DEFCON. That's got to be the toughest job in the world.
Marc Rogers: If you really want to change the world you do it as a white hat. When you look at the complex problems that nation states face, the only person that is going to be dig them out is a hacker.
Narrator: Tech News Today.
Megan Morrone: Everyone should have a dream. Justin Kobylka's dream was to make a snake with emoji on its scales called the Emoji Ball Python. Kobylka created it through breeding because recessive mutation causes this pattern. So it has two smiley emoji on there and one alien emoji. Very exciting!
Leo: What? That's crazy!
Jason Howell: It's a python story on a technology podcast that has nothing to do with Python.
Narrator: TWiT! The happiest place on earth.
Leo: Wow. Megan Morrone, that was a great week. What's coming up next week?
Megan: Here's a look at just a few of the stories we'll be following in the week ahead. South by Southwest has already started and will continue through next week. Of course this was the conference where Twitter, FourSquare and Meerkat were all born so we'll be curious as to what to expect to come out of this conference where people will have to find some other way to get around besides Uber and Lyft, both of which are not allowed inside the Austin city limits. There are some other conferences going on this week, also. AdTech in Sydney, the Experimental Technology Conference in San Francisco, and O'Reilly Strata + Hadoop World in San Jose. Plus gaming site Twitch is finally getting a desktop app. It'sa revamped version of a chat app called Cursed that Twitch bought last year and it will launch this week on March 16th.
Leo: There's my game.
Leo: Thank you, Megan Morrone. And of course, we want to welcome a new member to the TWiT team, Nathan Olivares-Giles joins us on Monday. So, that will be a lot of fun.
Mike: I have a question about that.
Mike: That's a great hire.
Leo: He is great. We needed some youth on the staff.
Mike: Bring in the youth.
Leo: Bring in the youth.
Mike: So, is he commuting from San Francisco? Because I believe he lives in San Francisco.
Leo: Yes, I believe he will, yea.
Mike: Wow. That's awesome.
Leo: That's a brave boy.
Leo: But we really—we're really thrilled. We're working on new shows with him and meanwhile he'll be around for all of our shows and it will be great to have Nathan. Is he on next week? He might be on next week on TWiT. But anyway, we'll celebrate that. Yes, he is.
Ashley: Terrified I was going to have a BBC moment today where my dogs like came running in.
Leo: Oh, that's another thing I wanted to talk about. Darn it, I forgot.
Ashley: I didn't notice until like the 800th time I watched that video. Did you notice that the wife's pants are halfway down?
Ashley: So clearly she was going to the bathroom and her kids ran into the room.
Leo: Oh, my God.
Ashley: Like she had to be going to the bathroom. I feel so bad for her.
Leo: Now we have to watch this. Wait a minute. That is, that is—I didn't realize that.
Ashley: They're just barely down a little bit.
Leo: So this guy is doing a BBC hit about the Korean impeachment. Is he in Korea? I think he is.
Mike: He is in Korea.
Ashley: OK, wait, wait. Scroll up to that little—yea. You can see, when she runs in, this is like play by play. I love this girl. She's like walk in to the club dancing.
Leo: Anybody like me and you and anybody else who's worked at home and done hits from home know these things happen.
Leo: Now the problem is it's the BBC so you can't just say, "Oh, there's my child." So he kind of gives her a little push. He's like, "Get out of here."
Ashley: He gives her the strong arm. He's like, "Hey, listen.:
Leo: And then the baby with the (laughing) comes in.
Mike: He's rolling.
Leo: Oh, my God!
Mike: So that's why she's low is because her pants are down.
Leo: And also I think she doesn't—oh yea, they are.
Ashley: They are not up. They are not up. I feel so bad for that lady because she had to have been going to the bathroom and then her kids wandered into the office. She's like, "Oh, my God, no."
Leo: No, wait a minute. We've got to hear the audio on this because it's obviously—at some point he's acknowledging that this happened. Let me turn on my sound. At some point he's acknowledging that this happened. Because at first he sounds like he's trying to pretend it didn't happen right?
Mike: Yea, but then the presenter mentions it.
Leo: Are you hearing? I turned it off because of CNET. There it is.
BBC Presenter: The shifting sands in the region, do you think relations with the north may change?
Robert E. Kelly: I would be surprised if they do. Pardon me.
Leo: Then she drags them out. Literally drags them out.
Ashley: And he's just watching the video on Skype. But I'm sure—I would just be laughing so hard at that point. Kudos for him for not doing it.
Robert: My apologies. North—
Robert: North Korea—South Korea policy choices have been severely limited in the last 6 months to a year.
Mike: And the moral of the story is, don't have kids.
Leo: I guess we didn't get the whole clip because at some point the presenter says something, right?
Mike: At the beginning actually. When the first kid comes in he says, "Looks like one of your children came in."
Leo: I feel bad because the guys on the BBC—oh, see? See? Kids can come in. And this happens all the time on TWiT. All the time, parents, kids come in. Dogs come in. Animals come in. And we always love it. But it is the BBC and I think—
Ashley: It is the BBC and he is talking about foreign policy. It's like the most serious thing he could be talking about.
Mike: He's got a suit on in his home office because he wants to have that professional—
Ashley: He had no idea how unprofessional it gets.
Leo: And I guess she may not know also where the camera is, right? She's hoping she can duck below it.
Mike: But he does. He's looking at the camera. He's like, "Oh, boy."
Ashley: That blink is like—that side blink is really my favorite.
Leo: (laughing) Step up on it, Chappy.
Ashley: I love that little girl.
Leo: I love her.
Ashley: Up in the club, doing the dance. She's in it. She loves it.
Leo: I hope the guy is not ashamed or—I mean I hope he understands that the world loves him.
Robert: Scandals happen all the time. the question is how these democracies respond to those scandals.
BBC Presenter: And what will it mean for the wider region? I think one of your children just walked in. I mean shifting, shifting sands in the region.
Leo: That's the part where he doesn't reflect too well on him. What he should have done is grabbed his daughter and put her on his lap.
Ashley: Yea, just cool, sit on my lap.
Leo: Be the cool dad.
Ashley: My question is I'm curious on how many times this guy's been on BBC because if it was within the first couple times, you of course want to be—
Leo: Oh yea.
Ashley: And so I'm sure he was horrified if that was the case.
Leo: I think that's really what's happening. He's going, "Oh, my God, this is the worst thing that's ever happened."
Mike: It also says something about TV versus—
Leo: Wait a minute. Is that from his wife that sound or from the baby coming in? I think that's the wife realizing. She's going, "Oh, my God! Oh, my God!"
Robert: I would be surprised if they do. The—sorry.
Ashley: The slide is so cool. I'm loving it so much.
Leo: And I never noticed her pants are down. Oh, that poor woman.
Ashley: Yea, her pants are down and I just feel terrible for her.
Leo: Can this marriage survive (laughing)?
Ashley: Listen, man, if you have a wife that loves you that much, you're doing all right. You're doing all right.
Leo: I love her. I love professor—his name is Professor Kelly.
Ashley: He's on Twitter.
Leo: Robert E. Kelly. It sounds like he's an American. He's a political science professor at Pusan National University (laughing). By the way he told his Twitter followers, "Oh, I'm going to be on the BBC. You might want to watch me." And by the way, no tweets subsequent to that, right?
Mike: He hasn't been heard from since.
Leo: He has not been heard from since. But Robert, the world loves you and your children and your wife (laughing).
Mike: And of course, Ben Thompson did a frame by frame analysis.
Leo: Well he has—first of all, he has kids.
Leo: He does these things all the time. I heard that he did that. Maybe he's just tired of writing about—oh, it's on Medium.
Mike: He goes through all the points. Ok, first the first daughter walks in. Then the other one. Then it's like—and it's just hilarious. Depth.
Leo: Oh yea, Breaking Down—this is so great. Breaking Down the Father on BBC Being Interrupted by His Children.
Ashley: It's a play by play. I love it.
Leo: Play by play. Oh, my God. I am uniquely qualified to break this video down. I've been on TV from a home office. I have children and crucially, I am a man like Robert E. Kelly our protagonist who lives in Asia. That is the key to understanding how this went down. Oh see? We're getting a perspective we didn't get. The most important thing to notice about this quite nice home office, particularly for Asia (it's really big!), is the stack of books on the bed over Kelly's left shoulder. Oh, it's a bed.
Ashley: He's got it all staged.
Leo: Those books aren't there by accident Kelly almost certainly placed them for this interview. Sadly, given the terrible compression applied to Twitter video, I have no idea what books they are, but rest assured they are very befitting Kelly's position as Professor of Political Science (laughing).
Ashley: Very serious.
Leo: The map on the wall, a nice touch. This is a man who almost certainly knows his way around the globe, but a blank wall just doesn't play well on TV. So, you're right. Ben has really got this. There are two flaws, though, in Kelly's premeditated presentation: one, the door is ajar. Obviously, that will figure prominently. Two, on the left-hand side of the screen something is intruding into the picture. What could that be? I have no idea what it is; it's just an excuse to explain that these interviews are done using the webcam in computer displays. It's true. There is no cameraperson there. Indeed, often you are looking into the camera and seeing nothing on your own screen. It's really disorienting and honestly one of the reasons I don't like doing these kinds of TV hits which Ben does do for us. Although you're right, I don't think he likes it (laughing). He's always kind of-- Robert E Kelly is a handsome man. He's dressed for the occasion. As we will soon find out he is obviously at home, so why is he wearing a suit and tie? Because he's going to be on the BBC, that's why.
Mike: That's right.
Ashley: You've got to be dressed up.
Ashley: Look your best.
Leo: He is an academic. Ph.D. in Political Science from The Ohio State University. Ben says, "Being an academic is a very weird enterprise. Kelly went to Miami University in Ohio and The Ohio State University for 12 years. He got his Ph.D. He worked as a lecturer for two years, a fairly miserable existence that requires years of schooling yet earns the salary of a Starbucks barista," which is actually true. Then, somehow, Kelly hears the siren song of Asia and takes an associate professorship at Pusan National University in Busan, Korea (fun fact: Pusan and Busan are the same word; welcome to the wonderful world of Romanizing eastern script languages). However, he is an Expert. Capital E, Expert. He contributes to the Economist, Newsweek, The Diplomat. And, of course, he appears on the BBC. Like a boss. We'll get to the elder daughter's dance in a moment. It's absolutely delightful in a way that can only be truly appreciated by those of us that have daughters. For now, the entrance. Ben, you're brilliant. I told you that open door was a problem. The yellow shirt, not a single person watching this clip can miss her appearance.
Ashley: She might as well have been wearing an arrow.
Leo: Yea. Look over here. There's a yellow thing. And finally, the obliviousness. Dad obviously has no idea about what's to come. The Dance. I love her (laughing).
Ashley: (singing) Uh, uh, uh, I am feeling myself. Maybe she just probably had a really delicious snack.
Leo: Yep. Going to see dad.
Ashley: I want to know about her day. That's all I want.
Leo: She's such a happy little sunflower. Aw, she's great. The acknowledgement. This is the point where Kelly becomes aware that his progeny is standing 3 feet away from him. Horrifically, at least from his perspective, he is informed by the BBC anchor. This is where Kelly is getting the most grief on social media. The hand. The prevailing wisdom from folks who have never been on worldwide-TV-as-a-means-of-validating-12-years-of-academia, that's all one word, hyphenated, is that Kelly should have gracefully placed his daughter on his lap and continued on with the interview as if nothing had happened. Let's back up. What you may not know about these TV spots is that you don't get paid a dime. Why, then, does the BBC, or CNN, or MSNBC, or all of the other channels have an endless array of experts who are willing to not just call-in from their—wait a minute. They don't pay these guys? I've been doing something wrong. Have an endless array of experts who are willing to not just call-in from their home office but will also go to the trouble of putting on a suit-and-tie and arrange books just so? BECAUSE YOU'RE ON TV! Here's the deal: the male ego is both remarkably fragile and remarkably easy to satiate (laughing). Tell said ego he will be featured as an expert in front of a national or global audience and he will do whatever it takes — including 12 years of academia and wearing a suit at home—to ensure it is so. The flipside though, is a potential level of embarrassment that is hard to fathom. In this case Kelly is fulfilling his self-selected destiny. He is appearing as an expert across the world on the BBC. But it's not going well. His daughter has appeared, and while he certainly loves her, he must, MUST, keep up appearances. Thus, the hand, and not the overt affection. Ignore the baby in the doorway, which is the most hilarious moment in one's first viewing (but not necessarily later). Oh, this is very funny. His daughter, DGAF. Doesn't give a F. She just got the hand and reacted not with shock but by playing with her pen. She is awesome.
Ashley: She's like, "I don't need you. I've got this pen."
Leo: "I've got a pen. It's ok, Dad." We don't know if the second-born is a boy or girl. Frankly, it doesn't matter. All that we know is that after valiantly fighting off his first-born, who he loves, all of Kelly's efforts are undone by the second-born that he probably doesn't pay enough attention to, mimicking her older sister. It's basically The Royal Tenenbaums brought to life (laughing).
Ashley: This is truly great commentary. This is why media makes this.
Leo: Oh, I love it. Thank you, Ben Thompson. Oh my God. This is the moment where this clip enters the pantheon of Internet viral videos. As usual, it's the woman — in this case the mom—who makes it legendary. But wait, was it the mom, or was it a nanny? This has been a point of contention on social media, but I'm pretty sure it's the mom. And now that I know her pants are down, I'm definitely sure it's the mom. I have white American/Asian mixed kids, so I'm kind of a subject-matter expert, and these look like mixed kids. Most maids in Korea, like Taiwan, where I live, are foreign. This mom, though, absolutely looks east Asian — Korean, in fact. And, given that Kelly is paid in expertise, he probably can't afford a Korean maid. The desperation with which she enters the room is a desperation born of love, not duty. You can't deny it. She wants her husband to look good. That's why she flies in and, frankly, takes too long to get the kids out of there because she's trying so hard. She cares too much.
Ashley: She cares too much is exactly right. She cares so much.
Leo: She cares too much. Above everyone else—I'm going to mark that. Oh, I have to login. Screw it. Never mind. I'm sorry. Aye, aye, aye caramba! There you go. Wait a minute. She cares too much. There, now it's highlighted. Above everyone else, I feel for the mom (I'm assuming it was the mom from here on out). Yes, she was probably responsible for the kids during said call, but moms have a lot to do. And seriously, dad should have closed the damn door.
Ashley: That's true.
Leo: Yes. She is going to feel absolutely awful for having upset his call, and you know what? I feel bad for her for her feeling this way. It was almost certainly an honest mistake. Also, her pants may not be completely pulled up (as opposed to Kelly, who honestly, may not be wearing any at all).
Ashley: Also true.
Leo: (Laughing). Look, for all the sympathy I just gave mom, she deserves some kudos as well: she just moved into the room, grabbed both kids, and then beat a retreat while barely showing her face. It's impressive stuff. Meanwhile, dad is apologizing for the love of his life interfering with his ego. MEN (laughing).
Ashley: Look, I've got to say, there's a couple of comments about like male ego and if that had happened with my husband, I would be just as horrified. I'd be horrified. My ego is the same. I understand.
Leo: Yea, when you're on camera, you're trying to put out a good presence.
Ashley: I would be like strong arming my dog, like, no.
Leo: Well that's the truth. The first-time people are on, they always apologize. You did. You said, "I'm glad my dogs didn't show up. And I really want to make a point. It's always welcome.
Mike: Plus you can't think in situations like that.
Leo: That's another thing.
Mike: Ben did a great job of like pointing out how big it is to be on the BBC when you're an academic and establishing yourself as credible. It's just the lights, the camera, it's like you can't even think. So I don't—
Ashley: You're already nervous about the things you're saying, like making sure they're accurate and you're getting them out.
Leo: You're very, very focused.
Ashley: And hope you're in sentences. And you look into your Skype and you see in the background your yellow-shirted kid dancing up into your shot and you're just like, "Everything is—my life is ending right now. Everything's falling apart. This is not great."
Leo: Dad has just apologized multiple times for the interruption, while mom is desperately trying to let him shine. It really is the reach, though, that makes it so spectacular. And he retweets SportsPickle who says, "Who did it better?" Of course that was Odell Beckham Jr of the Giants, the catch, or is it the—yea, really it is. That's why I'm all-in on mom: nannies don't lay it out like this. She loves her man, she's proud of his expertise, and she's going to do everything she can to make him look good. Nice. Thank you, Ben. What a great—that is—you're right. Everybody told me, "Oh, you've got to see Ben's breakdown." That really was good. It's nice.
Ashley: Play by play. Love it.
Leo: Play by play. I want to talk a little bit about Twitter in just a bit when we come back. A new feature that warns users of profiles with potentially sensitive content and I have to say, I feel like they're on the right track with abuse. But I want to know what the panel things.
Leo: First a word from WordPress. I didn't know this. WordPress runs 27% of the websites.
Mike: I did not know that.
Leo: WordPress is huge.
Ashley: That is a high percentage.
Leo: Yes. It is a high percentage. And it's a great success. WordPress.com wants to salute all the small business owners out there during small business month. The tool-belt toting—that's hard to say. That's harder to say than Ashley Esqueda. The tool-belt toting owners, the canine sweater stitchers, the horn-rimmed glasses wearing flat screen TV installers, the corner deli foot-long deliverers, the Williamsburg pundits and the moms—I threw that one in for you. The south of Williamsburg pundits and the mom and pop lawyers look out for our best interests and I have to say, some of the best websites in the world. If you have a business and you are not on the web, you don't exist for most people. WordPress is quietly powering the sites and the websites of thousands of small businesses. More websites run on WordPress than any other platform. We've built in search engine optimization, mobile friendly design. Your customers can find your website easily. Access it from any device. If you—I swear, it used to be if you don't have a Yellow Page listing and a phone, you can't be in business. Now, I really think, before I even hire a plumber or a dog-sitter, I go and look at the website. That's where you learn about them. So if you want to make a big difference as a small business owner you better get your site up and running. Go to WordPress.com. It's easy. 24/7 support and right now 15% off any new plan purchase. 15% off at WordPress.com/twit. WordPress.com./twit.
Ashley: We just had an election here in Los Angeles and my local city had 3 people running for mayor. And only one person had a website. Guess who I voted for?
Leo: Wow. That's interesting.
Ashley: Only one and it was just—they had no other information online. I guess they were relying on flyers and kind of more local strategies.
Leo: That seems like kind of an oversight.
Ashley: But yea, there was only one person who had an official website.
Leo: Was that Eric Garcetti?
Ashley: I don't live in LA proper.
Leo: Oh, you're in a little town.
Mike: You know, it's not just having a website—
Ashley: I live south of Williamsburg.
Leo: Way south. Southwest.
Baratunde: It is a neighborhood in LA, actually.
Mike: But it's important. It's human nature to look at a website and judge the entire company. If a website looks like it's stale from the 90s, you're thinking, "Ok, this company is going to be terrible."
Ashley: I have seen sites that look like they have been built on geocities. I get really upset.
Leo: I just saw—what was it? There was a government website that looked like it was from 1995.
Ashley: It probably is.
Leo: Aw, I wish I could remember that.
Baratunde: It undermines your credibility. It's not good.
Leo: Yea, it's crazy.
Baratunde: Hey, can I make a point of privilege here, Leo. You can pop this out but Mike inspired me. I talked about this Gastro Nomad thing.
Baratunde: And I don't have a wife but I do have a girlfriend and she's up to cool stuff too.
Leo: By the way, that's a big story. Wait a minute. Breaking news. Baratunde has a girlfriend.
Baratunde: Don't do that. That's crazy.
Leo: Breaking news. No, I know you do. You know why? Because you and your new lady came to our neck of the woods. You were in Napa and I begged you, I pleaded with you. I said, "Come here." He said, "No. I've got a girlfriend."
Baratunde: I ignored your entreaties.
Baratunde: I was not there on business.
Leo: Hey, did you have a good time in Napa by the way?
Baratunde: We had a great time. I had never been before and—
Leo: Isn't it beautiful?
Baratunde: And we went to a black family owned vineyard called Brown Estates which has such an incredible story.
Leo: I've never heard of it.
Baratunde: They have 3 kids. They're kind of up in the hills, like in Northern Napa which means something apparently. It's all new to me so I'm just like, "You guys have wine. That's exciting." But the way they do it is cool and we got to meet one of the owners.
Leo: I love that.
Mike: Most importantly, how's their wine?
Baratunde: The wine is winey and yummy. Here's how—
Mike: The kids are whiney?
Leo: Oh, good names. Chaos Theory. I want some Chaos Theory.
Baratunde: It's funky. They make a lot of zinfandels which apparently like people like to talk a lot of trash about zins. I'm learning all of this.
Leo: Oh, no. I love the zins.
Ashley: Those people can just stop that because zinfandels are delicious.
Baratunde: Yea, so these guys have like, the way the place the—anyway, this is not an ad for Brown Estates. It was actually an ad for the work that—
Leo: We'll get to your girlfriend in a moment (laughing).
Baratunde: That was the whole point because then I want to hear about Ashley. She can plug her husband and her people.
Leo: So first of all, what's her name?
Baratunde: Her name's Elizabeth.
Leo: Does she have a job?
Baratunde: Yes. So, that's what—all the leading questions. This is great. You're making this easy.
Baratunde: So she runs this group called—
Leo: Wait a minute. This is how Daylight Savings Time has ruined my mind. I just Goolged Elizabeth to find her.
Ashley: Well, that just makes it easy. And it's the Elizabeth with hair, right?
Baratunde: Yea, she has a face and everything, guys. She's like a real person.
Mike: You had a heart attack and ran over her wallet.
Baratunde: I swear she exists.
Baratunde: But the work that her team is up to is related to some of the stuff we've been talking about. Tech in the public good and so it's this group called Civichalllabs.org and they are running the Big App Challenge for New York City which is a city-wide hack-a-thon.
Leo: Oh, awesome.
Baratunde: It's the oldest hack-a-thon in like U.S. city history which is 7 years so it's not that long. But they twisted it around a bit. So if you go to bigapps.nyc or civichalllabs.org to see their larger sweep, they're just up to some cool stuff and I think they're trying to solve problems with tech that a lot of private industry won't because there's not as much profit in it. But it's important. So as we talk about collective data managements or like using some of these tech tools for nonprofit seeking entities, I wanted to put a plug in for people doing good work with tech.
Leo: That's one of the things by the way that bothers me about the new administration. There's so much chaos and so much disarray and so much infighting and so forth, I wonder what's happening to some of the transparency, the digital government initiatives that were started under the Obama administration. Our friend Matt Cutts is there. I don't know if he's being listened to there or if that—what is it, CSDS? What's the group?
Baratunde: The U.S. Digital Service.
Leo: The U.S. Digital Service.
Baratunde: I spent a good amount of time with them in the previous administration.
Leo: I know.
Baratunde: I don't have insight into how that particular group is going. I think if you look at what's happening at the State Department or the EPA, just in staff reduction alone, not even talking about knowledge, which you know, people can argue and our listeners will have different points of view on but like a 35% reduction in the State Department. And I think it was like 30% reduction in the EPA. That sends a strong signal when someone like Steve Bannon says he aims to destroy the administrative state. They might not have at their highest priority using tech in the interests of the public to help deliver government services, which they don't probably believe should be government services in the first place, like protecting water or issuing visas to people who want to come to this country.
Leo: And those who think things that the U.S. Digital Service did and did very, very well.
Baratunde: Yea, they helped accelerate government service delivery through tech. And so a lot of what Civic Hall Labs is up to was in that same spirit, vein.
Leo: Well maybe it's happening locally even if it's not happening nationally.
Baratunde: Definitely. That's part of the duty of states. Like it's the United States of America. We have 50 little petri dishes and so a lot of those are continuing on that mission even as the National level switches tone significantly.
Leo: Right. Cool.
Ashley: No, that's really cool.
Leo: I'll try to get a hold of Matt and see if we can—he probably can't say anything. He hasn't been able to talk to us since he joined the U.S. Digital Services.
Mike: He's in an undisclosed location.
Baratunde: Well, maybe you can find him through an alt Matt Cutt's Twitter account.
Mike: He's unconfined.
Ashley: He's gone rogue.
Leo: I feel like we've been making great progress in the transparency and the digital government and so forth and I hope we continue to make that progress. I think it's very important. It's part of modernizing the government. All right, Ashley, tell us about your husband (laughing).
Ashley: Well, he doesn't work for a non-profit but I'm involved with a nonprofit and so I'll tell you about that.
Leo: Nice. Tell us about that.
Ashley: Because they actually- shameless self-promo. We have a Kickstarter happening right now. We actually need help. So, I am on the board of a nonprofit called Take This. The website is takethis.org as in Legend of Zelda, Take This. It's dangerous to go alone. And it was started after a journalist colleague of a handful of us in the—
Leo: Is this it?
Ashley: Yes, it is. We lost a colleague. He committed suicide and nobody knew he was suffering from mental health problems.
Leo: How often does that happen? Isn't that sad? So sad.
Ashley: So often. And so we just, we were like, "We have to do something." And so we started Take This. And it's a non-profit. It's a 501. And so all of your donations are tax deductible and we do, one of the key things that we do amongst other things, is we go to conventions like PAX. So just recently, this weekend, we were at PAX East and we do what's called the AFK room. And so the AFK room is a quiet space for people who get overwhelmed on the show floor who might have social anxiety or might have other phobias or just simply need a quiet space to go to during these really exciting and visually overwhelming conventions to sit. And we also staff the room with mental health clinicians and volunteers. So if you need to talk to somebody, that is a place that you can do it. And we help you find clinicians in your area that can help you continue that journey. So it's something I'm really proud of being involved in and right now. It's sort of a weird—we had Indiegogo and then they said they were switching platforms or payment platforms and then they cut off our crowd fund there and we had to very quickly bless our founder, our co-founder Russ Pitts had to very quickly come up with a Kickstarter.
Leo: Oh, I know Russ very well. This is Russ Pitts?
Ashley: Yea, Russ is the co-founder with Susan Arendt his wife.
Leo: Oh, nice.
Ashley: So I love them very dearly and they have worked very hard to build Take This into what it is today and I'm just really proud of the fact that we help people. And we've had families come up to us during the shows and say, "My kid has agoraphobia or has this social anxiety and can't go to events like this without a space like the AFK room. And that makes us feel really good. And so we've had other people say, "I just didn't know. I need help." Because in gaming, mental health and mental illness, there's stigmas around these things. And we see this in tech all the time, too. A lot of game developers who work for studios are afraid to say they need help because then companies say, "Well, then you can't do the job. You can't deal with crunch time." And so they get fired. You know, stuff like that happens all the time. And we just want to break that stigma. We want to tell people it is ok to seek help and that you are not alone. And that we are here for you and there are people out there who want to help. So that's Take This. And I'm really proud to be a part of it and I'm proud to tell everybody about it.
Leo: Wow. This is a great idea.
Baratunde: That's awesome.
Leo: And I'm thrilled that you're doing this. And I noticed that the amount just went up by a little bit and let's go to Kickstarter.com/takethis.
Ashley: Oh, thank you.
Leo: And I think this is a great idea. And I love AFK. We need an AFK room here.
Leo: That is a great idea.
Ashley: I think everybody could use an AFK room.
Leo: Away from keyboard.
Mike: Especially in tech circle. There are two areas. One is social phobia and introversion which a lot of tech people have. And there's also people on the scale of—
Leo: The spectrum as we call it.
Mike: On the spectrum. A lot of geniuses are mildly or seriously autistic and so that's great for lots of—and I think the tech community is what I'm saying is more likely to need something like this then the general public.
Leo: Love this.
Ashley: Yea, me too. You know, I suffer from anxiety and depression and I used to, I used to bury myself in games whenever I felt terrible.
Leo: Me too. Yea.
Ashley: And it was easy, you know? And then I realized I felt terrible all the time. Even though I would play games, they would never—at some point they stop making me feel good. And so I had to figure it out. And I started seeing a therapist. And I feel better. Like I feel I can enjoy games the way that they were intended for me to be enjoyed now.
Leo: Isn't that great? Give Russ my regards. We worked together at Tech TV. He was famous for his resignation letter.
Ashley: Oh, I don't know about this so I'm excited.
Leo: Ask him about eagle spit. That's all I'm going to say, ok?
Leo: We're going to wrap it up because Baratunde has a girlfriend (laughing).
Ashley: For the record, Baratunde, this is a Nintendo Switch cartridge next to a Micro SD.
Baratunde: Wow, it looks like—
Leo: Ashley, you would make everybody happy if you would just lick that.
Ashley: It tastes disgusting. I won't lick it.
Leo: Oh, I tried.
Baratunde: Don't hurt yourself. Don't put yourself in pain. No, I'm actually head to Austin and I've got to still pack.
Leo: We didn't even get to talk about South by. We'll talk about that next week.
Leo: Yea, after it's over. It will be a better time than before it happens. Have a great time. Are you giving a panel or anything?
Baratunde: I'm doing a talk about Trump and tech on Wednesday.
Leo: Nice. That shouldn't be too—
Ashley: Got to get the cyber. Got to find it.
Baratunde: I'm going to present from my Galaxy S3 so.
Mike: Good luck getting to the hotel without an Uber.
Baratunde: I'm just going to walk. I'm going to move the old-fashioned way.
Ashley: Good plan, like one of those city bikes.
Leo: It's so great to have you on, Baratunde. You're the best. Thank you so much. Baratunde Thurston.
Baratunde: A pleasure to be on with Mike and Ashley. I've never been on with you guys before. It was a joy and my pants are still off. So, Mike, you did a real good job scaring me.
Mike: That's assuring.
Leo: Don't forget How to Be Black, the book is still in bookstores everywhere. It is a great read, Baratunde's book. And you can follow him on Twitter @Baratunde. Thank you, Baratunde.
Baratunde: Thank you.
Leo: Thank you so much, Ashley, you are now a regular on this show. Anytime you want to be on, you are so much fun. You are so smart.
Ashley: I had a blast. It was great.
Leo: Yea, Ashley Esqueda. Esqueda.
Leo: After I spent so much time learning this, I've got to have you back now, right? Esqueda.
Ashley: It was worth learning my last name if you're actually going to have me back.
Leo: Senior Editor at CNET. That's true. Many people, I never learn their last names. Mike what's-his-name over here.
Mike: Yea, who knows?
Leo: It's so nice to have you. Thank you for joining us, Ashley.
Ashley: Well, thank you for having me. This was wonderful. And everybody is—you guys are so great. I love talking to you.
Leo: Good. We'll have you back. CNET.com, she's a Senior Editor over there. Are you going to go to South By too?
Ashley: No South By for me. I'm actually going to be covering someone who will be training to ride a jet pack this week so that should be fun.
Mike: Oh, in Van Nuys.
Leo: You know about this?
Mike: Yea, I was invited to that and I was going to go and pulled out at the last minute because it sounds dangerous. I'll let her risk it.
Ashley: There is nothing I want more than a Bobo Fett jet pack so this is step one. So I'm ready to go and just watch and just take it all in and take notes so that when I can buy a jet pack, I'll be ready.
Leo: Thank you, Ashley. And Mike Elgan, don't forget. Brand new and we love Amira and I cannot wait to do this. Gastronomad.net.
Mike: That's right. There's a newsletter if you're just curious. You sign up for the newsletter and you can get it whenever we post it. It's brilliant! This is perfect for her, too.
Leo: How many people can you bring on one of these?
Mike: It's probably going to be between 6, 8, 10, maybe 12.
Leo: Small group.
Mike: It depends on the city. So, depends on the space. It's all very customized.
Leo: What a place Cuba would be!
Mike: Yes, that would be great, Havana. She's talked about that one. We're also eventually going to do one in Sonoma.
Leo: Oh, well, that one we'll do.
Mike: This is one of the great food—
Ashley: Me and Baratunde are going to come to that.
Baratunde: Right, I'm coming back, baby. Deal.
Leo: Thanks, everybody for being here. We love having you. If you come every Sunday at 3:00 PM we'll be here. Well, maybe it's 3:00 PM Pacific, that's 6:00 PM Eastern time. It is now 2200 UTC. That's from now on, 2200UTC. That's all you have to remember.
Mike: What was that again?
Leo: I don't know. I forgot.
Baratunde: That was an anti-climactic end to your rant.
Leo: It's over. No. But if you can't watch live—and by the way, great studio audience today. If you want to be in the studio audience, email firstname.lastname@example.org. Lovely having you guys. You can also join us in the chatroom if you're watching live. IRC.twit.tv but we also make on demand audio and video of everything we do available on our website at twit.tv/thisweekintech. You can watch on YouTube. You can watch on any podcatch application that you prefer. Just look for TWiT and subscribe and that way we'll see you next week. Did I do everything? Have I said everything? I think it's time to say one more thing and that is another TWiT is in the can! We'll see you next time. Bye-bye.