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Weekend Reads: Apple, Aristotle, And Thank-You Notes

Our special guest this week is BuzzFeed Director of Global Adaptation — and founder of this newsletter — Millie Tran, talking about some of her favorite stories she read recently.

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In case you’ve been following what’s happening with Apple and the FBI, Ben Thompson’s Stratechery explanation of the nuances of what Apple is being compelled to do and analysis of its implications is probably one of the best you’ll read. Follow that up with BuzzFeed News Cybersecurity Correspondent Sheera Frenkel’s story on why the fight is actually about setting precedent, not breaking tech.

I’ve been thinking a lot about systems. I started with this piece from Nautilus, “Describing People as Particles Isn’t Always a Bad Idea,” almost exclusively because of its headline. It’s not just about systems, but about physics, economics, and social phenomena — and whether we can use physics to model and predict social behavior. If you love systems and physics, might I recommend moving onto ants next? You can read why they’re really good at navigating ant traffic or listen here.

Why is Donald Trump the best on Twitter? Aristotle and Cicero, basically. “His most Trump-ian tweets manage to hit upon all three of Aristotle’s modes of persuasion: logos (the appeal to logic), ethos (the appeal to credibility), and pathos (the appeal to emotion),” Amanda Hess writes in Slate. “Another of Trump’s most trusted punches comes from Cicero. It’s what’s called praeteritio, apophasis, or paralipsis — the act of saying something by saying you’re not going to say it.”

Finally, I’m not great at writing thank-you cards, but I greatly admire those who are and would like to be better. So, thank you to The Browser for surfacing this great piece on how to write a thank-you note. The six-step process seems doable enough — greet the giver, express your gratitude, discuss use of the thing, mention the past/allude to the future, grace, and regards. Dear readers of the newsletter, thank you for reading this far.


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