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Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal - Snowflake

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Sweetie, the only things in creation that are always true to themselves are subatomic particles.

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2 days ago
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hannahdraper
3 days ago
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Washington, DC
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Infrequent Site Stories is the blog reader we need

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Launching today on all three platforms—web, iOS, and Android—is the new Infrequent Site Stories view. This configurable river of news offers a view of stories only from the blogs that publish less often than 1 story per day.

Most of what you see in your day-to-day feed is news that’s up to the minute and is probably stale within a day. Even 8 hour old news can be a problem. But sometimes what you want is an overview of the news that isn’t exactly news. It’s stories from the blogs who have individual authors, or blogs that publish only a few times a month. And missing out on those stories is a tragedy because it is those blogs that pushed you to invest in an RSS reader in the first place.

Today I’m happy to introduce a new feature that you won’t find anywhere else. It’s called Infrequent Site Stories and you can find it at the top of your feed list on the web, on iOS, and on Android.

Infrequent Site Stories is the river that captures stories from those authors who aren’t pulling from the firehose. These are the stories that are more thoughtful and more relevant days, weeks, months, or even years down the line. These stories are not to be missed. And the best thing about these stories is that there are far fewer of them than there are of your normal full river from All Site Stories.

You can also configure the Infrequent river to be more or less inclusive of content that is more or less frequently published by changing the filter anywhere from 5 to 90 stories per month.

These options are also available on all three official NewsBlur platforms and will let you perform a filter similar to how Focus mode reduces your number of unreads. It’s great to dip into Infrequent Site Stories and get stories you would ordinarily miss out on.

Try out the new Infrequent Site Stories feed, available only to premium subscribers. If your experience is anything like mine, it’ll be one of the new must read feeds in your reader.

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tante
2 days ago
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"Infrequent Side Stories" are a great idea to quickly determine the stuff beyond news. Love @newsblur for that kind of stuff.
Oldenburg/Germany
samuel
3 days ago
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I’m thinking about making the list of rivers customizable so you can hide any of the three (global shared, all site, infrequent site).
The Haight in San Francisco
JayM
2 days ago
Just being able to click/touch and drag would be great for the order of the items.
tingham
2 days ago
@Samuel Is there an open item on get satisfaction for this discussion?
samuel
2 days ago
No I'm just spit balling. Had the idea a while ago and figured it was time now since some people read every story and have no need for this special filtered feed.
dlanods
2 days ago
Please. I use All, but don't use Global and I can't see myself using Infrequent, so having to remember to aim for the central button of three very similar buttons doesn't feel like great usability given how often I'm misclicking at the moment. Bring able to move All to the bottom would be much nicer.
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tingham
3 days ago
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Maybe do: https://twitter.com/tingham/status/940279104082980865 instead?
Cary, NC
deezil
2 days ago
That was what I wanted in a much cleaner way than what I was going to explain with just words.
rosskarchner
3 days ago
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I've been imagining the opposite feature-- there are feeds, where if an item goes unread for more than a day (or even a few hours, say for an evening Axios newsletter), I'm never gonna be interested, and would prefer them just to silently disappear or be marked as read.
DC-ish
zackfern
3 days ago
I've also wanted a feature like this. But I'm still very excited about this Infrequent Stories feature! Thanks Samuel!
expatpaul
2 days ago
I would also really like this feature. I would prefer a cut-off of a couple of days, but if this was configurable (feed and "stale" date) then we would all be happy :-)
wreichard
2 days ago
Infrequent stories will be great, but what you’re describing is really the feature I dream of. Right now I use Apple News (shudder)for that.
sfrazer
3 days ago
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Perils of UI changes: I keep clicking "Infrequent Site Stories" instead of "All Site Stories" because I target the area above my top feed name, not the words in the label.
Chicago
docheart
3 days ago
Agreed. I read all my news feeds and I would like the option to turn this off. I do love the new app and how it looks on my phone otherwise. Thanks!
deezil
3 days ago
Since I got this, I have clicked on that new header probably a dozen times.
chaosdiscord
3 days ago
I'm intrigued by the idea, and will dabble with it. But like sfrazer, it's throwing off my default use case of reading "All Site Stories." Now ASS (snicker) is in the middle, making a less obvious target. Maybe swap ASS and ISS?
philipstorry
3 days ago
Yep, swapping would be most welcome. Otherwise, a great feature!
JimB
2 days ago
Agreed. Damned irritating. I posted a suggestion to disable it within a couple of days of the feature first arriving.
lhagan
2 days ago
It's no help if you're using one of the native apps, but in the web app you can easily remove the Infrequent button by adding this under Account > Custom CSS: .NB-feeds-header-river-infrequent { display: none; }
hooges
2 days ago
tweeted about this exact same problem. I'm a big fan of all site stories, wish this was moved up one spot
alexlomas
1 day ago
Exactly the same here!

Self-Driving Car Milestones

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I'm working on a car capable of evaluating arbitrarily complex boolean expressions on "honk if [...]" bumper stickers and responding accordingly.
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satadru
7 days ago
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A self-aware car laughing at the Trolley Problem episode of The Good Place.
New York, NY
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6 days ago
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alt_text_bot
8 days ago
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I'm working on a car capable of evaluating arbitrarily complex boolean expressions on "honk if [...]" bumper stickers and responding accordingly.
Cthulhux
7 days ago
One bot would be enough.
iiieeeoo
7 days ago
Two bots are better than none!
jepler
7 days ago
honk if this statement is false
wreichard
7 days ago
I’m thinking of Douglas Adams’ elevator. “Have you considered all the possibilities that down has to offer?”
jepler
7 days ago
Zarqon save us from cars with genuine people personalities.
daanzu_alt_text_bot
6 days ago
i'm offline, if classic bot will work reliably!
norb
8 days ago
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The 9th bullet point is my favorite one!
clmbs.oh

Old Man’s War in Development at Netflix

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For those who don’t know, yes, that’s the original of the Old Man’s War cover art. It’s on my office wall. And yes, that’s my hand.

So here’s some lively holiday news: An Old Man’s War movie is currently in development at Netflix. Surprise! Here are the details over at Deadline.com. I’m pretty happy about this.

And now, your questions:

Are you excited?

Hell, yes. One, because I would love to see an OMW movie. But also, two, Netflix is a place where a lot of fantastic entertainment is happening these days. It’s trying a lot of things and taking a lot of chances, and most people I know who are working with Netflix are thrilled about being there right now. It really seems like it could be a great place for the OMW universe.

So is this a movie or TV series?

It’s a movie. On your television!

(Or computer or phone or monitor or wherever you choose to watch Netflix, I don’t judge.)

But can a two to three hour movie truly hold the vastness and complexity of Old Man’s War?

I mean, yeah. It’s a pretty speedy story in that first book. And as to the rest of the universe of the series, if the first OMW movie works and people watch it and like it (hint, hint), we can have sequels. There are six books! We have lots to work with.

Who is going to be in the film? You should get [insert favorite filmmaker/actor here]!

Whoa, there. This is the development announcement, where we announce the studio (Netflix) and the producers (Jon Shestack Productions and Madhouse Entertainment). Now that we’re all on board with making the movie, we’ll start putting all the puzzle pieces together. Don’t worry; when we pick folks, we’ll probably do follow-up announcements.

Hey, wasn’t Old Man’s War in development as a movie, and a TV series, before?

Indeed it was. It was in development at Paramount for a while as a movie, and then at Syfy as a TV series.

What happened?

It just didn’t work out. Both times, really smart folks did a really excellent job and tried to make it happen, but the entertainment industry is what it is, and the stars didn’t align.

But this time will be different!

Well, yes, I hope so. It would be nice. I think we have the studio and producers to make it happen.

How long has this been percolating?

I got the rights to OMW back in the summer. We fielded pitches and offers and then in October, while I was out in California, I had a meeting with the producers. After that it was just waiting on contracts.

Man, lawyers, am I right?

In this case, I’m a big fan of lawyers. Mine (Matt Sugarman) has done very well by me. As has my film/TV agent, Joel Gotler, and my book agent Ethan Ellenberg has been part of this particular brain trust, too. It takes a village to make a good deal.

How involved will you be in the production?

As the article linked above notes, I’m an executive producer on the movie, so I’m pretty substantially involved. Which is nice! I have opinions, you know. I’m going to share them.

So can I have a job?

You’ll have to go through official channels.

You’re an executive producer! You’re an official channel!

Yes, but not that official channel.

Okay, well, can I give you this script of something entirely unrelated?

No.

Hollywood’s changed you, man.

It always does.

So, this is great, but what I really want is a film/TV version of [insert another book/story I wrote here].

I have a number of things in various stages of development, only one other of which (The Collapsing Empire) is currently public knowledge. When/if those other projects get to public knowledge stage, trust me, I’ll be talking about them. Just like this, in fact.

I will say that it’s an exciting time to be me, and that with the projects currently in play, I’m lucky to be working with some incredible people. I feel very fortunate that this gets to be my life. And today, I feel particularly fortunate that we’re working to get this Old Man’s War movie to you.

Arrrrgh I can’t wait HELP ME.

Well, there are the books. And Old Man’s War itself is just newly released in a delightful pocket-sized hardcover edition! Which, by the way, if you order from Jay and Mary’s Book Center through this Sunday, I will happily sign and personalize for you (along with any other book of mine you buy).

I see how you dropped an ad for yourself in there, Scalzi.

Yes, well. I’ve got bills, folks.

I have other questions or comments!

That’s what the comment thread is for. Note I’m on deadline (uuuhh, an actual deadline, not just the entertainment news site), so responses might not be immediate. But I’ll get in there.


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hansolosays
6 days ago
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I really liked that book... hopefully they can do it justice
Norfolk, Virginia
acdha
6 days ago
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Oooooh…
Washington, DC
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Ferret
6 days ago
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Woooo!

New extreme sport: Thomas the Tank Engine stunts

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It is what it says on the tin: a toy Thomas the Tank Engine doing stunts on wooden tracks. My favorite part is that the slowed-down audio makes it sound somewhat like a skateboard.

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DMack
7 days ago
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wicked gnar
Victoria, BC
gabrielgeraldo
4 hours ago
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São Paulo
jprodgers
3 days ago
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Somerville, MA
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6 days ago
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Brasil
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7 days ago
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awilchak
7 days ago
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A+
Brooklyn, New York

Everybody Lies: FBI Edition

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You, dear readers, know my advice about talking to the FBI: don't. If the FBI — or any law enforcement agency — asks to talk to you, say "No, I want to talk to my lawyer, I don't want to talk to you," and repeat as necessary. Do not talk to them "just to see what they want." Do not try to "set the facts straight." Do not try to outwit them. Do not explain that you have "nothing to hide."

Shut up, shut up, shut up, shut up, shut up, shut up.

This advice is on my mind of late what with two former Trump folks — George Popadopouluos and Michael Flynn — pleading guilty to the federal crime of lying to the FBI.

Plenty of people agree with me. Sometimes, though, I hear different advice. Sometimes I hear this:

No. Or more accurately: no, unless you have first prepared exhaustively with an attorney.

This is not a casual conversation about who took a bite out of the roll of cookie dough in the fridge. This is serious complicated stuff, and your whole life hangs in the balance. Platitudes aside, going into a law enforcement interview armed only with the attitude "I'll just tell the truth" is poor strategy.

Here's why.

No offense, but you may be a sociopath. If the FBI wants to interview you, it's possible you're some kind of Big Deal — a politician or a general or a mover and shaker of some description. If you're kind of a big deal, there's a significant possibility you're a sociopath. You really don't know how to tell the truth, except by coincidence. You understand what people mean when they say "tell the truth" but to you it's like someone saying you should smile during the interview. Really? Well, I'll try, I guess, if I remember. You've gotten to be a big deal by doing whatever is necessary and rather routinely lying. It may be difficult for you to focus and remember when you are lying because lying feels the same as telling the truth. If someone shoved me onto a stage and said to me, "look, just hit the high C cleanly during the solo," I could take a real sincere shot at it, but I wouldn't really know what I was doing. If you think you can go into an FBI interview and "just tell the truth," when it's not something you're used to doing, you're deluding yourself. You're not going to learn how in the next five minutes.

You're almost certainly human. There's a commandment about not bearing false witness. But rules don't become commandments because they're really easy to follow. They become commandments because we — we bunch of broken hooting apes — are prone to break them. Everybody lies. Humans lie more under pressure. FBI agents are trained in two dozen ways to ratchet up the pressure on you without getting out of their chair — verbal, nonverbal, tone, expression, pacing, subject changing, every trick that any cop ever used in the box. You're only human. Unprepared, you will likely lie. Smart people, dumb people, ditchdiggers and neurosurgeons, lawyers and accountants, the good and the bad, they all lie. Usually they lie about really stupid things that are easily disproved. I'm not making a normative judgment here; surely it would be nice if we didn't lie. I'm making a descriptive statement: humans lie. Saying "I'll just go in and tell the truth" is like saying "I'll just start being a good person." Well, good luck. Look, you admit to being fallible in other respects, right? You admit sometimes you're unkind when you're tired, or sometimes you drink or eat more than you know you should, or sometimes you procrastinate, or sometimes you have lust in your heart? What makes you think you're infallible about telling the truth?

Dumbass, you don't even know if you're lying or not. When an FBI agent is interviewing you, assume that that agent is exquisitely prepared. They probably already have proof about the answer of half the questions they're going to ask you. They have the receipts. They've listened to the tapes. They've read the emails. Recently. You, on the other hand, haven't thought about Oh Yeah That Thing for months or years, and you routinely forget birthdays and names and whether you had a doctor's appointment today and so forth. So, if you go in with "I'll just tell the truth," you're going to start answering questions based on your cold-memory unrefreshed holistic general concept of the subject, like an impressionistic painting by a dim third-grader. Will you say "I really don't remember" or "I would have to look at the emails" or "I'm not sure"? That would be smart. But we've established you're not smart, because you've set out to tell the truth to the FBI. You're dumb. So you're going to answer questions incorrectly, through bad memory. Sometimes you're going to go off on long detours and frolics based on entirely incorrect memories. You're going to be incorrect about things you wouldn't lie about if you remembered them. If you realize you got something wrong or that you may not be remembering right, you're going to get flustered, because it's the FBI, and remember even worse. But the FBI would never prosecute you for a false statement that was the result of a failed memory, right? Oh, my sweet country mouse. If you had talked to a lawyer first, that lawyer would have grilled you mercilessly for hours, helped you search for every potentially relevant document, reviewed every communication, inquired into every scenario, and dragged reliable memory kicking and screaming out the quicksand of your psyche.

You have no idea what you're telling the truth about. Look, you think that you can prepare to tell the truth. But at best you can prepare to tell the truth about something you know about and expect and understand. So let's say I know I'm going to be asked about whether I'm an ass on Twitter. I'm ready to come clean. I am definitely an ass on Twitter. But I get in there and the agent is all, "Mr. White, isn't it true that in October 1989 you accidentally hit on a major news anchor when you saw her from behind at the copy machine and thought she was another intern at CBS and so you sidled up for a full-on 'how YOU doin" and then she turned around and you saw who it was and you stammered something and spent several hours in the stairwell?" See, I was not mentally and emotionally prepared to tell the truth1 about that. So we're off to the races. I went in with the best of intentions, I got sandbagged with something completely unexpected, I panicked like the grubby little human that I am, and I lied.

You can't even talk properly. If you're an attorney and you need to prepare someone for testimony, you know: we're a bunch of vague, meandering, imprecise assholes. We talk like a water balloon fight, sort of splashing the general vicinity of the answer. We don't correct questions with inaccurate premises that don't matter, we generalize and oversimplify and summarize and excerpt and use shorthand that only exists in our heads, and we do this all day every day in casual conversation. A huge amount of conversation goes on between the words and by implication. If I'm walking past your office and ask "did you eat?" I don't need to vocalize that I mean did you eat lunch and if not would you like to go to lunch. You can respond "I have a meeting" and I will understand that you mean you understand and acknowledge that I'm asking you to lunch but you are unable to go. Huge parts of our conversations are like that. Usually it doesn't matter. But if you can get charged with a federal crime if something you say is, taken literally, not true, it matters like crazy. It takes training and an act of will to testify — to listen to the question, to ask ourselves if we know what the question means, to ask ourselves if we know the answer to that question and not some other question it makes us think of, and to give a precise answer that directly answers the question. So not only do you have to go into that FBI interview and tell the truth — you have to be prepared for a level of precision and focus that you almost never use in your day-to-day communications.

You don't know if you're in trouble. You say "I'll just go and tell the truth." Well, if you mean "I'll just go confess to anything I've done wrong and take the consequences," that's one thing. But if you mean "I'll just tell the truth because I've done nothing wrong and I have nothing to hide," you're full of shit. You don't know if you've done something wrong yet. Do you know every federal criminal law? Have you applied every federal criminal law to every communication and meeting and enterprise you've engaged in for the last five years? "But . . . but . . . the FBI said they just wanted to talk about that meeting and there was nothing wrong with that meeting." Dumbass, you've got incomplete information. Not only do you not know if there was anything wrong about that meeting, you don't know if that's what they'll ask about. If you're saying "I'll talk to them because I have nothing to hide," you are not making an informed choice.

Everybody lies. Especially the FBI. Look, mate: the FBI gets to lie to you in interviews. They can lie to you about what other people said about you. The can lie to you about what they've seen in your emails. They can lie to you about what they can prove. They can lie to you about what they know. Authority figures barking lies at you can be confusing and upsetting and stressful. Our brain says "I didn't do that thing but they say they have emails so maybe did I do that thing or sort of that thing?" Many people react by blurting out more or less random shit or by panicking and lying. Do you have what it takes not to do that? Better be sure.

Remember: the FBI wins nearly any way. Confess to a crime? They got your confession. Lie? They almost certainly know you lied, and already have proof that your statement is a lie, and now they've used the investigation to create the crime.

The answer is to shut up and lawyer up. A qualified lawyer will grill you mercilessly and help you make an informed rational choice about whether to talk. Then, if you decide to talk, the lawyer will prepare you exhaustively for the interview so you can spot the pressure tactics and interrogation-room tricks, and so you will have refreshed your memory about what the truth is.

Your best intentions to tell the truth are a thin shield.

Copyright 2017 by the named Popehat author.
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