How digital nomads contribute to the economic transformation of developing countries

Developing countries attract nomads with a lower cost of living. Though nomads contribute to local economies, their higher incomes also raise housing costs, displacing residents, according to a growing (but in my view, mostly false) consensus. (I'm quoted in the article.)

While digital nomads bring fresh money, emerging economies must balance this against protecting longtime natives from being priced out of their own neighborhoods, according to Isabela De los Rios Hernández, writing for Harvard International Review.

The American and Chinese economies both grew at the same rate in Q3: 4.9%

The Chinese economy beat Q3 expectations by coming in at 4.9% growth. The US economy also beat expectations and came in at 4.9% growth. Both growth rates are expected to slow in the coming quarters. 

It appears that China's economy will never even come close to matching the size of the US economy, despite China's much larger population. The US GDP is over $26 trillion, while the Chinese GDP is less than $18 trillion

On a per-capita GDP basis (a general measure of the average economic wealth of citizens), China's economy is about average, globally. The Chinese people are, on average, significantly poorer than Mexicans and even Russians


The Guardian joins the trend of using universal quantifiers to express a minority. Wait, what?

The Guardian Opinion headline, "Why are young people all growing mullets? I’ve been inspired by a much better hairstyle," joins a noxious trend of using a universal quantifier -- "all" or "every," for example -- to refer to a subset that is actually a minority. 

It's sloppy and unprofessional. And it's a lie. 

The percentage of "young people" "growing mullets" is in fact a minority. The trend may or may not be growing. But even "most" is a lie. "All" is a ridiculous and obvious lie. 

Pointing this out pegs me as a stuffy scold. After all, the piece is frivolous, the topic irrelevant. 

But I fear the motivation for such flabby language is that in today's media landscape, professional media competes with social media in the global contest for eyeballs. And so professional media feels the need to loosen standards, dumb down language and lie casually to compete with the everyday speech patterns of people who aren't expected to use dictionaries or adhere to AP style.

And what is gained? The headline, "Why are young people growing mullets?" serves the headline's purpose perfectly. The addition of "all" does nothing more than to colloquialize -- a deliberate and lazy lie designed to be relatable to a public that deliberately and casually lies in everyday speech.

I don't know when legitimate news publications started doing this. But now they all do it. 

See how wrong that is? 

A food pornographer at work

Here's me taking a picture of cooked agave (ready to be fermented and distilled into mezcal) in the Oaxaca Valley, and the resulting picture. (First picture by my friend, Leo. Second picture by me.) 

Pebble, the social network formerly known as T2, is shutting down

The post-Twitter social scene just got a little simpler with the announced closure of Pebble, the social network formerly known as T2.

The app maxed out at 3,000 daily active users and 20,000 registered users, but fell to 1,000 daily users after changing the name from T2, according to TechCrunch.

The service closes November 1, according to Mashable

I was one of those daily users, and felt like the interface improved a bit after the re-branding. But, in general, I think fewer is better when it comes to social networks. 


What to know about new generative AI tools for criminals

ChatGPT and other mainstream LLMs sparked a revolution in generative AI this year. But their safeguards against misuse left an opening for alternative LLMs designed specifically to boost cyberattacks. Tools like WormGPT and FraudGPT emerged on the dark web, offering AI-powered capabilities to automate phishing, gather intelligence on victims, and generate malware. These tools make it easier for unsophisticated hackers to launch attacks by generating persuasive phishing emails or custom malware code. Here's my article on SecurityIntelligence telling you all you need to know. 

On the limits of AirTagged luggage

Placing AirTags in luggage gives you a sense of control -- a false sense of control, it turns out. 

We flew Sunday and Monday from San Francisco to Dallas, Dallas to Madrid, then Madrid to Marrakech. We booked all flights through American Airlines, but the final two legs were served by the Spanish airline, Iberia. 

American transferred our four bags in Dallas, but Iberia loaded only three of them, leaving one in Dallas. I know this because I have an AirTag in each of our suitcases.

When we called Iberia, they gave us a 900 number to call, and implied that it was an Iberian number. When we called, we learned that it was in fact the general number number for American Airlines, which has no access to our luggage.

We we called again, Iberia told us that there's nothing they can do; we all have to wait for the airport, somehow. When we offered to tell them exactly where in DFW Terminal D the luggage is, they had no interest, as they have no intention of doing anything about our lost luggage.

And so our AirTags give up up-to-the-minute reports on exactly where our luggage is, the knowledge is useless. It's in the control of Iberian Airlines, which has no intention of delivering our luggage.