Let’s Check In on the State of iPhone and Android CPU Performance

John Gruber at Daring Fireball:

Because it’s not just that Apple’s new $400 iPhone SE offers faster performance than any Android phone money can buy, but that the two-and-a-half-year-old iPhone 8 has better single-threaded performance than any Android phone today — and the iPhone 8 was the phone Apple discontinued for the new $400 iPhone SE. Apple discontinued an iPhone that, if it were an Android phone, would be the fastest in single-threaded performance on the market today.

And on the flip side, what do you get for $400 in Androidtown? Amazon sells the Motorola Moto Z4 for $500. Let’s just spot the Android side $100. The Moto Z4’s single-threaded Geekbench 5 score is about 500. That falls short of an iPhone 6S, a phone from 2015…

What makes our actual situation unprecedented in personal computing history isn’t that one company has maintained a decade-long CPU performance edge over the rest of the industry, but that that one company is keeping those chips exclusively for its own devices.

Seems like The Cook Doctrine is continuing to pay off.

The Most Poisonous Mushroom

Craig Childs, for The Atlantic:

“Poisonous snakes, reptiles, plants, [and] fish have aposematic coloration that shows off that they are poisonous. Mushrooms don’t,” Bunyard said. “The dangerous ones are all mostly drab or brown, green-brown, bronze. There’s nothing in the taste that tells you what you are eating is about to kill you.”

Why Mitch McConnell Wants States to Go Bankrupt

David Frum, in The Atlantic:

If a Republican Senate majority leader from Kentucky is willing to squeeze Illinois state pensioners, why would he care about shielding Illinois state taxpayers? The answer is found in the third of the three facts of American fiscal federalism. United States senators from smaller, poorer red states do not only represent their states. Often, they do not even primarily represent their states. They represent, more often, the richest people in bigger, richer blue States who find it more economical to invest in less expensive small-state races…

A federal bankruptcy process for state finances could thus enable wealthy individuals and interest groups in rich states to leverage their clout in the anti-majoritarian federal system to reverse political defeats in the more majoritarian political systems of big, rich states like California, New York, and Illinois.

…McConnell seems to be following the rule “Never let a good crisis go to waste.” He’s realistic enough to recognize that the pandemic probably means the end not only of the Trump presidency, but of his own majority leadership. He’s got until January to refashion the federal government in ways that will constrain his successors. That’s what the state-bankruptcy plan is all about.

The Truth About Dentistry

Ferris Jabr, in an extremely well researched and written piece for The Atlantic:

Whereas a typical dentist might perform root canals on previously crowned teeth in only 3 to 7 percent of cases, Lund was performing them in 90 percent of cases. As Zeidler later alleged in court documents, Lund had performed invasive, costly, and seemingly unnecessary procedures on dozens and dozens of patients, some of whom he had been seeing for decades.

Absolutely appalling.

It’s easy to see how dentists, hoping to buoy their income, would be tempted to recommend frequent exams and proactive treatments—a small filling here, a new crown there—even when waiting and watching would be better.

When you’re a hammer, the world is your nail. I’ve had my fair share of unnecessary medical work. To this day, I’m extremely skeptical of any proposal from any doctor, especially when there is no perceived problem or pain and the issue is discovered on a routine checkup. There is a significant and inherent conflict of interest when consumers don’t have the ability to understand the recommendations and repercussions of the medical work proposed to them by private doctors whose income is intrinsically linked to the number of procedures performed.

The 20 Best TV Dramas Since ‘The Sopranos’

And speaking of the New York Times, here’s another article I enjoyed this week. While I haven’t seen all these shows, ‘Lost’ had such a significant impact on my opinion of what a modern TV drama should be. To this day, the writing and execution continue to amaze me. The interview from Damon Lindeloff was particularly close to home:

The theory that continues to drive me bonkers is the idea that they were dead the whole time. That makes no sense to me… It definitely creates some brow furrowing. But I’ve decided that on my tombstone it will say: “Here lies Damon Lindelof. He was dead the whole time.”

Every Building on Every Block: A Time Capsule of 1930s New York

Really neat article, photos, and interface from the New York Times with pictures spanning almost 90 years from the same spots and perspectives. Definitely worth your time if you haven’t checked it out.

AirPods: From Mockery to Status Symbol

Elena Cresci reporting for The Guardian:

Of all the widely ridiculed tech products, Apple’s AirPods have experienced an extraordinary turnaround. Back in 2016, they were roundly mocked by the tech industry… But fast-forward to 2019 and, somehow, the £159-a-pair little pods have transformed into a bona fide status symbol.

It’s continues to amaze me that Apple products have a value proposition that is so easily misunderstood upon release. Months or sometimes years later there’s a sudden collective public understanding, even though revenues typically reveal the product as a financial success long before its recognized as a social one. The next biggest ridiculed item I can recall is the iPad when it was released in 2010. Widely written off as “just a giant iPhone”, pundits were missing the forest through the trees. What made the iPad a success was exactly that: it’s a giant iPhone. For context, Apple sold 43 million iPads last year.

REI Half Dome 2 Plus Tent Review

I upgraded my tent recently. I’ve been using an REI Quarter Dome T2 for a few years, but the waterproof coatings on the rainfly and tent bottom were delaminating. Now I’m using a new REI Half Dome 2 Plus, so here’s a quick review. Continue reading

U.S. DoJ Says Ruling Approving AT&T-Time Warner Merger Ignored ‘Fundamental Principles of Economics and Common Sense’

Juli Clover, reporting for Mac Rumors:

In the filing, the DoJ says the district court approved the merger after “erroneously ignoring fundamental principles of economics and common sense” and that it used a “deeply flawed assessment of the government’s evidence” to reach its decision…

The original ruling approving the merger, says the DoJ, ignored key documents from AT&T on the competitive harm of vertical mergers, limited expert economic testimony, and refused to close the courtroom to allow for testimony related to confidential business information. Further, the DoJ insists the original ruling ignored the economics of bargaining and did not consider corporate profit maximization.

Aren’t these the things you would review when looking at this merger? If they didn’t review the basic principles of economics, bargaining, or profit maximization, what on earth did they review?

Pineapple Thief – No Man’s Land