“When he was fired, he not only lost his job, he lost his mind.” So said President Donald Trump about the former White House chief strategist, who’s quoted in an upcoming book by journalist Michael Wolff making unflattering judgments about the president and his family. Now, Trump’s lawyers have sent a cease and desist letter to Wolff and the book’s publisher. It’s unclear if the rift is permanent, or if fences will mend when Bannon’s Breitbart site is needed to stir conservative voters during what’s predicted to be a tough midterm election for the GOP.
The Presidential Daily Brief
The chips are down. For months, tech companies have been aware of massive security flaws in computer chip design that they say could compromise consumer data — and they’ve been racing to come up with patches. Chipmakers Intel, AMD and ARM are all affected, meaning virtually all computing devices less than ten years old, including smartphones, are vulnerable. Intel’s shares fell 3.5 percent Wednesday as it became clear that industry-wide hardware fixes will be needed for some of the problems, though others can be solved with emergency software updates.
This isn’t a three-way call. A 20-minute preliminary chat between Pyongyang and Seoul confirmed their line of communication was functioning for the first time since 2016. It’s a sign that South Korea, which has proposed an in-person meeting with the North next week, is inching toward detente with its hostile neighbor — a move applauded by China and watched with suspicion by longtime ally America. President Trump has continued to fire off volatile tweets about Pyongyang, but Seoul, with more to lose, is taking a more cautious road.
Mission accomplished. General Mohammad Ali Jafari, the head of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, declared the “enemies” in his country defeated after the arrests of protesters he claimed were organized by outside agents including Hillary Clinton. Tens of thousands attended pro-government rallies after the general’s statement. A week of anti-government protests, sparked by declining economic conditions, left at least 21 dead in the largest social unrest Iran has seen since 2009. Protests were still reported on Wednesday night as Jafari promised harsh punishment for “troublemakers” who have been arrested.
Know This: President Trump has canceled his voter fraud commission, announced in May after the president claimed millions of people voted illegally in the 2016 election and cost him the popular vote, saying that states refused to cooperate. A 62-year-old Australian in a homemade boat has been rescued near Hawaii after 100 days at sea. And former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort has filed suit against the Justice Department to challenge the scope of special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation — and charges filed against Manafort himself.
Read This: Scientists investigating empathy — what makes one person an altruist and another a psychopath — say it may come down to brain circuitry.
Talk to Us: What book got you back to reading? Send the title and a paragraph on why it had that effect to firstname.lastname@example.org.
This revolution might be televised. Portrayals of same-sex relationships have been prohibited on Chinese TV for over a decade, and last year similar rules were issued for online videos, banning streaming services from showing “abnormal sexual lifestyles.” But a Beijing court has agreed to hear a challenge from a 30-year-old Shanghai man on behalf of the estimated 70 million members of China’s LGBT community demanding clarification on why homosexuality should be considered abnormal. A decision on the case is expected within six months.
It’s more than a match for matcha. While the powdered green tea touted as an antioxidant has risen to prominence on international menus in recent years, so-called “superlattes” — which blend in ingredients like turmeric, powdered beet, rooibos and charcoal — may soon rule cafés. The trend’s already going mainstream in Australia, and is expected to thrive with health nuts and foodies who cluster in spots like the U.S. West Coast. But caveat emptor: While calling something a “superfood” does boost sales, there’s no regulation to determine which foods get the title.
They were America’s first immigrants. The 11,500-year-old remains of two infants discovered in Alaska are shedding new light on Native American genealogy. Recovered DNA shows they were from a previously unknown and genetically distinct population — evidence that some settlers remained in Beringia, the land bridge that’s now the Bering Strait, during the migration from East Asia to the Americas. Another group, the direct ancestors of all modern Native Americans, moved on and spread across the Americas, though it’s still unknown when and where the groups diverged.
They want to put her in her place. Critics of Brigitte Macron are comparing her to beheaded queen Marie Antoinette over her determination to stand beside, rather than behind, her husband during state ceremonies. Since Emmanuel Macron’s election, Brigitte has said she wants to shoulder more responsibility than usual for a French first lady, despite detractors’ complaints that she’s not an elected official. Meanwhile, her husband has proposed legislation to fight fake news by making internet companies disclose their backers and capping promoted content on social media during elections.
It’ll check you and wreck you. The neural network chess machine AlphaZero, developed by Google’s DeepMind artificial intelligence research department, destroyed the previous top program, Stockfish, winning 28 games, drawing 72 and losing zero. Unlike Stockfish, AlphaZero is self-taught: Instead of relying on strategies developed by chess masters, it discovered its own by playing itself 44 million times, which led it to an aggressive strategy unusual in human players. That could encourage bolder play from human chess masters — though some just want to see a rematch between the machines.