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Code/red: Space Slug Ruled Out in Siberian Hole Mystery

Plus Microsoft’s selfie phone, rodents of unusual size and Silicon Valley’s meth problem.


Quick, Warn Tokyo — They’ve Hatched

So that massive, gaping hole discovered deep in northern Siberia’s Yamal peninsula earlier this month? The one that geologists are still at a loss to explain? Turns out, it’s part of a trio. Reindeer herders have stumbled across two more mysterious craters that, while smaller, are disconcertingly similar to the first. “It is not like this is the work of men,” one observer told the Siberian Times. “But [it] also doesn’t look like a natural formation.” How did these craters come to be? Andrey Plekhanov, senior researcher at the State Scientific Centre of Arctic Research, thinks they’re likely the result of melting permafrost. “Could it be linked to the global warming?” he said. “Two previous summers — years 2012 and 2013 — were relatively hot for Yamal; perhaps this has somehow influenced the formation of the crater. But we have to do our tests and research first and then say it more definitively.”

And We Can Expect the Apologetic Reversal When?

Enjoy chatting with your friends on Facebook? Hope you like toggling between apps

The “Oh God, No!” Daily Is Out, Top Stories by Your Mom

BTIG analyst Rich Greenfield: “The users are still far smaller and growing pretty slowly relative to what we’re seeing at Facebook, and I think that’s the real challenge is how big can Twitter be? The problem is, how do they convince your mom, how do they convince your friends, that they have to be on Twitter the way they’re on Instagram or on Facebook?”

Steve Ballmer Can Do That Dance of Exultant Joy One More Time, Judge Rules

Former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer is one step closer to taking ownership of the Los Angeles Clippers. A superior court judge Monday ruled that Shelly Sterling can indeed sell the National Basketball Association franchise to Ballmer without the consent of Donald Sterling, her husband and former Clippers owner. Great news for Ballmer and anyone looking forward to the courtside spectacle his tenure as owner is certain to bring.

And the Banker Was “Cheetah” …

Michael J. De La Merced, the New York Times: “In the interest of keeping matters secret, both sides used code names: Zillow was ‘Zebra,’ while Trulia was ‘Tiger.’ The password to access the electronic data room was ‘jungle.'”

Might Want to Consider Carrying Mace, Too

An investor giving advice to women on how to pitch VCs: “Wear a wedding ring.”

God, I Hope It’s a Kin-Branded “Selfie Phone”

Tom Warren, The Verge: “Microsoft is planning to launch two new Windows Phone 8.1 devices shortly. Sources familiar with the company’s plans tell The Verge that Microsoft devices chief Stephen Elop revealed both handsets during an internal company meeting this week. Elop showed off what he described as a ‘selfie phone’ during the presentation.”

Marc Andreessen Loses Eyebrows in Epic Burn

  • Marc Andreessen: 2007: “Silicon Valley’s denizens have embraced Facebook as only those who were picked last at dodgeball could.”
  • John Adams: dodgeball was a sucky app
  • Marc Andreessen: Yep, yours was so much better. Wait, which one was that again?
  • John Adams: Twitter. You met me when we were 13 employees. You probably don’t remember that. :)

Rodents of Unusual Size?

Brian Merchant, Vice: “It’s also probably worth adding at this point that warmer temperatures are causing some rat species to grow larger, too, thus adding another potential population booster. Zalasiewicz, for his part, imagines that once its competition is scarce, rats could become larger than sheep.”

Should Have Gone With a Single-Tap, Zero-Character Social App

Jared Sinclair, developer of Unread for iOS: “Considering the enormous amount of effort I have put into these apps over the past year, [$1,750/month is] a depressing figure. I try not to think about the salary I could earn if I worked for another company, with my skills and qualifications. It’s also a solid piece of evidence that shows that paid-up-front app sales are not a sustainable way to make money on the App Store.”

New MacBook Pro Prices Are Thinnest, Lightest Yet

Earlier this year, Apple cut the starting price for its MacBook Air notebooks by $100. Now it’s begun doing the same for the MacBook Pro line. This morning, the company updated the machines with speedier processors — Intel’s newest i5 and i7 Haswells — and additional memory. And it whacked $100 off the prices of the machines at the high and low ends of the line. Coming as it does ahead of the back-to-school season and the impending launch of OS X Yosemite, the move could herald another big quarter for the Mac, which has gained market share for 32 of the past 33 quarters.

Sometimes He’d Carve Little Routers Out of Soap

David Kushner, Medium: “With his new outlet through SoundCloud, weev felt like he could breathe again; his life behind bars started to take shape. In Allenwood, he befriended a Deadhead in on LSD charges, who taught him how to play Dungeons & Dragons using paper dice. He taught members of the Aryan Brotherhood to sing ‘Springtime for Hitler’ from the Mel Brooks movie ‘The Producers.’ He says he earned cash selling homemade Greek yogurt he grew from mess hall scrapings.”

They Should Probably Both Just Shut Down and Give the Money Back to the Shareholders, Right?

John Swainson, head of Dell’s global software business: “I do not think that we take the Apple-IBM tie-up terribly seriously. I think it just made a good press release. I have some trouble understanding how IBM reps are going to really help Apple very much in terms of introducing devices into their accounts. I mean candidly, they weren’t very good at doing it when it was IBM-logoed products, so I do not get how introducing Apple-logoed stuff is going to be much better.”

Hahahaha. “Information.”

Hustler founder Larry Flynt: “I don’t think Hustler’s going to be around very much longer. Most people are getting their information from the Internet. It’s a technology evolution that brings a lot with it and takes a lot away.”

So Just a Granola Bar, Coffee and Fring’s Blue Sky Today?

Management consultant Steve Albrecht: “There’s this workaholism in the valley, where the ability to work on crash projects at tremendous rates of speed is almost a badge of honor. These workers stay up for days and days, and many of them gradually get into meth and coke to keep going. Red Bull and coffee only gets them so far.”

Game of Thrones: A Song of Boobies and Weenies

“Game of Thrones” author George R.R. Martin: “I’ve been told that my character on ‘South Park’ is obsessed about weenies. I have to deny this as a scurrilous rumor. I have nothing against weenies. Weenies are fine, but I am not obsessed with weenies. I am definitely on the boobies side of the equation.”

Off Topic

Star Wars Elevator Prank and an audio clip of Richard Nixon discussing panda sex.

Thanks for reading. Send tips, comments and gatling rubber band machine guns to, @johnpaczkowski. Subscribe to the Code/red newsletter here.

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