The Atlantic Daily: Terrorism in San Bernardino, November Jobs Rise, Death of a Grunge Icon

The FBI announces a change in the California shooting investigation, the U.S. economy adds over 200,000 jobs, and rock star Scott Weiland passes away.

Mike Blake / Reuters

What We’re Following: An ‘Act of Terrorism’ in California

The San Bernardino shooting that killed 14 people and wounded 21 more will be investigated as an “act of terrorism,” the FBI announced Friday. The agency’s shift comes after multiple news outlets reported that one of the alleged perpetrators posted a message on Facebook proclaiming allegiance to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of ISIS.

Jobs, Jobs, Jobs: The U.S. economy added 211,000 jobs in November and the unemployment rate held at 5 percent, according to the latest figures released Friday by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The robust jobs report increases the likelihood that the Federal Reserve will vote to raise interest rates when it meets later this month.

A Grunge Icon Dies: Scott Weiland, the lead singer for multiple rock bands including Stone Temple Pilots and Velvet Revolver, died in his sleep on Thursday evening at age 48. An icon of the grunge boom of the early 1990s, Weiland became instantly recognizable for his gruff baritone and energetic stage presence. The cause of death is unknown, but Weiland frequently spoke and sang about his struggles with drug addiction.


Children touch the hand of Pope Francis as he visits a refugee camp after arriving in Bangui, Central African Republic, on November 29, 2015. For more images from this week’s news, visit The Atlantic Photo. (Giuseppe Cacace / AFP / Getty)


Jason Farahnik, who works at a recycling facility: “Future populations are going to look at landfills like they are goldmines, full of resources, and wonder what we were all thinking.”

Arthur Wheaton, who studies the auto industry, on the backlash against self-driving cars: “It’s a lot like the gun debate: ‘You’ll pry my steering wheel from my cold dead hands.’”

What Jonathan Guzman’s uncle told him as he prepared to graduate college: “Remember, money isn’t everything. But it is almost everything.”

Evening Read

Ingrid Burrington takes an inside look at a Facebook data center:

Facebook is a sharing company, and as a technology company they are meticulous and incredibly capable. But Facebook as a brand has always struggled, and continues to struggle, with coming across as genuine, as authentic, as human, despite quite earnestly wanting to. [Regional manager Ken] Patchett and [data center operations manager Brice] Towns are both completely genuine and clearly sincerely care about the work they’re doing. The same could probably be said for Mark Zuckerberg himself, although he has the misfortune of being so personally ingrained into Facebook’s origin story that it’s hard to differentiate him from the brand itself (and as Kate Losse documented in her memoir The Boy Kings, there actually may be no differentiation).

But Patchett and Towns aren’t Facebook and, despite the fact we’ve never seen the two of them in the same room, Mark Zuckerberg isn’t Facebook. Facebook is a corporation, and corporations are not so much people as a form of highly advanced artificial intelligence that people operate within. Maybe this is why some of the moments where conversation switched from the technical operations to Facebook-speak felt so awkward, but unintentionally so, like when Facebook’s algorithm decides to fill your Year in Review with pictures of an ex-boyfriend. It’s a brand that becomes harder and harder to empathize with the more it insists on trying to be empathetic, maybe because it’s not clear if there’s a distinction between an empathy engine and a branding engine or maybe because I am generationally disinclined to trust anything that’s too big to fail.

News Quiz

1. __________ have a presumed lifespan of 500 years.

(Click here or scroll down for the answer.)

2. Between 25 and 40 percent of the world’s population relies on ____________ as its primary drinking source.

(Click here or scroll down for the answer.)

3. Four ____________ currently serve in the U.S. Congress.

(Click here or scroll down for the answer.)

Reader Response

A reader joins the discussion of guns in America:

Adam Lanza and the Oregon shooter and James Holmes may just have been inspired by the demons in their heads, but all of them were able to do what they did because of easy access to legal and illegal weapons. When we live in a country where people on terrorist watch lists and clearly paranoid individuals can buy whatever weaponry they want and the entire right wing of the United States refuses to even consider some basic limitations, I truly fear for what we have become as a nation.

We have given in to the paranoids and the terrorists who kill every single day. We are truly sick as a nation. I wish I saw a way out, but I simply don’t see it any longer. I have no doubt that the people who wrote the Second Amendment are turning over in their graves.

Read the full comment, and other perspectives, here.


Dick Cheney busted, furious Bay Area squirrels dive-bomb, alleged Budweiser Brewery trespasser Bud Weisser arrested.