Afghanistan Stories December 11, 2015

AAPL: 113.18

-2.99

Season 2 of the hugely popular (and compelling) podcast Serial now available on iTunes

Serial was one of the most compelling podcast series I’ve ever listened to, and was directly responsible for my sleep deprivation in the week I first discovered it. A spinoff from The American Life, season 1 told the true story of what sounded very much like a miscarriage of justice in a murder case, leading to the case being reopened more than 15 years later. The podcast is now back with season 2.

The second season tells the story of Bowe Bergdahl, a U.S. soldier held for five years by the Taliban, initially hailed as a hero and later charged with desertion.

In the middle of the night, Pfc. Bowe Bergdahl grabs a notebook, snacks, water, some cash. Then he quietly slips off a remote U.S. Army outpost in eastern Afghanistan and into the dark, open desert. About 20 minutes later, it occurs to him: he’s in over his head.

I know what I’ll be listening to on the train ride into town this evening.

Afghanistan Stories March 11, 2014

U.S. soldier says his iPhone helped save his life from a suicide bomber

You’re looking at the damage caused by a ball-bearing as it struck the iPhone in a soldier’s pocket after a bomb was detonated by a suicide bomber in Afghanistan, reports KSL.

Staff Sgt. Shaun Frank survived a blast from just feet away. Part of the reason is because his iPhone stopped some of the shrapnel from piercing his body.

“They did tell him when he got back to base that that iPhone probably saved his life,” said Frank’s sister, Alisha Lantz.

Given that the phone was in his pants pocket at the time, I did wonder whether saving his life might have been an exaggeration, but writing in the comments below Sgt. Frank said:

I can confirm that the iPhone did in fact save my life by saving my artery! Lucky or just someone watching down on me from above, either way I am making the most of my time left on this earth as you never know when your time is up.

The phone was destroyed in the explosion. Apple said the company will replace it, but they would need to retain the destroyed phone. Frank chose to have the phone returned as a memento, and his sister, Alisha Lantz, is now appealing to Apple to send him a new one.

“Beausee the old phone meant so much to him, we chose to get the old phone,” Lantz explained.

It’s been months now, and Frank is still in Afghanistan without a phone. His family in Utah is doing everything they can to get him a new one.

“He needs a new iPhone. Apple, please give him a new iPhone,” Lantz said. “I’m just so proud of him. He’s just… he’s my hero.”

Apple has declined to comment.

Afghanistan Stories March 8, 2014

From tomorrow, AT&T will cut the price of its 2GB data plan tier ‘Mobile Share Value’ from $55 to $40. In total, this plan will cost you $65 per month in data charges for one device, comprised of the reduced $40 data plan and a $25 device charge. As usual, there is a $25 charge for each device that shares the data allowance. For one device, this represents an overall reduction of approximately 20% of AT&T’s current offerings. Otherwise, the plans remain the same with unlimited talk and text service, unlimited international messaging in addition to the shared data.

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