May 15, 2014
1. Doing it Dolphin Style
When my cat looks into the mirror, he has no awareness that he’s looking at himself. Chimpanzees recognize themselves and almost immediately start to use the mirror. Dolphins also recognize themselves and have even been watched by researchers while having sex in front of the mirror (a Bravo reality series can’t be far behind). In Nautilus, Chelsea Wald examines the controversial test for self awareness that is dividing the animal kingdom. Gordon Gallup is the man behind much of the contemporary mirror research and explains the significance of self-recognition: “You have to be aware of yourself in the first place in order to begin to take into account what other people may know, want, or intend to do.” So whatever advances one makes in front of the mirror are ultimately canceled out by the Selfie.
+ And (sort of) related, InFocus has a collection of photos of cats and dogs dressed as people, 100 years ago.
2. Neutral Grounded
By a 3-2 vote, the FCC approved a plan to consider paid priority when it comes to the speeds at which companies can cruise the Internet. In short, the plan “could unleash a new economy on the Web where an Internet service provider such as Verizon would charge a Web site such as Netflix for the guarantee of flawless video streaming.”
+ Slate: Yes, your Internet is getting slower. .
3. Asking for the Measles
Scans showed Stacy Erholtz “had tumors growing all over her body. One grew on her forehead, destroying a bone in her skull and pushing on her brain. Her children named it Evan, her doctor said. Cancer had infiltrated her bone marrow.” But then, in a clinical trial at the Mayo Clinic, Erholtz was injected with enough measles virus to inoculate 10 million people. Within 36 hours, Evan was shrinking. Over the next few weeks, Evan disappeared, and so did the other tumors in her body.
+ NYT: Advocating pill, U.S. signals shift to prevent AIDS.
4. Early Alarms
Out in California, they’ve been warning us that this summer’s fire season would arrive early and be more dramatic than usual. It’s only May, but fire season in in full swing in San Diego where one county supervisor said, “I¹ve never seen anything like this in 20 years,” and a sheriff summed up the troubling situation (and sadly, the forecast): “The grass out there is nothing but kindling.”
+ Take a look at this incredible LA Times photo of man who refused to leave and was trying to protect his house.
5. Just Fix It
Meet the fixers; “a shady cabal of a few dozen well-connected billionaires who hold the strings on the market for the world’s most valuable commodity. The fixer gets a fat fee and a straightforward assignment: Do whatever you need to do to get us those oil rights.” Journalist Ken Silverstein takes you inside the crazy world of the men who do oil companies’ dirty work: Bribes, Favors, and a Billion-Dollar Yacht.
6. The Nay Lady
Last night, my corner of the Internet erupted with the surprising news that NYT executive editor Jill Abramson was fired after a only a couple years on the job. Within a few hours, The New Yorker’s Ken Auletta had written an article explaining why Jill Abramson was fired. It’s now been less than a day since the news broke, and I’ve seen hundreds of explanations of the firing, all of which express a certainty about what happened and the event’s broader societal meaning. Ever notice that whenever something happens, it perfectly supports your long held opinions?
+ Was the breaking point an interview with Alec Baldwin?
+ To me, the most alarming line came from a story in the Times itself: “Ms. Abramson had recently engaged a consultant to help her with her management style.” And that usually ends so wellŠ
7. Cereal Killer?
Among other factors, the rise of yogurt has put cereal’s dominance of the breakfast table at great risk. So what happens next? Cereal gets added to yogurt. Here’s Kellogg CEO John Bryant: “Rather than think about cereal going up against yogurt, it¹s also worth remembering that cereal is actually a complement to yogurt.” How the mighty have fallen.
8. A Little Bumpy
“I was weightless. We all were. Thirty-three thousand feet up in a cloudless sky, our plane had suddenly pitched into a steep dive. I felt my body float upwards and strain against my seatbelt. Passengers around me screamed.” Kevin Townsend in Medium: Two weeks ago, i almost died in the deadliest plane crash ever.
9. Come Heavy
During the first season of The Sopranos, Uncle Junior warned Tony Soprano: “The next time you come see me, come heavy or not at all.” A segment of the television audience apparently took that advice to heart. According to Nielsen, a massive portion of total TV watching time is driven by about 20 percent of viewers. “Heavy TV viewers in the U.S. spend an average of 705 minutes a day in front of the tube — that¹s almost 12 hours!”
10. The Bottom of the News
This month, thousands of college graduates will be disappointed with their commencement speakers (or reject them altogether). If you are among them, you can always put on your cap and gown and watch one of the 21 greatest graduation speeches in recent memory.
+ A Japanese drink maker is attempting to be the first company to deliver a commercial product to the moon for marketing purposes.
+ The employee who leaked the elevator video showing Solange and Jay-Z in a scuffle has been fired. That employee also made $250K from TMZ. So let that be a lesson to you! (I think…)