March 6, 2014
1. Who is The Mystery Man?
“He’s wearing a rumpled T-shirt, old blue jeans and white gym socks, without shoes, like he has left the house in a hurry. His hair is unkempt, and he has the thousand-mile stare of someone who has gone weeks without sleep.” While that description basically describes every start-up engineer in the Valley, it looks like Newsweek managed to find the reclusive, mystery man who invented Bitcoin. (Good, maybe he can explain exactly what it is.) And get this: It turns out the man who was only known by his online name, Satoshi Nakamoto, is actually named Satoshi Nakamoto. Here’s his daughter describing his wariness when it comes to the government: “When I was little, there was a game we used to play. He would say, ‘Pretend the government agencies are coming after you.’ And I would hide in the closet.”
2. Blue Ribbon Winner
While identifying of the father of Bitcoin is an interesting quest, Quartzset out to uncover the secrets of an even more perplexing mystery:How did Pabst Blue Ribbon become a billion-dollar beer? “This new customer base felt that they were drinking PBR by their own volition, and Pabst didn’t step in to disabuse them of that notion.”
+ Cadillac added in an electric vehicle to make my least favorite TV commercial more socially palatable. I’m pretty sure it had the opposite effect.
3. Tough Break-Up
“With nearly every other street named after a Russian general or a gruesome battle, its lovely seafront promenade dominated by a ‘monument to sunken ships’ and its central square named after the imperial admiral who commanded Russian forces against French, British and Turkish troops in the 19th century, Sevastopol constantly feeds thoughts of war and its agonies.” The NYT’s Andrew Higgins provides a little history about Crimea: Steeped in Bloody History, and Seeing a Chance to Rewrite It.
+ Crimea sets March 16 vote on seceding from Ukraine.
+ Ukraine’s other east-west divide: Life expectancy.
4. The Box
“He paced a lot, talking to himself and choking back tears and rage. He tried to block out the screaming of the teenage boys in other jail cells in his unit, but he couldn’t. Sometimes, he would stand at the door of his tiny cell and yell.” From the always excellent Center for Investigative Reporting, a look at the problem of teens in solitary confinement:Sixteen, Alone, 23 Hours a Day, in a Six-by-Eight-Foot Box.
5. They’re Not Playing Our Song
Even decades later, anyone who attended my Bar Mitzvah remains well aware that some people are incapable of carrying a tune. But it turns out that certain individuals can’t even enjoy listening to music. From The Verge: Some people are physically incapable of enjoying music.
+ Related: Do dairy cows really prefer slow jams?
6. Skirting the Law
A couple years ago, a guy named Michael Robertson was arrested “by transit police who set up a sting after getting reports that he was using his cellphone to take photos and video up female riders’ skirts and dresses.” Now, the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts has ruled that this upskirting is technically legal. It’s a crazy enough decision that it’s getting national coverage. It’s also yet another reminder that our laws are nowhere close to catching up with our technology.
+ Jury Convicts two Americans of selling the secret Oreo-whitening technique to China.
7. All The News That’s Fit to Adele Dazeem
“What kind of idiot are you?” Those used to be fighting words. Now they just sound like another Buzzfeed quiz. We are nuts about quizzes. News sites have the traffic to prove it. And there’s the rub. It’s getting more difficult for editors to resist the temptation to feed our manic hunger for quizzes which drives more traffic than our less manic demand for hard news. From the NYT: To Spur Traffic at News Sites, Just Travoltify.
+ Incidentally, the NYT’s top story of 2013 was not a story. It was a quiz.
+ Wired: Our obsession with online quizzes comes from fear, not narcissism. I agree. I’m often afraid that it’s not all about me.
8. The View
“1 WTC is a marvel of persistence. But there were many moments when it was hard to believe anyone would stand here again.” Timetakes us to the top of America’s tallest skyscraper: How 10,000 workers lifted 104 floors, gave new life to an international symbol and created one spectacular view.
9. Study More, Please
“It’s getting to be midterm exam season across America’s college and university campuses. That means the risk for college students of losing a grandmother will soon spike by 10 percent. A few months down the road, before finals, the risk will climb 19 percent.” From PBS Newshour: Are your grades killing your grandmother?
10. The Bottom of the News
“I think of myself as the kind of investor who sits on the same side of the table as the entrepreneur. If it’s a stand-up desk, I’ll stand. If it’s a treadmill desk, it’s still doable. I mean, I’m wearing dress shoes right now, but I can easily pivot and put on some sneakers.” I’ve been investing in start-ups for more than a decade. So I figured I’d offer a little insight into the current funding environment: Here’s your guide to raising $10 million for your tech start-up without really trying.
+ “Thank you for submitting your tape of “U2″ … We have listened with careful consideration, but feel it is not suitable for us at present. We wish you luck with your future career.” From Mental Floss: 10 rejection letters sent to famous people.
+ According to the style section of record, the monocle has returned as a hipster fashion accessory. (Maybe someone just broke all their regular glasses.)
+ A dog is a man’s best friend; especially when she saves his life.
+ MadMen returns in just over a month. In the meantime, I present 9 seconds of Don Draper.