TIME NextDraft

The Biology of Risk and Other Fascinating News on the Web

June 9, 2014

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1. I Feel it in My Bones

“Risk by its very nature threatens to hurt you, so when confronted by it your body and brain, under the influence of the stress response, unite as a single functioning unit. This occurs in athletes and soldiers, and it occurs as well in traders and people investing from home.” In the NYT John Coates takes an interesting look at the biology of risk. Coates focuses on traders and finance for his examples, but the mind-body connections he describes apply to anyone. Next time someone tells you it’s all in your mind, remind them that’s impossible.

+ When a crisis hits, some of us are able to power through it, while others drown in a pool of learned helplessness, overcome by the belief that “No matter what I do, it won’t change anything.” (Others just open 75 browser tabs and quietly mumble to themselves). From WaPo: Why are some depressed, others resilient?

+ Tai-curious: And somewhat related, Simon Doonan wonders if Tai Chi is the New Yoga.

2. Spare Change

One way or another, Bitcoin is going to be huge. It could be the as big as the Internet, it could transform into something else, or it could be one of tech’s biggest busts. Meanwhile, many of us are still wondering exactly what it is (it’s both a currency and means of transporting that currency). GQ’s Marshall Sella decided to score some of this newfangled dough and “blow it on all the pleasures that Bitcoin can buy.” Sex, Drugs, and Toasters: My Life on Bitcoin. “Within two months, I’d be visiting Charlie Shrem at his parents’ place, where he was wearing an ankle monitor and living under house arrest.” (That sounds like the beginning of every great startup story.)

3. Airport Raid

The Pakistani Taliban has taken responsibility for an attack on Karachi Airport that lasted several hours and resulted in the death of at least 18 people. None of those killed were passengers.

4. Sword of Zorros

Over the past few years, we’ve seen the over-prescription of pain-killers result in a dramatic increase of addictions, overdoses, and, ultimately, deadly heroin abuse. Well, get ready for Zohydro. “In the annals of new-drug rollouts, Zohydro seems to be in a class by itself.”

5. Waxing Brazilian

“People are worried about how much has been spent. But once we see the first game, the parties will start.” That’s the hope of many in Brazil, but as the NYT reports, the lead-up to the World Cup has been marked by apathy and apprehension (and strikes and protests).

+ “Comically grotesque and cartoonishly evil.” That’s how John Oliver describes FIFA, the organization behind the World Cup.

+ Soccer not exciting enough for you? How about Soccer meets Beach Volleyball. Futevolei is basically like playing volleyball without the use of your hands.

6. Popularity Contest

“Because sometimes things happen to people and they’re not equipped to deal with them.” Vox took a look at the most-highlighted Kindle passages and learned a couple of things. Passages from the Bible are popular. But not nearly as popular as those from the source quoted above. The Hunger Games is really, really popular.

7. It Is Alive

According to a test conducted at the Royal Society in London, a computer was able to pass the Turing test and convince humans that it was really a 13 year-old boy. (I assume it came home from school, grunted a couple of times, ate a bag of chips, rolled its eyes, and then disappeared into the bathroom for an hour.)

+ Buzzfeed: No, a computer did not just pass the Turing Test (and it’s a bad test for artificial intelligence anyway…)

+ Computers are getting better than humans when it comes to facial recognition. (Computers recognize you, talk to you, empathize with you, help solve your problems, and anticipate your needs. What could be less human than that?)

8. Breaking Broadway

It turns out that Bryan Cranston is as good on the stage as he is on the screen. Cranston took home the trophy for best actor in a play during last night’s Tony Awards. Here’s a list of all the winners, including Audra McDonald who took home a record sixth Tony.

+ And here’s a look at all the Tony performances you missed while you were completely freaking out during Game of Thrones.

9. A Cool Rocking Daddy in the U.S.A.

In Politico Magazine, Marc Dolan looks back at how Ronald Reagan changed Bruce Springsteen’s politics. It still amazes me that so many people misunderstood (or just didn’t listen to) the lyrics of Born in the U.S.A. The album is celebrating its 30th anniversary.

10. The Bottom of the News

“It’s hard to overemphasize the passivity of tubing. It is sloth ingeniously disguised as adventure. Though you are outside, you may as well be in your living room watching television. The tube forces you into a nearly horizontal recline, a posture easily mistakable for someone taking a nap.” Sounds like my kind of sport. Sam Anderson on the laid-back art of tubing.

+ Buzzfeed: I joined a telephone laughter club.

+ The high art of competitive eating.

+ Throniacs, you can now watch Jon Snow silently brood over and over.

+ It was “orchestral movements from the hood night” at the Seattle Symphony as the band accompanied Sir Mix-A-Lot on his biggest hit.

+ Several of you didn’t receive Friday’s edition, which had some really interesting stuff. Take a look at the Kitchen Counter Revolution.

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