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The Biggest Single Energy User in Homes and Other Fascinating News on the Web

Jun 17, 2014

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1. Orange is the New Blackout

Game of Ohms? Two and a Half Megawatts? Keeping up with the Kilowatts? There are currently about 224 million cable TV boxes and digital video recorders running nonstop in living rooms across America. According to the LA Times, these boxes "consume as much electricity as produced by four giant nuclear reactors, running around the clock. They have become the biggest single energy user in many homes, apart from air conditioning."

2. Go the Eff to Sleep

"It’s a longstanding puzzle in philosophy, since Aristotle: why it is that people fail to do what they know is good for them to do. People want to improve their health; people want to go to bed on time." And yet, a lot of people don't. There are millions who suffer from bedtime procrastination. So, what keeps you up at night?

3. It's Complicated

In a secret raid in Libya, U.S. Special Operations forces have captured Ahmed Abu Khattala, who is suspected of being one of the ringleaders of the attack on the embassy in Benghazi.

+ With ISIS within 100 miles of Baghdad, Iran has reportedly offered Iraq "everything it needs" including the use of its army and spies.

+ New Republic asks an expert: What in God's Name is Going on in Iraq?

+ "The overwhelming majority of their money comes from criminal activities like bank heists, extortion, robberies, and smuggling." From FP, how ISIS operates like the mafia.

+ The Atlantic: How ISIS Games Twitter.

+ "She came into Baghdad after months in one of the world’s most forbidding deserts, a stoic, diminutive 45-year-old English woman with her small band of men. She had been through lawless lands, held at gunpoint by robbers, taken prisoner in a city that no Westerner had seen for 20 years." From The Daily Beast: Gertrude of Arabia, the Woman Who Invented Iraq.

4. Paid Assassins?

Last year, the Bay Area's city of Richmond had its lowest number of homicides in more than three decades. How did that happen? The reduction could be due to a question asked by DeVone Boggan of the city's Office of Neighborhood safety: "What if we identified the most likely perpetrators and paid them to stay out of trouble?"

5. Waxing Brazilian

There's little doubt that social media has contributed to the rise of Soccer's popularity in America. Take a look at how Twitter reacted when the U.S. scored its winning goal on Monday.

+ For many in the U.S., today is the day of the big match. From NBC News: Millions of U.S. Soccer Fans Are Cheering for Mexico.

+ One reason everyone is excited about this World Cup: There have been a ton of gooooooooals.

+ How does a soccer ball swerve? Let's get some MIT folks to explain.

+ The beautiful game, and a whole lot of cheating.

+ How close have you been following the action? Test yourself by playing a round of the NYT's Spot the Ball.

6. Just Not That Into You

It's almost impossible to understand teenagers, so it shouldn't surprise us that most of the reasons we think teens have lost interest in Facebook are probably wrong. FastCo's Ryan Bradley takes a crack at understanding Facebook's lost generation of teens.

+ Of course, Facebook isn't just Facebook anymore. Between acquisitions and new product launches, Facebook is essentially morphing into a mutual fund of apps and technologies that it hopes can keep the company ahead of the curve. Its latest offering is a Snapchat-like disappearing photo app called Slingshot. (Only in Silicon Valley could Goliath get the Slingshot.)

7. Grainiacs

Food fads tend to come and go. But the Gluten-free movement could last longer than most. For one thing, people go gluten-free for a variety of different reasons. And as the NYT explains, this "food regimen is likely to last longer and have more impact because it comes at a time when food allergies, digestive health, genetic modification of grain and other concerns about the American diet are at an all-time high and food itself is the current cultural currency. Gluten-free eating addresses it all."

+ Aeon Magazine: A carbs-rich diet has been blamed for the alarming explosion of obesity and chronic disease. What does the science show? (I'm too bloated and exhausted to think about the science.)

+ Another reason to eat broccoli: It might be helping you get rid of the bad stuff you're sucking while breathing polluted air.

8. GlareBNB

We often think of AirBNB as being one of the poster companies for the sharing economy. But is it really about people renting out extra rooms? The SF Chronicle did some digging and found that, of the rentals in SF, "two-thirds were entire houses or apartments, showing how far Airbnb has come from its couch-surfer origins, and contradicting its portrayal as a service for people who rent out a spare room and interact with guests."

+ Meanwhile, another report also found that a "majority of Airbnb’s business comes from rentals of entire homes or apartments, and a big percentage of listings are offered by people who control multiple properties."

9. Having an Eight Ball

8-bit pixel art is all the rage, and its appeared in ads, posters, websites, magazines, and art galleries. So it's time we met the men behind the 8-bit revolution. From The Verge: Pixel Perfect - The Story of eBoy.

+ One of my great Internet moments was when the red and while swirly logo for my (now shuttered) site called Rollyo made it into an eBoy poster (along with a few other old timers).

+ Speaking of logos, which NextDraft logo do you prefer? (Not necessarily changing, just a thought.)

10. The Bottom of the News

"They say never, ever be pictured with a drink in your hand and never swear. But this is a big fu**ing deal." So said LA Mayor (and cool dude) Eric Garcetti while celebrating the Stanley Cup his city's team had just secured. Needless to say, there was controversy. But most people were pro-F-bomb. Meanwhile, Bill de Blasio, mayor of the city of the losing team, was forced to sing I love LA on Jimmy Kimmel.

+ Nobody walks in LA. So why did a study just describe the city as being on the cusp of being a walkable city? (Some days, it would probably be faster walking the 405).

+ Vox tries to summarize why Lana Del Rey is so controversial (and in doing so, sort of explains the modern music industry).

+ When nuns sue a strip club.

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