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The Redskins Ruling and Other Fascinating News on the Web

Jun 18, 2014

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1. No Scalpers Allowed

We came uninvited. We stole your land. We spread deadly diseases among your populations. We dehumanized your culture and history. And we killed you in large numbers ahead of a long era of treating you as second class citizens. But before you judge us, it should be known that we draw the line at mascots that could be considered derogatory. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office just canceled six of the Washington Redskins' trademarks after determining that the name is disparaging of Native Americans.

+ This is not the first time the patent office has issued such a ruling. So what exactly does this mean?

+ The times (and public opinions) have changed since those earlier rulings. The NYT's Upshot wonders whether this is finally the beginning of the end of the Redskins' team name. In the meantime, they point out that using the now "free" trademark presents a Catch-22: "It’s legal to use the name because a government commission found it disparages Native Americans, but you would then own a [business] whose name disparages a minority group."

+ Esquire: Yes, a 'Redskin' does, in fact, mean the scalped head of a Native American, sold, like a pelt, for cash.

+ And for some history, here's Michael Tomasky in the New York Review of Books: The Racist Redskins.

2. Pain is Painful

Here's Ruth Graham in The Boston Globe with a thought about pain that will ring true for any of the millions who suffer with it: "Pain, it appears, is distributed with a kind of inequality distinct from the other inequalities in American health care -- one with its own contours, its own logic, and its own disturbing history. And because chronic pain, in particular, often lacks a discrete location in the body, it leaves both diagnosis and treatment almost completely up to a doctor’s own judgment, which brings in a range of subtle prejudices that psychologists and other scholars are only beginning to understand." No, I Don't Feel Your Pain.

3. Air Dynamics

"We have a request from the Iraqi government for air power." Iraq has formally asked the U.S. to launch air strikes.

+ FP: "Iraqi soldiers may have dropped their weapons, stripped off their uniforms, and fled the Islamist jihadists who have conquered a growing list of cities as they move closer to Baghdad. On the battlefields of cyberspace, by contrast, the Iraqi government is putting up a fierce fight."

+ The Daily Beast: Someone Is spilling ISIS’s secrets on Twitter.

4. When a Shopping Cart Calls

Amazon has announced its much-anticipated Fire Phone. The screen changes depending on how you look at it. You'll get unlimited backups for your photos. There's a Mayday button that can connect you with a real person for some help. And Jeff Bezos promised that your earphone cord won't tangle. Of course, the key feature of the phone is something called Firefly, "a tool that automatically recognizes basically everything the phone looks at and hears" and, yes, let's you buy it on Amazon. Like with the earphone cord, Amazon's new phone makes sure that the direct line from your bank account to Amazon never tangles.

+ Twitter now supports animated GIFs. (You've been warned.)

+ Speaking of new technology, techies have been enthralled by a debate over the future of our industry, and its relationship to the broader economy. Here's Marc Andreessen: This is probably a good time to say that I don’t believe robots will eat all the jobs … And here's Alex Payne with a very interesting response: "You seem to think everyone’s worried about robots. But what everyone’s worried about is you, Marc. Not just you, but people like you."

5. Waxing Brazilian

You're watching. The World Cup has already set new Internet video streaming records.

+ Ever wonder how soccer referees determine stoppage time?

+ In Nigeria, a suicide bomber killed 14 people who were watching the World Cup.

+ The Daily Beast: Rio's real-life slumdog millionaires.

+ What fills the cups of those competing in the World Cup? Digg is here to help you to authentically celebrate your teams through their homelands' beverages.

+ We saw Ghana, the team. In this piece on building digital libraries, Craig Mod gives us an interesting look at Ghana, the place and the people.

6. Home of the Chart

Vox has collected 21 charts that explain how the United States is changing (which sort of made me want to re-watch Bill Murray in Stripes saying, "I am the little acorn that becomes the oak.")

+ Here's a pretty incredible graphic that shows how Americans spend money in real time.

7. This Oil Is Not Authentic Snake

Senator Claire McCaskill took Dr. Oz to task for his hawking of ridiculous products: "The scientific community is almost monolithic against you in terms of the efficacy of those three products that you called miracles." (I was suspicious when Dr. Oz told me, "Turn your head and cough, and I want to be on Oprah.")

+ NYT: "Frequent exercise may influence our weight and overall health by altering the kinds of organisms that live inside of us." (Now I'm scared to be sedentary and scared to exercise.)

+ WaPo: The generational battle of butter vs margarine. (Parkay...)_

+ In one the Bay Area's most grueling races, Wolfgang Zech's time was about 30 minutes off his usual pace. That may have been because he ran the race while having a heart attack.

+ On the other end of the spectrum, a Florida man hid drugs under his stomach fat.

8. Follow the Yellow Brick Code

"I would lock my vision straight at the computer screen, trance out, and become a human-machine hybrid zipping through the virtual architecture that my co-workers and I were building. Hunger, thirst, sleepiness, and even pain all faded away while I was staring at the screen, thinking and typing." Slate's David Auerbach on Coder's High: Programming is just like drugs, except the dealer pays you.

+ Mojo: Is coding the new literacy?

9. Just Gwynn Baby

"Most 10 year-old boys walk through life searching for a hero. I found mine in the form of a chubby singles hitter from San Diego State University." From Deadspin: I Was Tony Gwynn's Bat Boy.

+ Jason Kottke has compiled an excellent collection of remembrances about Tony Gwynn, an athlete who did something all to rare when you met him. He surprised you on the upside.

+ And on the downside, there is the fact that many baseball players are still hooked on the smokeless tobacco that killed Gwynn.

10. The Bottom of the News

"Be assured that my love for the city of San Marino is not diminished, and I will continue to do my best as a council member to fulfill the duties for which I was elected, and at the same time, restore the public’s confidence in me." Yes, the mayor of San Marino has resigned after being caught tossing dog poop into his neighbor's yard. (I'm reserving judgement until after I meet the neighbor.)

+ A cool look at insane record collections and the people who own them.

+ A guy from Detroit was arrested after trying "to throw a football containing drugs, cell phones and other contraband into the yard of a state prison." The throw fell short and the football ended up being stuck between two fences. Let that be a lesson to you: Always lead the runner.

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