July 7, 2014
1. The Solution to Your Problem
Trust me, I know how you feel. You’re reading this on a device of some sort. You do everything on a device these days. Your attention is frayed. Your focus is distracted. You’re life is being sucked whole into the never-ending glow of a nearly unbroken wall of screens. Well, I’ve got the solution. It’s so simple, you’ll wonder why you didn’t think of it. You need need another screen. According to Wired’s Clive Thompson, working on multiple screens can help you focus. “A profusion of devices can help focus one’s attention rather than fracture it. A pile of browser tabs on your laptop becomes mentally confusing; tasks get hidden and maybe forgotten. But when screens are physically separate, the problem evaporates.”
+ This could be true, but it’s part of a larger trend I’ve written about: Solving the problems caused by technology with more technology. It’s like trying to use heroin to kick your methadone habit.
+ Then again, using a separate device for writing (even one that’s running MS-DOS) seems to work for George R.R. Martin.
2. Kids These Days
“Children are not just getting caught in the crossfire, they are also likely to be specific targets.” The New Yorker’s Robin Wright shares some troubling numbers that add up to a new reality in world of wars without rules. The New Way of War: Killing the Children.
3. Family Units
Violent exchanges between Israel and Hamas mark an increasingly unstable Middle East as Israelis and Palestinians react to “the kidnapping and killing of three Israeli teenagers in the West Bank last month and the grisly revenge killing of a Palestinian teenager in Jerusalem last week.”
+ Forward: “The families of murdered Israeli teen Naftali Fraenkel and murdered Palestinian teen Mohammed Abu Khdeir are drawing comfort from an unexpected source: each other.”
4. Forgive and Forget?
“I beg your forgiveness, too, for the sins of omission on the part of Church leaders who did not respond adequately to reports of abuse made by family members, as well as by abuse victims themselves.” So said Pope Francis during a meeting with sex-abuse victims. The head of the world’s largest survivor network (sadly, it has more than 18,000 members) responds with a list of fifteen better ways for him to act.
5. Waxing Brazilian
America has never been this excited about a World Cup. While this is our biggest reaction to the world event, it’s not our first. So is America’s passion for soccer real or fad? The World Cup took off in America this year in part because we are more desperate than ever to be discussing the same topic at the same time.
+ We crashed the party for a while, but now it’s down to the semifinals. As the NYT’s George Vecsey explains, this stage of the tournament remains an inner sanctum until further notice.
+ He was born deaf. He lost his sight as a teen. So now he has to sense the World Cup.
6. The Big Merge
The race among the Internet giants has moved from the information superhighway to the terrestrial highway. And the finish line is your front door. ReCode takes you inside Google’s big plan to race Amazon to your door. (I live in an Apple household, so whoever arrives first should beware of iDog…)
7. Too Much Heaven
They once wrote three number one hits in a single afternoon. They were part of “one of the strangest, most complicated, most brilliant groups ever to achieve pop stardom. They rose from nothing in the backwater of Australia to conquer the music world as teenagers, then lost everything and did it all over again.” Now the last brother, Barry Gibb, looks back on the monster hits, the long-simmering feuds and the tragedy of life as a Bee Gee.
8. Index Page
The chance that a teenager in a New York City jail has a history of traumatic brain injury is one in two. The ratio of public relations specialists to journalists working in the United States is 4.6 to one. And the Harper’s Index is online.
9. The Unread
You can throw the book at ‘em, but you can’t make them read. The WSJ studies Amazon’s popular highlights feature in an attempt to find this summer’s most unread book.
10. The Bottom of the News
“German doctors say they have treated a Motorhead fan whose headbanging habit ultimately led to a brain injury, but that the risk to metal fans in general is so small they don’t need to give up the shaking.” And they said rock was dead.
+ Selfies are ruining the Tour de France.
+ Fireworks filmed by a drone. Thankfully, in this case, the drone didn’t fire back.