TIME NextDraft

How Social Media Makes Us Feel Less Alone and Other Fascinating News on the Web

July 28, 2014

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1. Just Look at Yourself

Work, email, social media, a never-ending to-do list, too many commitments, too much on the schedule — you’re crazy busy. But are you this busy because it’s just the nature of life in our increasingly digital, device-driven society? Or is it — as a series of recent studies suggest — because you’ll do just about anything to avoid introspection? “In 11 experiments involving more than 700 people, the majority of participants reported that they found it unpleasant to be alone in a room with their thoughts for just 6 to 15 minutes.” (Can an Introspection App be far behind?) Louis C.K. often touches upon this need to be busy: “Sometimes when things clear away and you’re not watching anything and you’re in your car and you start going, oh no, here it comes, that I’m alone, and it starts to visit on you, just this sadness. And that’s why we text and drive. People are willing to risk taking a life and ruining their own because they don’t want to be alone for a second because it’s so hard.”

2. Outbreak

Over the weekend, the Ebola virus spread to a fourth African country. Nearly 700 people have died during the outbreak.

+ NYT: Fear of Ebola breeds a terror of physicians.

+ Quartz: Why Ebola reaching Nigeria’s largest city is a whole new level of scary.

3. Critical Condition

“In the name of humanity, the violence must stop.” So said UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon who described Gaza as a place that is in “critical condition.” In Gaza, a hospital was hit with explosives that killed ten and injured many more. Hamas claimed the hospital was hit by Israeli airstrikes, while the IDF said the Israeli military has no role in the hospital damage, “and attributed the explosions to failed rocket launches from Gaza militants.”

+ “Death to the Jews.” The Daily Beast reports on the Isis black flags that are flying in Europe.

+ “The truth is, we are all living in Israel. It’s just that some of us haven’t realized it yet.” Here’s a controversial but very interesting essay from Sam Harris: Why I don’t criticize Israel.

+ Here’s a stat that Israelis should watch: “Among Americans under 30, 29% say Israel is most responsible for the current violence compared with 21% who blame Hamas.” Here’s more from Pew on how Americans view the current Middle East crisis.

+ Even allies are arguing: From AP: US Fuming over Israeli Criticism of Kerry.

4. Face the Face

“Richard Norris was 22 when he shot himself in the face. This was back in 1997. He doesn’t remember how or why it happened, but his mom, who was three feet away, said it was an accident. She remembers pieces of Richard’s face showering her body. This was in the living room. The gunshot had blown off his nose, cheekbones, lips, tongue, teeth, jaw, and chin, leaving just his wide brown eyes and a swirl of nameless twisted flesh. The miracle that would come to define Richard’s life begins with these tragic details.” GQ’s Jeanne Marie Laskas on The New Face of Richard Norris. What’s it like to live with an entirely new face? Not nearly as easy as it looks.

5. There Goes the Neighborhood

Zillow has acquired Trulia, one of its key competitors, for $3.5 billion. In addition to making it even easier for your friends and colleagues to know exactly how much you paid for your house, will this mega-merger finally change the antiquated way we go about buying and selling real estate?

+ Dollar Tree acquired Family Dollar for 9.2 billion dollars. That seems like a perfect excuse to listen to Aloe Blacc sing a live, orchestral version of I Need a Dollar.

+ Arthur S. Demoulas gained control of Market Basket from his cousin Arthur T. Demoulas, who he then fired (It’s a longstanding family thing). But the employees and managers didn’t want to work for Arthur S, and now the customers are joining the fight to bring back Arthur T. From The Boston Globe, here’s the latest on the state of Market Basket.

6. Stream Interpretation

Ken Florance “dropped out of school and, in between Grateful Dead concerts and acid trips, made a pilgrimage to the Oregon home of Ken Kesey.” In other words, he has the perfect resume to be the dude who is responsible for making sure that Netflix keeps the video streaming.

+ Will you finally be able to get HBO without paying for cable? It could be coming to a screen near you. (Though, compared to Netflix, it might be priced like Valyrian Steel.)

+ Putting lipstick on a gig: For just slightly more than the fee Netflix charges you to access shows, movies, and a lot of award-winning original content, you can subscribe to the new Sarah Palin Channel, and “go beyond the sound bites and cut through the media’s politically correct filter.” It’s worth keeping an eye on this effort. It’s backed by industry veterans and is part of a larger migration of content from TV to the Internet.

7. Leggo My Logo

“Today, on the cusp of its 40th year, the symbol borne of necessity … at Portland State is one of the most recognizable in the world — so much so that it can stand alone.” OregonLive’s Allan Brettman looks back at a chance meeting and thirty-five bucks that led to one of world’s most recognizable logos. Hint: Just do it.

8. Cuckoo for Coconuts

It began as a street fight between two guys, and now coconut water is at the center of a swirling $400 million war for shelf space. Coconut water is also the leading cause of “Why the hell am I drinking this?”

+ To us, these market shifts may seem like silly fads. But to major corporations, these trends are big business. From Time: 10 things Americans suddenly stopped buying. (Looks like I picked the wrong week to stop sniffing gluten.)

9. Time Warp

“But, but…here is the thing. In terms of the internet, nothing has happened yet. The internet is still at the beginning of its beginning. If we could climb into a time machine and journey 30 years into the future, and from that vantage look back to today, we’d realize that most of the greatest products running the lives of citizens in 2044 were not invented until after 2014.” Kevin Kelly in Medium: You are not late. Unless your over 30. Then you’re late as hell.

10. The Bottom of the News

“In Connecticut pickles must bounce to officially be considered pickles.” Wired has put together a list of some of the most ridiculous laws in America.

+ Welcome to the front lines of the Times Square superhero crackdown.

+ McSweeney’s: The first annual conference on how to tell Samantha I really like her.

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