TIME NextDraft

Meet The Hitchhiking Canadian Robot and Other Fascinating News on the Web

August 19, 2014

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1. Meet the Neighbors

Want to live longer? Go meet your neighbors. Recent research introduced by psychologists at the University of Michigan found that people who know and trust their neighbors are much less likely to have heart attacks. Like many studies, this one is more about correlation than causation, so it’s difficult to say for sure whether bonding with the neighbors is really worth the risk. As we learned last week, a lot of people couldn’t pick their neighbors out of a police lineup. (How many of us would be surprised to see them there?)

+ If interacting with other humans isn’t your thing, you could always exchange some pleasantries with hitchBot. The Canadian robot hitchhiked 4,000 miles “to explore the boundaries of human-technological interaction.”

2. Driving Miss Lazy

In a move that will watched closely by Google and Amazon, Uber is testing Corner Store, a new pilot program that will let users order staple items for same day delivery. I have a feeling that someday we’ll point to the rise of the same day delivery services as a key factor in the decline of personal health. (Of course, by that time, Uber will be delivering medicine too.)

3. The Gray Area

It’s been more than a week since Michael Brown was shot “at least six times,” and the often shocking scenes from the streets of Ferguson show few signs of improving. From molotov cocktails, to tear gas, to arrests and shootings, Buzzfeed has the latest from Ferguson.

+ The numbers in Pew’s report on the sharp black-white divide on perceptions of Ferguson are pretty amazing. Only 44 percent of whites say that that the Brown shooting raises racial issues.

+ “Your circle will necessarily close tighter because the trust you once, if ever, you had in the system and their agents are forever changed. Your lives are forever changed.” Trayvon Martin’s Mom sends an open letter to Michael Brown’s family.

+ Ezra Klein has an interesting take on why Obama won’t give the Ferguson speech his supporters want.

+ Vox: Half of black men in the US have been arrested by age 23.

+ Three Georgia teens have developed an app that is like Yelp for cops.

4. Giving Back

Peace in the Middle East is as elusive as … peace in the Middle East. These days, we’d settle for a ceasefire. The latest one was interrupted by a barrage of rocket fire from Hamas, followed by Israeli airstrikes. Following the exchange, the Israeli negotiators walked out of the latest talks.

+ From The NYT: “In 1943, Henk Zanoli took a dangerous train trip, slipping past Nazi guards and checkpoints to smuggle a Jewish boy from Amsterdam to the Dutch village of Eemnes. There, the Zanoli family, already under suspicion for resisting the Nazi occupation, hid the boy in their home for two years. The boy would be the only member of his family to survive the Holocaust.” Zanoli received a medal from Israel for being one of the righteous non-Jews who saved Jews during the Holocaust. Last week, he gave the medal back.

5. Pipe Teams

Connectivity is everything. And being the brand that provides that connectivity to the most people would put any company in an enviable position. But what about the consumers on the other end of those broadband pipes? Adrianne Jeffries of The Verge wonders: What happens when the most unpopular company in the US merges with the runner-up?

6. The Cost of Kids

If you are a middle-income family with a new baby in the house, congratulations. That kid will cost you about a quarter of a million dollars in child-rearing expenses over the next 18 years. (I expect my kids to contribute at least ten times that in start-up equity.)

+ Quartz: Why more restaurants are banning kids. If you don’t already know the answer to that, my kids and I would love to take you out to dinner some time.

+ Every kid knows the “I’m gonna take your ear” gag, right? Wrong.

7. You Don’t Know Joe

Many of us wake up in the morning and make our first cup of coffee “with the mindless precision of a machine.” FastCo tries to explain how you got hooked on coffee. It’s all part of their deep dive into Coffee Week. From Pumpkin Spice Lattes to foamy artistry, grab a mug and come on in.

8. The Bucket Gist

I just dumped a bucket of boiling lard over my head. Someone had to up the ante as the ice-bucket challenge sends shivers across social media. NY Mag examines why the ice-bucket challenge went viral. You know it’s only a matter of time before we starting seeing headlines about the Great Ice Shortage of 2014.

9. Dave Remembers Robin

David Letterman shared a fond remembrance of Robin Williams during last night’s Late Show. Letterman’s reaction after seeing Williams perform for the first time: “They’re gonna have to put an end to show business because what can happen after this?”

+ Don Pardo has died at the age of 96. You probably know the name. You definitely know the voice. And, for comedians, having him say your name was a really big deal.

10. The Bottom of the News

We judge books by covers. And we definitely judge television shows by their opening title design. Here’s a look at this years Emmy nominations for main title design (and the winner).

+ What’s really the best way to brush your teeth? Hint: It probably doesn’t matter.

+ WSJ takes a look at the real reason we yawn.

+ A Little League coach delivered a nice speech to his team after they lost a big game.

+ Not having a good day at work? Consider Brendan Walsh. He just got done scuba diving in shit.

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