August 26, 2014
1. Stolen Television
This is undoubtedly television’s golden age, but as The New Yorker’s Sarah Larson explains, its top TV awards show is still in its awkward stage. At least the Emmys is the most child-friendly awards show. (Especially if you have children in their 80s.)
+ No, you weren’t watching last year’s show on a DVR. Breaking Bad and Modern Family once again took home the top awards. If you’re looking for a big trend, consider this. Increasingly, the shows that win the biggest awards are on pay cable and/or some other service that charges viewers to watch. We are creating a new Couchtocracy where the best of television is available only to those who can afford it. Everyone else is stuck watching shows like the Emmys. And this trend is not limited to TV. I just read a story about television’s paywall behind a newspaper’s paywall.
+ Sofia Vergara says the notion that her spinning around on a pedestal during the show was sexist is “ridiculous.” The Internet disagreed.
+ And with this tweet, Adam Shankman won the Emmys.
2. Back to Stool
It’s back to school time, and that means it’s time for parents to become extra cautious about food allergies. Food allergies have gone through the roof in recent years, and scientists are trying to find the root cause of the surge. A new study has identified a gut microbe that stops food allergies in rodents. “The research fits neatly into an emerging paradigm that helps explain a recent alarming increase in food allergies and other conditions, such as obesity and autoimmune disease.”
After weeks of fighting, Israelis and Palestinians have reportedly agreed to a long-term truce. Hamas called the truce a “victory for the resistance.” It’s hard to see how this was a victory for anyone.
4. More Than You Think
A couple of recent surveys asked people in countries around the world if they had a favorable view of ISIS. The numbers might surprise you. In France, 16 percent of those surveyed said they supported ISIS.
+ ISIS is demanding a $6 million ransom for a 26 year-old American woman.
+ NBC News on the American who died fighting for ISIS.
5. Less White After Labor Day
For the first time, white American students are returning to public schools during a term in which they will no longer represent the majority: “In autumn 2014 the proportion of white pupils is expected to have fallen marginally below 50% for the first time, with about 26% of pupils Hispanic and 15% black.
+ Some kids are still enjoying Summer. And in some places, that’s because of a really strong amusement park lobby.
6. The New Editors
Twitter and YouTube banned images and videos of James Foley’s murder. That choice, on its own, made sense. But who made big tech companies the new editors of what we do and don’t get to see on the Internet. In The Atlantic, Dan Gillmor provides an answer: We did.
+ The Intercept: Should Twitter, Facebook and Google executives be the arbiters of what we see and read?
7. The Kill Bill
California just became the second state to pass a mandatory “kill switch” bill which requires all cell phones sold in the state to enable their owner to render them useless in the case of theft.
+ Maybe the kill switch needs to be applied more broadly. We can’t even stop sleeping with our phones. (My phone must prefer sleeping with my kids, because I keep finding it their rooms.)
8. Contagion Two
In order to stress that the idea of pouring fresh water on one’s head seems crazy, actor (and water charity co-founder) Matt Damon decided to tweak the ice bucket challenge and dump a bucket of toilet water on his head. (It might have been easier to just write a check.)
+ Coke just abandoned India expansion plans due to a lack of water.
9. Yes, Your Honor
The owner of North Dakota coffee shop lets the place work on the honor system. The coffee and pastries are all self serve. The prices are listed on a sign. And from there, it’s up to the customers to pay whatever they want. The result: People tend to pay over the asking price.
10. The Bottom of the News
We started with TV. Let’s end with it. New research explains why should really shouldn’t feel guilty about watching all that television.
+ A gadget that stops plane seats from reclining caused a fight that resulted in a diverted flight.
+ Greatest guitar riff ever? A panel says it’s Whole Lotta Love. Special thanks to perhaps the greatest guitar player ever for going to eleven with this explanation: “There was this intent to have this riff and the movement of it, so it was menacing as well as quite sort of caressing.”