August 28, 2014
1. Cell Bottom Blues
This year, your back-to-school shopping may have included more devices and downloads than pieces of attire. According to the NYT, today’s teenagers favor tech over clothes. One retail analysts explains how his focus groups go these days: “You try to get them talking about what’s the next look, what they’re excited about purchasing in apparel, and the conversation always circles back to the iPhone 6.”
+ Of course, the days of thinking of tech and fashion as two separate verticals could soon be ending. From Horace Dediu: Apparel is Next.
+ Often tech trends are as hard to predict as the next fashion craze. The Economist has a chart that details the emerging technologies hype circle. (I was using one of those to hold up my corduroys back in the 80s.)
2. Making History
“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” Or maybe not. As the New Yorker’s Adam Gopnik explains: “What history generally teaches is how hard it is for anyone to control it, including the people who think they’re making it.” If anything, history reminds us is to keep a current crisis in perspective, because things have been really bad before. By doing this, we can better avoid the notion that “each crisis is a historical crisis in need of urgent aggressive handling — even if all experience shows that aggressive handling of such situations has in the past, quite often made things worse.” (That sounds like an excellent excuse to take the rest of the day off.)
+ That said, has this August been the worst month ever?
3. (In) The Way of the Gun
The gun debate is back in the headlines again after a 9 year-old being taught to shoot an Uzi lost control of the weapon and accidentally shot and killed her instructor. Here’s BloombergBusinessweek with four blunt points.
+ Welcome to Nucla, Colorado. A town of fewer than 700 people with a unique law: The head of every household must own a gun.
+ In News 21, journalism students go deep on big subjects. The current topic: America’s Gun Wars.
4. Naming Names
Anonymity enables the worst Internet citizens to ruin the conversation for the rest of us. But that’s only part of the story. GigaOm’s Mathew Ingram argues that the more important part of anonymity is that it provides a safety veil for everyday people. (Maybe everyday people are the problem…)
+ Rebecca Mead on the professor and the trolls: The Troll Slayer.
5. The Hollywood Sign Points North
“Watching the ways in which his two teenage sons consumed media, Robbins became convinced that the future of youth entertainment wasn’t in broadcast or cable TV but in short-form digital videos, particularly on YouTube.” There’s a good business lesson there. Follow the kids is the new follow the money. BusinessWeek’s Felix Gillette follows it all (and just about every major media and technology company) to the YouTube networks that have become Hollywood’s big money hit factory.
6. Rabbit Recycles?
“Moran pedaled home, traded his bike for his car, and returned to Updike’s house. He hefted the trash bag filled with the honorary degrees from the street. During the years that followed, he would return to Updike’s curb more times than he could count.” The Atlantic’s Adrienne LaFrance with the odd story of the man who made off with John Updike’s trash. Who really owns a great writer’s legacy? (And does Updike recycle?)
7. Don’t Snort the Water
More than 12,000 residents of St John Parish in Louisiana have been alerted to the disturbing news that their drinking water tested positive for a brain-eating amoeba. So far there are no current illnesses, and health officials have tried to calm nerves by explaining that “the amoeba can only be harmful if ingested through the nose.” Uh, so, yeah, go ahead and drink up.
+ The other water that Louisiana residents need to worry about is the rising ocean. The state is losing a football field of land every 48 minutes. ProPublica with an interactive report: Losing Ground.
8. Feigned Ankle
USC senior football captain Josh Shaw was regarded as a hero after he injured his ankles jumping off a balcony to save his drowning nephew. Only, it turns out that he made the whole thing up. He’s been suspended from the team, and this could just be the beginning of the story.
+ Meanwhile, USC senior running back Anthony Brown quit the team and took to social media to call head coach Steve Sarkisian a racist.
+ College football stadiums are more packed than ever. Except the student sections.
9. Almond In
“Almonds recently overtook peanuts as the most-eaten ‘nut’ (seed, technically) in the United States, and Americans now consume more than 10 times as many almonds as we did in 1965.” They are good for you. So of course, there’s got to be a dark side of almond use. Almonds should watch their back. I just saw a bottle of artisanal cashew milk in my local Whole Foods.
+ Shouts and Murmurs: “Yesterday, at our local grocer’s, Pa and I saw that there are not one but two competing companies trying to sell lowly cabbage as a ‘kale extender.’ Pa said, ‘The only thing I’d like to extend is my middle finger.'”
10. The Bottom of the News
The web nearly exploded when we learned that Sanrio execs suggested that Hello Kitty is not a cat: “She’s a cartoon character. She is a little girl. She is a friend. But she is not a cat.” Yeah, and next you’re gonna tell me that Snoop is not really a Dogg. Sanrio has attempted to clarify. The Wire has collected the latest updates.
+ Toronto Mayor Rob Ford’s numbers suggest he’s got a better than decent shot at re-election. Let that be a lesson to you.
+ Laird Hamilton shoots the pier at Malibu Lagoon and then saves a dude who had lost his board in rough surf. Of course he did. He’s Laird Friggin Hamilton.
+ Brad and Angelina are married.
+ Fx just ordered a show from Zach Galifianakis and Louis C.K. It’s about a clown. Enough said.