August 29, 2014
1. Let’s Just Wing It
My kids are much more amazed by snail mail than email. When I was kid, my friend Mordy used to live next to an old Pony Express stop, and we’d talk about the time and effort that must have gone in to delivering a package by horseback. There’s always been something magical about the process of getting an item from point A to point B. And it keeps getting faster; from next month, to next week, to next day. And now we want to get transit time even closer to now. The notion of receiving a package via a small aircraft seems almost ludicrous. But many big companies are totally serious about dropping a delivery at your doorstep via small, autonomous flying machines. (Now we just need a team of robots to get it from the front door to the couch.) The Atlantic’s Alexis Madrigal takes you inside google’s secret drone-delivery program.
+ WaPo shares some of the philosophy of Google’s Project Wing: “Think of the mom stuck at home with two sick kids, the hiker who’s met a poisonous snake, or the farmer out in the field with a sick animal. It could also open up new models for sharing goods rather than owning them — who needs a power drill for more than eight minutes a year?” For my sake, I hope these drones are strong enough to carry a power drill and someone who knows how to use a power drill.
2. Laptop of Doom
“Use small grenades with the virus, and throw them in closed areas like metros, soccer stadiums, or entertainment centers. Best to do it next to the air-conditioning.” Foreign Policy on what they found inside an Islamic State’s terror laptop of doom.
+ The U.K. has raised its terror threat level to severe.
+ Is waterboarding torture? The Islamic State seems to think so.
3. Weekend Reads
“Whenever a musical number comes on we all get up to sing and dance. People here have no inhibitions. We don’t have to worry about our kids feeling embarrassed by us.” Buzzfeed’s Alex French on the “boomers who want to spend their golden years with access to 11 a.m. happy hours, thousands of activities, and no-strings-attached sex.” (Eat your hearts out, Millennials). Seven days and nights inside the world’s rowdiest retirement community.
+ “Of all Motorola’s inventions, none were as transformative as the cell phone. A request from Orlando Wilson, Chicago’s police chief from 1960 to 1967, provided the impetus. Violent crime in the city was surging. Wilson wanted his patrol officers out of their cars and on foot, but he didn’t want them on the street without a way to stay connected.” Chicago Magazine on the rise and fall of a once dominant company: What Happened to Motorola?
+ “Almost 40 percent of the world’s population lives in countries, primarily in Latin America, Africa, Asia and the Persian Gulf, where abortion is either banned or severely restricted.” So the abortion wars are getting more local. Down to individual homes. From NYT Mag: The Dawn of the Post-Clinic Abortion.
+ When people find out that I’m the nation’s first and only full-time barbecue editor, they tell me it sounds like the coolest job in the world. Then they ask me about my cholesterol.” From Texas Monthly: Confessions of a Fat Bastard.
4. Just Say Novorossiya
As tanks and soldiers crossed the border from Russia, Vladimir Putin compared Ukrainian soldiers to Nazi invaders in World War II and addressed remarks to Novorossiya or “New Russia, a politically loaded term used by the separatists for the part of eastern Ukraine that they want to become part of the Russian Federation.”
+ Quartz: The invasion of Ukraine, in maps, satellite photos, and video.
5. Can You Read Me Now?
A study out of UCLA found that kids who spend a lot of time in front of screens are less adept at reading the emotions of others. “Sixth-graders who went five days without exposure to technology were significantly better at reading human emotions than kids who had regular access to phones, televisions and computers.” (Sidenote to my kids: The human emotion I’m trying to convey is Get the hell off the damn iPad.)
+ Syndicated from Kottke: “A plan used to be simple: you would agree to meet someone at a certain time and place and then you would meet them there and then. Now, a plan is subject to all sorts of revisions because “cellphones make people flaky as #%@*“.
6. Shabbat, Shalom
Where does the time go? It turns out that question is not rhetorical. The time goes into your job. According to Gallup, an average “full-time workweek” clocks in at about 47 hours a week.
+ 80% of Americans took a week’s vacation in 1976. Just 56% will in 2014.
7. Asked and Answered
If you want to maximize the odds of catching a foul ball, where should you sit in the ballpark? Where is America’s deadliest intersection? How do they make designer dogs? Find these answers and more in Time’s Answers Issue: Your guide to everything you didn’t know you need to know.
8. Commander in Chef
He is the ultimate first family insider. The president spent five hours at his apartment to celebrate his last week as a bachelor. And it all started when he stole their Cheetos. Meet the the Obama’s Foodmaster General.
+ NatGeo: Should we be eating like our ancestors?
9. What Does David Chase Know?
During the past week, the Internet has been obsessed with the identity of Hello Kitty, and the current health status of Tony Soprano. In Vox Todd VanDerWerff argues that both stories are “actually about the exact same thing: authorial intent.” It could actually be about something else: It’s more fun to talk about Hello Kitty than than Ebola.
+ I’m guessing something similar also played a factor in our nearly instant national obsession with Obama’s tan suit.
10. The Bottom of the News
“I thought he was pretty damn nice, because I thought I was gonna get fired.” The Daily Beast on Paul Shaffer’s life with Letterman.
+ Seventy-five percent of Ikea’s catalog is computer generated imagery (which means it probably lasts a lot longer than the real thing).
+ Bad news for tennis fans: Grunting may actually help players play better.
+ Take a look at the trailer for Jon Stewart’s directorial debut. Spolier alert: It’s not a comedy. Like, really not.
+ MSN Messenger is shutting down. Why’d I even bother reserving usernames for my grandkids…