March 31, 2014
1. Forecast Calls For Worse
The oceans are rising and becoming more acidic. The ice caps are melting. Heat waves are getting hotter. Rains are intensifying. Coral reefs are dying. Creatures are going extinct. And according to the latest report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, this is your forecast: The worst is yet to come. From the panel’s Chairman: “Nobody on this planet is going to be untouched by the impacts of climate change.” (This seems like the right time to start building an ark out of disregarded climate change reports.)
+ MoJo with eight reasons you should be worried.
+ LA Times: “The search and rescue teams working off the west coast of Australia seeking the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 discovered what oceanographers have been warning: Even the most far-flung stretches of ocean are full of garbage.”
With the enrollment deadline just hours away, the health care site went down a couple times. It was both a sign that the system is not quite ready for these kinds of user surges and that a lot of people waited until the last minute. Too bad health insurance doesn’t cover procrastination.
+ Speaking of health, it turns out that Daylight Saving Time is linked to an increased risk of heart attacks.
3. Comedy Is Not Pretty
“I am willing to show #Asian community I care by introducing the Ching-Chong Ding-Dong Foundation for Sensitivity to Orientals or Whatever.” That tweet (from the official Colbert Report account) was intended to be a sarcastic parody of a recent move by Washington Redskins owner Daniel Snyder. As The New Yorker’s Jay Caspian Kang explains: “Everyone who hates both racism and Daniel Snyder laughs. On Twitter, where words often slip free of their contexts, the unaccompanied punch line sparked a firestorm of outrage, which quickly escalated into a campaign demanding the show’s cancellation.” And so we end up with a campaign to cancel Colbert stirred up by people who didn’t get the joke and who didn’t really want to cancel the show anyway. Welcome to the new age of knee-jerk digital activism where the joke might be on us.
4. Still in the Zone
“I left the war zone … but the war zone never left me.” WaPo takes a look at the profound and enduring effects of war on those who have served in Afghanistan and Iraq.
+ “I’m A Good Person And Yet I’ve Done Bad Things.” HuffPo has a three part series on A Warriors Moral Dilemma.
+ “In 2012, military suicides reached a record 351, surpassing the number of troops who died in Afghanistan that year.” A special report from The Desert Sun: Ending it By Their Own Hand.
5. Say Uncle
“The sun was shining on a brisk January day when Leland Yee took a seat at an undisclosed San Francisco coffee shop. Across from him sat a Cosa Nostra crime boss.” Only the crime boss wasn’t really a crime boss. Like many of the people that the California state senator had been dealing with over the past couple of years, the person sitting across from him was an undercover FBI agent. The amazing story of the FBI and Uncle Leland.
+ Eva Holland in the Pacific Standard: Did a popular young political leader plot to commit mass murder in Alaska?
6. Harvard is the Wal-Mart of Universities
Harvard might not like being compared to Wal-mart, but it turns out that the latter might have a lower acceptance rate.
+ A college professor in Texas might have spent the entire semester teaching the wrong course.
7. The Markets on Speed
“‘This had been happening to me for almost two years. There’s no way I’m the first guy to have figured this out. So what happened to everyone else?’ The question seemed to answer itself: Anyone who understood the problem was making money off it.” Michael Lewis has a new book on the ways high frequency trading is enabling a lot of people (but not you) to make money from nothing. From the NYT Mag: The Wolf Hunters of Wall Street.
+ “They are able to identify your desire to buy shares in Microsoft and buy them in front of you and sell them back to you at a higher price. This speed advantage that the faster traders have is milliseconds, some of it is fractions of milliseconds.” In other words, the markets are rigged.
8. Hooking Up is Off the Hook
“The hookup culture is a real problem for folks who are trying to transition out of that into something more exclusive.” Rolling Stone provides some insight with a few tales from the Millennials’ sexual revolution.
9. Peanuts and Cracker Jack
“Put on a glove, watch a game, and the years fall away, time stands still, and the joy of baseball reminds you again of life’s eternal sweetness.” OK, it’s not the hookup culture, but for those of us too old or young to be participating in that, there’s at least this: The timeless beauty of baseball.
+ Here’s how much it costs to propose at every major league stadium. (The cost to your personal dignity for not being able to come up with something more unique: Priceless.)
+ It’s better in the majors. Slate on the microscopic paychecks in the minor leagues.
+ The Giants are the 1st MLB team to construct an organic, edible garden. Only in California could those be fighting words. (Sidenote: The Dodgers Suck.)
+ In modern baseball, penmanship apparently doesn’t count. You can’t tell who signed your ball without a handwriting analyst.
+ On April 1, you will be inundated with attempted pranks. None of them will be nearly as good as George Plimpton’s 1985 Sports Illustrated piece: The Curious Case Of Sidd Finch. And here’s an outtake about that prank from an upcoming PBS doc: Plimpton! Starring George Plimpton as Himself.
10. The Bottom of the News
“Sometimes, when I’m tired, I just let it go, because it’s cold outside, and I’ve run out of board games to play and tedious craft projects to do. Every parent knows that a screen works flawlessly for subduing annoying kids.” Deadpin’s Drew Magary wonders: Why Are Screens Better Than Real Life?
+ “Anyone who’s been within a thousand miles of one can tell you… There is no tantrum like a Put-Down-the-iPad Tantrum.” I wrote a piece on the rage associated with pulling one’s attention away from a screen: Don’t Look Into the Light.
+ Looking back at the evolution of the Sony Walkman (I got my first one when it was still called the Soundabout).
+ Can Beyonce catch Madonna?