April 1, 2014
1. Take It Off
Over the past decade, extreme sports have become extremely popular. And so have extreme injuries. Between 2000 and 2011, more than four million injuries were attributed to extreme sports. It’s probably no coincidence that the popularity of streaming video has exploded during the same period. Here’s Dr. Vani J. Sabesan: “Young people often lack judgment. They see snowboarder Shaun White take the sport to a whole new level, and some kids try to emulate his tricks. In effect, the culture says it’s O.K. to try this.” And culture also says it’s better than O.K. to share your extreme exploits on YouTube.
+ The wearable camera has become a nearly ubiquitous item on the extreme athlete’s list of essential gear. Sometimes, a camera encourages a person to take extra risk. And sometimes the camera itself can be what causes an accident. From Outside: The Danger Zone.
+ Aside from cameras, the wearable market has been more promise than reality. A third of consumers abandon their wearable devices. Is that because the early wearables just aren’t that good? Or is it because the phone in our pocket already provides more connectivity than we need?
2. This One Goes to Eleven
Aside from search, Gmail could be Google’s most successful product. It absolutely dominates the webmail space, and it played a big role in migrating our computing experience from the desktop to the cloud. When the service launched on April 1, 2004, a lot of people thought the whole thing was a hoax. From Time’s Harry McCracken: How Gmail Happened: The Inside Story of Its Launch 10 Years Ago Today.
3. A Spy on the Wall
As part of a deal to keep the Israeli-Palestinian talks going, the U.S. is considering the release of convicted Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard from prison. And both Dems and Republicans in Congress are blasting the idea of such a deal.
+ “I think what he did is exceeded only by Edward Snowden.” From The Wire: Who Is Jonathan Pollard?
+ “The CIA described [its program] repeatedly both to the Department of Justice and eventually to Congress as getting unique, otherwise unobtainable intelligence that helped disrupt terrorist plots and save thousands of lives. Was that actually true? The answer is no.” A 6,300 page Senate report concludes that the CIA misled everyone when it came to its interrogation program.
“When I heard that my 21-year-old son, a student at Harvard, had been stopped by New York City police on more than one occasion during the brief summer he spent as a Wall Street intern, I was angry. On one occasion, while wearing his best business suit, he was forced to lie face-down on a filthy sidewalk because — well, let’s be honest about it, because of the color of his skin.” From Christopher E. Smith, professor of criminal justice: What I learned about Stop-and-Frisk from watching my black son.
+ “Stay inside, lock the door, and don’t open it for anyone but properly credentialed law enforcement officers. ‘There is a massive manhunt underway. We’ve got every asset that we can possibly muster on the ground right now.'” From The Boston Globe: How the Marathon bombing manhunt really happened.
5. Don’t Look into the Light
From street lamps to televisions to handheld devices, we are surrounded by light. That could be ruining our sleep patterns, and our health. From Aeon Magazine: The End of Night. “An eternal electric day is creeping across the globe, but our brains and bodies cannot cope in a world without darkness.”
6. Picking On The Popular Kids
You probably have a good idea of who tends to do the bullying. But you might be surprised by who gets bullied (and who is most affected by it). New research suggests that “it’s kids with social clout — the popular kids — who report the most distress when they say they’re victimized by their peers.” Meanwhile, the socially isolated misfits are busy selling their start-ups for a few billion.
+ Kwasi Enin did pretty well on his college applications. All eight Ivy League schools accepted him.
7. Doing Twenty To Life in an Incubator
They say that in Hollywood, everyone is working on a screenplay. And in the Bay Area, it often seems like everyone is working on a startup. But even Bay Area natives and tech professionals might be surprised that prison inmates are working on their business plans. It’s part of an excellent program. Take a look at the startups incubated in San Quentin.
8. Oh No, Mozilla
Mozilla has a new CEO, and a lot of folks (including some board members) want the browser maker to hit the reload button. At the top of the list of issues is Brendan Eich’s $1,000 donation to the campaign for California’s Proposition 8 (which defined marriage as only between a man and a woman). Now, the dating site OK Cupid has blocked access to its site for anyone using the Firefox browser. (Those using Explorer can access the site, even though it’s unlikely anyone will want to date them.)
9. Pretty Pancakes
In the movie Pretty Woman, you probably didn’t notice that the croissant that Julia Roberts was eating during one part of a scene was transformed into a pancake in the next shot. Your eyes saw it. But your brain corrected it. Pacific Standard on why you rarely notice major movie bloopers.
10. The Bottom of the News
“We almost lost me. I’m never gonna take me for granted. Who would have thought that a means of communication limited to 140 characters would ever create misunderstanding?” Stephen Colbert fires back.
+ The Economist with the chart you’ve been waiting for: Comparing Apples and Oranges.
+ And if you must, here is Buzzfeed with the definitive guide to every April Fools’ day prank on the Internet. NPR shares five April 1 pranks gone bad. And McSweeney’s with a very short list of April Fools’ Day pranks to play on an unemployed twenty-something male who still lives at home with his parents.