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Meet The Professional Video Game Players and Other Fascinating News on the Web

April 3, 2014

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1. Watch and Learn

Last Fall, about 32 million people tuned in to watch players compete for millions in prize money in the League of Legends Season 3 World Championship. And it only took an hour for 18,000 people to buy tickets to watch the event live at the Staples Center in LA. Competitive video gaming is attracting a crowd (and could soon be doing bigger business than some professional sports leagues) as viewers gather to watch and learn. From Quartz: Last year, 71 million people watched other people play video games.

2. The Crossing

One fake passport. Fifteen thousand dollars. And then the journey: Ethiopia, Sudan, Brazil, Venezuela, Colombia, Panama, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Guatemala, Mexico, and U.S.A. The asylum-seeker who took that trip had an easy route compared to her husband and sister. NPR takes a trip along the Mexico/U.S. border and shares the stories of the people they meet. This is an excellent report: The border is not a line, it’s a place.

3. The Stealth Startup

“His team of high-tech contractors had come in from Costa Rica and Nicaragua, Washington and Denver. Their mission: to launch a messaging network that could reach hundreds of thousands of Cubans. To hide the network from the Cuban government, they would set up a byzantine system of front companies using a Cayman Islands bank account, and recruit unsuspecting executives who would not be told of the company’s ties to the U.S. government.” The AP has a pretty amazing story about the secret U.S. plan to create a Cuban Twitter to stir unrest.

+ And the Turkish ban on Twitter has been lifted.

4. And This Isn’t the Big One

On Wednesday night, the far-northern coast of Chile was hit with a 7.8-magnitude quake. And that was an aftershock. Take a look at this remarkable animation that shows how Chile’s April 1 tsunami spread over the entire Pacific.

5. A Shot in the Dark

After talking to Ivan A. Lopez and putting him on some medications, Army officials found no indication “that that there was any sign of likely violence, either to himself or to others.” Lopez went on a shooting rampage at Fort Hood, where he killed three people before taking his own life.

+ In reaction to the shooting, Speaker John Boehner stated that “there’s no question that those with mental health issues should be prevented from owning weapons or being able to purchase weapons.” But where exactly would you draw the line?

+ “I knew in my bones that it would happen to me one day. I didn’t realize I already had it — a deep sadness, not stepping on the cracks, counting polystyrene squares on ceilings in classrooms, trying not to breathe in a way that would be noticed, digging my nails into my fist so hard they left marks and having flashes of thoughts that made me think I was a monster. Nobody would have known. I was bright, funny, good at storytelling and sports; it was not obvious at all to the outside world.” In the NYT, Jenni Fagan shares a very interesting perspective on a topic we don’t like to talk about even though one in four of us experiences it directly.

6. Getting a Lift

With huge money, a lot of drivers, and plenty of technology, the ride-sharing competitors have launched a modern demolition derby to see who will rule the roads. According to Lyft CEO Logan Green: “The ambition of our mission is to bring people together through transportation.” And you thought you just needed a ride downtown.

7. Wrestle Mania

Daniel Bryan is 5’8″ and weighs less than 200 pounds, and “with his shaggy shoulder-length hair, rustic beard, flannel button-down and eco-friendly Toms shoes — looks like, say, a member of Band of Horses who showed up at the arena on the wrong day.” And his tagline is Yes. That’s the whole thing. From Rolling Stone: How an eco-minded vegan grappler became pro wrestling’s hottest star. I’m not much of a fighter, but can you imagine being pinned by a hipster?

+ Deadspin: If MMA doesn’t change, someone is going to die.

8. The Job Market

“We didn’t act like you’d expect Mozilla to act. We didn’t move fast enough to engage with people once the controversy started. We’re sorry. We must do better.” So said Mozilla as its controversial CEO Brendan Eich resigned after being “swept up in a controversy about his support of California’s anti-gay marriage law Proposition 8.”

+ “Like hundreds of women who have cheered for the Raiders since 1961, Lacy signed the contract. Unlike the rest of them, she also showed it to a lawyer.” From ESPN, the Raiderette who just might change the system for NFL cheerleaders. And you won’t believe how low their pay is.

+ A Manhattan court stenographer went rogue and spent part of several cases typing the words: “I hate my job” over and over. To bad his stenotype machine wasn’t connected to the Internet. He’d fit right in.

9. Nordahl’s Hierarchy

No roads make it all the way to Svein Nordahl’s home on the icy archipelago of Svalbard. He has no running water either. But he has some seriously impressive Internet connectivity. It’s nice to know some has their priorities straight.

10. The Bottom of the News

When a big dog keeps a postal employee from delivering the mail, it’s not really news. But when a pretty small dog keeps the mail from being delivered to an entire neighborhood, it’s worth taking notice.

+ MentalFloss: Five happy little things you didn’t know about The Joy of Painting’s Bob Ross.

+ Does coffee really dehydrate us? (I’m too wired to really care.)

+ Visiting a conference for practitioners of orgasmic meditation. (Om … Om … OMG!)

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