May 7, 2014
1. Programmed to Kill
So an autonomous car is cruising through an intersection when suddenly, a split-second decision needs to be made. A collision is unavoidable, so the software on the car must decide to either hit a Volvo SUV or a Mini Cooper. How does it decide? I’m not sure, but it definitely pays to befriend as many auto software engineers as you can. From Wired: The robot car of tomorrow may just be programmed to hit you.
+ The future of driving: Cameras all over your car.
+ Washington Nationals manager Matt Williams was involved in a hit-and-run while doing a live radio interview. And he’s not a bad play-by-play guy.
2. A Senior Moment
The number of Americans who will be 65 or older will double over the next four decades. And we’re not alone. Much of the developed world is getting even older. (Procter & Gamble’s 1985 acquisition of Metamucil is looking more and more prescient.)
+ “You’d think that as modern-day scientists, they’d be more objective, more dispassionate about their subject — possibly even a little cold-blooded — but really they are just like everyone else: they want to delay death.” The researchers racing to figure out ways to make us live even longer.
+ We know you’ve fallen and can’t get up: Researchers want to keep the elderly safe with radar that tracks everything from location to heart rate.
3. Did Putin Pull Out?
In what looks like a significant policy shift, President Vladimir Putin says Russia has pulled its troops away from Ukraine’s border. But are there any signs that the troop movement is actually happening?
+ Telling the story in photos. What the hell is going on in Ukraine?
+ “As of July 1st, there will be no swearing in movies and theatrical productions or from the concert stage.” David Remnick on Putin’s Four Dirty Words.
“They are not thinking of Twitter, where the captivity is the cause of the day, nor of the campaigns on the streets of Lagos for a more competent and less callous government, nor of the rallies in front of Nigeria’s embassies worldwide, nor of the suddenly ramped-up coverage by international media, nor of how this war will engulf even those who are only just beginning to hear about it, nor of those who, free for now, will someday become captives. They are perhaps thinking only that night is falling again, and that the men will come to each of them again, an unending horror.” The New Yorker’s Teju Cole on Nigerian schoolgirls in captivity.
+ MoJo: Boko Haram has been terrorizing Nigeria for years. Why did we just start to care?
+ British GQ — Boko Haram: Sons of anarchy.
Alibaba handles more business than any other e-commerce player. It’s also a search engine. And a bank. And its about to have one of the biggest IPOs of all time. So it’s a reasonable time to want a clear answer to this question: What is Alibaba?
+ Many investors have been anticipating this IPO for years. That’s especially true for Yahoo.
+ There are some truly extraordinary things for sale on Alibaba.
6. A Bundle of Oy
The average U.S. cable subscriber gets a whopping 189 channels. How many of those do they actually watch? About seventeen.
+ It could be worse. You could still be paying for your AOL dial-up account.
7. The Simple Life
“Could everything that made the lifelong bachelor so unique, so stubborn, so confounding, so wonderful — a life rooted in rejection of instant communication — be allowing his killer to get away with it.” There’s been one unsolved killing in Montgomery County this year. And it might be unsolved in part because the victim lived an offline life.
8. You Are Amped
“On average, one coffee shop opened in New York every three days.” So if you are looking for serious coffee in New York, you can find it everywhere. (Decaf clinics are the new methadone clinics.)
9. The Other Next Draft
+ Rafael Nadal can’t seem to win his 14th grand slam title. Maybe because tennis has a 13th-major curse. If you get to 13, you’re doing all right…
10. The Bottom of the News
Two-thirds of Americans say that they would put themselves in danger to retrieve a stolen phone.
+ Nine percent of Americans think aliens may have hijacked Flight 370. (At least CNN knows the size of its target market.)
+ Four hedge fund guys out-earned every Kindergarten teacher in America.
+ What does a million bucks get you in a Luxury RV? (It’s a lot cheaper to have your head examined.)
+ And it’s time once again for Japan’s annual baby crying contest.