TIME NextDraft

Ebola in America and Other Fascinating News on the Web

October 1, 2014


1. It Is Here

Ebola is here. And if the immediate media coverage is any indication, you are supposed to follow a two step process. First, totally freak out because the virus has arrived in Texas. Second, stop making such a big deal about Ebola. With the current pace of Internet news, most of us barely had a chance to panic before being admonished to calm down. Here are the facts: A man began to develop symptoms last week but he was released by hospital officials who didn’t all seem to know he was visiting from Liberia (in a way, this blunder is the scariest part of the story). The man is back in the hospital, and those who had any contact with him — “including three members of the ambulance crew that transported him to the hospital and five schoolchildren” — will be closely monitored by the CDC for the next three weeks. Hopefully that makes you feel worse/better.

+ Take the Vox Quiz: Have you touched the vomit, blood, sweat saliva, urine, or feces of someone who has Ebola? If you answered no, you don’t have Ebola.

+ Once you’ve panicked and calmed down about one disease, it’s the perfect time for the media to tell you about the viral epidemic that should really terrify you.

+ Some positive news on the Ebola front: outbreaks in Nigeria, Senegal, appear to be contained.

2. The Silent Treatment

According to the NYT, Hong Kong’s leaders have decided not to negotiate with protestors (who, among other things, have called for Leung Chun-ying’s resignation). They’ve also decided not to use force to disperse the crowd. The plan: Wait them out.

+ Buzzfeed is providing live updates of the growing protest.

+ This seems like a good time to watch a new 2 minute film celebrating the fiftieth anniversary of Berkeley’s free speech movement.

3. Forecast Calls For Worse

The New Yorker’s George Packer sums up the situation in Middle East in his piece, Two Speeches and a Tragedy: “A hands-off approach toward internal conflict in countries like Egypt, Syria, and Iran, did not create the space for a new partnership between the United States and the Muslim world, or allow for positive change within those societies. It’s hard to think of a worse year in modern history for the life conditions of Muslims internationally than 2014 (and there’s been plenty of competition).”

+ WaPo’s Alan Taylor introduces his collection of nine charts that try to explain the Middle East with a line that could open any article on the subject: The Middle East is complicated.

+ We know the Iraqi military needs some work on the ground. And apparently they need it in the air as well. “Iraqi military pilots mistakenly gave food, water and ammunition to enemy ISIS militants instead of their own soldiers.”

4. Paycation

As more companies analyze the data and see how damaging worker burnout can be to the bottom line, they are coming up with creative ways to attack the problem. For starters, how does unlimited paid vacation days sound? Not good enough? Maybe you’d prefer a precation: You get a two-week paid vacation before you even start a new job. (I’d take 13 days off and spend the last day finding a new job with the same perk.)

5. Elevator Glitch

The Secret Service is not having a good week. First we learned how easy it was for a man with a knife to run across the lawn and into the White House. And now it turns out that “a security contractor with a gun and three convictions for assault and battery was allowed on an elevator with President Obama.” (At least the guy didn’t enter the elevator before first allowing those inside to exit.)

+ “One intruder in a white karate outfit carried in a knife hidden in a Bible. A stranger slipped in to watch a movie with President Franklin D. Roosevelt. And a pilot crashed his Cessna into the mansion.” The NYT’s Peter Baker takes a look at the ever-expanding list of unwelcome visitors to the White House.

6. Paying a Debit To Society?

Think your bank fees are high? This excellent six-month investigation from the Center for Public Integrity uncovers how prison bankers cash in on captive customers. “JPay and other prison bankers collect tens of millions of dollars every year from inmates’ families in fees for basic financial services. To make payments, some forego medical care, skip utility bills and limit contact with their imprisoned relatives.”

+ And even after they’re released, the former prisoners still have to pay exorbitant fees to access their own money.

7. The Algorithm Method

“As we grow more reliant on applications and algorithms, we become less capable of acting without their aid.” So says Nicholas Carr in this excerpt from his new book, The Glass Cage. You can either click through to read this excerpt or have your drone pick up a copy.

8. Ample Sample

My dad used to disappear from his office for an hour or so at a time, and he never told anyone where he was going. It was a company and family mystery for years until he finally told us that he liked to go to Costco, order a hot dog, and just watch how the business worked. Apparently, he wasn’t dining alone. If it were considered a restaurant, “Costco would be number 11 on the list of the biggest pizzerias in the U.S., just ahead of Round Table.” And one of their best ways to get you to buy lunch and a whole lot more is through the psychology of samples. (Of course, my dad probably could have told you that.)

9. Splash Mob

“It’s been hard to find a comfy chunk of sea ice this summer. So walruses are opting for the next best thing: Alaska.” From Quartz: 35,000 walruses have mobbed the Alaskan coast — because there’s no sea ice left to rest on.

+ At least there are a lot of them. According to the London Zoological Society, “populations of mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians and fish have declined by an average of 52%. Populations of freshwater species have suffered an even worse fall of 76%.” Let’s assume those stats are way off. Still scary.

10. The Bottom of the News

“What a nervous day it must have been in the industry when Bounty or Brawny or whoever decided to place towel perforations more closely together … Machines were retooled, perforation distances reset, and smaller sized paper towels made their way onto the shelves of Stop & Shop and ShopRite and Walmart. Consumers, waking up from a wasteful slumber, realized how useful and smart and feel-goody smaller sized paper towels were.” I highly suggest you soak up the knowledge shared in Craig Mod’s piece: There is much to learn from the paper towel.

+ If you spend twenty-three grand on a plane ticket, this is what your flight will look like.

+ Now vending machines sell local, farm fresh foods. (We’re ruining the world.)


TIME NextDraft

More About The White House Intruder and Other Fascinating News on the Web

September 30, 2014


1. Running Down a Dream

You see the men in dark suits and sunglasses listening to secret messages through their their earpieces, and you wonder at the near-magical tools being deployed to protect the Commander in Chief. It’s like a forcefield; a layer of security that is beyond your understanding, so advanced that no modern tactic could pierce through its multiple layers of techno-complexity. The most talented people in the most powerful nation are protecting the country’s most valuable person. But then some guy with a knife jumps a fence and runs across the lawn and makes it deep into the White House before being tackled, and your science fiction movie sense of security morphs into something that looks more like a scene from Home Alone. From WaPo: The White House fence-jumper made it far deeper into building than previously known.

+ Vox: How a man was able to run through the front door of the White House with a knife.

+ ABC: 6 Secret Service safeguards breached by White House intruder.

+ And the intruder “could have gotten even farther had it not been for an off-duty Secret Service agent who was coincidentally in the house and leaving for the night.” (Let’s make sure that guy gets paid time-and-a-half…)

2. Is That a Yes?

In reaction to the rise of sex crimes on college campuses, California Governor Jerry Brown signed country’s first affirmative consent law. According to the new law, “Consent can be conveyed by a verbal ‘yes,’ or signaled in a nonverbal way, but lack of resistance or objection cannot constitute consent.”

+ Slate: Consensual Sex? There’s an app for that.

3. The Polite Protest

Hong Kong leader CY Leung has indicated that China will not give in to the demands of protestors and demanded that the street rallies stop immediately. But with a holiday coming Wednesday, the protests could get bigger than ever.

+ Free fabric fresheners, signs apologizing for any inconvenience, and other things you’d only find at a Hong Kong protest.

+ NY Mag: After Hong Kong, Instagram isn’t just for brunch photos. (From Ferguson to Hong Kong, the Internet has turned photos into the international language.)

+ Buzzfeed: A 15-step guide to understanding why Hong Kong has erupted in protest

4. New Money

Ebay is spinning off PayPal and setting up an epic Internet payments battle. While the split had been pushed by Carl Icahn and other large investors, today’s move probably has as much to do with the announcement of Apple’s payment system and the rise of Stripe.

5. The Horatio Ratio

“From the beginning, selling the self-made dream to those who hoped to live it was a lucrative business itself. In a country where everyone thinks he’s bound to be a millionaire, you can make a fortune selling the secret to making that fortune.” Slate’s John Swansburg on the self-made man; the story of America’s most pliable, pernicious, irrepressible myth.

6. Online Confrontations

“Amanda is now a fat, happy mom in the suburbs and I’m still terrified of her. I know this because, for this story, I started contacting her on Facebook Messenger. I soon developed a Pavlovian response to the Facebook pop. It made my hands shake and my heart race. Sometimes I buried my face in my palms for two breaths before I checked the message.” From The Atlantic: Confronting My Cyberbully, 13 Years Later.

7. Scene Stealers

Netflix and the Weinstein Company came up with a plan to simultaneously release the sequel to Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon on the big screen and small screen? But the people who own the big screens don’t think that’s such a great idea.

+ Why do so many people watch HGTV? (Oddly, that’s not a rhetorical question.)

+ It is “slow compared only with normal broadcast timetables. It runs not at the warp speed of narrative drama but at the rate of actual experience. It is not scripted or heavily edited; it is more concerned with movement than with tension, contrast, or character.” The iconic example of Slow TV is a seven-and-half hour recording of the exterior of a train as it travels along the countryside. From The New Yorker: Slow TV is Here.

+ If GoPro has its way, we’ll all be recording Slow TV (along with the action videos they’ve become known for). Someone definitely believes in GoPro’s promise. The company is currently worth nearly $12 billion. (That makes the Kodak Instamatic strapped to my head worth at least a couple million.)

8. Simple Twist of Phrase

“With five competing rivals, the pace of Dylan references accelerated.” NPR shares the odd story of a group of scientists who have been competing to sneak the most Bob Dylan references into their research papers.

9. The Mars Bar

“If we can establish a Mars colony, we can almost certainly colonise the whole Solar System, because we’ll have created a strong economic forcing function for the improvement of space travel.” From Aeon: Elon Musk argues that we must put a million people on Mars if we are to ensure that humanity has a future. There’s something about making huge money in technology that makes people want to live forever and move to Mars. Most of of us will be lucky if we make Moon money.

10. The Bottom of the News

Do you read the fine print when accepting online access agreements? Probably not. And neither did the Londoners who unwittingly agreed to hand over their first born child for Internet access. (Or maybe they read the agreement and thought it seemed like a reasonable deal.)

+ How Bill Murray went missing during Letterman’s first episode. (He had a good excuse.)

+ Finally, a wearable technology that shocks you when you’re bad. (Oh who are they kidding? Bill Murray invented that too.)

+ Does your car really need a tune-up?


TIME NextDraft

Why Rumors Get Shared More Than The Truth and Other Fascinating News on the Web

September 29, 2014


1. Rumor Has It

It may not come as a great shock that the viral story about a woman who had a third breast surgically implanted turned out to be a hoax “after it was reported that a three-breast prosthesis had been previously found in the woman’s luggage.” But as is often the case, the correction to the story was shared a lot less than the original. The NYT’s Brendan Nyhan takes a look at why rumors outrace the truth online.

+ You undoubtedly heard that the iPhone 6 has a bending problem. But did you hear that Consumer Reports did a test and found that the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus are not as bendy as believed. Next week’s headline: The iPhone is Inflexible.

2. Umbrella Stand

Hong Kong residents were promised direct elections by 2017. But Beijing has since ruled that ballot choices will be limited to a pre-approved slate of candidates. That’s the root of the protests in Hong Kong that started out peacefully, were met with police action, and have since attracted the attention of the world. From Vox: Hong Kong’s unprecedented protests and police crackdown, explained.

+ The protests have quickly come to be known as the Umbrella Revolution. Here’s the BBC on how the humble umbrella became a protest symbol.

+ Foreign Policy (No registration required for ND readers): “Future generations may well commemorate Sept. 28, 2014 in the history of Hong Kong as the day when the famously apolitical city turned unmistakably political.”

+ The Verge: What if everyone in Tiananmen Square had been carrying a smartphone. And Buzzfeed: The Hong Kong Occupy Central protest has triggered mainland China’s biggest ever crackdown on Weibo. (The Chinese are censored while we use devices they built to gain unfettered access.)

+ InFocus has an excellent collection of photos from the scene.

3. Stringer Bell and Omar Don’t Count?

“The only news most people ever hear about the inner city comes from grim headlines; the only residents they can name are characters on The Wire. Of course, ignorance of a community doesn’t stop outsiders from having opinions about it or passing laws that govern it.” The Atlantic’s James Forman Jr. explains how aggressive police surveillance transforms an urban neighborhood: The Society of Fugitives.

4. Troll Position

“It’s why trolling isn’t really trolling anymore. The motive isn’t sublimated. The rage is bare. Trolls don’t expose the vanities of the world these days; the world exposes the vanity of trolls.” From Emmett Rensin: The Confessions of a Former Internet Troll. (I’m nostalgic for the days when this was a troll.)

5. Poll, Pass and Kick

First there were the brain injury stories. Then there was the elevator video seen around the world. Then there was the mishandled response when the league’s best running back was arrested for child abuse. The seemingly endless series of bad publicity led many fans (especially women) to leave the NFL huddle. That much is clear in recent polls. It’s less clear in recent television ratings.

6. Caffeine Intelligence

Writing names, any names, on the cups makes the “caffeine-addicted” customers nervous. And the Barristas are given background checks before they can foam their first latte. Welcome to the CIA Starbucks: “There are no frequent-customer award cards, because officials fear the data stored on the cards could be mined by marketers and fall into the wrong hands, outing secret agents.” How little they share provides a cautionary reminder of how much data we share each time we participate in almost any transaction, even if we stick to decaf. It’s also a reminder that it’s National Coffee Day.

7. Nabster

“‘I heard a bang-bang-bang. I’m thinking it’s, like, Amazon.’ It wasn’t a delivery. It was a team of federal agents from the Department of Homeland Security, wearing bulletproof jackets and carrying guns.” The NYT’s Jenna Wortham with an excellent story about the deposed Queen of NinjaVideo, The Unrepentant Bootlegger. Even after the Queen and others have done serious time in jail, “online piracy is thriving. File-sharing, most of it illegal, still amounts to nearly a quarter of all consumer Internet traffic.”

8. Leadership Style

In gorilla society, it’s easy to pick out the leaders because of key characteristics such as hair color, size, posture, fitness, and the sounds they make. It turns out, the same is pretty much true in human society where, as The Economist reports: “The typical chief executive is more than six feet tall, has a deep voice, a good posture, a touch of grey in his thick, lustrous hair and, for his age, a fit body.” (In my industry, the leader is typically a jittery guy in a t-shirt sitting on a beanbag chair.)

+ Want to dress for success? Then lose the orange sweater and follow these rules.

9. The Finisher

“When Dennis Holland died of cancer this spring, he left behind a lifetime of unfinished projects, perhaps more than one man could hope to complete. The dream of finishing them kept him young.” And now his son is taking over and working to complete all the unfinished efforts.

10. The Bottom of the News

It’s the end of an era. While it’s already been essentially dead for years, Yahoo will make it official as they shut down the onetime hub of everything Internet. Say goodbye to the Yahoo Directory.

+ There is a compound in hops that could make you smarter. So have a beer. And then have 5,635 more each day and we’ll see if it works.

+ From the always-entertaining Dave Pell: Band Names for Aging Rockers.

+ Cats don’t need to do anything to get covered on the Internet. Dogs, on the other hand, have to surf.

+ Take a closer look at these 50 clever logos.


TIME NextDraft

The Bad Part of Sports and Other Fascinating News on the Web

September 26, 2014


1. The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

The Bad Part of Sports: There is an unwritten rule when it comes to sports journalism. Reporters are given a lot of access to games and players. And in exchange, they pretend (as we all do) that sports scores and stories are actually news and not just another form of entertainment. But the cozy deal can break down when a single brand both broadcasts and covers sports. Earlier this week, ESPN’s Bill Simmons was suspended for three weeks (yes, longer than Ray Rice’s initial suspension) after he called NFL commissioner Roger Goodell a liar and taunted his bosses. Here’s Amy Davidson in the New Yorker: “In every field of journalism, there are questions of access and the threat that, even if one is in the right, sources will dry up, interviews will be cancelled …The only way for that not to destroy journalism as an enterprise is for reporters to have, at those moments, true institutional support. ESPN has done the opposite, doing the work of the angry, powerful people whom it covers for them.”

+ Slate’s Josh Levin on Bill Simmons: “He can go wherever he wants, for any reason he wants, to watch whatever game he wants. But if he wants to be able to say whatever he wants, in whatever medium he wants, then he’s going to have to start his own company.”

+ The Ugly Part of Sports: Jon Stewart airs a “controversial segment” featuring a debate between Native Americans and Redskins fans who feel a strong connection to the team’s name.

+ The Good Part of Sports: Well, Derek Jeter “jetered” one last time. Yes, the retiring Yankee shortstop has achieved verb status as he closes out his career in the Bronx in a manner we’ve come to expect. Here’s the walk-off single that won his final home game.

+ Roger Angell: “Last night’s encounter was the first meaningless game he’d ever played in pinstripes — but then he gave it meaning.” Even Red Sox fans had to have a lump in their throats. (OK, maybe that was just a chunk of a pretzel.)

2. Bomb Them Back to Dark Ages?

“Beheadings, crucifixions, the gouging out of eyes, the use of rape as a weapon, the slaughter of children. All these things belong to the Dark Ages.” So said British Prime Minister David Cameron as the U.K. parliament voted to join the air war against ISIS. There are now more the 50 countries in the alliance.

+ An activist lawyer and human rights advocate was killed in Mosul for comments she made on her Facebook page.

+ The FBI says they know the identity of the masked militant in the beheading videos. But for now, they’re not saying who it is.

3. Weekend Reads

“This is part of my therapy. I’m pacing my life looking forward to these things, and I enjoy them. I enjoy bringing my friends … It’s not a cost-effective way of doing anything except making me happy for an afternoon.” Since being diagnosed with cancer, The Simpson’s co-creator Sam Simon has been racing to spend his fortune on causes he loves. From Vanity Fair: Always Leave Them Laughing.

+ “One day you walk 12 hours, and you don’t feel pain. There is no before or after. The intellect doesn’t drive you anymore. It doesn’t exist anymore. You become what nature needs you to be: this wild thing.” From the NYT Magazine: The Woman Who Walked 10,000 Miles (No Exaggeration) in Three Years.

+ Outside on the people who survive lightning strikes: “When lightning hits a human being, a survivor must reconcile not only what happened but why it happened. Why me? For most victims, it is not the unforgettable horror of an agonizing ordeal that haunts them—many can’t even recall the incident itself; it’s the mysterious physical and psychological symptoms that emerge, often long after their immediate wounds have healed and doctors have cleared them to return to their normal routines. But nothing is normal anymore.”

+ BBC: “He’s spent decades dodging the law. He’s escaped from jail twice by helicopter. He’s given millions to the poor. This is the story of how Greece’s most wanted man became a folk hero.”

4. A Ground Zero Sum Game

There has been a longstanding debate on whether or not respiratory illnesses can be linked to the toxic air around Ground Zero following the 9-11 attacks. According to fire officials in NYC: “Three firefighters who were on duty at Ground Zero during the 9/11 attacks died on the same day from cancer.”

5. Playing with the Percentages

“About half of his money is in private investments, like equity in his own firm. He keeps about 20 percent in cash, and a delicious 5 percent in real estate and ‘luxury assets,’ presumably tamed jaguars and yachts with helicopter landing pads. He owns four houses, each worth about $20 million.” NY Mag on how the 0.00003 percent lives.

6. Bendables are the New Wearables

Is the saga of the bending iPhone really a thing or has it been the unfortunate experience of about nine customers? And what is a phone doing in anyone’s back pocket? None of that matters. It’s a story about Apple, so it’s a big story. And it somehow got as all inside the Cupertino building where Apple tortures the iPhone 6. (I always imagined this chamber would be in Redmond…)

+ And meet the Bendgate Truthers.

7. Next Chapter in Internet History?

And then one day, people got so mad at the social network that they joined another social network. Early adopters are signing up for Ello, a new social network that promises to be “a tool for empowerment. Not a tool to deceive, coerce, and manipulate — but a place to connect, create, and celebrate life.” From Wired’s Jessi Hempel: Facebook killer Ello doesn’t care about money — so it won’t work. (That’s roughly what my parents think of me spending four hours a day on a newsletter.)

+ The Atlantic: “Ello says you’re not a product, but you are.” (I’ve taken out the garbage and driven my kids to enough soccer games to know I’m a service, not a product.)

8. Green Eggs and Ban

We’re coming to the close of Banned Books Week, and Mic has a list of 15 banned books you should read. And from Mental Floss: Ten twenty-first century bestsellers people tried to ban (and why).

9. Crossing the Spectrum

“In a series that has depicted teenage pregnancy, abortion, alcoholism, a breast cancer battle, and a young war veteran’s PTSD, one of the most emotional, and painful, scenes to watch on NBC’s critically acclaimed Parenthood came when Max Braverman went on his first unsupervised school field trip.” From Buzzfeed: How Parenthood broke down the autism awareness barrier.

10. The Bottom of the News

Could Coke reverse a decade of sagging sales just by slapping a few first names on the side of bottles? Well, Chris, Jess, and Alex, I’m glad you asked.

+ Forty facts about SNL ahead of their fortieth season.

+ The latest rumors have Rachel McAdams starring opposite Colin Farrell and Vince Vaughn in season 2 of True Detective. (By now, you’ve probably figured out that the casting of season 2 of True Detective is season 2 of True Detective.)

+ Are you a heavy drinker? Check the chart.


TIME NextDraft

An App for Finding Your Voice and Other Fascinating News on the Web

September 23, 2014


1. You Never Call

Generations of parents have complained that their kids never call. But this generation is the first one that’s right (and it’s not just because their kids moved back home and are living in the basement). The rise of texting and a slew of remarkably popular messaging apps have turned voice calls into a a mere afterthought on your smartphone. But tech guru Ray Ozzie hopes to give you your voice back with a new app that Steven Levy describes as “a weird, almost magical, combination of phone calling, text messaging, virtual conferencing and Instagram-ish photo sharing. Depending on how you view it, Talko is three or 39 years in the making.” Can the phone call be reinvented? (Please limit your answer to three emoji.)

2. Guess Who’s Back?

The U.S., with the support of several other countries, began airstrikes against ISIS in Syria last night. Here’s The Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg with a few observations: “These strikes will not bring about the end of ISIS. Like other terror groups, it can ‘win’ this current round of fighting by surviving, and maximizing civilian casualties on its own side.”

+ Five Arab nations supported the initial U.S. airstrikes.

+ Vox: Obama told ISIS in advance that he was going to launch airstrikes in Syria. Was that a mistake?

+ Does if feel like we’ve been down this road (or at lease this air) before? Here are the seven countries the United States has bombed since 9/11.

3. Reaction Time

According to the CDC’s computer modeling, the best-cast scenario suggest the Ebola outbreak in Liberia and Sierra Leone could be “almost ended” by next January. The worse-case scenario is that there will be 1.4 million cases by that time. It all depends on how the world and the region react to the crisis.

+ Slate: Even experienced international disaster responders are shocked at how bad it’s gotten.

4. Partyism

“In 1960, 5 percent of Republicans and 4 percent of Democrats said that they would feel ‘displeased’ if their son or daughter married outside their political party.” As you may have sensed, those numbers have increased dramatically. Bloomberg’s Cass R. Sunstein: Partyism Now Trumps Racism. (I’m not sure I’d even let my kid marry someone who uses the word Trump.)

5. Oh Captain My Captain

Each year the American Library Association puts together its list of banned books. And for the second straight year, Captain Underpants has topped the list. Toni Morrison’s amazing first novel, The Bluest Eye came in second. Sad this is still an issue.

+ The book banning crowd should at least attempt to get a little more creative. From Buzzfeed, here are 19 unintentionally disturbing moments from kids’ books.

6. The Place to Be

Rising seas. Never-ending droughts. Powerful storms. These are just some of the issues you need to consider when deciding where to settle down. The NYT provides a handy guide to where you should live in the age of climate change: Portland will still be cool, but Anchorage may be the place to be. Here in San Francisco, we’re just waiting for the bay to rise up to our necks. (Whatever it takes to make rents more affordable.)

7. Punt, Pass, and Kick Yourself

ESPN’s Gregg Easterbrook is an excellent football writer with an interesting take of the NFL’s troubles: “As the most important sport in the most important nation, the NFL holds up a mirror to American society. What we see in the reflection is not an athletic organization but ourselves.”

+ You don’t think spectator sports are a reflection of modern society? Consider this: “A record 41 million people now play fantasy sports in the United States and Canada.”

+ Pacific Standard: NFL players are more law abiding than average men.

+ Seriously, nothing is going right in football these days. Just take a look at this (remarkably enjoyable) video of the Wallkill Mighty Mites trying to run through a team banner.

8. Cachet of Sole

The soles are red. That is the one design element that changed everything and turned a shoe designer into an international success story. (And it just so happens that the idea for the red sole came from a NextDraft reader living in Paris.) From The New Yorker: Christian Louboutin and the psychology of shoes.

9. Orange Is the New Red

“Same old shit, different day.” So says Morgan Freeman as Red in The Shawshank Redemption. It turns out a different day (or in this case, nearly two decades of different days) can make all the difference. Shawshank wasn’t that big a movie when it first came out. But in the years since, it has become a perennial favorite. And why not? They somehow turned life in a maximum security prison into a feel-good classic. From Vanity Fair: The little-known story of how The Shawshank Redemption became one of the most beloved films of all time.

+ The story behind Bill Murray And Harold Ramis’ 21 year rift.

10. The Bottom of the News

The good news: Some emergency rooms are now taking appointments so you can spend part of your long wait time in the comfort of your own home. The bad news: It’s a friggin’ emergency.

+ GoPro is dominating the market it created. The company is currently worth more than $9 billion. Can Polaroid mount a challenge?

+ From Iggy and JLo to Kim and Nicki, the backside is frontpage news. The Atlantic’s Noah Berlasky goes deep on the subject: “Minaj’s celebration of her butt is also a celebration of, and lust for, other women’s butts.”

+ And just in time for Rosh Hashanah: 18 apple varieties with badass names.


TIME NextDraft

How Google Deletes Content and Other Fascinating News on the Web

September 22, 2014


1. The Philosopher Kings

If you live in Europe, you have the right to be forgotten. Google has already deleted around sixty thousand pieces of content from its index, after receiving at least twice as many requests. Should you have the right to be deleted? And who should decide whether your request rises above some magical bar? Jules Polonetsky, the executive director of the Future of Privacy Forum, describes the issue: “If a particular Web site is doing something illegal, that should be stopped, and Google shouldn’t link to it. But for the Court to outsource to Google complicated case-specific decisions about whether to publish or suppress something is wrong. Requiring Google to be a court of philosopher kings shows a real lack of understanding about how this will play out in reality.” The Internet is reality. And its technological advances are dramatically outpacing our ability to create a new legal framework and an updated set of acceptable social norms. From Jeffrey Toobin in The New Yorker: The Solace of Oblivion.

2. Change in the Weather?

Ahead of the UN’s latest summit on climate change, hundreds of thousands of people marched in NYC and in other cities around the world. Here’s some drone footage of the scene.

+ Meanwhile, China, the U.S., and India have pushed world carbon output to record levels.

+ Some leaders hope to push this summit to a new level by focusing less on the weather and more on the bottom line. They might also want to focus on the cost of mortality from pollution as shown in this Economist chart.

+ The Rockefeller family’s foundation has pledged to sell off investments in fossil fuels and re-invest in clean energy. The family made its vast fortune from oil. In this case, even the tortoise moved faster than the heirs.

+ Devils and Dust: In Matter, Alan Heathcock takes you to the heart of the California drought: “It’s then I hear the dirt bike. A young and shirtless man coasts in from the west. His eyes turn to my silver Nissan with the out-of-state rental plates. He revs his engine, lurches into a wheelie then speeds in front of me, his middle finger thrust in my direction. Welcome to the Central Valley, ground zero of the water war. Outsiders take heed for this is a troubled land.”

3. Herniated Dis

When you get surgery for a herniated disk in your neck, the bulge is merely moved from your neck to someone else’s wallet. There’s no better way to understand health care’s absurd costs than with an example. From the NYT, the story of surprise $117K bill from a doctor the patient didn’t even remember meeting.

4. The Emma Dilemma

“I think it is right I am paid the same as my male counterparts. I think it is right that I should make decisions about my own body. I think it is right that women be involved on my behalf in the policies and decisions that affect my life. I think it is right that socially, I am afforded the same respect as men.” Emma Watson stopped by the UN and gave an excellent speech on feminism.

+ To understand the intense pressure someone like Emma Watson faces for stating publicly what is clearly obvious and obviously right, you have to go to the nasty regions of the Internet where the most pathetic among us are waging a war on women. You can start with the vicious attacks on the excellent Anita Sarkeesian.

+ Emma Watson has already been targeted by a countdown clock threatening to make her the next celebrity to be victimized by hacked personal photos.

+ NY Mag: Meet the college women who are starting a revolution against campus sexual assault.

5. Open Door Policy?

The Secret Service is considering a larger buffer zone around the White House after an intruder “jumped over the White House fence just after 7:20 p.m. and was able to sprint unimpeded to the North Portico and enter the unlocked front door of the White House.” If the larger buffer zone doesn’t do the trick, they might want to consider locking the door.

6. Bigger is Bigger

I know what you did last weekend. Apple sold ten million new phones during their debut weekend.

+ Think the new phones are expensive here? They can go for insanely high prices in China (irony not incuded).

+ The Onion has a helpful breakdown of the iPhone 6 vs the Samsung Galaxy S5.

7. Are You Ready For Some TV?

Why are these NFL stories so big? In part, it’s because the NFL is so big. And in part its because, as Derek Thompson explains, “TV is a sports bundle held together by football.”

+ The Ray Rice incident opened the floodgates on a swath of issues facing the NFL, including the brain trauma associated with playing football. As The New Yorker’s Ben McGrath writes: “It has become one of those clarifying moments, after which it is no longer possible to immerse oneself in a fog of ambiguity.”

+ The UFC has cut ties with two popular fighters facing accusations of domestic violence. Good, now we can stop associating their brand with violence.

8. Hold the Haggis

Almost half of those in Scotland voted for independence, and a similar (non-binding) vote will be held in Catalonia in November. What about people in the United States? It turns out that about one in four Americans support the general idea of splitting from the union. Interestingly, the other three-quarters are cool with them splitting.

9. Eric the Actor

Howard Stern spent over an hour remembering a frequent caller known as Eric the Actor who died over the weekend. It’s sort of impossible to explain the loss of Eric the Actor to someone who doesn’t listen to the Howard Stern Show, and unnecessary to explain it to anyone who does.

10. The Bottom of the News

“This is a column about Katie Ledecky. It has a simple thesis. The thesis is that Katie Ledecky kicks ass.” Trust me, so does this column by Grantland’s Brian Phillips.

+ A TV news reporter covered the story of the Alaska Cannabis Club before announcing (with a few expletives) to the audience that she was the club’s owner and would be quitting. Dropping the pipe is the new dropping the mic.

+ At long last, science explains why I can’t remember anything. It’s because I’m a dude.


TIME NextDraft

The Alibaba IPO and Other Fascinating News on the Web

September 19, 2014


1. The Alibaba IPO

One of the most feverishly anticipated tech stock IPOs lived up to its first day hype as Alibaba raised $21 billion and passed Facebook’s market capitalization on its first trade.

+ The NYT Dealbook takes you to Hangzhou: The city that minted thousands of Internet millionaires (and launched a whole lot of other Internet startups).

+ Yahoo owns a big chunk of Alibaba stock. How big? Big enough to be worth almost as much as Yahoo itself.

+ The WSJ has an excellent interactive piece that answers the question of the day: What is Alibaba? Imagine all the Internet’s most powerful business models rolled into one and aimed at the world’s most populated markets. (Just wait until the Alibaba Watch comes out.)

2. No

“They spiked the fountains with bubble bath in anticipation of a party in what was dubbed Scotland’s Yes city. But this morning only a hardy few supporters of Scottish independence remained in Dundee’s City Square.” By a significant margin, Scotland citizens voted against independence. From the BBC: The morning after the No before.

+ The referendum also served as a no vote for pollsters, and a yes vote for the bookies.

+ Here’s a look at some UK front pages.

+ Some interesting insights into why people voted the way they did, and a look at why Scotland’s vote won’t be the last battle of the generations.

3. Weekend Reads

If I looked really young, the last thing I’d want to do is sneak back into high school. But “Charity Johnson enrolled in 10th grade at New Life Christian School in Longview, Texas, a few weeks before her 34th birthday … She wasn’t a con artist for money. She was a con artist for love.”

+ ““Follow me around. I don’t care. I’m serious. If anybody wants to put a tail on me, go ahead. They’d be very bored.” From Matt Bai in the NYT Magazine: How Gary Hart’s downfall forever changed American politics.

+ Boston Globe Magazine: The secret world of the Dunkin’ Donuts franchise kings.

+ Businessweek’s Tim Cook interview: “Anybody coming out of there yesterday knows that innovation is alive and well in Cupertino. If there were any doubts, I think that they should be put to bed.”

4. Fear Itself

“This virus preys on care and love, piggybacking on the deepest, most distinctively human virtues. Affected parties are almost all medical professionals and family members, snared by Ebola while in the business of caring for their fellow humans. More strikingly, 75 percent of Ebola victims are women, people who do much of the care work throughout Africa and the rest of the world. In short, Ebola parasitizes our humanity.” Slate’s Benjamin Hale on the most terrifying thing about Ebola.

+ The Wire: Eight health workers in Guinea killed by villagers fearful of Ebola.

+ The New Yorker’s Michael Specter: Ebola and the cost of fear.

5. Food and Water

“Many governments will face challenges to meet even the basic needs of their people as they confront demographic change, resource constraints, effects of climate change, and risks of global infectious disease outbreaks.” While we’re focused on combating terrorism, Foreign Policy reminds us that there are new — and potentially much bigger — challenges facing America and its allies: Water Wars.

+ “A team of recently hired mathematicians is building an online database that one day could catalog the behavior of practically every plant protein on earth … a collection of digital information that could allow [them] to model the creation of new foods using computer software.” From Wired: The Future of Food Is Data.

6. Rich Man, Richer Man

There is a wide and growing gap between the rich and the really rich. Here’s Vox with a report on the growing gap between the megamillionaire and the millionaire next door.

7. When the Lights Go Down

When I was growing up, football was my favorite sport to play and watch. But the sport has taken some serious hits over the last few years. I’m a former player who would never let his son play. And here’s Friday Night Lights author Buzz Bissinger arguing that kids and parents should be repeatedly warned of the known risks of playing football: “Will they still be ready for some football after that? Only if they and those who love them have already lost their mind.”

+ And here’s Peter Berg, writer and director of the incredibly great TV series Friday Night Lights: Why my son is no longer allowed to play football.

+ “Over the past several weeks, we have seen all too much of the NFL doing wrong. And that starts with me … I got it wrong … and I’m sorry for that … but now I will get it right.” Roger Goodell vows to get the NFL’s house in order.

+ Most people probably assumed that the half-mile line in Baltimore was made up of people trying to get a new iPhone. But it was actually people waiting to trade in their Ray Rice jerseys.

+ OK, we need a positive NFL story. Ma’ake Kemoeatu retired from football to donate his kidney to his brother (and fellow player) Chris Kemoeatu,

8. With Friends Like These…

“Remember when you first came to my office — now look you’re ready for Hollywood!” Think of that quote as a warning before you enter the weird (and apparently, like so many weird things these days, completely normal) world of professors and students who friend each other on Facebook. (College students already vomit due to excessive drinking … did they really need another trigger?)

+ Why are men still paying for first dates?

9. I’m Too Old to Do Lines

And yes, today is new Apple iPhone day. And yes, that meant long, long lines. The first person to get one in Australia dropped it on the ground. And in today’s world, that means instant fame.

+ And no, you can’t charge your phone by putting it into the microwave.

10. The Bottom of the News

In the latest salvo in the new cold war, a Russian brewer has acquired Pabst Blue Ribbon. Pabst also owns Old Milwaukee, Schlitz and Colt 45. They might want to acquire Pepto Bismol next.

+ The Suitsy is a one piece suit.

+ It’s Talk Like a Pirrrrate Day. So it’s fair to ask why we think pirates talk like that.

+ And we’ve reached peak delivery service as Air Food One promises to deliver airline food right to your front door.


TIME NextDraft

Living to 100 and Other Fascinating News on the Web

September 18, 2014


1. Not Going Anywhere for Awhile?

What exactly makes us live longer? That’s hard to say. “Except with regard to infectious diseases, medical cause and effect is notoriously hard to pin down. Coffee, salt, butter: good, bad, or neither?” What we do know is that our lives are extending. And if some mice being worked on at the Buck Institute and other aging research centers are any indicator, humans are about to live a lot longer. “The number of Americans 65 or older could reach 108 million in 2050. That’s like adding three more Floridas, inhabited entirely by seniors.” In The Atlantic, Gregg Easterbrook provides some very interesting answers to the question: What Happens When We All Live to 100?

+ Ezekiel J. Emanuel: Why I Hope to Die at 75. (If only he knew what we plan to give him for his 76th birthday.)

2. Sweet Sorrow

It all seemed to so simple. Find a substance with the same sweet taste as sugar, but that doesn’t raise your blood sugar levels, and boom, you win. But you just can’t fool the human body. Researchers have found that artificial sweeteners can tweak your gut microbiome in a way that actually leads to higher levels of blood sugar that can end up being stored as fat.

3. The Front Down Under

The biggest anti-terrorism operation in Australia’s history has resulted in the apprehension of several ISIS supporters who were planning on carrying out public executions.

+ “Now, I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking, ‘He’s only doing this because he’s a prisoner. He’s got a gun at his head and he’s being forced to do this.’ Right?” ISIS releases a videotape of a British hostage warning against Western attacks on the Islamic State.


+ ISIS. ISIL. The Islamic State. In what seems like an instant, they’ve become the most notorious terrorism outfit in the world. But no one seems quite sure what to call them. And now France is adopting the term used by many in the Arab world: Daesh.

4. Beam Me Up, Scotland

Ninety-seven percent of the electorate are registered to vote in Scotland. So turnout was huge as people took to the polls for the independence vote.

+ Here’s your cheat sheet.

+ The pundits are describing the race as too close to call. The bookies are less uncertain.

+ What would Scottish independence mean for whisky? (In the short run, I’m guessing it would mean a hell of lot of it would be consumed.)

+ Scotland isn’t exactly breaking new ground. Here’s a map of all the countries that have declared independence from the British.


+ And here are the latest updates on the vote.

5. Which Kid is Your Favorite?

Which of your kids do you like the most? I know, you think you can’t answer that question without doing irreparable damage to the unfavored. Well, don’t worry about it. As NPR’s Nancy Shute explains, what matters is not how parents actually treat the children, but how the kids perceive it.”

+ Some researchers are wondering why girls get better grades across every subject. (Let’s just hope some of those researchers are women…)

+ My son’s third grade teacher asked all his students to write a letter to their parents. As you can see, we run a pretty formal household.

6. First and Ten Million Yards

Many NFL fans have dreamed of a day when everyone they knew would be talking football all the time. But these were not the topics any of those fans had in mind. The football storylines are officially out of the NFL’s control. One thing that could potentially stop the bleeding would be a change at the top. But this is no ordinary organization. From BloombergBusinessweek: Roger Goodell at the 50-50 Yard Line.

+ Slate’s Jeremy Stahl wonders: how much should you loathe the pro football commissioner?

+ And just in case anyone wondered if this whole negative storyline would just blow over, there’s this: “Arizona Cardinals backup running back Jonathan Dwyer became the latest NFL player to be arrested on suspicion of domestic violence.”

7. Is Eight Enough?

If you’ve been trying desperately to get someone’s attention, you had your chance yesterday during the time it took them to download and install iOS 8 on their iPhone. If you were one of those who updated, then you’ll probably be interested in 15 insanely great tricks to master Apple’s iOS 8, top ten secret features of iOS 8, six super-helpful tricks you probably don’t know about, the best new features you might not know about, and 25 things you can do with the new OS that you couldn’t do with the old OS. (I haven’t upgraded yet, but I hear the new software lets you get the Internet on your phone.)

+ Oh, and there’s a new Kindle and it’s supposed to be shockingly good.

+ Is there a difference between your paper reading brain and your device reading brain?

8. Find Your WeiWei

More than one million lego pieces will be used to compose the portraits of 176 prisoners of conscience and political exiles. The form of Ai Weiwei’s new art installation is unusual, and so is its location: Alcatraz.

9. No One Puts Babymama In a Corner

“During the days, people donated their skill sets to teach classes — a cooking class here, a couture class there. And there were themed parties the latter two nights. There was, perhaps most crucially, an open bar. What there wasn’t: cellular service, or Wi-Fi.” Welcome to adult camp.

+ CItylab: Wait your turn for the swings at Boston’s adult playground.

10. The Bottom of the News

It “does effectively represent the modern American Dream: flipping an incredibly stupid idea into a huge amount of money and then running swiftly away.” From Grantland: Five Years in, What Does Shark Tank Mean for America? (I really hoped Sharknado would’ve taken care of this show by now…)

+ So you’re performing in the most important flute competition of your life and a butterfly lands on your face. But the show must go on. Amazing.

+ Vox: Watch a mash-up of 23 amateur musicians, combined into one kick-ass band.

+ Miley Cyrus is in trouble for twerking with a Mexican flag. Dios Mio.


TIME NextDraft

The Upside of Pessimism and Other Fascinating News on the Web

September 17, 2014


1. The Worst Case Scenario

When you’re faced with a challenging and stressful situation, some social scientists believe there’s a better strategy than thinking positively. Defensive Pessimism challenges you to imagine worst-case scenarios in order to manage your anxiety. The Atlantic’s Olga Khazan describes the upside of pessimism: “When people are being defensively pessimistic, they set low expectations, but then they take the next step which is to think through in concrete and vivid ways what exactly might go wrong. What we’ve seen in the research is if they do this in a specific, vivid way, it helps them plan to avoid the disaster. They end up performing better than if they didn’t use the strategy. It helps them direct their anxiety toward productive activity.” (I actually doubt my ability to be appropriately pessimistic. That helps me sink to the occasion.)

2. Fighting Homelessness with Homes

The New Yorker’s James Surowiecki describes how some cities have successfully dealt with the homeless. They gave them homes. “Handing mentally ill substance abusers the keys to a new place may sound like an example of wasteful government spending.” But it turns that the strategy actually saves money. Very interesting.

+ Can crowdfunding help the homeless?

3. Error Attack

“A lot of the convoys have dispersed, a lot of the assembly areas have been moved into urban areas.” An American general sums up the difficulties already associated with attacking a terrorist group from the air.

+ From the money to the territory to the leadership, the NYT provides an overview of how ISIS works.

+ Meet the Americans who have tried (and failed) to join ISIS so far.

4. The Switcheroo

During the middle of the night, the Minnesota Vikings (with some urging from the NFL) ran a reverse on their decision regarding Adrian Peterson. The star running back indicted for child abuse went from starting Sunday’s game to being barred from all team activities indefinitely.

+ It’s hard to avoid seeing a connection between the new decision and the pressure being applied by big NFL sponsors like Anheuser-Busch. Beer makers are lecturing the NFL about its connections to abuse. Think about that for a second. (Before sponsors applied pressure, the Vikings were going to punish Adrian Peterson by having him run three Hail Marys.)

+ Once again, the outrage is being driven by visual evidence. But do we really feel OK about leaking photos of a kid?

+ Grantland on the NFL’s dark, intractable history of domestic violence.

+ Jeb Lund: Adrian Peterson and what our fathers did to us: we have not turned out fine.

+ And an important, related piece from NPR: How smartphones are used to stalk, control domestic abuse victims.

5. Upper/Inner Management

“The young guys on the street look to the gang members inside as role models … Getting sentenced to prison is like being called up to the majors.” Graeme Wood explains how gangs took over prisons, and crime on the streets.

6. Jiro Dreams of CD

When it comes to technology and gadgets, one usually associates Japan with the cutting edge. So it’s all the more surprising that Japan is one of the few countries where the compact disk is still king.

+ The New Yorker’s Joshua Rothman: “Most people think of U2 as a wildly popular rock band. Actually, they’re a wildly popular, semi-secretly Christian rock band.” (That explains why they didn’t respond when my mom tried to get them to play at my Bar Mitzvah.)

7. Scot Free?

The polls suggest that tomorrow’s vote is still too close to call. In the meantime, there have been massive rallies held by both sides of Scottish independence debate.

+ Boston Globe: 10 things to know about Scotland’s vote for independence.

+ Buzzfeed: 9 charts that show how the UK would change without Scotland. (An obsession with these lists of charts is the inevitable long term outcome of gaining independence from the UK.)

8. Riders on the Storm

San Francisco is the petri dish for car services. So it’s worth paying attention to what’s happened to the traditional cab business in this town where “the number of trips taken by taxi plummeted 65 percent in just 15 months.”

9. Borderline Personalities

Modern Farmer’s Cat Ferguson tells the unlikely story of the cowboys who patrol the border to protect Americans from ticks. (They must use some really tiny lassos.)

10. The Bottom of the News

The endless iPhone reviews are hitting the Internet this week. So Chris Plante on The Verge decided to create romantic poetry constructed exclusively from iPhone 6 reviews. It’s like normal poetry, but dirtier.

+ Heating pads might feel good, but most physical therapists say they don’t do much when it comes to the healing process. (Tell that to my cat.)

+ Cary Elwes talks about his upcoming book about the making of The Princess Bride. (Anybody want a peanut?)


TIME NextDraft

Behind Altruism and Other Fascinating News on the Web

September 16, 2014


1. I Want Your Body

They were easy to find. They came willingly. Some of them even refused to be reimbursed for travel expenses. And none of that should have surprised researchers. After all, to qualify for the study being run by Georgetown neuroscientists you had to have donated a kidney to a stranger. So what did the research suggest? These extreme altruists have bigger brains and are more sensitive to the facial expressions of others. The researchers believe their findings support “the hypothesis that our ability to care about the plight of others falls within a spectrum,” with extreme altruists on one end and psychopaths (and web commenters) on the other.

+ Is there a simple blood test that can diagnose depression and predict who will be most receptive to therapy?

2. The Epidemic

The U.S. is set to dedicate 3,000 troops and more than $500 million to support efforts to slow the Ebola epidemic, recently described by the World Heath Organization as “unparalleled in modern times.”

+ Mic: Why the world should actually care about Africa’s Ebola epidemic, in one alarming chart.

+ Aeon: In the battle against disease, the difference between a raging epidemic and a passing fever comes down to a single number.

+ Meanwhile, The Hollywood Reporter provides an interesting look at Hollywood’s Vaccine Wars: L.A.’s “Entitled” Westsiders Behind City’s Epidemic.

3. Rhetoric Already on the Ground

“To be clear, if we reach the point where I believe our advisers should accompany Iraqi troops on attacks against specific Isil targets, I will recommend that to the president.” So said General Martin Dempsey as the U.S. seems on an inevitable march towards putting U.S. boots back on the ground.

+ Matter’s Matthieu Aikins spent seven days on the ground in Syria with the good guys and takes you inside the life and death world of Syria’s first responders: Whoever Saves a Life.

4. The Thawing Tundra

As I mentioned yesterday, American discourse is currently being driven by issues in the NFL, a brand that has quickly gone from unstoppable juggernaut to cultural tackling dummy. The indictment of one of the league’s best players for child abuse has re-opened the discussion about corporal punishment and kids. And it turns out that the debate is anything but clear-cut. From NY Mag: Why Adrian Peterson’s child abuse Isn’t generating more outrage.

+ FiveThirtyEight: Opinions on spanking vary by party, race, region and religion.

+ “In photographs taken a good week after the whipping, the welts Peterson left on his son’s legs still look raw. The child, in his own interview with the police, said that his father also hit him in the face and stuffed a fistful of leaves in his mouth.” Is this really about spanking? Here’s an excellent piece from The New Yorker’s Amy Davidson: Adrian Peterson’s Intent.

+ “I learned, before the age of 5, how to be an abuser. That’s all I knew until the day I woke up.” In NPR, Anthony Hamilton explains: Why I Used to Hit Women.

5. Aliwhatnow?

Alibaba is about to have what could be the biggest IPO of all time. Last year, its sites brought in more dough that EBay and Amazon combined. So what exactly is Alibaba? To answer that, BloombergBusinessweek’s Sam Grobart did the obvious. He used Alibaba to make 280 pairs of brightly colored pants.

+ NPR: You can think of Alibaba like Amazon or Ebay, except you can buy way more on Alibaba — you can get a used 747 airplane, or an oil tanker, or 500 million tiny screws. (Funny, I prefer to pick those up in person.)

6. This is Helping Your Brain

My son’s third grade teacher assigns him 30 minutes of uninterrupted reading a night. Maybe I should be doing the same thing. Research shows that making that homework part of your daily routine eases stress, deepens empathy, and heightens concentration. Welcome to the new world of Slow Reading. (Come on. Is there any group more relaxed, empathetic, and focused than third graders?)

7. Can Portland Stay Weird?

It has an endless supply of creative fuel (coffee, beer). It has a highly literate and educated population. And it’s got enough opinionated dudes with beards to make it feel like you’re wandering through a never-ending bar mitzvah block party. So what’s the problem? NY Magazine’s Claire Cain Miller wonders: Will Portland always be a retirement community for the young? “People move to New York to be in media or finance; they move to L.A. to be in show business. People move to Portland to move to Portland.”

+ Related: Watch a bearded man run around New York city high-fiving people trying to hail cabs. (This could be another weird trick masterminded by execs at Uber.)

8. Chirp. Chirp. Chirp. Crunch

“The morning after I visited Next Millennium Farms, my digestive system expelled its first cricket exoskeleton.” Arielle Duhaime-Ross of The Verge ate crickets because they’re the future of food.

+ Modern Farmer: Jellyfish: It’s What’s for Dinner.

+ BloombergBusinessweek: How a Facebook group persuaded Coca-Cola to rerelease Surge. (Just when I was losing faith in the ability of the social network to do good…)

9. Inside a Breath Lab

“At this point, I don’t consider it gross anymore. But when I go home, my family thinks it’s gross because they can smell it on me.” The NYT on what it’s like to be a scientist at Listerine.

10. The Bottom of the News

No, no, no. You’re doing it wrong. What are you doing wrong? According to the Internet, just about everything.

+ Marriott is now leaving out an envelope so you can include a tip for the housekeeping staff.

+ What can cause erosion and environmental damage, medical emergencies, and angry neighbors? That’s easy. Too many Selfies.

+ Let’s conclude with a slightly harder question: Why isn’t cat food mouse-flavored?


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