TIME NextDraft

Everyone Is a News Editor Now and Other Fascinating News on the Web

August 21, 2014

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1. Awaiting Your Edits

The Ferguson story is big in part because it touches upon so many topics central to American discourse: Race, poverty, freedom of the press, law and order, the right of assembly, the militarization of police departments, leadership, justice, etc. But it’s also big because of what I call media momentum; the way social and mainstream media can feed off one another to make a story explode into our collective consciousness. Consider this stat: There were more than a million tweets about Ferguson before CNN gave the topic primetime coverage. From that point, the story dominated headlines. I like to think of myself as the Internet’s managing editor. But in truth, that title belongs to all of us. This story started small. People decided it was big. And the combined attention from the mainstream press and the Internet-enabled general public made it even bigger. From Pew, here’s a closer look at how the story grew and how we’ve become the new editors. Let’s just hope we’re the right people for the job.

+ What happens when a newsworthy story becomes a media spectacle? Here’s one journalist explaining why he left Ferguson.

+ And Matt Pearce, who has been covering the story for the LA Times and on Twitter takes us inside what has become a strange headquarters for news dissemination: “Amid the clouds of tear gas and hurtling bottle rockets that have turned this stretch of strip malls into a scene of mayhem through much of the past week, the one image rising above the turbulence has been the golden arches of the McDonald’s.”

2. Checks and Balances

Would James Foley be alive today if he was from Europe? Many Europeans countries pay millions in ransoms. The White House doesn’t. In Foreign Policy, James Traub on the agonizing question raised by these situations: Should states pay ransom to kidnappers?

+ Slate: Why the U.S. made a deal for Bowe Bergdahl but not James Foley.

+ Earlier this summer, the U.S. secretly attempted to rescue James Foley.

+ The hunt for Foley’s killer.

+ Buzzfeed: Photographers we’ve lost in conflict zones and their work

3. Free to Hug it Out

“Today is a miraculous day. I am thrilled to be alive, to be well and to be reunited with my family.” The two health workers who contracted Ebola in West Africa walked out of an Atlanta hospital today after doctors confirmed they have recovered and are not contagious.

4. Ready for Duty?

“Do you believe in an ‘eye for an eye’? What do your parents do for a living? Do you watch CSI? Dateline? Read Perez Hilton? Have you ever undergone a medical procedure that required an anesthetic?” Those are just a few of the questions you might be asked when you’re being considered for jury duty. The NYT with the latest questions jury selection experts are asking, and a quiz to see if you’d be selected.

+ New Republic: Convicting Darren Wilson will be basically impossible.

5. The Lady is a Champ

Picture the typical gamer. I bet the image that comes to mind is not an adult woman. But females now make up nearly half of all gamers, and “women over 18-years-old now represent a significantly larger portion of the U.S. game-playing population than boys under 18.”

6. Deuces Wild

Welcome to Twinsburg, Ohio; home of the annual Twins Days festival, and a dream research opportunity for scientists looking to gather genetic data. From one researcher: “They’re very aware that what they are is genetically interesting and the fact that people want to study that is something that resonates with them.”

+ Maria Konnikova in The New Yorker: Is there a gene that makes you need less sleep? (There definitely is if you have a baby named Gene.)

7. Burning Man(sion)

Nick Bilton in the NYT: “If you have never been to Burning Man, your perception is likely this: a white-hot desert filled with 50,000 stoned, half-naked hippies doing sun salutations while techno music thumps through the air. A few years ago, this assumption would have been mostly correct. But now things are a little different.” To identify the difference, just follow the money. The new millionaires and billionaires are spending big and threatening to turn Burning Man into dusty Internet conference, instead of letting it be what it is intended to be: A place to experience art, drugs, and the non-gender specific naked hugging of strangers that lasts a little too long but then is mysteriously forgotten a few hours later.

8. Thriller Whales

“I specifically remember Tilikum lying on the bottom of the neighboring pool masturbating. I’m right next door vacuuming the pool and watching him through a gate, humping the bottom of pool and climaxing. That stuff’s everywhere.” Three former SeaWorld employees on their unrivaled access to the animals — and the challenges of captivity. (I’m just glad my kids wanted a cat, not a whale.)

+ Slate: The strange, disturbing world of Koko the gorilla and Kanzi the bonobo.

9. Ice Breakers

“There are firmly established rules preventing the use of public office, such as our ambassadors, for private gain, no matter how worthy a cause.” And with that cable, U.S. lawmakers and diplomats were given the harsh news that they are not allowed to participate in the ice bucket challenge. Politicians can even throw cold water on cold water.

10. The Bottom of the News

You know how you’re never really paying attention during conference calls? Well, here’s a little secret. Neither is anyone else.

+ Hollywood wants to make you cry. But that’s harder than it used to be.

+ NYT: Breakfast might be overrated. (Then at least it properly sets your expectations for the rest of the day.)

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TIME NextDraft

The Most Dangerous Place to Be a Journalist and Other Fascinating News on the Web

August 20, 2014

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1. The World is Appalled

President Obama spoke following an official confirmation that the video of the beheading of an American journalist was authentic: “Today the entire world is appalled at the brutal murder of James Foley by the terrorist group ISIL.” Foley was a photojournalist from New Hampshire who was kidnapped two years ago while covering the war in Syria. Obama also said that groups like ISIL have “no place in the 21st century.” Unfortunately, they won’t leave willingly. James Foley risked his life bringing us important stories. His death is a reminder that one of the era’s most defining stories — the broad struggle between extremists and moderates — is far from over.

+ James Foley: “It’s part of the problem with these conflicts … We’re not close enough to it. And if reporters, if we don’t try to get really close to what these guys … are experiencing, we don’t understand the world.” The Atlantic: James Foley and the last journalists in Syria.

+ In May, Vanity Fair’s James Harkin wrote about the most dangerous place in the world for journalists (more than 60 have been killed in Syria) and followed the trail of two of his colleagues, including James Foley: Evaporated.

+ We are appalled today. People in Iraq and Syria have been appalled for quite a while. From Reuters: “When Islamic State militants stormed into a northern Iraqi village and ordered everyone to convert to Islam or die only one person refused.” That’s when the killing started.

2. Show and Tell?

The beheading of James Foley brings up a complex set of choices for editors and those who manage social media networks. How much graphic content is too much? As you might imagine, different publications had different answers. Meanwhile, Twitter began suspending users who shared images of Foley’s beheading.

3. Ferguson or Bust

I don’t remember a time when my Twitter stream was as totally locked in on a single topic as long as its been locked in on Ferguson. Apparently, a lot of people want to see (and take part) in the story firsthand. From MoJo: From Anarchists To Tibetan Monks, here are some of the outsiders joining protests in Ferguson.

+ “Last year, in total, British police officers actually fired their weapons three times. The number of people fatally shot was zero.” The Economist with a “reminder that civilians — innocent or guilty — are far more likely to be shot by police in America than in any other rich country.”

+ German journalist Ansgar Graw on his arrest in Ferguson: “I’ve been in several conflict zones: I was in the civil war regions in Georgia, the Gaza strip, illegally visited the Kaliningrad region when travel to the Soviet Union was still strictly prohibited for westerners, I’ve been in Iraq, Vietnam and in China, I’ve met Cuba dissidents. But to be arrested and yelled at and be rudely treated by police? For that I had to travel to Ferguson and St. Louis in the United States of America.”

4. Surrounded

In Liberia, an entire neighborhood called West Point has been surrounded by barbed-wire barricades in an attempt to control the spread of Ebola. From the NYT: “Soldiers repelled the surging crowd with live rounds, driving hundreds of young men back into the neighborhood, a slum of tens of thousands in Monrovia.”

+ James Surowiecki on Ebolanomics: “The lack of an Ebola treatment is disturbing. But, given the way drug development is funded, it’s also predictable.”

5. Way Offline

“He said he had no address, no vehicle, did not file a tax return, and did not receive mail. He said he lived in the woods.” Christopher Thomas Knight spent three decades living in the woods in Central Maine, only occasionally crossing the border into society to steal from the locals. (Just think of how much great television this guy can now binge-watch?) GQ’s: Michael Finkel on the strange and curious tale of the last true hermit.

6. It’s Not Synching In

According to recent research, people who read material on a Kindle are “significantly” worse at recalling key plot points than their paperback-reading counterparts. Now I just need a paperback with backlighting and a way to increase the font size.

7. Decade of Dominance

It’s been ten years since Google went public. And so far, things seem to be going pretty well for the company. Quartz’s Dan Frommer charts the company’s amazing growth since its IPO.

+ WSJ: Google’s IPO, 10 years later: Just 10 stocks beat it.

+ James Temple: Google’s 10 zaniest projects in the 10 years since the IPO.

8. It’s Mourning in America

“I awoke incredibly puffy and sad. I started crying almost immediately when I found out … I’m still incredibly sad. You can probably hear the choke in my voice. But I’ve decided I’m going to mourn for one week and then celebrate him without sadness, as I’m sure he would not have wanted that.” Are those the words of a close friend of Robin Williams? No. They’re the words of a fan. NY Mag’s Tim Murphy on those who grieve for dead celebrities.

+ “Public mourning is there in order to allow private mourning to express itself.” New Republic’s Meghan O’Rourke: Twitter Grief is Real Grief. (Though, one hopes real grief is at least a few characters longer…)

9. Ice on the Cake

The ice bucket challenge is working. The ALS Association has raised more than $22 million since the viral project’s kick-off. Vox’s Julia Belluz wonders if viral memes should be dictating our charitable giving.

+ Wired: How long would it take the whole world to do the ice bucket challenge? (By that time, due to climate change, we’d be pouring room temperature water over our heads.)

10. The Bottom of the News

Enough with all the bad news. This will cheer you up. A four year-old reviews The French Laundry.

+ If you want to wake up in the city that never sleeps, you better head somewhere other than NYC. According to data collected by Jawbone, people who live there go to bed at a perfectly reasonable hour.

+ NPR: If You’re Born In The Sky, What’s Your Nationality?

+ Want a successful marriage? Have a big wedding.

+ Slate: What makes people look like their pets?

+ The NFL wants Super Bowl halftime performers to have to pay for the right to perform. (And given which acts they’re considering, that actually makes a lot of sense.)

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TIME NextDraft

Meet The Hitchhiking Canadian Robot and Other Fascinating News on the Web

August 19, 2014

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1. Meet the Neighbors

Want to live longer? Go meet your neighbors. Recent research introduced by psychologists at the University of Michigan found that people who know and trust their neighbors are much less likely to have heart attacks. Like many studies, this one is more about correlation than causation, so it’s difficult to say for sure whether bonding with the neighbors is really worth the risk. As we learned last week, a lot of people couldn’t pick their neighbors out of a police lineup. (How many of us would be surprised to see them there?)

+ If interacting with other humans isn’t your thing, you could always exchange some pleasantries with hitchBot. The Canadian robot hitchhiked 4,000 miles “to explore the boundaries of human-technological interaction.”

2. Driving Miss Lazy

In a move that will watched closely by Google and Amazon, Uber is testing Corner Store, a new pilot program that will let users order staple items for same day delivery. I have a feeling that someday we’ll point to the rise of the same day delivery services as a key factor in the decline of personal health. (Of course, by that time, Uber will be delivering medicine too.)

3. The Gray Area

It’s been more than a week since Michael Brown was shot “at least six times,” and the often shocking scenes from the streets of Ferguson show few signs of improving. From molotov cocktails, to tear gas, to arrests and shootings, Buzzfeed has the latest from Ferguson.

+ The numbers in Pew’s report on the sharp black-white divide on perceptions of Ferguson are pretty amazing. Only 44 percent of whites say that that the Brown shooting raises racial issues.

+ “Your circle will necessarily close tighter because the trust you once, if ever, you had in the system and their agents are forever changed. Your lives are forever changed.” Trayvon Martin’s Mom sends an open letter to Michael Brown’s family.

+ Ezra Klein has an interesting take on why Obama won’t give the Ferguson speech his supporters want.

+ Vox: Half of black men in the US have been arrested by age 23.

+ Three Georgia teens have developed an app that is like Yelp for cops.

4. Giving Back

Peace in the Middle East is as elusive as … peace in the Middle East. These days, we’d settle for a ceasefire. The latest one was interrupted by a barrage of rocket fire from Hamas, followed by Israeli airstrikes. Following the exchange, the Israeli negotiators walked out of the latest talks.

+ From The NYT: “In 1943, Henk Zanoli took a dangerous train trip, slipping past Nazi guards and checkpoints to smuggle a Jewish boy from Amsterdam to the Dutch village of Eemnes. There, the Zanoli family, already under suspicion for resisting the Nazi occupation, hid the boy in their home for two years. The boy would be the only member of his family to survive the Holocaust.” Zanoli received a medal from Israel for being one of the righteous non-Jews who saved Jews during the Holocaust. Last week, he gave the medal back.

5. Pipe Teams

Connectivity is everything. And being the brand that provides that connectivity to the most people would put any company in an enviable position. But what about the consumers on the other end of those broadband pipes? Adrianne Jeffries of The Verge wonders: What happens when the most unpopular company in the US merges with the runner-up?

6. The Cost of Kids

If you are a middle-income family with a new baby in the house, congratulations. That kid will cost you about a quarter of a million dollars in child-rearing expenses over the next 18 years. (I expect my kids to contribute at least ten times that in start-up equity.)

+ Quartz: Why more restaurants are banning kids. If you don’t already know the answer to that, my kids and I would love to take you out to dinner some time.

+ Every kid knows the “I’m gonna take your ear” gag, right? Wrong.

7. You Don’t Know Joe

Many of us wake up in the morning and make our first cup of coffee “with the mindless precision of a machine.” FastCo tries to explain how you got hooked on coffee. It’s all part of their deep dive into Coffee Week. From Pumpkin Spice Lattes to foamy artistry, grab a mug and come on in.

8. The Bucket Gist

I just dumped a bucket of boiling lard over my head. Someone had to up the ante as the ice-bucket challenge sends shivers across social media. NY Mag examines why the ice-bucket challenge went viral. You know it’s only a matter of time before we starting seeing headlines about the Great Ice Shortage of 2014.

9. Dave Remembers Robin

David Letterman shared a fond remembrance of Robin Williams during last night’s Late Show. Letterman’s reaction after seeing Williams perform for the first time: “They’re gonna have to put an end to show business because what can happen after this?”

+ Don Pardo has died at the age of 96. You probably know the name. You definitely know the voice. And, for comedians, having him say your name was a really big deal.

10. The Bottom of the News

We judge books by covers. And we definitely judge television shows by their opening title design. Here’s a look at this years Emmy nominations for main title design (and the winner).

+ What’s really the best way to brush your teeth? Hint: It probably doesn’t matter.

+ WSJ takes a look at the real reason we yawn.

+ A Little League coach delivered a nice speech to his team after they lost a big game.

+ Not having a good day at work? Consider Brendan Walsh. He just got done scuba diving in shit.

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TIME NextDraft

The Crisis in Ferguson and Other Fascinating News on the Web

August 15, 2014

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1. Management 101

After nearly a week of public pressure, the Ferguson Police Department finally released the name of the officer involved in the shooting of Michael Brown. And for the first time, they also released a report indicating that Brown was being sought in connection with a robbery at a local convenience store. (They later mentioned that the robbery was totally unrelated to the initial contact between the officer and Brown.) Long story short, tensions have not been eased.

+ As wildly mishandled as it was, nothing that was said during today’s press conference would have been enough because it took so long to share the information. Here’s The Wire’s David Simon with an open letter to the Ferguson police chief: “The decision of a police agency to hide the identities of its officers behind a veil of secrecy, while asking the public at large to risk all in open court, is not mere hypocrisy. It is cowardice.”

+ While no one was satisfied with the delayed details shared by police, the scene surrounding that dissatisfaction has changed dramatically over the past couple of days. And that could be in large part because crowd control in Ferguson was under new management. What a difference a day made. Take a look at this before and after shot of Crowd Management 101.

+ MoJo: Exactly how often do police shoot unarmed Black men?

+ That time Ferguson police beat an innocent suspect and then charged him with getting blood on their uniforms.

+ The protest sign that says it all.

2. Shall We Play a (Mind) Game?

“Smile in a certain way, and she knows precisely what your smile means. Develop a nervous tic or tension in an eye, and she instantly picks up on it. She listens to what you say, processes every word, works out the meaning of your pitch, your tone, your posture, everything.” She’s a computer. And it turns out that some people feel more comfortable answering personal questions when they come from an avatar instead of a shrink. From The Economist: The computer will see you now.

+ Quartz: Still think robots can’t do your job? This video may change your mind.

3. Weekend Reads

“The dancers and photographer who inspired one of the biggest pop culture touchstones of a generation have gone most of their lives unable to publicly talk about the credit they think they deserve.” From Buzzfeed’s Soraya Roberts: The Untold Story Of The 31-Year Battle Over Flashdance. (Finally, a good excuse to break out my old one-shouldered sweatshirt.)

+ “I am a bottom feeder. I specialize in finding paper that everyone else thinks is worthless.” From the NYT Magazine: Inside the dark, labyrinth, and extremely lucrative world of consumer debt collection: Paper Boys.

+ “For conservative Indians like my parents, ‘falling in love’ is an American illness, a condition to avoid as one avoids warts or gonorrhea. But I need Daddy to confess that he felt something for Mummy when he married her.” From Longreads, Falling: Love and Marriage in a Conservative Indian Family.

+ Dan O’Sullivan: The story of pro wrestling in the twentieth century is the story of American capitalism. (No wonder my bank account feels like someone has been hitting it over the head with a folding metal chair…)

4. The Mod Squad

“For decades, U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East has been to support ‘moderates.’ The problem is that there are actually very few of them.” In WaPo, Fareed Zakaria describes the fantasy of Middle Eastern moderates. They are an endangered population in many countries around the world.

5. Love and Shareage

You know those oversharing Facebook couples that constantly announce their love to the world? Well, a small study suggests that they really are happy. (I think we all know that true love can only be found in a retweet.)

6. We’re Gonna Need a Bigger Bowl

Starting with the documentary Blackfish, SeaWorld has been under increasing pressure from critics of their treatment of whales. Now that the criticism is having a material affect on the botton line, SeaWorld has announced plans to double the size of the orca fish bowl (which sadly still leaves it a bit smaller than the ocean).

+ Narratively: How the creator of Jaws became the shark’s greatest defender.

7. An Elite Club

These days there are fewer gnomes, dragons and pirates at the most competitive courses. But don’t let that deter you from attempting to turn mini golf into your career. The NYT on mini golf’s first winner of the triple crown.

8. The Caffeination Clock

Let scientists tell you the ideal time of day to get the most bang out of your coffee. (All day seems to work pretty well…)

9. Kiss it Goodbye

It was foggy. It was windy. And it was basically a toilet. But it was our toilet, and in a weird way, we’ll miss it. San Francisco kisses Candlestick goodbye. Fittingly, the stadium’s final night featured colder than usual weather and that old familiar traffic nightmare.

10. The Bottom of the News

Walk at the same pace as those around you. Do not make an effort to use overly big words. And of course, make sure you’ve read your latest edition of NextDraft. These are just a few tips on how to look smart.

+ Last night in Carmel, a 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO sold for $38 million. And most experts were surprised it sold that cheap.

+ A startup CEO offers 1,284 slides in the most insane PowerPoint ever. (With a little editing, he could have gotten the same message across with like eleven hundred slides…)

+ Is Jake Johnson the best drunk actor of our time?

+ This season on Downton Abbey, the Crawleys are faced with the mystery of the plastic water bottle. (The bottle is pretty interesting, so they’ll probably kill it.)

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TIME NextDraft

Reflecting on Media Coverage of Robin Williams and Other Fascinating News on the Web

August 13, 2014

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1. Death (Coverage) Be Not Proud

The stories about Robin Williams are still plastered across every news site. When a lot of us are interested in a story, news organizations aggressively compete to be the brand that feeds that interest. For a very stark glimpse of what that competition can look like, check out this internal memo from a deputy managing editor of the NY Daily News to the site’s web editors. The use of “buzzy words” like death, dead, and suicide are encouraged.

+ In case you thought such eyeball-grabbing strategies were limited to web editors, check out the newspaper’s offline front page.

+ While much of the Williams coverage has been over the top, most of the tributes seem genuine. And, if nothing else, the coverage got people talking about the issues surrounding depression. If you missed it, I touched upon a few of those in yesterday’s edition.

2. Same Old Wrong

The shooting. The anger. The protests. If the scenes playing out in Ferguson seem like a sequel, it’s because its basic elements seem to be on an endless loop. From Jelani Cobb in The New Yorker: “The story that witnesses tell is disturbing not only in its details but in the ways in which those details blur into a longer narrative. It’s one we’re all familiar with if we have paid even passive attention, and yet, despite its redundancy, we have yet to grasp its moral.”

+ Another night of unrest led to another shooting and a police request that demonstrators refrain from protesting after dark. Meanwhile, the name of the officer involved in the shooting has not been released.

+ When you look at these numbers related to the racial divide in this extremely segregated city, it all starts to add up.

3. Boots Closer to the Ground

President Obama is considering using American aircraft and personnel to rescue the refugees displaced by ISIS in Iraq.

+ Vice News journalist and filmmaker Medyan Dairieh spent three weeks filming alone inside the self-proclaimed caliphate of the Islamic State.

+ The Pentagon has a new advisor. And he works at Uber.

4. Interview with a Vagabond

“He is a uniquely postmodern breed of whistle-blower. Physically, very few people have seen him since he disappeared into Moscow’s airport complex last June. But he has nevertheless maintained a presence on the world stage — not only as a man without a country but as a man without a body.” Wired’s James Bamford spends some time with Edward Snowden, the most wanted man in the world. (Among other things, Snowden tells the story of the time the NSA accidentally shut of Internet access across all of Syria.)

5. Retraining Camp

“I heard that these people were coming to get me. I ran, so they put cuffs on me and put me in the car. I was crying my eyes out. I almost had a panic attack. This place is hell … I didn’t do that many bad things that I should get sent away to a place like this.” The Atlantic’s Sulome Anderson: When wilderness boot camps take tough love too far. When I was a kid, my parents had to cuff me just to get me to go to regular camp.

+ Global parenting habits that haven’t caught on in America.

+ “When your daughter walks up to you and points to her mouth, which is filled with tiny rocks, she’s not acting out to get your attention. She’s championing a paradigm shift in how gravel is conceptualized.” Lean in, for toddlers

+ Surprise, hand sanitizers in schools don’t make your kid less likely to get sick. (Maybe now my kids will finally stop complaining about having to wear the hazmat suits.)

6. You Can’t Stop the Beat

You’re not imagining that constant, pounding bass line that seems to follow you from place to place. It turns out that, while much of the music industry is struggling, Electronic dance music (EDM) is booming. And booming. And booming. (Sometimes I crank death metal just to escape it all.)

7. The Last One

“My son tells me, ‘Do you realize you are the last one? The last person who was an eyewitness to the golden age?’ Young people, even in Hollywood, ask me, ‘Were you really married to Humphrey Bogart?’ ‘Well, yes, I think I was,’ I reply.” Lauren Bacall passed away at the age of 89. Here’s a look back at a 2011 Vanity Fair profile: To have and have not.

+ Slate: The perfect career of Lauren Bacall in five films.

+ All 16 icons name-dropped in Madonna’s Vogue are now gone.

8. Math Like a Girl

Syndicated from Kottke: The Fields Medal is viewed as the greatest honor in mathematics; the Nobel of math. Today, Iranian mathematician Maryam Mirzakhani became the first woman (and Iranian) to win a Fields Medal.

9. Eating is Believing

You’re more likely to buy it if you get to see it first. Enter, the see-through package.

+ “Sugar is our great shortcut. To calories, to corporate profits, to immediate satisfaction.” The Globe and Mail on the evolution of a forbidden fruit.

+ The world’s ten most dangerous foods people actually eat. (If you can avoid African Bullfrog, you’re probably good…)

10. The Bottom of the News

Thanks to some recent court cases, the NCAA’s draconian financial grip on the lives of college athletes is showing signs of loosening. For a glimpse of what college sports might look like without all the rules and supervision, you might want to check out bass fishing. (That’s my first time typing that phrase…)

+ Have we reached peak sleep hack? Remove one foot from under your covers and let’s call this thing…

+ Human selfies are out. Statue selfies are in.

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TIME NextDraft

Remembering Robin Williams and Other Fascinating News on the Web

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1. Robin

Of course, everyone who ever met, worked with, or watched Robin Williams has something nice to say about him today. But in this case, they would have said the same thing yesterday, last week, or last year. We’ll miss the jokes. We’ll re-watch the movies. But that pit in our collective stomach today is there because on some level, we always knew he was one of the good ones. At his high school in Marin, his classmates voted him most humorous and least likely to succeed. They were half right. The LA Times with full coverage: Robin Williams, 1951-2014.

+ “Then, at an especially bleak moment, the door flew open and in hurried a squat fellow with a blue scrub hat and a yellow surgical gown and glasses, speaking in a Russian accent. He announced that he was my proctologist and that he had to examine me immediately.” A few memories from their friendship from Williams’ Juilliard roommate Christopher Reeve.

+ A mashup of his iconic roles, and some of his funniest moments.

+ Marc Maron’s WTF Podcast: Remembering Robin Williams.

+ From Longreads, five in-depth pieces about Williams.

+ And Norm Macdonald’s great story about meeting Robin Williams in the dressing room before appearing on Letterman for the first time.

2. Shedding Some Light on the Darkness

“And yet, something inside you is so horrible or you’re such a coward or whatever the reason that you decide that you have to end it. Robin Williams, at 63, did that today.” Fox News anchor Shepard Smith has apologized for making those remarks. But they probably (and sadly) reflect a widely held opinion. The truth is that depression has nothing to do with bravery or courage. It is a monster that strips those traits away before it even gets warmed up. If anything, Robin Williams’ suicide is another reminder that all the talent and humor in the world is no match for the power and darkness of depression. The way I see it, if you can fight off depression for 63 years and make others laugh and feel good, you are one courageous dude.

+ The Guardian: “Dismissing the concerns of a genuine depression sufferer on the grounds that you’ve been miserable and got over it is like dismissing the issues faced by someone who’s had to have their arm amputated because you once had a paper cut.”

+ “In Paris on a chilly evening late in October of 1985 I first became fully aware that the struggle with the disorder in my mind — a struggle which had engaged me for many months — might have a fatal outcome.” From one of the best pieces of writing on the topic of depression. William Styron’s Darkness Visible.

+ On Comedians and depression: Comedy clubs are “hardly the sort of venues where one goes to hear banter suited to a therapy session. And yet, for the past three years, the Laugh Factory has provided both: Once they’re done with a set, comedians can see an in-house psychologist.”

+ We should be talking about this topic. More Americans die of suicide than in car accidents.

3. A Dozen Doses

The World Health Organization has established that it is ethical to use untested drugs on victims of Ebola as the virus continues to spread. But as of this moment, there might only be 12 doses left.

4. Rescue Mission

There are about 40,000 Yazidis hiding from ISIS in the mountains of Iraq. CNN takes you on a rescue mission that brought some of them to safety. And Alan Taylor has a collection of images from the scene.

5. Right Place, Wrong Outcome

“Michael Brown didn’t die in the dark. He was eighteen years old, walking down a street in Ferguson, Missouri, from his apartment to his grandmother’s, at 2:15 on a bright Saturday afternoon. He was, for a young man, exactly where he should be.” In The New Yorker, Amy Davidson asks: Why did Michael Brown die in Ferguson?

+ Dorian Johnson witnessed the shooting. So why haven’t the police spoken to him?

+ Vox provides an excellent overview of this developing story.

6. Taken For a Ride

Uber employees have reportedly ordered and canceled nearly 6,000 rides from their rival, Lyft. Employees at Lyft should repeatedly call Uber and just say, “Baba Booey.”

+ WSJ on tech’s fiercest rivalry: Uber vs. Lyft. (I just saw a tank with a pink mustache drive by. This shit’s getting real.)

7. Reset Your Brain

“The summer vacation is more than a quaint tradition. Along with family time, mealtime and weekends, it is an important way that we can make the most of our beautiful brains.” In the NYT, the director of McGill’s Laboratory for Music, Cognition and Expertise warns that the often overwhelming information age requires us to go offline and reset our brains. Now I’m overwhelmed by an urgency not to miss the next article about the importance of taking time off from the computer.

8. If You Like BPA Coladas…

Even though it’s completely responsible for making life on Earth possible, getting too much sun can be bad for you. Does sunscreen help? What do the SPF numbers really mean? Is sunscreen more harmful than helpful? FiveThirtyEight on why you might just want to stay in the shade.

+ BPA is bad for you. So many manufacturers got the compound out of their plastic bottles and containers. Now it looks like the new compound could be just as harmful.

+ Does some Colgate toothpaste contain known carcinogens?

9. The King of Beers

“His will is law. There’s one dude in the government who gets to control a multibillion-dollar industry with almost no supervision.” If you’ve seen a beer label in the last few years, then you’ve seen a design that’s been approved by Kent “Battle” Martin. Meet the beer bottle dictator.

10. The Bottom of the News

A lot of you let me know when you find a typo in NextDraft. Well, I can finally explain why it’s often impossible for me to catch them myself. It’s because I’m wildly intelligent and working on an extremely high level task. (I’m also distracted, have blurred vision, and just finished my second quart of French Roast.) From WIred: Why It’s So Hard to Catch Your Own Typos.

+ My son is only eight, but he already slams his door shut and cranks rock music at top volume. He recently asked me: “How do you play an electric guitar?” Kid, let’s start with this video: The history of the electric guitar in one song. (But as soon as you’re done watching it, you’re learning to code!)

+ And if you missed it yesterday, there were some great music-related links: In Vinyl Veritas.

+ “Capricorn Ted Cruz can’t get along with ‘typical Leo’ Barack Obama. Maybe the Zodiac can explain why DC is so screwed up.

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TIME NextDraft

Why People Don’t Know Who Their Neighbors Are Anymore and Other Fascinating News on the Web

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1. Where Nobody Knows Your Name

Can you name your neighbors? More than half of Americans say they can’t. And we’re not alone. Between the Internet, the over-scheduling of kids, and parents who spend longer hours at work, suburban neighborhoods have undergone a dramatic shift in recent years; to the point that a third of Britons said “they couldn’t pick their near neighbors out of a police lineup.” McClean’s Brian Bethune on the end of neighbors.

+ And then there are those with no neighbors at all. Wired shares some shots of people living off the grid. (If I see an HD movie start to buffer, I panic.)

2. Mike Mike

Michael Brown’s nickname was Mike Mike and he was scheduled to begin college courses today. Instead, he was an unarmed victim of a controversial police shooting that led to riots and fires in suburban St Louis over the weekend.

+ St. Louis Dispatch: Clean up, calm Monday morning after violent night in Ferguson

+ From The Wire: “Whether it’s the racial bias of photos used to represent the victim, or the fact that his shooting isn’t as newsworthy as the looting and riots that followed, major news outlets are playing into the stereotypes about young black men that will lead to the next death of an unarmed teenager.”

+ The Root reports on a very powerful hashtag campaign that attempts to show how black people are often portrayed in the media: If they gunned me down.

3. They Keep Pulling Us Back In

There is a certain irony that the first airstrikes aimed at ISIS in Iraq came from F-18s flying off the U.S.S. George H. W. Bush. Barack Obama is now the fourth straight president to bomb Iraq. The New Yorker’s Robin Wright on the Iraq Redux.

+ Vox: “In a twist of such bitterly symbolic irony that it could only occur in the Middle East, the US would also be bombing hundreds of millions of dollars worth of American military equipment.”

+ Bombs from the air, and political chaos on the ground in Baghdad.

+ BBC: An interactive video on the rise of the Islamic State.

+ Slate: The Jihadi Gift Shop.

4. Paper and Fire

Just about everyone I know who got one has complained about this year’s Restoration Hardware catalog. Weighing in at a cool seventeen pounds, the latest edition makes the Yellow Pages seem tree-friendly and surprisingly readable. Why do they do it? Because, for some reason, people supposedly buy more stuff from a catalog than they do online.

5. Cats and Dollars

Buzzfeed took the “Which Startup Are You” quiz and found out they are the one with an additional 50 million in funding. (I assume that’s 40 million in cash and 10 million in animated GIFs). Some of the money will be used to fund a motion picture division. The bottom line is that the venture market is keen on content, and that’s a very good thing. So in honor of the new funds, here are 10 surprising facts about the game Simon.

+ Mat Honan liked everything he saw on Facebook. Here’s what it did to him.

+ The NYT takes you inside Apple’s internal training program.

6. Hill Street Ooze

“Silva parked and went inside to see the manager. After introducing himself as LADWP, Silva said loudly, ‘You know there’s a drought.'” When the reservoirs run low in California, the Water Police hit the streets.

+ A lot of the bottled water people still foolishly drink comes from the most drought-ridden places in the country. If I were you, I’d tap that instead.

7. Now What?

“Distinct from the idea of a malevolent pedophile ring, these young men – and occasionally young women – said they didn’t want to hurt children and were trying find a way to make sure they never would.” In Matter, Luke Malone tackles a tough subject: You’re 16. You’re a Pedophile. You Don’t Want to Hurt Anyone. What Do You Do Now?

+ The Awl’s Choire Sicha talks to Luke Malone about his reporting of this story, which started out as his Columbia journalism school thesis.

8. Oddly Smart

Occasionally there is a person so dominant in in their field that they blow away even the second-best competitor. Nigel Richards even stands out when compared to others in this rare breed. FiveThirtyEight looks at what makes him the best Scrabble player on Earth.

+ BoingBoing’s Mark Frauenfelder introduces you to his genius friend who went to high school for ten years. (He wanted to get it right.)

9. In Vinyl Veritas

“I’ve gone to therapy for 40 years to try to explain this to myself.” NYT Magazine’s Monte Reel with the story of the Brazilian who’s buying up all the world’s vinyl. (I bet he’ll wish he chose another hobby when all the hipsters show up…)

+ Listen to your new favorite rock/blues/punk artist. Courtesy of NPR, this is Benjamin Booker.

+ Booker taps into some of rock’s history. The fantastic documentary Muscle Shoals puts it on full display. Great stuff.

+ An oral history of the Beatles at Candlestick Park in 1966.

+ A new study found that musical training can improve language and reading. My wife and I took our kids (5 and 8) to see Tom Petty at the Outside Lands music festival. I’m not sure it improved their reading, but they definitely have a better idea of what it looks like to pass out drunk at a music festival. (We turned it into a teachable moment and told them that the person didn’t eat their vegetables.)

+ And in cased you missed it, here’s my old McSweeney’s piece: An open letter to the guy who puked next to me at the heavy metal festival.

10. The Bottom of the News

Want to live a more ordered life? Forget the self-help books. Just do what the chefs do. (This is like other forms of organizing advice, but with an added cube of butter.)

+ Looking for the teenager who is going to redefine the way women are viewed in baseball? Check out Mo’Ne Davis and her 70 mph fastball.

+ Why are names so easy to forget?

+ Here’s why a chicken can live without its head.

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TIME NextDraft

Uber and Lyft Start Carpooling Services and Other Fascinating News on the Web

August 6, 2014

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1. You Complete Me

My mom always warned me not to get into a car with a stranger. I can’t imagine her reaction if I made a habit of getting into cars with groups of strangers. But that could be the next big thing as both Uber and Lyft have announced carpooling services aimed at filling the backseat with other folks going your way. I thought the whole point of technology was to allow us to interact with others without having to share our personal space?

+ Sometimes a crowded commute can be beneficial. In Perth, a large group of passengers helped free a man who was wedged between a platform and a train. (Great. Now my mom won’t let me take trains either…)

2. Rubbing Saline in the Wound

Liberian health care workers who have contracted Ebola have been given saline infusions and electrolytes to keep them from getting dehydrated. Two American health care workers were given an experimental serum and a specially-equipped plane ride to one of the world’s top medical centers. The New Republic’s Brian Till argues that the inequality in care couldn’t be starker.

+ Three experts, including the person who discovered Ebola, argue that Africans should be given access to the experimental drug.

+ The New Yorker’s Richard Preston on the outbreak: “In Liberia, parts of the medical system have effectively collapsed. Some hospitals and clinics have been abandoned, while others have become choked with Ebola patients. The hospitals of Monrovia, the capital of Liberia, are full of Ebola patients and are turning away new patients, including women in childbirth. American Ebola experts in Monrovia are hearing reports that infected bodies are being left in the streets: the outbreak is beginning to assume a medieval character.”

+ The Guardian’s James Ball says you’re worrying about the wrong disease. And MoJo offers up five diseases that are scarier that Ebola. Umm, thanks?

3. The Spread

While most of the media has been focused on Israel and Gaza, the Islamic State (also known as ISIS) has continued to spread throughout Iraq and parts of Syria. According to one expert on the region, the group “now controls resources and territory unmatched in the history of extremist organizations.”

+ George Packer: A friend flees the horror of ISIS.

+ Vox: 16 things to know about ISIS.

4. You’ve Been Owned

Last night, the NYT’s Nicole Perlroth and David Gelles uncovered the details of the latest mega-hack in which a Russian crime ring has amassed 1.2 billion username-password combinations, and more than 500 million email addresses by way of 420,000 websites.

+ The security company that shared this data is now willing to let you know if you’re on the list for an annual subscription fee of $120. Hmmm. While you’re thinking about that, you can change your passwords for free.

5. STD is as STD Does

“The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says young people ages 13 to 24 make up approximately one in four new HIV infections in the US, and about 60 percent of those infected don’t know they have the disease.” Those are facts that many teens don’t know about. And it turns out that — according to a recent survey — a third of them don’t even know that HIV is an STD. This is either a truly remarkable stat or a really bad survey.

6. The State of Bass

Researchers are learning what heavy metal fans have known for years. Music with a heavy bass line makes us feel powerful. According to one of the researchers behind the study: “The effect of music appears to manifest itself not only in its ability to entertain, but also in the ability to imbue humans with a real sense of power.” I think what he’s trying to say is: “I want to rock!”

+ They could have saved a lot of time and energy on the study if they just asked the opinion of the guy who self-inflicted a brain injury by headbanging at too many Motorhead concerts.

7. Monkey See, Monkey Sue

Wikimedia has repeatedly refused a photographer’s request to take down an image that has been posted without his permission. The photo is a selfie taken by a monkey. And the folks at Wikimedia argue “that because a monkey pressed the shutter button it should own the copyright.” I guess we’ll have to wait and see how this case evolves.

8. Phoning it In

On July 1, 1930, Richard G. Hendrickson called the National Weather Service and reported the temperature from his family’s Long Island farm. And, according to the NYT, he’s done the same every day since. “Twice a day, every day, he has recorded the temperature, precipitation and wind from the same area of Bridgehampton. He has been at it through 14 presidencies, 13 New York governorships and 14 mayoralties in that city 96 miles away. The Weather Service says he has taken more than 150,000 individual readings.” Keep your venture capitalists and your fancy technology. No one disintermediates Richard G. Hendrickson.

9. Dialing for Dollars

When a service goes from 21 million subscribers down to 2.3 million in about a decade, it’s rarely cause for celebration. But in this case, it’s pretty remarkable. There are millions of people who still pay AOL twenty bucks a month for dial-up service.

10. The Bottom of the News

Reminder: If you want to get NextDraft delivered to your email, or use the 5 star iPhone or iPad app, just head over to NextDraft.

+ In what could be the ultimate man bites dog story of all time, Donald Trump is suing to have his name removed from two buildings. Trump argues that two casinos he once owned in Atlantic City have “fallen into such disrepair that their continued association with the Trump name is hurting his brand.” Suggestion: Trump’s hair should hire a lawyer.

+ Horses communicate by using their ears. (Humans should try that.)

+ Forget reservations. Now hot restaurants want you to buy tickets.

+ A guy was caught tagging a courthouse while he was there facing multiple counts of vandalism. You’ve got to him points for stick-to-itiveness.

+ Buzzfeed: I went to a One Direction concert by myself. This is my story.

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TIME NextDraft

How YouTubers Get Famous and Other Fascinating News on the Web

August 5, 2014

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1. The Revolution Will Not Be Buffered

“More than an hour before the doors open at the Anaheim Convention Center, there’s already a line that stretches from the entrance, past a nearby Hilton, around a water fountain, through a palm-tree lined promenade, and all the way to the driveway’s entrance.” Most of the people in line are young. So you might guess they were waiting to see a movie star, the latest boy band, or the cast of a hit TV show. But they were there to take selfies with a different kind of celebrity; one that’s famous, in part, because they are not famous in the traditional sense of the word. They are stars of the small screen. Fast Company’s Sarah Kessler takes you inside YouTube’s fame factory. Back in my day, that would have amounted to little more than a couple cute cats wearing funny sunglasses.

+ And don’t think this trend is limited to a few thousand tweens that line up at these events. According to a recent survey in Variety: “U.S. teenagers are more enamored with YouTube stars than they are the biggest celebrities in film, TV and music.”

+ The trend seems to hold for the younger demographic as well. My son and his entire crew of fellow 8 year-olds are all about the new British Invasion; a high-pitched, fast-speaking young man with a British accent and a crazy laugh” who describes his adventures in Minecraft. Meet Mr. Stampy Cat.

2. Costing an Arm and a Leg

Being poor can cost you your mental health, your upward mobility, and your educational opportunities. And according to UCLA researchers, it can also cost you a body part. Poor people with diabetes are ten times more likely to lose limb.

3. Cease is the Word?

There is yet another cease-fire in the Middle East. But with Israeli troops pulling out of Gaza, there are signs that this one could actually hold.

+ What you see is what you get. Here’s an interesting look at how our views are often shaped. Israel, Gaza, war and data -– social networks and the art of personalizing propaganda.

+ “You try to help the people with their suffering. It’s totally different when you have the same experience. You lose six from your family — three brothers, your mom, one of your nephews, your sister-in-law. It’s really … unexpected.” From the NYT, a psychologist in Gaza who spent decades counseling trauma victims finds himself in need of the same kind of help.

+ In Afghanistan, an American two-star general was killed in an attack on an Afghan training facility.

4. Teenage Wasteland

“The United States is the only country in the world that routinely condemns children to die in prison.” In an even-handed and compelling documentary, POV tells the story of one of those kids. Kenneth Young committed armed robberies and received four life sentences when he was fifteen years-old.

+ The Center for Investigative Reporting spent a year reporting about teens in solitary confinement. Here is Alone, a short documentary that they produced. And if you missed it earlier, definitely check out CIR’s animation called The Box.

+ From The Marshall Project: The Prosecutor and the Snitch. Did Texas execute an innocent man?

5. Crystal Ball and Chain

“Really good detectives are born with this sixth sense, that crystal ball in their stomach. It’s having the ability to get inside that person’s soul whatever way you can and get the person to say what you need to hear.” That’s Louis Scarcella trying to describe the innate abilities that helped him become a star detective; the guy you called in when the case went cold. But now Scarcella is “accused of putting away innocent people, over decades, on false charges, by whatever means necessary — forced confessions, witness tampering, and a total disregard for justice.” From GQ’s Sean Flynn: Brooklyn’s Baddest.

+ Priceonomics: This is what happens when you enter the witness protection program.

6. The Scanner

Google scans your email. That’s just one of the invasions of privacy many of us have been complaining about in recent years. But sometimes the scanning of those emails turns up people who are sharing the worst kind of images, and then Google turns them over to the authorities.

+ You want to be anonymous on the web. But so do criminals who scour the depths of the dark web. “The FBI has been quietly experimenting with drive-by hacks as a solution to one of law enforcement’s knottiest Internet problems: how to identify and prosecute users of criminal websites hiding behind the powerful Tor anonymity system.” Wired explains how the FBI could end up in your computer.

+ MIT researchers can listen to your conversation by watching your potato chip bag. (If I’m in close proximity to a bag of chips, I’m usually chewing too much to saying anything.)

7. The Longest Bard

If you walked into an acting class in a small town in Florida, you might be surprised to see that your teacher is a guy who once dominated the movie box office for five straight years. But no one who grew up in the place where he’s known as Buddy is all that surprised. To the rest of us, he’s known as Burt Reynolds; or these days, Professor Burt.

8. Eye Yai Yai

At this time of day, I have no problem reading these words. But by this evening, the blur will set in. If this sounds familiar, then you’re probably a fellow sufferer of eye strain. Here’s Vox on what staring at a screen all day is doing to your eyes. Interesting article (though the font could have been a little bigger…)

9. Happy is as Happy Does?

Is there an equation for happiness? According to a group of researchers, the answer is yes. They can’t create happiness, but they say they have figured out a way to predict it. “The researchers say their findings do support the theory that if you have low expectations, you can never be disappointed, but they also found that the positive expectations you have for something — like going to your favorite restaurant with a friend — is a large part of what develops your happiness.” So both high and low expectations make perfect sense. This is why I hate math.

10. The Bottom of the News

Ashrita Furman is the man with the most Guinness World Records of all time. His dad wanted him to be a lawyer, but after watching this fun documentary, he’ll come around: The Record Breaker.

+ Kottke: Sight and Sound polled 340 critics and filmmakers in search of the world’s best documentary films.

+ At long last, parents can choose baby names based on domain availability. Maybe this will help my kids understand why they both have more than 47 characters in their names.

+ The neuroscience of emoticons.

+ At what age will you be your most popular? Around 29.

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TIME NextDraft

The Booming Instant Gratification Economy and Other Fascinating News on the Web

August 4, 2014

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1. Now Has Arrived

For those of us around during the first Internet boom, few corporate deaths were more painful than Kozmo; a service that deployed a swarm of speedy bike messengers to deliver food, movies, and other goodies to your doorstep. But the time wasn’t right. Kozmo never had enough customers or technological efficiencies to survive. All that has changed. The instant gratification economy is booming: There are lots of investors, lots of customers, lots of mobile technologies, and lots of people who may never leave the house again. ReCode begins a series on the instant economy with this aptly-titled overview from Liz Gannes: I want it, and I want it now.

+ As per usual, The Onion is on top of the gratification trend: Millions of Americans demanded a new form of media “to bridge the entertainment gap they endure while turning their heads from their laptops to their cell phones.”

2. Not Just Another Pretty Face

“I come before you today as not just another pretty face, but out of sheer talent.” So said James Brady during his early days as the press secretary for Ronald Reagan. The life-course of James Brady (and, to some extent, American politics) shifted dramatically a couple months later when he was shot in the head during an assassination attempt on the President. The shooting left him partially paralyzed. From his wheelchair, he became a central figure in the nation’s gun control debate. James Brady died today at the age of 73.

3. The War on Empathy

In the Middle East, another truce that was supposed to last a few hours was interrupted by violence which led, once again, to both sides claiming violations.

+ Jerusalem is on high(er) alert as a pair of attacks have many concerned that the violence is about to spread beyond Gaza.

+ “It’s very easy to move from a person that you know, that you see the face and the suffering and everyday care and concerns — a human being like you like me — and an abstract, a general enemy, a demon” From NPR: Is there any empathy left in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict?

4. What’s Next?

“Our species does remember certain things ‘in our bones,’ and we have deep resonance with personal tragedies and with societal traumas. Our species is also forgetful and easily bored. So no wonder we lose interest in a calamity and go on to the next.” Foreign Policy’s Lauren Wolfe: Turn on, Retweet, Tune Out.

+ “Videos that do show crimes in progress may be helpful in identifying perpetrators or in drawing attention to an injustice that might have been neglected. But the proliferation of those videos can have a numbing effect.” The New Yorker’s Margaret Talbot on the always-on video culture that is turning us into judges and jurors: Instant Replay.

5. Human Testing

How was Kent Brantly able to walk into Emory University Hospital in Atlanta only a short time after he contracted Ebola in Liberia? It seems to be due to a very experimental treatment known as ZMapp, which before this week, had only been tested on monkeys.

6. Cheech and Mom

“At some point in the middle of my 70-year-old mom’s bong rip, as the distinctive schalp schlap schlap sound echoed in the kitchen, it dawned on me that my family life had recently taken a strange turn.” From NY Mag: How my parents became late-life pot moguls.

7. Mute to Kill

Personal Audio is a company that doesn’t actually produce podcasts. They merely demand cash from those who do, claiming they are infringing on a patent. Last week, the company dropped one such lawsuit against comedian/podcaster Adam Carolla after realizing he doesn’t make all that much money. But here’s the thing. Carolla won’t let them drop the case. He and his company intend “to continue to vigorously defend Personal Audio’s lawsuit and to pursue its counterclaims against Personal Audio, which include a request that the Personal Audio patent be invalidated so that Personal Audio cannot sue other podcasters for infringement.” How did Personal Audio get the patent in the first place? Well, they used to release magazine articles on cassette tapes.

8. Won’t You Stay…

“Reps are also encouraged to build rapport with customers with lines like, Enjoy Game of Thrones tonight.” The Verge takes a look at Comcast’s internal handbook for talking customers out of canceling service.

9. Time for Reflection

“It’s the American view that everything has to keep climbing: productivity, profits, even comedy. No time for reflection. No time to contract before another expansion.” That was George Carlin back in 1982. Imagine what he would have thought if he looked out and saw an audience filled with people holding up their cell phones. Longform has reprinted a great old interview with Carlin.

10. The Bottom of the News

“For weeks I’d been wanting to write a straw man argument takedown, but I couldn’t find the right argument to oppose. Then my four year-old said something totally wrong about String Theory.” For the good of journalism and the future of media, I’ve decided to share this list (yes, of course it’s a list): An Internet Journalist Shares Eleven Breakthrough Moments.

+ Quartz: The next era of the public payphone is about to begin.

+ Congrats to Syracuse, this year’s number one party school.

+ “Nobody eats the green melon.’ So why even serve it? ‘It looks nice next to watermelon, cantaloupe and pineapple.'” The NYT takes a stand for Honeydew.

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