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The Parts of the Brain You Use The Most and Other Fascinating News of the Web

5 minute read

1. Use Your Brain

“It is estimated most human beings only use 10 percent of the brain’s capacity. Imagine if we could access 100 percent. Interesting things begin to happen.” That’s one of Morgan Freeman’s lines in an upcoming movie called Lucy. This whole 10 percent of the brain thing is a commonly held belief (more commonly held than evolution). But it turns out to be entirely false. As The Atlantic’s Sam McDougle reports, humans already use way more than 10 percent of their brains. (It just seems like they don’t.)

+ Pacific Standard: What if a drug could make it possible to learn any new skill as if we were children? (From what I can tell from my kids, that means learning a new skill by constantly complaining and screaming “I know, I know.”)

2. Fruity Call

Back in 2009, cigarette flavors with exotic fruity flavors were banned because they were (justifiably) believed to be targeted towards kids. Now we’ve entered the age of the E-Cig where your puff of nicotine can come in just about any flavor you can think of. The NYT’s Matt Richtel on this week’s big cigarette merger and the race for exotic vapor flavors.

+ Syndicated from Kottke: Over the past century, adult per capita cigarette consumption in the US rose from nearly nothing in 1900 to a peak of morre than 4000 cigarettes per year in the early 60s and then fell to the current rate of around 1000/yr. Currently, smoking in the US correlates highly with level of education and poverty. Check out this graph on the rise and fall of American smoking.

3. Storming the Beach

“The rocket threat cannot be addressed thoroughly from the air only.” So said Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman who urged a ground war in Gaza where four Palestinian kids were killed by a shell that landed on a beach.

+ The battle between Hamas and Israel is not only about military maneuvers. It’s a cyber and media battle for hearts and minds. I think our hearts and minds are ready for some peace in what seems like the world’s longest running series of bad sequels.

4. Throwing Sanity Under the Bus

“Bus coming in. This is not compassion. This is the abrogation of the rule of law … I was able to actually see some of the children on the buses, and the fear on their faces.” That was Arizona state legislator Adam Kwasman as he warned of a new bus of child immigrants rolling into his town. I’m sure the kids on their way to YMCA camp were wondering what all the protesting was about.

+ Vox: 14 facts that help explain America’s child-migrant crisis.

5. The Acquisition of Thrones

Rupert Murdoch reportedly offered $80 billion to acquire TimeWarner. The deal was rejected and talks have stalled, but Rupert usually doesn’t give up too quickly.

+ TimeWarner has plenty of valuable assets, but HBO might be the one Murdoch wants the most.

+ Interestingly, Rupert’s WSJ’s most popular story of the day is focused on the smartest ways to cut the cord.

+ Rupert’s not the only one who has deals fall apart. As many as two-thirds of Shark Tank’s done deals never actually get funded. There’s nothing left to believe in.

+ Forget all the fancy analysis. The only economic indicator you need to track is CEO F-bombs.

6. Club Med

Meditation isn’t just for relaxing and centering yourself. It’s now apparently a way for hedge fund managers to increase their performance. This is the age of meditation for strivers. In that case, I think I’ll settle for chilling out.

7. Human Achievement

Forty-five years ago, we landed men on the moon. Forty-five years later, Kanye West referred to himself as a genius for coming up with the idea of leather jogging pants, and Buzzfeed began work on its “What Astronaut Are You?” quiz. We never stop achieving. Here are some incredible photos from the moon landing. I’ll let you find the jogging pants on your own.

+ Why did Neil Armstrong get to be the first to step on the moon?

8. Jerking Soda

Like many countries, Mexico is facing a severe obesity crisis. They’re latest effort is to restrict soft drink TV ads during the hours when kids tend to watch. The rest of the world will be watching to see if that works.

+ My wife recently made me switch to almond milk. So this MoJo headline caught my eye: Lay Off the Almond Milk, You Ignorant Hipsters.

+ Make fun of my almond milk all you want. At least I’m not drinking seaweed craft beer. (Although I have tried a keg or two of the gluten-free stuff.)

9. SPF 1980

You are constantly told of the importance of wearing sunscreen. But the FDA seems to be in no hurry to approve new and improved formulas. Your sunscreen is out of date.

+ Looking for a growth business? Try tattoo removal.

10. The Bottom of the News

He feels like the game Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 portrays him as “a kidnapper, murderer and enemy of the state.” So former Panama dictator Manuel Noriega is suing Activision Blizzard for using his name without permission. The Onion should sue Noriega. This story infringes on their turf.

+ What happens to a parody artist when life becomes a parody. We’re about to find out. From Grantland: The Winter of Weird Al.

+ Street art emerges and gets painted over or washed away. But now Google is helping street artists to preserve their work forever.

+ A big crater just opened up in Siberia, in an area already referred to as the end of the Earth.

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