The Crisis in Ferguson and Other Fascinating News on the Web

5 minute read

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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