By Dave Pell
September 4, 2014

1. And Now the Bad News

You want the good news or the bad news? Don’t bother answering. I already know, deep down, you want the bad news. It’s how you’re wired. In Aeon, Jacob Burak explains: “Hundreds of scientific studies from around the world confirm our negativity bias: while a good day has no lasting effect on the following day, a bad day carries over. We process negative data faster and more thoroughly than positive data, and they affect us longer. Socially, we invest more in avoiding a bad reputation than in building a good one. Emotionally, we go to greater lengths to avoid a bad mood than to experience a good one.” Is this negativity bias useful or something to overcome? I’m guessing it’s here to stay. After all, we all know we die in the end. (Sorry, I should have prefaced that with spoiler alert.)

2. Fall Into the Gap

The Justice Department is set to launch a civil rights investigation into the Ferguson police department. “The federal officials said the probe will look not only at Ferguson but also at other police departments in St. Louis County. Some, like Ferguson, are predominantly white departments serving majority-African-American communities.”

+ The NYT charts the massive race gap in many of America’s police departments.

+ “Loud music and other noise ordinance violations, zoning violations for uncut grass or unkempt property, violations of occupancy permit restrictions, trespassing, wearing ‘saggy pants,’ business license violations and vague infractions such as ‘disturbing the peace’ or ‘affray’ that give police officers a great deal of discretion to look for other violations.” All of these violations can result in fines. And some towns in St. Louis County pull in 40% of their revenues from such fines. WaPo’s Radley Balko provides an in-depth look at how municipalities profit from poverty.

3. Meeting the Challenge?

As members of NATO met to discuss the world’s new complexities, President Obama and British Prime Minister David Cameron penned an op-ed on the rise of Islamic State: “There are some who say that we shouldn’t get involved in addressing these threats. There are others who doubt if NATO can adapt to meet the challenges we face. It is crucial we address these beliefs head on.”

4. Walk the Walk

You don’t have to walk on water to derive great upside from taking a regular stroll. The New Yorker’s Ferris Jabr wonders: What is it about walking, in particular, that makes it so amenable to thinking and writing?

+ Maybe walking is way to get us into the zone, or what Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi calls “The Flow State.” NPR’s Robery Krulwich tries to get into the zone with: Glenn Gould In Rapture.

5. Booty School Dropout

“Our model knows more about how to get into many colleges than their own admissions officers know.” A former hedge fund manager turned college application guru guarantees his clients that they’ll get into the Ivy League college of their choice.

+ “After excelling at two of Philadelphia’s best schools, I shocked everyone — including myself — when I decided I wasn’t going to college.” In Philadelphia Mag: Grace Jay-Benjamin explains how to skip college and thrive. It’s already pretty clear that the best way to succeed without college is to become a billionaire.

+ Vox: Why hasn’t the class of 2009 grown up? (If my eight year-old son is any indicator, it probably has something to do with not wanting to wear itchy shirts.)

6. Card Sharks

“On the Rescator site, you can also filter, if you want, by bank, by card type, by expiration date, and even by the last four digits of the card number.” BloombergBusinessweek on the Amazon of stolen credit cards.

+ After years of development, Dyson has finally introduced its robot vacuum. It’s called The Eye and it has a “360-degree camera that views the room at a 45 degree angle and takes 30 pictures per second.” I want cleanliness without the work. But do I really want to invite a robotic camera that takes 30 pictures per second into my house? (I don’t know about you, but that’s definitely not my best angle.)

7. The Book of Moron

We often come across articles that cite facts from non-fiction books. As The Atlantic’s Kate Newman explains: “There’s a basic problem with this line of logic, though: Most books are never fact-checked.” Oh well, at least we can still count on the Internet to get the facts right.

8. The Blur

My eyesight is OK during the day. But by the time I get home and try to read something in the dim evening light, it’s all a blur. And I’m not alone. From GigaOm: What is the blue light from our screens really doing to our eyes? And NPR on the dry, scratchy eye epidemic.

9. It’s Family Thing

Should you have a family mission statement? Is it important that your kids know their family history? The Week talks to author Bruce Feiler to get a list of the six things that the happiest families all have in common. (Ice cream and five other things?)

10. The Bottom of the News

In honor of her 33rd birthday, we’ll return to McSweeney’s for: “This is the Instagram comment that will finally ignite my relationship with Beyoncé.”

+ The Malaysia Airlines bucket list ad campaign probably wasn’t such a great idea.

+ Your dog has lost his appetite? It could be because he has eaten 44 socks.

+ Lego is the world’s number one toymaker.

+ The Bialy — the Bagel’s long-neglected cousin — tries for a comeback. Believe it or not, there’s an excellent book on this topic: The Bialy Eaters. (I don’t know much, but I know my carbs.)

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