1. Word, Up
Wearable devices. Futuristic watches. Snippets of content streaming from every corner of the Internet. It’s got to be hard for Millennials to decide where to place their scattered attention as they’re deluged by a never-ending data tsunami. So it might surprise you that the floating buoy many young people reach for is the familiar, quiet solitude of longform, episodic, non-disappearing written material bound together into a single textual volume. Yes, books are still big. And according to the latest numbers, Millennials read more of them than the over-30 crowd. The more advanced technology becomes, the more we seek out long, quality content. Who would have predicted that?
+ That stat not surprising enough for you? Well try this one: “The number of independent bookstores in the US rose by more than 20% between 2009 and 2014.”
2. Just Say Benzo
You know them as Xanax, Valium, Ativan and Klonopin. They are the Benzodiazepines so many people use to quell anxiety or induce sleep. They are easy to get used to, and often incredibly hard to kick. And according to new research, they can dramatically increase the likelihood that one will get Alzheimer’s.
+ Jerome Groopman in The New Yorker: Is it possible to control cancer without killing it?
3. Pulled Back In
“The move to attack in Syria would represent a remarkable escalation in strategy for Obama, who has sought during his presidency to reduce the U.S. military engagement in the Middle East.” WaPo provides a preview of what we’ll be hearing from President Obama’s primetime address on Wednesday night.
+ “The laptop of Muhammed S., a Tunisian chemistry and physics student who joined the Islamic State, contains an eclectic mix of speeches by jihadi leaders, neo-Nazi screeds, and U.S. Army manuals on specific aspects of warfare. It also contains glimpses of the 24-year-old jihadist’s former life, showing that he once had a weakness for the music of Celine Dion and a desire to find a good recipe for banana mousse.” Foreign Policy: Recipes from the Islamic State’s laptop of doom.
+ “I am a 14-year-old Yazidi girl given as a gift to an ISIS commander. Here’s how I escaped.”
4. You Need Them on That Wall
It’s not that much of a surprise that TMZ has you talking. But it is a surprise that it has you talking about race, gender, and the role of some of America’s most powerful institutions. From Jonathan Mahler in the NYT: “This remarkable string of scoops has highlighted the unexpected power and reach of a gossip website … but maybe most surprising of all has been the nature of the stories.”
+ The Daily Beast: How TMZ claims its celebrity scalps. “Maybe it will ultimately come to this: TMZ will one day win its own Pulitzer.”
+ Amanda Hess in Slate: “Thank God for TMZ. “In the course of the past year, the digital celebrity tabloid has leapfrogged police, prosecutors, and investigative reporters to become the sports world’s most dedicated watchdog.”
5. Intimacy Issues
I am the ultimate Apple fanboy. But even I have to admit that things got little too, well, intimate during the introduction of the Apple Watch. Consider some of these outtakes from Jon Ivy’s video introduction of the product: “We’re introducing and unparalleled level of technical innovation combined with a design that connects with the wearer on an intimate level to embrace individuality and inspire desire … With digital touch, we’ve created an entirely new way for you to connect intimately with others.” I wasn’t sure if I was watching a product release or late night Cinemax. Steven Levy got a close-up look at the new products and came to this conclusion: Apple Gets Intimate.
+ Mat Honan: Why Apple products will soon rule every aspect of your life. (I just changed my outgoing message to: “Sorry, I can’t take your call right now. I’m away from my wrist.”)
+ Kevin Roose: Here’s how Apple will convince you to buy a smartwatch. After all the dirty talk, I’m not sure I need much more convincing.
6. Red in Your Face
“But as genes for beauty were favored over those for taste, the skins grew tough and bitter around mushy, sugar-soaked flesh.” The Atlantic’s Sarah Yager on the Awful Reign of the Red Delicious.
+ FiveThirtyEight goes from big data to bean counting as they attempt to identify America’s best burrito.
+ Vox: The greatest trick capitalism ever pulled was making you want a Pumpkin Spice Latte.
7. Scot or Not
“I would be heartbroken if this family of nations was torn apart.” British Prime Minister David Cameron is begging Scots not to vote for independence and split up the United Kingdom’s “family of nations.” As the election nears, Cameron may even agree to try haggis.
8. Top News Among Third Graders
According to numerous reports, Microsoft is closing in on a $2.5 billion acquisition of Mojang, the company that makes the wildly popular Minecraft. (Meanwhile, a couple million third graders just asked: “What’s Microsoft?”)
9. Closing Act
Chris Rock: “When Joan died, it’s like ‘She was one of the best female comedians of all time.’ F— you! People are always saying, ‘Joan Rivers broke down all these barriers for women, blah, blah, blah.’ I think that’s a disservice. Joan Rivers
is one of the greatest stand-up comedians ever to live. No man ever said, ‘Yeah, I want to go on after Joan.’ No. Joan closed the show every night.” From The Hollywood Reporter: 24 friends create an oral history of Joan Rivers.
10. The Bottom of the News
“As my lips slowly moved toward the mouth of the turtle in my lap, I admit to momentarily wondering how my life’s choices had brought me to this point.” David A. Steen: Why I gave mouth-to-mouth resuscitation to a turtle. (It was worth it just for that lede.)
+ The Economist charts the amazing rise of grade inflation in the Ivy League.
+ “While Hollywood trumpeted Iron Eyes Cody as a ‘true Native American’ and profited from his ubiquitous image, the man himself harbored an unspoken secret: he was 100% Italian.”
+ And we have a new record for most pinky pull ups.