Saturday, June 15th, 2013


Hey, Nice Globes

The Golden Globe Awards are one of those rare television events that make it fun for everyone to get involved. The stars dress up and win awards, while the rest of us sit back and lob petulant, snarky comments about people we're jealous of (and later, while we're tallying our retweets, they disperse to several of Beverly Hills' finest hotels for multipartner sex with unthinkably attractive models). Tina Fey and Amy Poehler received near-unanimous raves for their handling of the hosting duties, including Poehler's line of the night in which she explained why she backs director Kathryn Bigelow in the torture controversy that has dogged Zero Dark Thirty: "When it comes to torture, I trust the lady who spent three years married to James Cameron."

+ It was another big night for HBO and Showtime on the TV side, while Argo, Les Mis, and Django Unchained scored well in the movie categories. Here's a complete rundown of all the nominees and winners.

+ And here's a video collection of the show's most memorable moments, including Jodie Foster's speech which I found moving, inspiring, emotional and important, even though I was unable to answer either of the two questions posed by my six year-old son: "Wait, is she quitting?" and "Dad, what is she even talking about?"

+ Some pretty cool candid polaroid shots from the evening.


About That Flu

This year's flu season has reached epidemic status. So MoJo has served up this handy guide to the basic stuff you need to know about the illness, the way to distinguish it from a common cold, and how your decision not to get a flu shot could end up putting someone else's life at risk.


The Death of the Internet Kid

Aaron Swartz was a key figure in the Internet community from the time he was a kid. He helped create RSS, was a co-founder of Reddit, helped develop the ideas and design around the creative commons, and was also a vocal and active leader in the movement to make information more open and available. He was also being targeted by prosecutors (many believed unfairly) for downloading "nearly five million articles from a fee-charging database of academic journals." This led to a legal case that could have sent Swartz to prison for as long as 35 years. On Friday, Swartz (who had also suffered from deep depression in the past) hanged himself. There will be a lot of debate about whether the prosecution in this case was overly aggressive. But I hope this debate does not minimize the vicious, all-consuming power of depression -- strong enough to take a life and forever shake a corner of the Internet.

+ Lawrence Lessig: "He was brilliant, and funny. A kid genius. A soul, a conscience, the source of a question I have asked myself a million times: What would Aaron think?"

+ Cory Doctorow: Aaron had "a kind of intense, fast intellect that really made me feel like he was part and parcel of the Internet society, like he belonged in the place where your thoughts are what matter, and not who you are or how old you are."

+ Mathew Ingram has put together a great collection of Internet responses to the death of Aaron Swartz.

+ And finally, an interesting question from Peter Ludlow in the NYT: What is a Hactivist.


A Believer's Mea Culpa

"He is an immoral, manipulative liar who doesn't deserve a second more of anybody's time." That's what Buzz Bissinger wrote about Lance Armstrong today. It's a far cry from what Bissinger wrote about him a few months ago in a Newsweek story that was titled: "I Still Believe in Lance Armstrong." Bissinger now describes that headline in no uncertain terms: "It still makes me cringe. It deserves to make me cringe." And on watching the Oprah interview, Bissinger offers this advice: "Whatever he says, subtract by a thousand, divide by two, then three, then multiply the whole sum of bullshit by zero." Not great math, but you get the idea.


Let's Hang Out

In the NYT, Alex Williams describes a new world of courtship in which dates have been replaced by last minute group hangouts organized via text messages. According to one thirty year-old woman, what we now considering dating is "one step below a date, and one step above a high-five." For what its worth, that's about as far as I got in high school.

+ In New York, there is a new "Proposal Concierge" firm that helps make sure that your proposal is creative and goes well. Hey, these days, if you can't write, direct and produce a viral proposal video on your own, then you're not ready for real love.

+ From The Atlantic: The High Price of Being Single in America.


The House is Watching

Since the earliest days of casinos, the House has had an unfair advantage. And all along, people have been trying to cheat their way around that advantage. The Verge has an excellent article (and companion video piece) examining how Vegas fights fire with fire. The photo at the top of this article will give you a pretty good idea of my technical set-up at NextDraft HQ.


Get Your Head Together

Researchers who scanned the brains of self-described entrepreneurs and found that (unlike others) they activated both sides of their frontal cortex when making decisions.


A Sea of Wasabi

Sushi is popular. Maybe too popular. The Pacific Bluefin tuna population has dropped 96% from its unfished level.

+ A scientist set out to understand why white bread still wins.

+ Coming soon. Obesity ads, from Coca-Cola.


Walk a Mile in My Mushrooms

Some people think that mushrooms can become an unlikely weapon in the fight against plastic. This includes Eben Bayer and Gavin McIntyre who produce a line of biodegradable flip flops with soles made of mushroom fibers. (Gives new meaning to being on 'shrooms.)


The Bottom of the News

The Guardian decided to have a stock picking competition between professional investors, a team of a students, and a cat. "While the professionals used their decades of investment knowledge and traditional stock-picking methods, the cat selected stocks by throwing his favourite toy mouse on a grid of numbers allocated to different companies." And guess who added the most equity value to the kitty?

+ The White House opts not to build a death star (but at least they provided a thoughtful explanation of their decision, including this: "Why would we spend countless taxpayer dollars on a Death Star with a fundamental flaw that can be exploited by a one-man starship?"

+ Ever wonder why chimps are so much stronger than humans (even humans who do the P90x program)? Here's the answer.