Meme, Myself, and I

Meme, Myself, and I

Why do we decide to share something? How does an image with a few words go viral? In Quartz, Christopher Mims looks at the science of memes. We know some things. Memes tend to do well if they travel in packs and grow gradually. But we don’t know others. For example, “no one has yet to rigorously demonstrate, in advance, why any particular type of content goes viral. This sort of prognostication remains an art rather than a science.”

+ The one thing we share more than memes is the latest news about ourselves. And as The Atlantic’s Frank Rose explained in this 2012 piece, there could be some evolutionary advantages of talking about oneself. If that’s true, I’m pretty sure some of my Facebook friends would be living in the future.

+ And if you missed this article last week, it’s worth a read (partially because the news we share on the Internet might just surprise you on the upside): The 15 most shared news stories on Monday and why they went viral.

+ Here’s a simple way to share something that will make you feel more evolved, increase your popularity among friends and followers, and make me have a pretty good weekend. Take a couple seconds and spread the word about NextDraft on Facebook or on


Play It Again, Damn

“They give you a piece that’s really hard, and if you do really well on that one, you get to play another piece, and then maybe you do really well on that one, you get to play another piece. And she was on the sixth excerpt, and then she messed up and missed a note. And then it’s like, thank you very much.” Think you face a tough job market? Try playing violin for a living. Even in smaller markets, there are often hundreds of talented people competing for a single position that will barely pay enough to cover a student loan. From PBS/Newshour: Performing Artists Compete, Move, Adapt in Tough Economy.


Weekend Reads

This week, the fine folks over at Longreads share an excellent 1995 piece by Andrew Corsello (a great writer and a good guy with whom I’ve been lucky enough to share the occasional order of sesame noodles). I know Andrew. But I didn’t know about this: ‘My Body Stopped Speaking to Me:’ The First-Person Account of a Near-Death Experience.

+ “Damien Echols did something he’d never done before: He turned away and ran to the frozen-food section, amid the Ben & Jerry’s and the microwave dinners. And he hid.” Boston Magazine’s Alyssa Giacobbe updates us on the life of one of the West Memphis Three. Damien Echols spent nearly two decades on death row before a couple documentaries and some new evidence helped set him free. “As he attempts to rebuild his life on the North Shore, will a city best known for its witch hunts ever let him?”

+ NYT Magazine: Jimmy Wales Is Not an Internet Billionaire.


The Race Away from Paula Deen

JC Penney and Sears just dropped Paula Deen. That shouldn’t come as much of a shock. They are the eighth and ninth companies to drop her this week. The Daily Beast’s Daniel Gross explains the demise: “In business, it’s OK to be a sexist, a felon, or an adulterer. But a racist? Uh-uh.” I guess all we need now is a cheating, sexist ex-con to take Deen’s place. Experience drowning everything in butter a plus.

+ The Wrap takes a look at Deen’s $17 million pie, with several slices now gone.


Snap, Tackle, And Popped

While former New England tight end Aaron Hernandez’ murder rap is dominating the headlines, it can be viewed as part of a larger trend. Twenty-seven NFL players have been arrested … since the Super Bowl. And many of those arrests are for very serious crimes.

+ Here’s a stat sheet that won’t show up on any fantasy football sites: Arrests per team since 2000.


You Are An Athletic Supporter

You may not like sports, but if you are a cable or satellite customer, you are paying for them. Take a look at this graph that shows how ESPN makes it’s money.


The Tour De Commute

The programs have not been implemented without a fight, but there will soon be 10,000 communal bikes in NYC and 4,000 in Chicago. According to The Atlantic’s James Hamblin, the bicyclization of urban America is here, to stay.

+ New Yorkers have already pedaled more than 1.28 million miles on Citi Bikes.

+ Let’s hope that all these new cyclists can commute to and from work without feeling the need to juice. On the eve of the Tour de France, Lance Armstrong is back in the news explaining that it would be “impossible” to win the Tour without doping. That sounds pretty much like what everyone but Lance Armstrong was saying during his win streak.


A Cup of Joke?

“On a gram-per-gram basis, the coffee beans found in civet shit are worth roughly twice that of silver.” If you think the price people pay for designer coffee drinks are scary, wait until you read about the world’s most coveted coffee: From the bowels of a beast.


Partly Frying

Those folks waiting for a new record temperature in Death Valley this weekend might be disappointed. Forecasters now predict that it will only get to about 129 degrees. But it’s a dry heat.


The Bottom of the News

“I truly believe there’s one thing everyone has inside them that they can do better than anybody else. Some people can swim, others are good at singing, others are track stars … I thumb wrestle. That’s my thing.”

+ The New Yorker marks the week that gay marriage laws changed with a cover that features Ernie and Bert.

+ Stress is bad for your health. But so is stressing about stress.

+ Here’s a little secret about extreme distance running. It gets a lot easier after the first couple hundred miles.

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