Wednesday, July 3rd, 2013


You Better Visit

For many of us, today marks the beginning of a holiday weekend, and that means it's an opportunity to spend a little quality time with the extended family. For others, these holidays make it more difficult to come up with excuses to avoid family functions. In China, making such excuses just got a little harder. This week, the Chinese government passed a new law compelling adult children to visit their aging parents. Even if we passed such a law and turned breaking that law into a felony, I'm not sure it would be nearly as powerful as some well-aimed guilt.

+ WSJ: The Loneliness of the Empty Nest: "In the sudden quiet may come the discovery that years on a treadmill -- raising children, building careers -- have left them very different people than they were in the their 20s or 30s. In short: They've woken up with a stranger." (And not in the cool, titillating sense.)

+ There has been a massive rise in the number of single-father households over the past few decades.

+ According to a recent study, boys with sisters are less likely to do chores when they grow up. I have three older sisters. None of them would agree to find today's most fascinating news.


Where Will Egypt Spring?

Reports out of Egypt suggest that President Mohamed Morsi has been stripped of his power following the passing of a deadline set by the country's military. Protests (and celebrations) continue in the streets. Here's a live blog of the events from The Atlantic Wire. And here's more coverage from Reuters, including a live feed of Tahrir Square.

+ NYT: Key moments of Egypt's transition under Morsi.


Weekend Reads

For the holiday weekend, I went into the ND archives and pulled out some good longform reads. First, here's one of my recent blog posts (republished on Medium) in which a I recount how a group of successful of Type A leaders gathered around a table to explain how technology could help them with their technology problem. It was like listening to a bunch of people explain how they used heroin to kick their methadone habit. The lessons are worth considering, especially during a weekend supposedly away from work: The Answer is a Click Away.

+ How Two Presidents Helped Me Deal With Love, Guilt, and Fatherhood.

+ The Island Where People Forget to Die.

+ The Cooler Me: There's probably a cooler version of yourself out there. Eric Puchner found the cooler version of himself, and then the two of them hung out.

+ McSweeney's: In Which I Fix My Girlfriend's Grandparents' Wifi And Am Hailed As A Conquering Hero.

+ I love the oral histories of television shows. Here are a few especially good ones.

- The Family Hour: An Oral History of The Sopranos.

- With Friends like these.

- Omar Listening: The makers and stars of The Wire.

- The Oral History of Freaks and Geeks.


Snail Tracks

There have been so many stories about companies and governments tracking our every move online that you'd be forgiven if you decided to pull the plug on email and texting and go back to sending letters via snail mail. Unfortunately, that's being tracked too. I send all of my personal messages via skywriters. It's more private that way.

+ Can law enforcement track your cell phone without a warrant? It depends which court you ask.


Hey, Hey, We're The Monkeys

"Intelligence is ubiquitous, not just in chimpanzees, dolphins and parrots, but in octopuses, archerfish, prairie dogs and honeybees -- a veritable Noah's Ark of braininess." In Aeon, Brandon Keim wonders why science has taken so long to catch up with animal consciousness. Some days, I barely buy human consciousness.


Amission Impossible?

In Amish tradition, electricity is disallowed. But that doesn't necessarily mean that gadgets are out. From Buzzfeed: The Surprising, Ingenious Amish Gadget Culture.


We're Going to Pump You Down

These days, any shrink worth his weight in psychopharmaceuticals is prescribing at least one activity to help people deal with stress, depression, and anxiety: Exercise. How does getting pumped up help us to chill out? The NYT's Gretchen Reynolds explains how exercise can calm anxiety.


Table For One

Once again, July 4th will feature the somewhat disturbing hot hog eating contest at Coney Island. And once again, the guy who is arguably the greatest competitive eater in the world won't be there. Takeru Kobayashi wants to make his own sponsorship money. Major League Eating wants a cut. From The Atlantic: How a Squabble Over Money Is Hurting Competitive Eating.

+ The year in hot dog innovation.


Feel the Vibration

Several times a day, I feel a vibration on my thigh and reach into my pocket to grab my phone, only to find out that my phone is not ringing. And sometimes, it's not even in my pocket. I am far from alone. About eighty percent of us feel such phantom vibrations. From BBC: Why you think your phone is vibrating when it is not.


The Bottom of the News

Alec Baldwin has vowed never to Tweet again because "it's just another chink in your armor for people to come and kill you." Doing an interview to explain that you want to be out of the public eye is like going to BevMo to quit drinking.

+ From Chartgirl: Guys, stop pissing off Alex Baldwin.

+ Why don't hotels give you toothpaste?

+ Think you're hot. This dude ran through Death Valley dressed as Darth Vader.