Wednesday, July 31st, 2013


Roll 'Em If You Got 'Em

Facebook's coming out party was one of the most anticipated market events in recent history. It was also a massive flop. In the months that followed the company's brutal first day on the market, the stock's IPO price was cut in half. But things have changed. Analysts see signs that Zuckerberg and Friends have figured out how to make money in mobile and the market likes what it hears. Fourteen months after the IPO, Facebook's stock price finally rose to meet its IPO price once again (although it has since retreated a bit).

+ Here's Facebook's roller coaster ride in chart form. It's worth noting that the stock price seems to have spiked just about the time I unfriended a couple weird kids I knew in junior high.

+ It's not often that a company's inner workings and revenue-related decisions play out in such a public manner. But when Facebook makes a change to improve its bottom line, there's a good chance you will see that change when you log on to the site. Facebook's latest plan is to sell 15 second television-like commercials that will soon roll into your newsfeed. And at the outset, the ads won't even be all that targeted. Twitter and Google also seem to be headed into the TV-like commercial business. What's old is new again.


A Lasting Donation

At a soup kitchen in Harlem, the wait time for dinner has been cut down from 90 minutes to 18. In a warehouse in Brooklyn, volunteers were packing boxes of supplies for hurricane victims in 11 seconds, down from 3 minutes. What happened? Instead of money, Toyota donated something else: efficiency. According to the president of NY's Food Bank, Toyota has "revolutionized the way we serve our community."

+ Slate says they've found the most efficient office in the world. And it's run by the United States government. (You still might want to stick with Toyota.)


Breach and Chong

On April 21, a U.C. San Diego student named Daniel Chong was taken into custody by DEA officials who handcuffed him and locked him in a holding cell. Then they forgot about him. Chong was left there for five days, a period during which he drank his urine to survive, and wrote a farewell note to his mother. He just won a $4.1 settlement.


The Collectors

New documents released by Edward Snowden provide a further glimpse into exactly what the NSA collects when it comes to your online activities. The answer is nearly everything.

+ As the Senate Judiciary Committee meets to discuss privacy rights, it's clear that Snowden's leaks are driving the political discussion in Washington.

+ Have a cell phone? You movements can be tracked by law enforcement. No warrant required. And over time, your phone will know a whole lot more about you.


Off the Record

Just when you thought things couldn't get any worse for the Anthony Weiner mayoral run, the campaign's communication director Barbara Morgan went on a rant during an interview in which she called a former campaign intern a slutbag (among many other things). Once the interview went viral, Morgan released a statement in which she explained: "In a moment of frustration, I used inappropriate language in what I thought was an off the record conversation." Can you imagine working for Anthony Weiner and still thinking that anything is off the record?

+ "The public attention that comes with a high-profile political campaign inflates his sense of self but draws the kind of media scrutiny that inevitably deflates him." Why would Weiner take the risk of sexting again and again. And once he suffered the initial humiliation, why would he run again? The Atlantic's Joseph Brugo makes some decent arguments in his piece: Where Narcissism Meets Addiction. For what its worth, those two meet at my computer and open up about 175 browser tabs each morning.

+ Are weird romantic deceits a product of the digital age? Not really. Here's a look at how catfishing worked in the 1880s, via telegraph.


Check Mates

"Every pothead isn't a bad guy. But every bad guy is a pothead." Texas Monthly's Al Reinert got busted at the same U.S. Customs and Border Protection inspection station that Willie Nelson, Snoop Dogg, Fiona Apple, and Armie Hammer made famous. Here's a look inside the best little checkpoint in Texas.

+ From Longreads: How a Convicted Murderer Prepares for a Job Interview.


They Liked to Watch (and Do)

This Fall, Showtime will debut a series called The Masters of Sex that is based on a book by Thomas Maier. Here's a very interesting Fresh Air interview with Maier in which he describes the somewhat incredible tactics that Masters and Johnson used to get their information. Being watched is nothing new.

+ From New York Magazine, here's an, um, oral history of HBO's Real Sex.


The Dealbook of Mormon

"I have spent a great deal of time trying to figure out why Mormons are so exceptionally entrepreneurial." Pando Daily's Hamish McKenzie heads to Utah to try to figure out why the world's most capitalist religion breeds so many entrepreneurs. (Wait a second, what am I, chopped liver?)


Seoul Food

Want to see globalization in action? "Look no further than the cronut." The cronut first appeared at the Dominique Ansel Bakery in downtown NYC a couple months ago. Now its being mass-produced by Dunkin Donuts in Seoul. Nothing can stop the march of carbs.


The Bottom of the News

"I like walks on the beach, nights by the fire and joining two words together to create compound words." Jay Z recently dropped the hyphen in his name. And now that hyphen has a Craig's List ad. Maybe the hyphen should team of with ellipses. They are certainly not hard ... to ... find.

+ Think you're quick when it comes to solving a Rubik's cube? Someone just did it in 7.36 seconds.

+ Wired: 8 Epic Photographs Showing the Same Tiny House.

+ Are you smarter than a 1912 era eighth grader? Probably not. But don't worry, at least you have search engines.