Pressure Cooker, A Rice Steamer at Best

Pressure Cooker, A Rice Steamer at Best

Yesterday, I (along with what seemed like half the Internet) covered Michele Catalano’s piece in which she described the day armed men in SUVs showed up at her house because of a series of Google searches for things like pressure cookers and backpacks. We’ve now learned that the visit was actually triggered by a tip from her husband’s former employer. Catalano’s story is still interesting. But what’s even more interesting is the pace at which — with the help of Twitter and the mainstream media — a personal essay can sweep across the Internet. It’s also worth noting that most of us had no problem believing that the feds tracked the search terms entered by Catalano’s family members and showed up at her front door. We’re all pretty sure we’re being watched. And we keep on searching anyway.

+ Catalano published her piece on Medium. It wasn’t published by a news outfit with editors and fact checkers. But that didn’t stop us from believing it. And it didn’t stop some news outlets from covering it as news. Pando Daily’s Hamish McKenzie explains why Medium isn’t the message.


The (Not Quite) Gluten Free Edition

For several years, your supermarket shelves have been lined with products labeled gluten-free. So it might surprise you to learn that, until today, the FDA had never issued any legally binding rules associated with that label.

+ We’ve been learning more and more about the downsides of sugar consumption. For many, avoiding sugars includes avoiding fruits. David Ludwig of Boston Children’s Hospital thinks that’s going too far and argues that there are no adverse health effects associated with consuming fruits. “You can’t just take an 8-ounce glass of cola and add a serving of Metamucil and create a health food. Even though the fructose-to-fiber ratio might be the same as an apple, the biological effects would be much different.” So much for what I thought was a pretty balanced breakfast.

+ It took more than a year for Facebook to get back to its IPO price. Meanwhile, the real IPO action seems to be in the food business. An organic foods grocer call Sprouts just had the best public market debut of the year. The second best IPO debut this year was by a company called Noodles. Next time you call your broker, order lunch.


Weekend Reads

“A month after ace programmer Sergey Aleynikov left Goldman Sachs, he was arrested. Exactly what he’d done neither the F.B.I., which interrogated him, nor the jury, which convicted him a year later, seemed to understand.” In Vanity Fair, Michael Lewis asks: Did Goldman Sachs Overstep in Criminally Charging Its Ex-Programmer?

+ “It never occurred to me that you could visit North Korea until I logged into Facebook one day and saw photos of a friend flashing his dimwitted grin against the backdrop of the Korean People’s Army tanks. ‘How the hell did you get into North Korea?’ I asked him. ‘It’s easy,’ he told me. ‘I met a guy at Burning Man who runs a company. His role is to vouch for you.'” Reason’s Michael Malice on his week in North Korea.

+ Can Marissa Mayer save Yahoo? (Why am I tempted to enter that question into a Google search box?)

+ Wired’s Steven Levy shares the inside story of the Moto X.

+ And if you missed it yesterday, be sure to read the advice George Saunders gave to some graduates.


Travel Alert

“Current information suggests that al-Qaeda and affiliated organizations continue to plan terrorist attacks both in the region and beyond, and that they may focus efforts to conduct attacks in the period between now and the end of August.” That’s from State Department statement. The U.S. has issued a travel alert and closed 21 embassies.

+ Expect the debate over what exactly happened in Benghazi to heat up again following a report that dozens of CIA operatives were on the ground during the attack. But they won’t say why.


I Hear You Knocking, But…

“A highly qualified student, with a 3.95 unweighted grade point average and 2300 on the SAT … had perfect 800s on his subject tests in math and chemistry, a score of 5 on five Advanced Placement exams, musical talent and, in one of two personal statements, had written a loving tribute to his parents, who had emigrated from India.” But he still didn’t get accepted to U.C. Berkeley. You may have walked to school in the snow, uphill both ways, but you didn’t have it as tough as today’s college applicants (or preschool applicants for that matter). From the NYT: Confessions of an Application Reader.


The World's Saddest Spreadsheet

When a tragedy hits, its victims (or their families) often receive some compensation. So what’s a life (or a body part) worth? Almost every time that question is asked, the answer comes from a guy named Ken Feinberg.


No Ordinary Travel Photos

Nat Geo has finally announced the winners of this year’s Traveler Photo Contest. And as per usual, they are great. InFocus has the winners. If you like these photos, be sure to check out the earlier collections of notable travel images. Here’s part one, and here’s part two. These are the photos other people were taking while I spent 35 minutes, and several iPad-use related bribes, trying to get my kids to smile for a picture.



“Johnson pumped the gun and pulled the trigger. Water blasted across the room and splatted against the far wall. There was a stunned silence.” The days of the simple squirt gun are long gone. Today’s kids are armed with unprecedented hydraulic power. So, who exactly made the super soaker?


Even Timberlake Thought It Was a Bit Much

Now that Sean Parker is done explaining that weddings used to be sacred, it’s time for the very-much planned release of the exclusive photos of the most talked about wedding of the year. Maybe this is all part of Sean Parker’s master plan to launch a wedding planning startup. He can call it The Not.


The Bottom of the News

A marijuana venture capitalist is arguing that pot should be sold at farmer’s markets.
“Marijuana is a vegetable, just like every other vegetable being sold on the Sunday markets in Boulder.” Here’s a tip to anyone who tries this: You’re going to have to start your farmer’s market a lot later in the day.

+ Ellen is hosting the Oscars again.

+ An interview with the man who was Superman for one glorious moment.

+ The Wolverine. A film by Woody Allen?

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