Thursday, August 8th, 2013


Where the Water Isn't

Water of love deep in the ground
But there ain't no water here to be found
Some day baby when the river runs free
It's gonna carry that water of love to me
-- Dire Straits

Water of love deep in the ground
But there ain't no water here to be found
Some day baby when the river runs free
It's gonna carry that water of love to me
-- Dire Straits

"It's like sleep-away camp for geeks." Scott Harrison has used the language and strategies of start-up culture to build Charity: Water, one of the most significant water-related organizations in the world. He not only borrows from the start-up culture, he also taps into the cash and expertise of some well-known execs and investors. How does he get so many young and wealthy individuals to back his efforts? He leads them to where the drinkable water isn't. From the NYT Magazine: A Save-the-World Field Trip for Tech Moguls.

+ If you want to learn more and/or get involved, here's more about Charity: water.


Hits from the Eighties

We've gone from the Cold War to the cold shoulder. President Obama has cancelled planned talks with Vladamir Putin following several fallouts (of the non-nuclear kind) over issues including the handling of Edward Snowden. As The Daily Beast's Peter Pomerantsev explains, the relationship between Obama and Putin has hit an all-time low.


Taking a Steam Break

Forget all those rules about not smoking in bars or the workplace. The new smokers aren't exhaling smoke into your face, they are sucking on an e-cigarette and emitting a smoke-like vapor. The so-called "vaping" is changing the rules of smoking, and possibly starting to make it cool again. In addition to getting smokers to "quit," are the new e-cigs getting non-smokers to start?

+ The Vaping trend may come as good news to employers. According to a recent study, the cost of a smoker to an employer runs nearly six grand, between the time taken for smoke breaks and health costs.


Short Attention Span Theater

Mixbit is a new app for sharing and editing short video clips. With several players already in the marketplace, why is this news? Because Mixbit is run by YouTube co-founders Chad Hurley and Steve Chen.

+ Facebook's Instagram looked like it might bury Twitter's Vine when the former added video-sharing to its suite of applications. But Vine is far from dead. Here's Wired's Mat Honan on why Vine just won't die.

+ So why are some of the biggest names in technology placing so much emphasis on apps that let you share incredibly short video clips? Because they know that's all your ever-shortening attention span can handle. (I only read the first six seconds of this article.)


Start with Some Good Genes…

David Epstein is getting a lot of press for his new book in which he examines the role of genes and other factors when it come to extraordinary athletic performance. In this interview with Outside Magazine, he talks about some of the factors that will determine your athletic prowess, and takes aim at the notion that 10,000 hours of practice will do the trick. "The 10,000 hours is an average of differences. You could have two people in any endeavor and one person took 0 hours and another took 20,000 hours, which is something like what happened with two high jumpers I discuss in the book. One guy put in 20,000 and one put in 0, so there's your average of 10,000 hours, but that tells you nothing about an individual." (Apologies to anyone who is on hour 9999 and expecting a big breakthrough.)


Rock Down to Electric Avenue

Tesla once again surprised the market on the upside with its earnings report. The stock has soared in recent months and most of the reviews are glowing. The upward trend makes a lot of sense to anyone who has driven (or even seen) the Model S.


Oh, I Remember

Don't mess with dolphins. Not only are they smart, but they also have really long memories. According to a recent study, dolphins can remember the sound of animals they knew as long as twenty years earlier. This adds credence to my theory that dolphins will eventually come on land and destroy us all.


Getting the Munchies

CNN's Sanjay Gupta has changed his mind on weed. "I apologize because I didn't look hard enough, until now. I didn't look far enough. I didn't review papers from smaller labs in other countries doing some remarkable research, and I was too dismissive of the loud chorus of legitimate patients whose symptoms improved on cannabis." There is simply no viable argument for attempting to keep someone in pain from using a natural drug that can help them feel better. That reality is finally starting to become obvious to everyone.

+ I recently suffered a pretty long bout of insomnia. During that period, I found myself almost obsessed with eating ice cream and frozen yogurt (also known as ice cream). It turns out my brain was reacting as expected. James Hamblin on how sleep deprivations makes us want to eat fat.

+ Bill Clinton on why he went vegan.


The Real Babies of Pakistan

On a popular reality show in Pakistan (which airs 14 hours a day during Ramadan), childless couples are given abandoned babies. According to one local journalist: "There's nothing wrong with handing out abandoned babies to willing parents, but it's the way he's doing it, in front of everyone, on live television. You are not doing it for God, you are doing it for ratings." And I always assumed that being on a reality show should disqualify one from being a parent...


The Bottom of the News

While you're busy streaming the latest movies and music into your various devices, 2.5 million people out there are still using AOL's dialup service. I'm guessing about 2.4 million of them just forgot to unsubscribe.

+ These interactive images show the incredible growth in Shanghai over the past 26 years.

+ Why is it illegal to remove mattress tags?

+ Ever wonder what Mad Men would look like in the year 2013. Here's an image that says it all.