Wednesday, September 11th, 2013


Big Math on Campus

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Shauniqua Epps lives in subsidized housing in Philadelphia. Neither of her parents graduated high school. Her dad died when she was in third grade and her mother is on social security. But Shauniqua Epps worked hard. She earned a 3.8 GPA in high school where she was a varsity athlete, president of the student government, and had experiences as a volunteer and an intern. All this makes Shauniqua Epps sound like exactly the type of person who would qualify for financial aid. While she was admitted to three colleges, none of them offered her any financial help. It turns out Epps might have had a better shot at financial aid if she didn't need any. ProPublica and The Chronicle of Higher Education describe the new math of higher education. "It's not just that colleges are continuously pushing up sticker prices. Public universities have also been shifting their aid, giving less to the poorest students and more to the wealthiest."

+ The gap between the top 1% and the rest of Americans is wider than it's been in more than a century. And it's growing. "From 2009 to 2012, as the U.S. economy improved, incomes of the top 1% grew more than 31%, while the incomes of the 99% grew 0.4% - less than half a percentage point."


Face Off

Facebook makes us unhappy and the Internet makes us feel alienated, lonely and depressed. Facebook makes us happy and the Internet provides us with key social connections that can ward of stress and increase our mental and physical health. How can different studies come to such different conclusions? It could have something to do with way we use social networks and the Internet. Scrolling passively tends to make people feel worse. Actively contributing tends to make them feel better. The New Yorker's Maria Konnikova provides some interesting insights into how Facebook makes us unhappy.


The First Responder

My wife and I were in bed when her sister called and told us we better turn on the television. We all remember exactly where we were twelve years ago today. The planes flying into buildings. The shocking destruction. The first responders who ran up the stairs while everyone else was running down. On the twelfth anniversary of 9-11, Slate's Molly Knight Raskin profiles Danny Lewin, the man who was likely the first person killed (and who helped millions of us stay online).

+ "For us on the ground, the realization of how bad it was came when people started jumping to their deaths as a better option than being burned alive 70, 80, 90 floors above West Street." Six Daily News photographers share their stories from September 11.

+ Here are photos depicting the rise of One World Trade Center. And here are time lapse videos of both the original and the new World Trade Centers being built.

+ AT&T might want to try to forget their 9/11 never forget tweet.


Speech Impediment

President Obama's speech that was originally intended to convince Americans of the need to hit Syria with airstrikes morphed into something else following the rise of a potential diplomatic solution (or at least delay). George Packer sums up the moment: "White Houses don't do this sort of thing, but the speech probably should have been cancelled, because it no longer served any purpose. The President spoke to the nation because he said he would."

+ Buzzfeed: 7 reasons destroying Syria's chemical weapons will be a lot harder than you think. (I don't know anyone who's said they think it will be easy.)


Coronado High

I went to San Rafael High School, the campus widely credited with inventing 4-20. That gives my alma mater a decent place in marijuana history, but it's nothing compared to Coronado High School in San Diego where some former classmates built one of the country's biggest pot smuggling operations. "Before anyone had heard of the Mexican cartels and the Colombian kingpins, there was a group of Cali surfers, friends who discovered weed in the '60s and -- in a fit of stoner inspiration -- figured out how to smuggle in the best, most potent stuff on earth. Over a decade, they built an empire that made hundreds of millions." From GQ's Joshua Bearman (of Argo fame): Coronado High.


Yanking Our Chain

When you think of greenhouse gases, you might not think of the food you don't eat. But according to a recent study, food waste is the third-largest source of greenhouse gas. Regardless of its impact on the environment, it's pretty scary that, each year, we throw away one-third of the food produced.


The Hacker Way

"While meatheads and models jog obliviously outside, 150 code warriors hunker inside the hotel for a three-day bender of booze, break-ins and brainstorming. Some are felons. Some are con artists. But they're all here for the same mission: to show off their skills and perhaps attract the attention of government and corporate recruiters." Rolling Stone's David Kushner takes a look at the geeks on the front lines -- and efforts made by the government to hire them.


Parental Units

Want to have a better chance at keeping millennials at your firm? Here's a tip from the WSJ: Let them bring their parents to work. I used to bring my parents to work. But now I let them stay home as long as they promise to retweet me.

+ Before you make any decisions about the benefits of bringing a parent to your place of work, please read this cautionary tale by my friend Dave Mandelbrot: Why you don't invite your mother to the office.

+ Stephen Lurie with a short history of every job-seeker's greatest annoyance: The cover letter.


It Takes a Village

Victor Willis is holding his arms in the air. In part he is celebrating. And in part he is dancing. You'd probably be more likely to recognize Willis if he were dressed in a police uniform and surrounded by the other members of the Village People. Willis spent years in court and now has finally managed to win back the rights to many of the songs he wrote, including YMCA and In the Navy. Thanks to a little known copyright law provision, musicians and other artists can "recover control of their creations after 35 years, even if they had originally signed away their rights." From Willis: "I learned over the years that there are some awesome powers associated with copyright ownership. You can stop somebody from performing your music if you want to, and I might object to some usages." We all might.


The Bottom of the News

In the United States, lifespan has doubled over the past 150 years. From cotton to window screens, here's a look at fourteen oddball reasons you're not dead yet.

+ Is the Tesla really all that green? And is the new colorful iPhone really all that cheap?

+ Anthony Weiner's NYC mayoral campaign ends with him flipping off a reporter. (Either that or he was just showing off his texting finger.)

+ Customers should decide whether they want to use salt, not chefs. Amazingly, there is a pretty big debate about that.