October 22nd – The Day’s Most Fascinating News

Everything We Know

In the early days of Wikipedia, people wondered whether the quality of its information was as good as that found in encyclopedias (remember those?). These days, Wikipedia has gone completely mainstream. Its entries are often provided right alongside Google search results. Thousands of sites borrow the data and display it as fact. Wikipedia is the Internet’s sixth most visited site. But did we ever answer our original question? Is the data good? And is there a chance that it’s not as good now as it was a few years ago? Consider this: Wikipedia’s volunteer workforce has shrunk by more than a third in the last six years. “When Wikipedians achieved their most impressive feat of leaderless collective organization, they unwittingly set in motion the decline in participation that troubles their project today.” From Tim Simonite in the MIT Technology Review: The Decline of Wikipedia.


I Am Acting My Age

How old are you? That’s a question some people like to avoid. And it may be a question that gets a lot more complicated to answer. Forget your age in years. Let’s talk about your age measured in altered DNA. One day you may need to celebrate a different birthday for each of your major organs. At least that means more cake.


Better to Give Than to Receive

Both Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International have released new reports detailing some of the outcomes of all those drone attacks being carried out by the United States. The Daily Beast has collected some findings from these reports that may change your view on drones.


Welcome to the Future (Bring a Mask)

Wonder what the future might look like if we don’t get air pollution under control? Well, the future is now in northeast China where schools, airports, and highways have been closed due to an air quality level that has reduced visibility to a few yards.


Couch Not Included

There was a time when most psychopharmaceutical drugs were prescribed by psychiatrists. Those days are long gone and taking this class of drugs has become wildly popular. One in five Americans is currently on some kind of psychiatric medicine. And a lot of them are being prescribed by primary care doctors. Are they qualified to be doling out these pills? The New Yorker’s Suzanne Koven wonders whether mental health should be a primary doctor’s job. At this rate, they’ll need their own psychiatric drugs just to keep up with the demand.


In the Air

Apple released some new products today, and as per usual, it was a much watched and much tweeted-about event. The big news today included a new, thinner iPad (called the iPad Air), iPad Minis with Retina displays, and perhaps most interestingly, a new pricing scheme for Apple’s new operating system called Mavericks. It’s free. Here’s a rundown of everything you need to know about today’s Apple event.

+ I am a total Apple fanboy, but when Tim Cook pulled out this sign to make fun of the direction Apple’s competitors are taking, I just couldn’t resist

+ “This isn’t supposed to happen. It violates mainstream finance theory. Very few companies have been valued this way outside a systemic bubble.” From the NYT: Sales are colossal, shares are soaring. All Amazon is missing is a profit.”

+ LA Weekly: Snapchat went from frat boy dream to tech world darling. But will it last?

+ Afraid to talk to techies? Don’t worry. There’s a course for that. (Don’t take this course. They will smell your weakness…)


Who Cares Why?

According to a new study, it’s not enough for married couples to continue to make the time to get it on. They also have to get it on for the right reasons. If you’re looking for long-term satisfaction in your relationship, you’ll need to choose right between these two motivations: approach and avoidance. Forget these studies. Stick with desperation.

+ “I really did grow to love the fragrance.” What happens when a grown woman wears Axe fragrance for an entire week?


A College Try

How will you do in college? Colleges are trying to use big data to answer that question before you get there. Of course, the algorithm can’t account for keg stands.

+ The health care site isn’t the only mission critical online tool that’s having some problems this fall. So is the service that hosts the common application for colleges.


Invitation to a Beheading

There are certain types of content that are banned from Facebook. Beheadings are not among them. Here’s a look at Facebook’s rather odd decision to allow the content that almost no one could like. But at least they will warn you before you stumble across a beheading video. Such a video might also suggest you need to improve the quality of your friends.


The Bottom of the News

The villages of Rjukan, Norway, and Viganella, Italy are both in deep valleys where they don’t get much sun. So the residents came up with a plan. They installed giant mirrors to lighten things up a bit.

+ Want to estimate office space rental prices in San Francisco. Just look at this Nasdaq chart. San Francisco has officially become an industry town.

+ “I was floored. I was astounded.” A professor of medicine looks at a chicken nugget under a microscope.

+ Want to make animated Gifs that go viral? This is what your workstation will look like.

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