Friday, November 1st, 2013


Let’s Cheat

Why are you going to cheat? If you look at a series of studies on the topic, it's clear that there are many factors that can push you over the edge -- from messy surroundings, to a certainty that there's enough to go around, to a belief that your actions are a result of genes or the environment. Even the way you're standing could suggest a greater likelihood that you're about to cheat. From The New Yorker's Maria Konnikova, here's a look inside the cheater's mind.


LAX Security?

Flights have been grounded at LAX following reports of an in-terminal shooting that left one TSA worker dead and one in critical condition. Early reports suggest that one TSA agent killed a fellow employee before being shot by authorities. Here are live updates from the LA Times.


Weekend Reads

"A handful of health experts are now concerned that today's veterans face an emerging epidemic, one threatening the lives of thousands of men and women. And it's all because of garbage." The Verge's Katie Drummond takes you inside the military's ring of fire.

+ "At 8 years old, she weighed 25.6 pounds, the size of an average 2-year-old, and was damaged in ways doctors had never seen. A lot has happened in Lauren Kavanaugh's life since then." From The Dallas Morning News: The Girl in the Closet. It's horrifying to consider the things people are capable of doing to each other. And inspiring to see that some victims can find a way to endure.

+ Aeon's Heather Havrilesky on the human condition: The laundry will never be done.

+ The Guardian has a great interactive piece that explains what the NSA revelations mean for you. "The chances are you are sharing a lot more personal information than you think..."

+ Pando Daily's Hamish McKenzie on the hand-drawn emoticon that ought to push Silicon Valley over the edge. It's time for Silicon Valley to ask: Is it worth it?


This is Your Brain on Mario

A recent study featured in Nature found that playing "at least 30 minutes of Mario 64 every day for two months actually grew significant amounts of new gray matter in three areas of the brain correlated with spatial navigation, strategic planning, working memory, and motor performance." (Which, if nothing else, suggests you should be even better at Mario 64 during your next two months of playing.)


The Other Nerds

These days, it's good to be a nerd. But only if you're the right kind of nerd. Consider this: 45% of Stanford's undergraduate faculty members work in the humanities. But only 15% of students are there. Interest is fading in the humanities, and colleges are getting worried. A soon as someone's Haiku goes public with a valuation of $20 billion, I'm sure the tide will shift.


A Fall Back Position

As we get ready to reset our clocks, The Atlantic's Alexander Abad-Santos claims that Daylight Saving Time Is America's Greatest Shame. Funny, I thought America's greatest shame was bombastic headlines.

+ And from Quartz: The US needs to retire daylight savings and just have two time zones.


The Drive

"He installed a switch to kill the rear lights and bought two laser jammers and three radar detectors ... there was also a police scanner, two GPS units and various chargers for smartphones and tablets -- not to mention snacks, iced coffee and a bedpan." That's what it took to drive from LA to NY in under 29 hours. (Someone should tell these guys about air travel.)


Ice, Ice Baby

Syndicated from Kottke: Why hot water freezes faster than cold water -- Not to get all Malcolm Gladwell here, but it's counterintuitive that hot water freezes faster than cold water. The phenomenon is called the Mpemba effect and until recently, no one could explain how it works. A group of researchers in Singapore think they've cracked the puzzle.


Wag the Human

A dog can be sending entirely different messages depending on how it wags its tail. A wag to the right might suggest that the dog has encountered something friendly. A wag to the left could mean that the dog feels threatened. If the ail wags on both sides, that means a researcher just got more funding for study of questionable value.


The Bottom of the News

For decades, basically everyone one-strapped. These days, all the cool kids (and most of the cool adults) are two-strapping it. Forest Wickman goes deep on a Slate backpack investigation: When did two strapping get cooler than one-strapping?

+ "Doris Payne ... is a thief, as prolific and subtly conniving as they come. She doesn't use muscle and she doesn't rely on guns." Oh, and she's 83 years-old.

+ Kim and Kanye are suing a YouTube co-founder for sharing a video of their marriage proposal at AT&T Park. You know, because they are private people.