Wednesday, November 13th, 2013



According the WSJ, Snapchat recently turned down a $3 billion acquisition offer from Facebook. That's a lot of dough for a company that enables millions of (mostly) teens to exchange photographs and videos that disappear a few seconds after they're viewed (revenues, on the the other hand, haven't appeared at all). This questions arises: Is Snapchat founder Evan Spiegel out of his mind? Here are a few things to consider. First, Facebook had earlier offered a billion for Snapchat. Maybe the number will keep going up. Second, Snapchat has prospective investors willing to invest in the company at an even higher valuation. And Spiegel can sell a block of his stock to those investors and become wildly rich without selling the company. That said, a company like Snapchat (no revenues, uncertain shelf-life) is probably worth a lot more as part of Facebook than it will be alone. Time will tell if Snapchat's founders are forced to do something they famously let their users avoid: Relive a terrible lapse in judgment.

+ "I am a young, white, educated male. I got really, really lucky. And life isn't fair." From LA Weekly: Snapchat went from frat boy dream to tech world darling. But will it last?

+ So are we back to partying like it's1999? Not quite. For a reminder of the dollars being thrown around in those days, take a look back at this CNN piece detailing Yahoo's $5.7 billion purchase of Broadcast dot com (the article is dated April 1, 1999, but it wasn't a prank).


Statins For Everyone!

Should you be taking a statin to control your cholesterol? According to the latest recommendations from the American Heart Association, as many as 70 million Americans should be discussing statin therapy with a physician.

+ From the NYT: Three things to know about the new cholesterol guidelines.



Shortages of food, water, and medicine in the areas hardest hit by Typhoon Haiyan have led to desperate acts. "Some areas appeared to teeter near anarchy amid widespread looting of shops and warehouses for food, water and supplies."

+ Mobile phones are now a crucial aspect of emergency aid.

+ The New Yorker: When Haiyan Struck.


Get Out of Jail

America has a mass incarceration problem. Germany and the Netherlands don't. Here's a brief overview of what they do differently.

+ MoJo: 23 petty crimes that have landed people in prison for life.

+ The Atlantic: How Colorado made a young man insane. "The story of Sam Mandez is appalling on so many different levels it's hard to know where to begin."


Predictions from the Past

On January 6, 1910, Iowa's Cedar Rapids Evening Gazette published a list of things that they believed would be achieved within the next century. Since more than a century has past, let's take a look at how accurate they were. Interesting stuff.

+ Syndicated from Kottke: How the Victorians Wired the World -- One of my favorite books on technology, Tom Standage's The Victorian Internet, was adapted into a TV documentary. It is now available on YouTube.


The Walking Dead?

According to analysts, the pay cable business just endured "its worst 12-month stretch ever." Is this just about a lot of people quitting cable and switching to Netflix and other entertainment options? That's only part of the story.

+ How much money do you make? Or to ask that question another way... What TV shows do you watch?


The Body Bag

British spy Gareth Williams was found dead and decomposing in a locked gym bag. Three years later, authorities still aren't quite sure what happened to Williams. But they are leaning towards an explanation that suggests the death was accidental. "Investigators found that he had visited bondage and sadomasochism websites, including some related to claustrophilia — a desire for confinement in enclosed spaces."


Bringing Home the Bacon

Last night, someone paid $142 million for a painting (or three of them). Francis Bacon's Three Studies of Lucian Freud smashed the record for a price paid for a piece of contemporary art, also set by one of Bacon's works.



How can you make millions of dollars off your website without having any human visitors? Alexis Madrigal introduces you to the world of online arbitrage and the dark art of bots. (I'm assuming that Alexis is human, but one never knows).


The Bottom of the News

Following a pregnant pause that swept the Internet, Toronto mayor Rob Ford admitted that he has purchased illegal drugs. And in what has to be a world's first, he managed to make a city council meeting interesting.

+ Now that everyone is eating Greek yogurt, sales are leveling off. What does that mean? More products made out of Greek yogurt.

+ The court case involving Alec Baldwin and his alleged stalker is pretty incredible so far. Fame can suck.

+ Huh means the same thing almost everywhere.

+ The football coach who never punts.