Tuesday, November 19th, 2013


Me, Myself, and My Selfie

Of all the inventions marking the rise of the digital era, perhaps none was as inevitable as the front-facing camera. It's not surprising that modern humans quickly took to the dual role of being both the shooter and the shot, the sharer and shared, the self and the selfie. It has, after all, never been so easy to find yourself. You just have to look at your own Facebook status updates, your own Twitter feed, your own cell phone camera lens. So it makes perfect sense that the Oxford Dictionaries Word of the Year for 2013 is Selfie. Selfie is not merely the word of the year. It is the idea of an era.

+ For good measure, here's a photo of me with the story about Selfie being named word of the year.

+ No service represents the selfie era like Snapchat. And it turns out that no service sees as many photos exchanged daily.


Sleep It Off

If you plan to interrogate someone, you might want to start by depriving them of sleep. It's a tried and true way to make people feel bad. Now, some psychiatric researchers are finding that sleep therapy can be a good way to make people feel better. Can getting a good night's sleep be the new Prozac? Consider this: "Depression is the most common mental disorder, affecting some 18 million Americans in any given year, according to government figures, and more than half of them also have insomnia."

+ Why do you always wake up five minutes before your alarm clock goes off?


Not Going Anywhere for a While?

The "war" in Afghanistan may soon be over. But according to the draft of a security deal obtained by NBC News, the U.S. will maintain military posts and pay for Afghan security forces in the region for years to come.


Seeing Through the Haze

NFL hazing has been in the news over the past couple weeks. But, of course, college hazing (particularly at fraternities) is a much bigger -- and often more troubling -- story. "Since 2005 ... there have been at least 60 fraternity-related deaths, most involving alcohol and hazing."


You Won’t Leave

It's not just that Americans don't get that many vacation days. It's also that they don't even use the ones they get. According to one survey, Americans are leaving more than a half a billion vacation days on the table.


He Won’t Leave

"He proclaimed his proclivity for oral sex on live television." He confirmed that he was smoking crack in a viral video. And he's done a lot of other stuff that is equal parts disturbing and riveting (OK, maybe more disturbing). Toronto can (and has) stripped Rob Ford of many of his mayoral powers. But they don't seem to be able to make him go away.

+ BloombergBusinessweek: Why Rob Ford Happened.


Keep it Short

"Lincoln's remarks anticipated the shift to vernacular rhythms which Mark Twain would complete twenty years later. Hemingway claimed that all modern American novels are the offspring of Huckleberry Finn. It is no greater exaggeration to say that all modern political prose descends from the Gettysburg Address …" Historian Garry Wills on the significance of the words that remade America. ("...and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth." Drops mic.)


Don’t Hold Your Breath

"After diving down to 68 meters, he paused and reached 72 meters before turning back. After staying under water for 3 minutes 38 seconds, Mr. Mevoli, 32, pulled off his goggles -- and quickly fell into unconsciousness. He died soon after." In the wake of a tragic end to a free driving record attempt, the NYT takes a deeper look at a growing sport.


The Writer

"All writers have their morning rituals, and I'm no exception. Scott Lew has ALS. It can take him four hours to get from his bed to his computer. Once he gets there, he writes feature films.


The Bottom of the News

From PandoDaily's Hamish McKenzie: "A Washington DC woman who caught what very much appears to be two male hookers using her apartment as a base for their 'erotic massage' service is reconsidering her use of Airbnb." This is the problem with the sharing economy. You have to share your stuff.

+ English Has a New Preposition, Because Internet.

+ Vancouver is banning the doorknob.

+ The Monty Python troupe plans a new stage show.

+ Slate's foolproof strategy for finding Waldo.