November 22nd – The Day’s Most Fascinating News

The Most Important Man in the World

Even fifty years later, it’s shocking to read the concise and disturbing lede from a 1963 edition of the New York Times: “President John Fitzgerald Kennedy was shot and killed by an assassin today. He died of a wound in the brain caused by a rifle bullet that was fired at him as he was riding through downtown Dallas in a motorcade. Vice President Lyndon Baines Johnson, who was riding in the third car behind Mr. Kennedy’s, was sworn in as the 36th President of the United States 99 minutes after Mr. Kennedy’s death.”

+ “Then Malcolm Perry stepped up to the aluminum hospital cart and took charge of the hopeless job of trying to keep the 35th president of the United States from death. And now, the enormousness came over him. Here is the most important man in the world, Perry thought.” Here’s a look back at Jimmy Breslin’s column for the New York Herald Tribune: A Death in Emergency Room One. (This also includes Breslin’s famous piece on JFK’s gravedigger. Both are must-reads.)

+ CBS News is replaying its original four days of reporting here. Also, here’s NPR’s Twitter account called Today in 1963.

+ 23 front pages covering the Kennedy assassination.


Remembering the Day

On NPR, two reporters who witnessed the shooting share their reflections from that day. The most amazing part of this piece is Sid Davis describing his decision to hold off on reporting the news that the president was dead until he had additional sources. Times have sure changed.

+ “Before the dreadful news clattered over the teletypes that day, before it hit TV, even before the president reached the Dallas hospital, a 58-year-old Russian immigrant named Abraham Zapruder knew John F. Kennedy was dead.

+ From Kottke: Here’s a version of the Zapruder film in HD resulting in an amazingly clear representation of the event.


Weekend Reads

“In 1988 there were 350,000 cases of polio worldwide. Last year there were 223. But getting all the way to zero will mean spending billions of dollars, penetrating the most remote regions of the globe, and facing down Taliban militants to get to the last unprotected children on earth.” From Wired’s Matthieu Aikins: The Surge.

+ “For four high-profile former spooks, each with their own histories of whistleblowing and government persecution, arranging a secret meeting with the world’s most wanted whistleblower was no simple thing.” From Vice: Finding Snowden.

+ Imagining a post-antibiotics future.

+ “I’ve touched everybody on the nose, man. There ain’t nobody I can’t touch on the nose … I know what you’re thinking. Just relax … If I can touch you, I can kill you.” Rolling Stone’s Erik Hedegaard pays a visit to Charles Manson.


Can You Hear Me Now?

Whether you call it Obamacare or the Affordable Care Act, it’s been tough not to notice one of the most covered stories of the year. Right? Maybe not. According to a recent poll by the Kaiser Family Foundation, four in ten Americans still haven’t heard anything about the Obamacare exchanges. Once they finally get insured, these folks should get their hearing checked.


That Sinking Feeling

“This entire country is about to be wiped out by climate change. It won’t be the last.” BloombergBusinessweek’s Jeffrey Goldberg: Drowning Kiribati.

+ The 90 companies that caused two-thirds of man-made global warming emissions.


The Dial High Club

The rules regarding the use of your electronic devices during take-off and landing have already been relaxed. What’s next? Soon, you might be able to make cell phone calls from the air, “setting up a debate that will pit the technically possible against the socially tolerable.”


The Other Valley

In The Atlantic, a shepherd explains why he loves Twitter, and how he uses it: “My feed is not really about me: I’m just a narrator. It’s about the way my people farm an amazing landscape, the sheep, the land, the sheepdogs, and the characters in our valley. It’s not really in the spirit of my community to self promote.” I would make a really bad shepherd.


Tangled Up in Blue

“He decided to install video cameras in his store. Not to protect himself from criminals, because he says he has never been robbed. He installed the cameras — 15 of them — he said, to protect him and his customers from police.” From the Miami Herald, store video catches cops in the act.



This year, Hanukkah and Thanksgiving will overlap. It’s an incredibly rare occurrence. Slate takes a look at some other overlaps you might experience — especially if you can hold out for a few thousand years. For example, on Sept. 19, 61818, Hanukkah will coincide with Talk Like a Pirate Day.

+ Whatever year it is, the holidays always seem to be dominated by one toy. Here’s a look at the two decade dominance of Elmo. In my house this year, it’s all about the Rainbow Loom.


The Bottom of the News

I like to think I’m pretty into news. But my habit is nothing compared to the one Marion Stokes had for the 35 years during which she taped TV news. All the time. “Stokes had a habit of watching two televisions at once, and her son says she could pay attention to both at the same time. Plus, there were often several more televisions running without volume in bedrooms and hallways as they recorded other channels. It was a chaotic environment for most everyone but Stokes.” We really should have been roommates.

+ How The Simpsons have secretly been teaching you math.

+ Wired: The games that changed everything.

+ Mental Floss: 17 ancient abandoned websites that still work.

+ Nine interesting facts about how major world events affect our viewership of adult content on the Internet. (I guess I wasn’t the only one who took Rosh Hashanah off)

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