December 12th – The Day’s Most Fascinating News

In Gun Country

A year after the Newtown school killings, the NYT looks at America’s complex relationship with guns with a series of personal, interactive pieces. You’ll hear from hunters and competitive target shooters, and from victims of gun violence and funeral home directors. This is gun country.

+ Daily Beast: The school shootings you didn’t hear about since Newtown.


Strike That, Reverse It

Students were not performing well at Clintondale High School outside Detroit. So administrators tried something dramatic. They flipped their classrooms. Students spent their nights watching lessons recorded by their teachers. And they spent their school days doing homework. And it seemed to work.


The Killerer App?

Private is the new public. Instagram just launched an feature that enables users to share photos privately, with a single person or a group of friends. This follows Twitter’s move to allow you to include photos in your direct messages. All these me-too private messaging features are a reminder that email is still, in many ways, the killer app.


New Kids on the Lot

The Golden Globe nominations are out and the big story is that a bunch of new shows booted some old favorites out of the mix. Consider the best TV drama category: No Homeland. No Game of Thrones. No Mad Men. No Boardwalk Empire.

+ 12 Years a Slave and American Hustle earned the most nominations on the film side. And since this year was all about the battle between HBO and Netflix, it’s fitting that House of Cards and Behind the Candelabra led the way among TV shows.

+ Here’s a complete list of nominees, and of course, this year’s biggest snubs and surprises.

+ Netflix had a breakthrough year when it came to awards. But it had an even bigger one when it comes to the bottom line.


Camden Falling

“Instead of shaking hands, people here are always lifting hats, sleeves, pant legs and shirttails to show you wounds or scars, then pointing in the direction of where the bad thing just happened.” Rolling Stone’s Matt Taibbi with a dispatch from Camden; America’s most desperate town.


The Chart House

Take it from someone who begins each day by opening up about eighty browser tabs in search of the day’s most fascinating news. This was the year of the chart. From the most debated topics on Wikipedia to the racial preferences of online daters, Quartz shares their favorite charts of 2013.


Nice to Meet You

“I’m hopeless at parties. My compassionate wife now often whispers the names of people into my ear as they approach, or announces, ‘Susan, you remember Mark.’ (Susan! Of course! How could I have been so blind?) I’m lost during movies with large casts of characters. Sixty minutes into the film, I’ll be asking, ‘Is that the evil brother?’ and my wife will gently tell me, ‘No, dear — that’s the next-door neighbor.'” Mark Herrmann shares what it’s like to have a (mild) case of prosopagnosia. I can remember faces. But names, not so much.

+ How to make people like you: 6 science-based conversation hacks.

+ Speaking of human relationships and difficult conversations, if you haven’t seen it yet, you’ve got to watch: It’s Not About the Nail.


The Wilt Chamberlain App

According to the company, Max Levchin’s fertility-tracking app called Glow has helped at least one thousand women become pregnant. Is this the beginning of using machine learning and big data to solve some of our health care issues?


The Working Life

Ever wonder how many months it would take the average worker at a company to earn as much as their CEO earns in an hour? Well, here’s your answer. (View this during work hours so you’ll at least be getting paid for your time.)

+ Why do people who can least afford it tend to play the lottery the most (even though they know that they have little chance of winning?) Lorde knows: “We’re driving Cadillacs in our dreams”


The Bottom of the News

A few years after the excellent documentary The King of Kong, there is a new generation of players determined to be the best at Donkey Kong. A plastic surgeon from Queens recently put up a score of 1,138,600 points. That means there’s a target on his back.

+ The NBA’s Dwight Howard decided to get some nutritional advice. At the time, he was eating the equivalent of 24 chocolate bars … a day. (Now I don’t feel so bad about the times I’ve eaten 20.)

+ I could actually live a perfectly happy life without another bite of chocolate. But I would be even happier if I lived inside a candy cane factory.

+ Um, yeah. This kid sounds like Elvis.

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