January 10th – The Day’s Most Fascinating News

We Lost the War

Peter Shumlin, the governor of Vermont, dedicated his entire state of state address to one topic: Drug addiction. Like many states, Vermont has seen a significant rise in the number of drug overdoses in recent years, and Shumlin thinks the time has come to take a more realistic approach to the problem. “We have lost the war on drugs. The notion that we can arrest our way out of this problem is yesterday’s theory.”

+ The strange economics of legal weed.


You Are the Target

During the holiday season, we learned that as many as 40 million Target in-store customers had their credit card data stolen. It turns out that the problem wasn’t nearly that small. And hackers got away with a lot more than credit card information. These days, you don’t have to be an oversharer to put your data at risk. If you’ve swiped your credit card, it’s probably been stolen. If you’ve shopped, your data is likely somewhere where you don’t want it to be.

+ That’s not to say your oversharing can’t add to the privacy problem. Many lending companies are checking your social media data to determine whether you’re credit worthy. (So wear something nice for your next selfie.)


Weekend Reads

“I wondered, as I waited for my heat to begin, whether the whole thing might be better suited to a gender studies dissertation than to a sports story. But it was too late now. A crowd of spectators had gathered along Talkeetna’s snowy main drag. Men placed bets on the probable winners. Women in colorful wigs and numbered bibs like mine drank from pocket flasks, and children and dogs roamed freely.” SB Nation’s Eva Holland joins in Alaska’s weirdest and wildest competition (which is held for a very good cause): Wilderness Women.

+ Drew Philp in Buzzfeed: Why I Bought A House In Detroit For $500. (That’ll buy you a month and a half of tandem parking in San Francisco.)

+ “We expected to wait 15 minutes for weather to improve enough that we could make our escape. Instead, we waited for days.” From Douglas Fox: The Time I Got Stranded in Antarctica.


West Virginia, Mountain Trauma

For at least 300,000 residents of West Virginia, the message is clear: Don’t drink the water. Schools and businesses were closed and a state of emergency declared after a chemical spill (that made surrounding areas smell of licorice) impacted the tap water in nine counties. Symptoms that can result from too much consumption of the water include “severe burning in throat, severe eye irritation, non-stop vomiting, trouble breathing or severe skin irritation such as skin blistering.”


Flying Tomato Enterprises

Shaun White has cut his hair. It’s a sign of how quickly time passes. It’s a sign of the mainstreaming of his sport. And it’s a sign that, in many ways, Shaun White has become a corporation — one that extends from the snowboard to the board room. From Elizabeth Weil in the NYT Magazine: The Flying Tomato would rather you not call him that anymore.


Alt Lake City

Some state officials might not be ready to recognize the 900 same-sex marriages that took place in Utah (during the two weeks the unions were legal there), but, as of this morning, the federal government is.


CES La Vie

The fine folks at The Wirecutter sifted through all the press releases and product demos in Vegas and came up with this list of tech they’re really looking forward to in 2014: A Realist’s Guide to CES.

+ Wired: The ten best gadgets at CES.

+ Ars Technica: What we saw, what we loved, and what we’ll remember.

+ Forget gadgets. The coolest technology you’ll see this week is a super slippery coating that makes anything (from syrup to ketchup to glue) slide right out of its bottle.


People Find Some Reason to Believe

An interesting new study found that a significant amount of a drug’s power comes from thinking it will work. There is also, it turns out, a lot of power in uncertainty.

+ Feeling angry? Stuck in a contentious meeting? Things getting a little too emotional? It might be a good idea to dim the lights.


Going Global

The Golden Globes is pretty much always the best awards show of the season. Get ready for this Sunday’s show with The Hollywood Reporter’s analysis of who will win — and who should win.


The Bottom of the News

A Facebook user is suing the company because of a claim that he never “liked” USA Today.

+ Can Time predict your politics? Take the quiz.

+ How many times did Bill Belichick smile this season? Seven.

+ Chris Christie’s Control Room.

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