January 30th – The Day’s Most Fascinating News

You’re Invited

There’s something a little ironic about publicly wishing happy birthday to the company that pretty much ruined birthdays by making them so public. But in a few days, about 1.23 billion users will help blow out the candles on Facebook’s tenth birthday cake. Aside from an IPO marred by the equivalent of a kale-filled Piñata and a deflated bouncy house, most of Facebook’s childhood years have been remarkably good, and the Internet’s ultimate prodigy is on the way to becoming the first company on the playground ever to reach a $150 billion market cap. BloombergBusinessweek gets the latest from Mark Zuckerberg as Facebook approaches puberty.

+ Facebook’s tenth birthday present to users will be a Flipboard-like news app called Paper.


Crime and Punishment

“The nature of the conduct at issue and the resultant harm compel this decision.” That’s Attorney General Eric Holder explaining why his office has decided to seek the death penalty in the case against 20-year-old Boston bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.

+ New mayor, new story. New York City Is getting ready to drop its Stop-and-Frisk appeal.


The Black Diamond Commute

“What happened in Atlanta this week is not a matter of Southerners blindsided by unpredictable weather. More than any event I’ve witnessed in two decades of living in and writing about this city, this snowstorm underscores the horrible history of suburban sprawl in the United States and the bad political decisions that drive it.” Politico’s Rebecca Burns on how 2 lousy inches of snow paralyzed a metro area of 6 million.


Sized Up

“A major new study of more than 7,000 children has found that a third of children who were overweight in kindergarten were obese by eighth grade. And almost every child who was very obese remained that way.” The NYT’s Gina Kolata on the evidence that obesity strikes early.

+ Researchers had some success treating extreme peanut allergies by giving a group of kids tiny amounts of peanut protein each day.


Use Protection

“We know that physical activity helps our bodies, but we’re just coming to the understanding that mental exercise is also critical to promoting mental well-being.” The New Yorker’s Maria Konnikova on studies that suggest meditation and mindfulness can be cure and a prophylactic when it comes to stress.


Yanking My Chain

Ever wonder how many hours per week you’d need to work at Costco or Walmart to make a secure but modest living in your city? MoJo has a wage calculator to help you find out.

+ According to the calculator, a family of four could live modestly in San Francisco if the sole breadwinner worked about 172 hours a week at Walmart. That seems low given the latest SF rental numbers.

+ In the United States, Blockbuster went from having about 9,000 locations to going bust. But in Mexico, the brand lives on as an upscale chain.


War is Hell

When President Obama introduced Cory Remsberg during the State of the Union, I was moved. But I was also a little angry. The Atlantic’s Peter Beinart helped me understand why: “Those men and women owe Remsburg more than applause. They owe him a reckoning with their past behavior. Imagine if the next time a senator on some talk show called for keeping open the option of war with Iran, the host showed an image of Cory Remsburg and then asked the senator why, based on the wars he’s supported in the past, the public should trust him to propose new ones.”


Kosher Pigskins

Most commercials during NFL games aren’t exactly directed towards women. But that’s changing. Why? Because in the concussion-awareness era, moms are increasingly the ones who decide that their kids can’t play football. “In other words, if mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.”

+ Security is up. The temperature is down. Bottom line, it sucks to be a scalper.

+ You already won your Super Bowl prop bet if you took the over on counterfeit tickets and goods. Law enforcement officials have already arrested 50 people and seized more than $21 million in counterfeit NFL goods.

+ Advanced technology. Millions in development. 3D printing. And we’re just talking about the cleats.

+ Will this be the most kosher Super Bowl? (It really doesn’t matter. It’s going to be way too cold outside for most Jewish mothers to let their kids attend to the game.)


To Die For

If you’re looking to take home an Oscar for best actor, here’s a tip: Play someone who is physically or mentally ill. Or better yet, die on screen.


The Bottom of the News

Celery. Avocados. Almonds. And of course, lots and lots of bananas. Welcome to the world of the horticultural Kama Sutra, where sometimes asparagus is more than asparagus.

+ At an elementary school in Salt Late City, about 40 kids watched as their school lunches were seized and tossed in the garbage because they had outstanding balances.

+ A toxicology report revealed that during his remarkably slow drag race, Justin Bieber had traces of Xanax and marijuana in his system. (I still remember when I was young enough to function on only two drugs…)

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