February 7th – The Day’s Most Fascinating News

Your Prescription is Ready

As participants from around world gather to face off in various events, one competition is already over. When it comes to the ability to remove a childproof cap from a bottle and then swallow down a handful of pills, there is simply no country that can compete with the United States. Americans spend about a grand per person per year on pharmaceuticals. We take more. And we spend more. PBS Newshour takes a look at why Americans spend so much on pharmaceuticals.

+ Are doctors and shrinks too quick to write a ‘script? From Newsweek’s John Ericson: A Pill for Every Ill.

+ The editors at Scientific American argue that it’s time to end the ban on psychoactive drug research and find out if drugs like LSD, marijuana and ecstasy can ease psychiatric disorders.


Caller ID

It looks like we’ve finally figured out a way to foil the NSA’s efforts to gather up all of our phone records: We talk too much. According to WaPo, the NSA “is collecting less than 30 percent of all Americans’ call records because of an inability to keep pace with the explosion in cellphone use.”


Weekend Reads

The beginning of the Winter Olympics, coupled with the focus the host country’s anti-gay laws, reminded me of an excellent GQ piece by Mary Rogan in which she tells the story of a hockey legend who became an unlikely advocate for gays in a macho sports culture. “Brian Burke is tormented by how much terror you can squeeze into ten seconds. Ten seconds in a car careening into oncoming traffic on a stretch of Indiana highway just shy of the Ohio border. Ten seconds sailing sideways through sheets of falling snow, straight at a reinforced truck. Ten seconds with the same unthinkable ending every time.” This is a moving and inspiring piece: Out on the Ice.

+ Grantland: “With an ocean of new statistical information available, the NBA could be on the verge of understanding the value of every single movement on the court.”

+ Oliver Emberton: Life is a game. This is your strategy guide. “The first 15 years or so of life are just tutorial missions, which suck. There’s no way to skip these.”


Life Everlasting

In Ikaria, people take a long nap after tea. In Okinawa, they try to maintain positive relationships. In Loma Linda, they eat their veggies. Why should you care? Because these folks live in the so-called blue zones, or longevity hotspots.


Five Ring Circus

While many viewers will have to wait for the delayed broadcast of the Opening Ceremonies, you can see some great photos here, including the shot of the missing ring.

+ Google already held their own opening ceremonies with a rainbow doodle and a reminder that this sport spectacle should be one without discrimination. Canada’s Institute of Diversity and Inclusion came up with their own response to Russia’s anti-gay games.

+ CNN: Plane lands in Turkey after bomb threat, passenger wanted to land in Sochi.

+ “The theme of these Games is simple: this is Putin’s pop-culture reassertion of Russia, a worldwide media-saturated insistence on its modern power and capacities, all done with a flash and a reach that no diplomatic summit could ever match.” David Remnick on Putin’s Games.

+ 14 photos that prove that Skeleton is the most badass sport at Sochi. That said, the downhill course sounds like it could be pretty intense. Meanwhile, what exactly is Curling?

+ Now that the Games have officially started, you definitely don’t want to hear more about Sochi’s problems. Unless you do.


Getting Steamed

“The effects of inhaling nicotine vapor are not totally understood.” That said, E-Cigarettes are already big and business is booming.

+ How many hours of minimum wage work does it takes to earn a beer? That depends where you live.


Things That Go Bump in the Night

“On Friday, Hoffman’s family and friends will gather again, for his funeral at the Church of St. Ignatius Loyola.The hard-luck musician who was arrested after police raided his apartment and found drugs — after being tipped that he had sold heroin to Hoffman — will continue to be held at the New York City detention facility on Rikers Island.” One addict dies. Another gets arrested for selling him the drugs. And the beat goes on. From The Daily Beast: A sax player, then a suspect after Philip Seymour Hoffman’s final act.


Do You Feel Lucky?

“I looked in his eyes and saw that look of panic people have when they see their life passing before their eyes.” Clint Eastwood saved a guy’s life by performing the Heimlich maneuver.


The Last Night Show

Jay Leno finally signed off from The Tonight Show for real (we think). Here’s a look at some of the scenes from his tearful farewell.

+ Nine of Jay’s greatest hits from his 22 year run.

+ Conan was under pressure to have the best line of the night, and he came through: “That’s right, NBC has the Olympics. It’s a big deal … NBC will finally get to show somebody who is OK with passing the torch.”


The Bottom of the News

Equal but Separate: “There’s more gender-fluidity when it comes to who brings in the money, who does the laundry and dishes, who drives the car pool and braids the kids’ hair, even who owns the home … But the very qualities that lead to greater emotional satisfaction in peer marriages, as one sociologist calls them, may be having an unexpectedly negative impact on these couples’ sex lives.” From NYT Magazine: Does a More Equal Marriage Mean Less Sex? (There’s absolutely no way I’m doing the dishes tonight.)

+ Another big data powered marketing flub. This time, a letter gets sent to Lisa is a slut McIntire.

+ Syndicated from Kottke: Every Prince hairstyle from 1978 to 2013.

+ Celebrities reading mean tweets about themselves. Awesome.

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