March 4th – The Day’s Most Fascinating News

The Future Will Not Be Fast-Forwarded

In addition to celebrating full length movies, this year’s Academy Awards provided a preview of what advertising will look like in the near future. The evening had all the elements. A live televised event. A large audience watching in real-time and sharing the experience on social media. And product placements, hammered right into the broadcast, that were so effective, you happily shared them on social media (a fact that was later worked back into the broadcast). From the WSJ: Behind the Preplanned Oscar Selfie.

+ More than half of Millennials have taken a Selfie.


Secondhand Vapor

“I feel like I’m in a time machine. I was here and participating in 1983 when San Francisco passed a smoking law … and it was the same arguments – that it would destroy freedom, that it would destroy America, that it would ruin everything. That there was no evidence secondhand smoke is dangerous. It was not true when we were talking about secondhand smoke in 1983, and it’s not true when we are talking about e-cigarettes now.” That’s the head of UCSF’s Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education who is working to apply the city’s anti-smoking laws to e-cigs.

+ And the L.A. City Council is considering “a proposal to treat e-cigarettes like conventional cigarettes and prohibit them in nearly every workplace and many outdoor spaces.”

+ This is how one would try to smoke 100 cigarettes at once.


Putin on the Ritz

Over the weekend, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said that Putin seemed like he was “in another world” during their telephone conversation. Did Putin’s press conference prove her right?

+ Russian forces in Crimea? What Russian forces?

+ The Ukraine-Russia crisis in numbers (including the $1b U.S. loan guarantees just promised to Ukraine’s new government.)

+ “You have to understand, George, that Ukraine is not even a country. Part of its territory is in Eastern Europe and the greater part was given to us.” Putin’s Ukrainian endgame and why the West may have a hard time stopping him.

+ There’s one place where this story is being closely monitored: Space.


Ice Capades

From Nature: “In what seems like a plot straight out of a low-budget science-fiction film, scientists have revived a giant virus that was buried in Siberian ice for 30,000 years — and it is still infectious. Its targets, fortunately, are amoebae, but the researchers suggest that as Earth’s ice melts, this could trigger the return of other ancient viruses, with potential risks for human health.” But one expert insists that you shouldn’t be all that worried about this: “I would be much more concerned about the hundreds of millions of people who will be displaced by rising sea levels.”

+ Mount Everest is so covered with debris that everyone who climbs it will soon be required to haul back 17 pounds of garbage.


The Battle for Bandwidth

“Keeping communications, navigation, and precision weapons working requires winning a cat-and-mouse game of jamming and counterjamming.” Wired takes you inside the new arms race to control bandwidth on the battlefield.

+ Google wants to use balloons to provide bandwidth to the far reaches of the globe. So Facebook will use drones. (Meanwhile, Yahoo plans to use a really long ethernet cable.)

+ Boeing has plans for a self-destructing smartphone.


Beyond the Oscars

“I remember a time when I too felt unbeautiful. I put on the TV and only saw pale skin, I got teased and taunted about my night-shaded skin … And when I was a teenager my self-hate grew worse.” A few days before she won her Academy Award, Lupita Nyong’o gave a short speech on race and beauty at Essence’s Black Women in Hollywood Luncheon. It turns out her excellent Oscar speech was no fluke.

+ “That’s the bottom line. I don’t like it, because if they ever snag me they are going to find all kinds of crap to file charges on. I’ll be carrying too much cash, too many drugs, too much everything. It will be one charge after another. It will be a list … as long as your arm.” Here’s the 1992 Dallas Morning News story about a guy named Ron Woodroof, the cowboy smuggler who ran the Dallas Buyer’s Club.

+ The NYT has issued a correction related to a story they wrote about Solomon Northup … in 1853. (Think about that lag time next time you’re about to email me about a typo.)


One Word: Plastics

Many of us have switched away from drinking out of traditional plastic cups and bottles, and purchased the BPA-free models instead. But what if those aren’t safe either?

+ Not eating Teff? Get with it it. The East African grain could be the next quinoa.

+ All the ways you eat wrong, in 11 charts.



“Coach, I don’t know how much time I have left, so I want to run fast.” Kayla Montgomery can’t sense much pain while she races. But at the finish line, she collapses every time. She has multiple sclerosis. She’s fast. And she is in the race of her life.


Swede Racer

There are more cars driving more miles on the roads of Sweden. But there are fewer road deaths. How did they manage that? They try really hard. And they’re shooting for zero road deaths. “We simply do not accept any deaths or injuries on our roads.”


The Bottom of the News

These days, with your job getting more complex and your privacy at risk, it pays to be tech savvy. So it might surprise you to learn that one in ten Americans think that HTML is an STD. And 27% think a gigabyte is a South American insect.

+ “Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad that you are here, but why are you here? What good could come of this? Have you ever seen this show?” Toronto Mayor Rob Ford decided to appear on Jimmy Kimmel’s show. It was a poor decision, but not that poor by comparison to the others he’s made.

+ Why does your nose get stuffy one nostril at a time?

+ Syndicated from Kottke: A collection of starlings is called a murmuration and when they roam the skies together, it’s beautiful:

+ Ah, Ah, Ah, Ah … Bruce Springsteen covers Stayin’ Alive. Why not, he also covered Royals by Lorde in Auckland (it was the first time my 5 year-old daughter and 7 year-old son both wanted to watch the same thing.)

Copied to Clipboard