April 4th – The Day’s Most Fascinating News

I’m Radioactive

Don’t touch that dial. While digital technology has altered the way we consume everything from music to the news, it has barely made a dent in the dominance of that old time terrestrial radio. More than 90 percent of us still listen to radio each week, and radio’s share of advertising has remained fairly stable. Why? Mostly because we still spend a lot of time in our cars. With internet-enabled cars merging into the marketplace, radio could finally face a head-on collision with the future. (I still enjoy a ton of AM and FM radio, but it’s almost impossible to explain to my kids why I can’t fast forward over songs.)


Kalamazoo U

“The Kalamazoo Promise wasn’t just a big idea about the new economics of education; the hope wasn’t just to send more kids to college — but to turn around an entire town.” Like many American cities, Kalamazoo was facing hard times. So a group of donors got together and came up with a plan. If you attended Kalamazoo school from Kindergarten, an anonymous group would foot the bill for your college education. That was nine years ago. Politico Magazine takes us back to Kalamazoo to find out whether free college can save American cities.

+ Inside a beatmaker’s Harvard class on Hip Hop.

+ Another question for those interested in urban studies: Is Brooklyn the new Manhattan? (And if so, am I trimming my beard correctly?)


Weekend Reads

“Lester is nearly unrecognizable in his new body. Maybe it’s the plastic surgery, but he looks young for 43 years old. Lester had six inches of skin removed from each side of his face after losing the weight. He’s undergone 17 surgeries in all to remove excess skin.” Normally, dropping weight is a positive. But things get complicated when you are an actor who regularly got the part of the big guy. From Grantland: In Hollywood, what happens to a man who loses more than half of himself?

+ “In the untamed world of online comment sections, no one is more vulnerable to criticism than doctors, who are restricted by confidentiality laws from defending themselves against even the most outlandish of claims.” From Buzzfeed: How Doctors Are Losing The War Against Trolls.

+ An oral history of Netscape’s founding (on its 20th anniversary).

+ The woman behind Apple’s first icons.


Shooting a War Zone

While covering the upcoming elections in Afghanistan, Associated Press photographer Anja Niedringhaus was shot and killed by an Afghan police officer. InFocus shares a look back at some of her most remarkable photography.


Registered Offender

A few weeks ago, Glenn Ford spent his first day outside of prison following a 30 year stint for a crime he didn’t commit. He had no money and no stuff. In other words, it was time to put together an Amazon Registry. (Too bad we can’t give him the 30 years back…)


Shooting Fish in a Barrel

“Ever since I was a kid I’ve watched my mom wake up at six in the morning, work all day, come home, make my brother and me dinner — maybe shout at me for too much ‘computering.’ My first thought that day was that while I was asleep I’d made more money than she had all year. And I’d done it with a mobile-phone game about shooting fish with a machine gun.” From The New Yorker: The guilt of the video-game millionaires.


His Way

In one of his more famous television moments, David Letterman jumped onto a wall wearing a Velcro suit. But nothing can stick forever, and yesterday — in his typical, low key manner — the man who completely changed late night television announced his plans to retire. Letterman is the last host from an era when it mattered what time a show was on.


The Throne Zone

The new season of Game of Thrones is finally back this weekend. But before it was even a TV show, writer George R. R. Martin was under incredible pressure. And it wasn’t from producers or publishers. It was from his readers. “The online attacks on Martin suggest that some readers have a new idea about what an author owes them. They see themselves as customers, not devotees, and they expect prompt, consistent service.”

+ In addition to being excellent, I’m convinced that Game of Thrones is enjoyable because its level of action (both violent and sexual) rips our glances away from any second screen and forces us to focus. It’s not easy to grab our full attention these days. That’s why I had had to write an Action Hero Blog Post.

+ Wired has a recap to get you ready for the new season.

+ And to get you prepared emotionally, here’s every on-screen death from the first three seasons of the show.


With Friends Like These

Milo Yiannopoulos in The Kernal: “You’ll think this is weird, but for three years now I’ve taken what might be described as a ‘data-driven’ approach to my social life. Specifically, I’ve been maintaining a gigantic spreadsheet of friends and business contacts, updated with columns such as ‘Hotness Index,’ ‘Income,’ and ‘Strategic Value.’ And I spend about four hours a week keeping it up to date.” Yeah, he’s right. It’s weird. He should just rank his friends the usual way; according to their newsletter open rate.


The Bottom of the News

Jon Hamm was once a contestant on a dating show, and he lost (for good reason). In this old clip, Mark L. Walberg is the host of the game show. He went on to host Temptation Island, and then somehow ended up as host of Antiques Roadshow.

+ Did the Chobani founder secretly buy his recipe from and ex-Fage employee?

+ The paintings of George W. Bush.

+ Good news. Those bison running out of Yellowstone were not running away from an earthquake. And they were actually running into the park. Oh, Internet…

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