May 5th – The Day’s Most Fascinating News

Will It Blend?

“I feel like the six million dollar man. My physique has noticeably improved, my skin is clearer, my teeth whiter, my hair thicker and my dandruff gone … I haven’t eaten a bite of food in thirty days, and it’s changed my life.” The lifehackers of Silicon Valley have come for your cars, your social interactions, your extra bedroom, your credit card, your love life, and your attention span. And now they are going to eat your lunch. But not until they reduce it to liquid form. In an extremely interesting piece, The New Yorker’s Lizzie Widdicombe visits Rob Rhinehart and shares a few bottles of Soylent, a product some true believers think will replace food.


The Amens Have It

A divided Supreme Court has ruled that “Christian prayers given before meetings of an upstate New York town council did not violate the constitutional prohibition against government establishment of religion.” In my experience, most attendees at city council gatherings are just praying for the meeting to end.

+ Trevor Timm in The Guardian: Technology law will soon be reshaped by people who don’t use email.


Still Missing

“God instructed me to sell them, they are his properties and I will carry out his instructions.” In Nigeria, the leader of Boko Haram made a video in which he threatened to sell off the more than 230 schoolgirls who were abducted three weeks ago. If you don’t live in a place where students are routinely kidnapped for trying to get an education, or where there is a market to “sell” children, then be grateful, hug your kids.

+ Vox: Yes, those abducted Nigerian schoolgirls really could be sold into slavery. Here’s how.


Who’s Your Daddy?

“Is this a case about a desperate dad who is being maliciously prevented from seeing his son, as Mr. Patric insists? Or is it about a woman’s right to choose to be a single mother and have that choice protected from interference, as Ms. Schreiber’s lawyers assert? Is it both?” The NYT provides a glimpse into the highly public paternity suit filed by actor Jason Patric. “Four years ago, with his sperm, her eggs and the wonder of in vitro fertilization, they produced a child. From there, the tale gets very, very messy.”


The Mice Age

How do you reverse the aging in the muscles and brains of old mice? You give them the blood of young mice.

+ WSJ: The questionable link between saturated fat and heart disease.

+ In sports, you get busted when you’re caught using ‘roids. In Hollywood, you get more parts.


This is 90

When he was a teenager in Holocaust-ravaged Poland, Yosel Epelbaum hid in a barn while soldiers searched for him a few feet away. A few hours later, he was the only member of his family to escape his ghetto and make it to the blustery winter of a Polish forest where he hid, alone, for months. He then joined the Partisans and spent years fighting against the Nazis. He came to America with a few dollars and a few words of English, and with the help of just the right wife, he managed to make himself into one of Northern California’s most successful real estate developers. And today is my dad’s 90th birthday.


This is Sad

“I literally had a client say to me, ‘I want to do ads that make people cry.’ We can’t just be straightforward; we have to reach people emotionally. Now everyone’s crying.” FastCompany on the rise of Sadvertising: Why brands are determined to make you cry. (Maybe they just assume you’re sick of the song Happy).


Is This Thing On?

“When Brent Williams got to RadioShack that day in the spring of 2012, he knew exactly what he was looking for: a variable resistor, a current regulator, a circuit board, and a 9-volt battery. The total came to around $20 … [later] he snapped the battery into place, turned a small dial, and sent an electric current into his brain.” Wired’s Greg Miller takes you inside the strange new world of DIY brain stimulation. (The most shocking part of this story is that someone still shops at RadioShack.)


These Kids Today

“My intent is to probe the underlying cluster of mostly undefended beliefs about what life is like (awful), what teaches resilience (experiences with failure), what motivates people to excel (rewards) and what produces excellence (competition).” Alfie Kohn in the NYT: Do Our Kids Get Off Too Easy? (Related Theory: Anyone who thinks modern parents pay too much attention to their kids has never seen a smartphone.)


The Bottom of the News

He was a man with nowhere left to run … and no taste. In one of the best SNL sketches in recent memory, a man learns what happens to people who don’t like Beyonce.

+ “In 2008, my slogan was ‘Yes, we can.’ In 2013, my slogan was control alt delete.” President Obama’s best jokes from the White House Correspondents’ Dinner.

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