Thursday, May 8th, 2014


The Disappearing Act

Snapchat has settled with the FTC over charges that the company "deceived customers about the disappearing nature of messages sent through its service and that it collected users' contacts without telling them or asking permission." When it comes to photos, recipients could take a screenshot with their phones. And accessing videos that "disappeared" was equally simple. What's amazing here is that any company would be able to "deceive" customers about disappearing content. Consider this your last public service announcement on the topic of dropping one's pants and snapping a photo: If it's on the Internet, it's public, and it's there forever.

+ And by forever, I mean forever. So who gets access to your embarrassing social media stream after you've been uploaded to the eternal cloud? For now, that depends on where you live. But a proposed law could clarify who gets access to your digital accounts once you're deceased.


Check Out My Butler

"Forget about the dainty lord ringing for his cup of tea. The butlers of today serve paranoid money managers, manor-owning supermodels, Chinese celebrities, and horny sheiks. And they all have stories -- horrible, hilarious, sometimes hooker-fueled stories -- that they never get to tell, because nobody talks to the butler. Until now." There are more billionaires than ever and the job market for butlers is looking good. GQ's David Katz takes you inside the world of the real butlers of the .001 percent.


Bordering Absurd?

Two days have passed since Putin announced that Russian troops would be pulled back from the Ukraine border. So far, no one else sees any signs of that happening.

+ Confused by Putin's latest statements, moves, and non-moves? So are many of the journalists who cover him. That said, Putin's approval numbers at home continue to soar.


Mysterious Ways (and Means)

"One of the most powerful forces in American philanthropy is a shadow." And the shadow knows how to make a ton of money, and how to give a whole lot of that money away. BloombergBusinessweek's Zachary Mider on the $13 billion mystery angels.

+ The Atlantic: Most people in the world have no idea how to manage their money.


Giving You the Fingers

Vibram -- makers of the FiveFingers sock-shoe thingies -- has agreed to pay $3.75 million and stop claiming that "FiveFingers footwear is effective in strengthening muscles or reducing injury."

+ In other news, face cleansing products are bad for the environment.


Buzz Kill

The good news. The legalization of marijuana has caused the prices of illegal pot to fall, so Mexican drug farmers are planting a lot less pot. The bad news: They are now filling their fields with opium poppies and driving a surge of cheap heroin. It's going to take a while to undo decades of ineffective drug laws. Looks like you picked the wrong week to stop sniffing glue.

+ Mario Tabraue Sr. was once a drug kingpin who was compared to Scarface. Now he's fighting to get Congress to allow him to keep his cheetahs.


Bullied. And Packing.

According to a new study, bullying victims are twice as likely to bring a weapon to school. And "perpetrators of 12 of 15 school shootings in the 1990s had a history of being bullied."


There is No Off-Season

Back in 1967, Commissioner Pete Rozelle recorded the NFL draft picks on a chalkboard. Things have changed. This year's NFL draft will be shown live, in prime time, on two networks.

+ Vox: How NFL teams ignore basic economics and draft players irrationally. (You can accuse the NFL of a lot, but they definitely get basic economics.)

+ The league that wasn't: An oral history of the fast life and quick death of the XFL.


Life’s Building Blocks

"A photo album on the office's meeting table shows employees arriving via a fleet of private jets, driving around in Ferraris, riding in helicopters and partying on a yacht." I'm mostly linking to this article because I want my 7 year-old son and his friends to understand where all their college money went. Rolling Stone on Markus Persson, The Wizard of Minecraft.


The Bottom of the News

"We made small talk in the checkout line at Trader Joe's. You said that you literally could not live without the salsa you were buying. I wish we could talk again. You used 'literally' incorrectly. It really pissed me off. I wish you could literally not live without that salsa, because then I'd take it from you." The New Yorker: Missed Connections for A-Holes.

+ John Travolta took a lot of heat for his pronunciation of Idina Menzel's name during the Oscars. She should just be glad that she wasn't introduced by Al Sharpton. Wow.

+ Why do you hate watching pundits exchange heated political discourse on TV? Because no one ever throws a table at the other person. Until now.

+ The Cannibal Cop is now a prison chef.