May 9th – The Day’s Most Fascinating News

Rapper’s Delight

Now we know why Dre’s mom always wanted him to be a doctor… Unless you’ve had your headphones cranked up all day, you’ve heard that Apple is close to acquiring Beats for $3.2 billion (the same amount Google paid for Nest and about $16 billion less than Facebook paid for Whatsapp). Even though the deal is not official, pretty much every tech and business writer on the planet has shared their theory on why Apple wants the headphone manufacturer and music service streamer founded by Jimmy Iovine and Dr. Dre. (It’s the streaming. It’s the cool factor. It’s a hedge in case iTunes flops. It’s Jimmy.) The truth is likely a mix that samples from all those theories.

+ Is it really a done deal? Dr. Dre sure seems to think so (NSFW unless you’re wearing headphones). But does the deal really make Dre a billionaire?

+ The Verge: The epic visual history of Beats by Dre.

+ Wired: 9 of the world’s most outrageously expensive headphones.


Can’t Sugarcoat This

“It was in the off-season, out on the baseball field, that some residents noticed a change. Base-stealers were lethargic. Pitchers were losing their aim. In the evening, outfielders were burning up as if standing under the scorching sun of the day.” Over the past decade, more than 20,000 people in Central America regions — where workers spend long days cutting sugar cane — have died from a kidney disease that’s so poorly understood, it doesn’t even have a name.


Weekend Reads

“I remember just shaking my head and thinking, ‘No one is going to believe any of this story is true.'” Skip Hollandsworth updates the story on the unusual Bernie Tiede (a murderer made famous by the movie Bernie) who has been released from prison and might end up sleeping in director Richard Linklater’s garage apartment. And here’s Hollandsworth’s original Bernie story from 1998: Midnight in the Garden of East Texas.

+ Did you know that we’re still paying for the Civil War? From the excellent Michael Phillips: Veterans’ Benefits Live On Long After Bullets Stop.

+ “A decision is made: tubes are connected, machines whir into life, pumps shuffle back and forth. Ice-cold fluid flows through your veins, chilling them. Eventually, your heart stops beating, your lungs no longer draw breath. Your frigid body remains there, balanced on the knife-edge of life and death, neither fully one nor the other, as if frozen in time.” Turning you into a popsicle could help you overcome life-threatening injuries. (Reading this gave me freeze-brain.)

+ Victims of domestic violence are often moved to secret locations for their safety. And these days, that means that their online identities and activities need to be completely hidden as well.


Who Will Protect Them?

According to a report from Amnesty International, “the Nigerian authorities were warned in advance that the militant group Boko Haram was en route to snatch more than 250 schoolgirls and failed to prevent the raid.” Those are the same authorities that waited a couple weeks before establishing a “fact finding committee.”


Going Against the Grain

From NPR: “Psychologists have known for a long time that people in East Asia think differently, on average, than do those in the U.S. and Europe. Easterners indeed tend to be more cooperative and intuitive, while Westerners lean toward individualism and analytical thinking.” Can all these differences be traced back to which grains we chose to grow?

+ Kale is a major growth crop. So when planning for the future, leave extra time for chewing.

+ Kale not your thing? Maybe you’d be more interested in 13 spliffy jobs in the marijuana industry.

+ FastCo: The hidden psychology of ordering food online. (Hint: You make up for it in volume.)


Toll Lane

Why is the FCC ditching Net Neutrality? As Josh Harkinson explains, it has something to do with revolving doors and buckets of cash. So all we need is door stop and a bigger bucket.


Noah’s Arc

In the naming world, Noah just overtook Jacob as the most popular baby name for boys. I haven’t seen a leaderboard of names that Jewish since my Hebrew school ping pong tournament.

+ Brooklyn is a popular name for baby girls. Unless you’re in Brooklyn.

+ And of course, names from Game of Thrones are getting more popular. (Though Joffrey remains an outlier.)


Johnny Ratings

The NFL did great numbers on its heavily promoted draft night. In part this is because football is huge. And in part it’s because everyone was wondering what would happen with Johnny Football.

+ “High, knotted calves, with pretty gd. thickness through the thighs and bubble.” Ever wonder what an internal NFL scouting report looks like? This is how the Patriots feel about Johnny Manziel.

+ Think the NFL draft is a high pressure night for players and teams? That’s nothing compared to the highly trained team that must personalize jerseys in minutes.


Should They Choke the Chicken?

In Britain, there is a growing scandal related to the “Halal” chicken being used by a popular pizza chain. (“Halal meat has to be prepared in standards that make it acceptable for Muslims. To do this, the animal must have its blood drained from it, as Muslims are prohibited from consuming animal blood … this is done by slitting the animal’s jugular while it is still alive.”) WaPo’s Adam Taylor takes you inside Britain’s odd and oddly interesting Halal pizza scandal.


The Bottom of the News

Before you get too excited about Mother’s Day this weekend, you should probably know that its founder ultimately fought to have it abolished.

+ Once again, InFocus shares the photos of the week.

+ The World Bank “dug into their Web site traffic data and came to the following conclusion: Nearly one-third of their PDF reports had never been downloaded, not even once.”

+ And get ready for a show called Selfie.

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