May 16th – The Day’s Most Fascinating News

Keep ‘Em Separated

This weekend marks the sixtieth anniversary of Brown v Board of Education, a decision in which the Supreme Court unanimously ruled that “separate educational facilities are inherently unequal.” So have we come together? Not exactly. For many minorities, schools are more segregated today than they have been in decades. From Slate’s Jamelle Bouie: Why American schools are becoming segregated once again.

+ The Daily Beast: How charter schools and testing regimes have helped re-segregate our schools.

+ TNR: Even well-integrated schools treat black students differently.

+ NYT Magazine: Rich students complete their college degrees; working-class students usually don’t. Who gets to graduate?

+ Has the Internet made us any less segregated? I was sure it would when I first starting using the web. I’m a lot less sure now. Here’s something I wrote about my experiences as a teacher in Brooklyn and what I thought would change. Whiter Shade of Pale: Race and Diversity on the Web.


A Lot of Votes to Count

Following a landslide win for his party, Narendra Modi is set to become India’s next prime minister. And as if winning the top elected spot in a country of 1.2 billion wasn’t enough, Modi also just broke India’s retweet record with: “India has won, good days are about to come.”

+ He is the son of a tea vender. And he didn’t publicly acknowledge his wife’s existence until last month. Here’s more background on Modi from NPR.

+ Vox: Who is Narendra Modi and why is the world afraid of him leading India?


Weekend Reads

He eats snickers and watches Fox News backstage. And when he shaved his mustache, it was covered by media outlets everywhere. The New Republic’s Noreen Malone tries to figure out the man behind Jeopardy!. Let’s be sure to phrase this in the form of a question: Who is Alex Trebek?

The true King of Kong. From Grantland: The Rise of Nintendo: A Story in 8 Bits.

+ With a nerve disorder threatening to destroy his balance, longtime kook Erik Hedegaard asked a waveriding genius to train him for one last shot at hanging ten. From Outside: Learning to Surf Without Feeling.

+ And if you’re looking for love this weekend, our friends at Longreads have put together a reading list on Dating in the 21st Century


Overpaid Teachers?

Mexico is notorious for its poor educational system. “But a new report by a Mexico-based think tank has revealed some real zingers, including 70 teachers who haul in more pesos than the president of the nation (the equivalent of about $15,000 a month). One impoverished state, Hidalgo, was said to have more than 1,000 teachers listed as 100 or more years old.” The LA Times on the teachers reportedly making big bucks.


The Death of the Homepage?

A leaked report from the NY Times shows that the newspaper’s homepage saw a drop off 80 million visitors over two years. Derek Thompson on what the death of the homepage means for the future of news. Newspaper homepages are dying in part because social media sites drive traffic straight to articles, and in part because newspaper homepages look way too much like print front pages.

+ If you want to go deeper on the topic, definitely check out Joshua Benton’s piece for Nieman Journalism Lab: The leaked New York Times innovation report is one of the key documents of this media age. The report was initially leaked to Buzzfeed. Talk about a metaphor for our times. Old media writes a deeply interesting digital innovation report. New media gets all the traffic covering it.


Back in the Red

Researchers are using new technologies to try to answer a key question: When do we hit peak embarrassment. It looks like we top out when we’re about 17.2 years old. Maybe that’s why we spend so much time over-sharing on social media. We’re trying to reclaim our youth.


Are You Ready for Some Sootball?

FiFA’s President surprisingly admitted that it was a mistake to select Qatar as the location for the 2022 World Cup. “Temperatures often reach 120 degrees Fahrenheit during the day in June and July. That is not ideal weather for playing soccer.”

+ The players will be doing most of their work indoors. But that’s not true for those doing the construction work. According to a recent ESPN documentary, 4,000 people will die to make the 2022 World Cup a reality.

+ Buzzfeed: 21 photos of the anti-World Cup protests In Brazil.


The Latest Buzz

If you live in California, here’s a bulletin. The Department of Agriculture is expanding its efforts to breed and release a tiny parasitic wasp. And believe it or not, that could be good news, especially if you like orange juice.

+ BoingBoing: This man drives 40,000 miles a year saving dogs from kill shelters.


Listen to Death

My friend (and history of modern music sherpa) Steve told me to watch a documentary and provided this intro: “Who would have guessed that punk rock was invented by black teenagers in Detroit?” I’m glad I took his advice. If you’re into music, or just inspiration in general, it’s definitely worth watching A Band Called Death; the story of three teenage brothers from Detroit who founded the first black punk band in the early 1970s.

+ The documentary was preceded by Mike Rubin’s 2009 piece in the NYT: This Band Was Punk Before Punk Was Punk. From Jack White: “I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. When I was told the history of the band and what year they recorded this music, it just didn’t make sense. Ahead of punk, and ahead of their time.”

+ Were parts of Stairway to Heaven borrowed from another artist?


The Bottom of the News

“I was feeling bored and lonely, so I joined Tinder as a dog.” That could be my favorite opening line of all time. The rest is pretty good too.

+ Vanity Fair: Chipotle cups will now feature stories by Jonathan Safran Foer, Toni Morrison, and other authors. (They should feature directions to the closest real burrito.)

+ “I went undercover on Ashley Madison to find out why women cheat.”

+ If you like really weird political debates where the oddball challengers totally steal the show, then come with me on this virtual trip to Idaho. And it’s definitely a trip.

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