Tuesday, July 8th, 2014


Go to the Mattresses

It's all good. And that could be the problem. Everything is expensive by historical standards. Stocks. Bonds. Real estate. Emerging markets. It's all up, and returns are all pretty low. You might be better off hiding some of your money in your mattress than investing at today's prices. According to BlackRock's chief investment strategist, "We're in a world where there are very few unambiguously cheap assets ... If you ask me to give you the one big bargain out there, I'm not sure there is one." The NYT's Neil Irwin welcomes you to the everything boom (or maybe the everything bubble.)

+ Perhaps these economic trends help to explain why everyone seems to be investing in potato salad. John Herrman explains why the potato salad Kickstarter is the science fiction villain we deserve. (The fundraiser has now surpassed sixty-grand mark...)


Lockdown Mode

President Obama is requesting $3.7 billion to deal with the growing migrant-crisis. Vox takes a look at how the money will be spent, and provides a backgrounder on the crisis.

+ "Most of the children come from Guatemala, Honduras, or El Salvador. They have crossed the entire length of Mexico. A number of them are in desperate shape. Nobody knows how many more started north and never arrived. Some of the survivors say that they fled violence and threats at home. Some are searching for relatives. Some have been told by traffickers that the United States will not deport them." The New Yorker's William Finnegan on the children at the border.


The Escalation

In an op-ed written for the Israeli newspaper Haaretz, President Obama that Middle East "peace is necessary, just, and possible." The first two seem obvious, the last one remains ever elusive. Both Hamas and Israel are talking about escalating the latest series of conflicts that erupted following the murder of three Israeli teens in the West Bank and a Palestinian teenager in Jerusalem.


Turn the Tables (and Couch)

"Patient keeps attempting to describe his anxiety in a series of catchy headlines. Also repeatedly hints that he can tell if I've opened the latest issue of his newsletter." Ever wonder what therapists write down in their notebooks? Well, a group of several hundred patients are getting to peruse those notes, and some psychologists think it's the beginning of a revolution.


Waxing Brazilian

For all the contrasts, American football and the rest of the world's football actually have one thing in common. Concussions.

+ Will the American audience lose interest now that America is out of the running? Well, there's still one American in the competition: Referee Mark Geiger.

+ Far from the stadiums and the sports, he fights for the people. Meet the Batman of Brazil. (He's no Batkid, but he still draws a pretty big crowd.)


Sugar Buzzkill

By eating that bowl of Omega-3 and Flaxseed enhanced artisanal granola, you're probably consuming the same amount of sugar as you'd ingest by munching down a bowl of crushed cookies. But it's organic! The Daily Beast on your health food's hidden sugar bomb.

+ BBC: Exactly how much sugar do we eat?

+ Sugar is under attack. Gluten has been under siege for a long time. Did that combination kill the Crumbs Bake Shop?

+ How do we get people to eat more of a certain kind of food? For an answer to that question, lets' look at the tangerine market. "Between 2000 and 2012, tangerine groves in California skyrocketed from 8,800 acres to 38,000 acres." What changed? The branding. (I tried convincing my kids that their cold-pressed cucumber, celery, kale, swiss chard, parsley, lemon and ginger juice was a milkshake. No luck.)


Game Theory

A game consultant makes the case that freemium games provide a chance to teach kids how to manage their money. And if they get your iTunes password, it's a good way to teach them about credit card default rates.

+ Maybe you should just let your kids play a lot of games so they'll develop the technical proficiency to qualify for a Silicon Valley internship. Some teens are pulling down as much as $6K a month.


The Disintermediation of Shia LaBeouf

Water into Blood, Boils, Frogs, Hail, Thunder, Lice, Darkness, Locusts, UberX Drivers. When I opened my Uber app this morning, the mass availability of UberX vehicles looked like a swarm of bugs attacking my city. And that's by design. Wired's Marcus Wohlsen on Uber's brilliant strategy to make itself too big to ban.

+ Transformers: Age of Extinction may not be garnering any critical acclaim, but it is providing a master class is economics. Here's some more evidence supporting that claim: The movie just became China's number one film of all time.

+ AMC is installing reclining seats to try to get you to come back to theater.


Sign of Different Times

It's been 75 years since someone designed the Keep Calm and Carry On sign. It's as popular as ever these days. But it might surprise you that no one really saw it until 2001. And we've been carrying on ever since.


The Bottom of the News

Andrew R. Rector was repeatedly shown on television as he slept through part of a Yankees-Red Sox game back in April. So now he's suing MLB, ESPN, and the Yankees claiming that "the images of him asleep and the announcers' commentary has damaged his reputation." Well, this lawsuit ought to build it right back up.

+ Soon, we may all be dozing off (or even passing out) at baseball games. At long last, self-serve beer stations are making their debut. Beware of the seventh inning retch...

+ At the end of their game against the Blue Jays yesterday, the Angels franchise record was 4,272-4,272 and three ties.

+ Here are some photos of people lying in a week's worth of trash, proving once again that there's a thin line between roommate and compost.