Tuesday, July 29th, 2014


Screenage Wasteland

"This is the first time in history kids know more than adults about something really important to society -- maybe the most important thing." That's how author Don Tapscott describes Generation Z. They are smart, ambitious, entrepreneurial, and extremely tolerant (except when it comes to parents who need tech support). But what really sets Generation Z apart is that they are the world's first screenagers. While prior generations had to learn to incorporate technology into their lives, this generation was born into a digital world. "The result could well be the most profound generation gap ever: a digital divide between parents who see the Internet as disrupting society as we know it ... and their kids, who are not only at home with the technology ... but are already driving many of the shifts happening in how we communicate, the way we access information and the culture we consume." Get ready for Generation Z.


Very Bad

WaPo answers questions about the worst Ebola outbreak in history. "How bad is the current outbreak? Bad -- very, very bad."

+ The Economist charts the spread of the disease.

+ "Today the militant group continues to threaten to kill not only vaccinators but also parents who get their children immunized." How the Taliban in Pakistan could derail polio eradication.


Going to Extremes

In The New Yorker, David Remnick provides an overview of state of the conflict in the Middle East and perfectly summarizes its most dangerous and depressing element (and one that seems to be mirrored in various conflicts across the globe): "The most malign and extremist elements within this conflict -- Israeli and Palestinian -- grow in strength and deepen their conviction that there is no chance of accommodation. Childhood memories of terror and death accumulate, and cripple the moral and political imagination."

+ Israel intensified attacks on Gaza and Netanyahu warned the military operations could go on for a lot longer.

+ David Ignatius: John Kerry's big blunder in seeking an Israel-Gaza cease-fire and The Daily Beast on the Kerry-Israel meltdown. (In fairness to Kerry, we're talking about peace in the Middle East.)

+ "I learned to empathize with the other side. I have friends who live in these places, in the West Bank and Gaza, that I care about, just as I care about Israeli soldiers." Views on the conflict from a U.S. peace camp that unites Israelis and Palestinians.


The Long Shadow

"'That's a lie!' A man leaning against the back wall jolted upright at the last statement. 'It's a lie!' His friends muttered agreement. That's not what they had heard. If these children had managed to get all the way to the U.S. border, what was to stop them from scaling the convent's fence?" When it comes to the immigration debate, a heated town-hall meeting is nothing new. But this town-hall meeting was in Syracuse.

+ Almost 70% of Americans view the children crossing the border as refugees, not illegal immigrants.

+ "There's no denying the impact of this latest immigration wave or the need for more resources. But there's no crisis." In the NYT, Veronica Escobar explains why she thinks the border crisis is a myth.


Drive Talkin’

"We don't want a driver to make a profit because then you end up in regulatory issues." The car-sharing economy in parts of Europe is a little closer to actual sharing thanks to the growth of BlaBlaCar. "What we're doing is building a massive transport network out of all of these empty seats in cars." The Bla refers to the part of the program in which you rate yourself on a level of in-car chattiness.

+ People went nuts when they learned that Facebook was altering some feeds in an effort to play with the emotions of users. Tim Carmody examines why they seem a lot less upset that OKCupid messed with their algorithms, photos and text.


The Law of Extraction

"Law is the only career I know that has a sub-profession dedicated to helping people get out of it." The Atlantic on the budding industry devoted to helping people quit the law. Out here in the Bay Area, it seems pretty easy to get someone to quit being a lawyer. Offer them startup equity.

+ Those who quit the law might want to consider a career in collections. It's a growing market. One in three U.S. adults have debt in collections. (Maybe some of them were just unable to cancel Comcast.)


Putin Off the Ritz

President Obama joined European Union leaders in announcing new economic sanctions against Russia, aimed at forcing Putin to end support for Ukrainian rebels. Meanwhile, Putin continues his war on American fast food joints.


Tramps Like Us

"Most people think of pharmaceutical research as a highly technical activity that takes place in world-class medical centers. The reality is somewhat different." Matter's Carl Elliott goes to Philadelphia to see how the destitute and mentally ill are being used as lab rats.


Pricks and Stones

ESPN's Stephen A. Smith made some remarkably stupid and offensive comments, essentially suggesting that women need to do more to prevent the provocations that could lead to them being beaten by their significant others. What was his punishment? Nothing. In this piece, The Daily Beast's Marlow Stern is not surprised: ESPN -- The worldwide leader in pricks.


The Bottom of the News

Victoria Bond spent one day modeling for a stock photo company. That was back in 2003. But she still continues to see herself popping up all over the place.

+ Aeon's Simon Blackburn ruminates on Narcissus wonders whether you can have self-worth without self-love. (I've been having the opposite every day since I was thirteen.)

+ "We think of Dylan in a pantheon of great rock stars, at or near the top of a select list that includes the Stones, Springsteen, maybe U2 ... But he behaves much differently." Bill Wyman wonders: How did Bob Dylan get so weird? (This is just a theory. But it could have been the 60s.)

+ Grover Norquist explains why he's going to Burning Man. Probably for the same reason everyone else goes. The art, the drugs, and the non-gender specific naked hugging of strangers that lasts a little too long but then is mysteriously forgotten a few hours later.

+ Obesity. Climate change. Rabid consumerism. Looking for something to blame? Try your giant fridge.

+ Paste Magazine: The 50 best documentaries streaming on Netflix.