Wednesday, August 6th, 2014


You Complete Me

My mom always warned me not to get into a car with a stranger. I can't imagine her reaction if I made a habit of getting into cars with groups of strangers. But that could be the next big thing as both Uber and Lyft have announced carpooling services aimed at filling the backseat with other folks going your way. I thought the whole point of technology was to allow us to interact with others without having to share our personal space?

+ Sometimes a crowded commute can be beneficial. In Perth, a large group of passengers helped free a man who was wedged between a platform and a train. (Great. Now my mom won't let me take trains either...)


Rubbing Saline in the Wound

Liberian health care workers who have contracted Ebola have been given saline infusions and electrolytes to keep them from getting dehydrated. Two American health care workers were given an experimental serum and a specially-equipped plane ride to one of the world's top medical centers. The New Republic's Brian Till argues that the inequality in care couldn't be starker.

+ Three experts, including the person who discovered Ebola, argue that Africans should be given access to the experimental drug.

+ The New Yorker's Richard Preston on the outbreak: "In Liberia, parts of the medical system have effectively collapsed. Some hospitals and clinics have been abandoned, while others have become choked with Ebola patients. The hospitals of Monrovia, the capital of Liberia, are full of Ebola patients and are turning away new patients, including women in childbirth. American Ebola experts in Monrovia are hearing reports that infected bodies are being left in the streets: the outbreak is beginning to assume a medieval character."

+ The Guardian's James Ball says you're worrying about the wrong disease. And MoJo offers up five diseases that are scarier that Ebola. Umm, thanks?


The Spread

While most of the media has been focused on Israel and Gaza, the Islamic State (also known as ISIS) has continued to spread throughout Iraq and parts of Syria. According to one expert on the region, the group "now controls resources and territory unmatched in the history of extremist organizations."

+ George Packer: A friend flees the horror of ISIS.

+ Vox: 16 things to know about ISIS.


You’ve Been Owned

Last night, the NYT's Nicole Perlroth and David Gelles uncovered the details of the latest mega-hack in which a Russian crime ring has amassed 1.2 billion username-password combinations, and more than 500 million email addresses by way of 420,000 websites.

+ The security company that shared this data is now willing to let you know if you're on the list for an annual subscription fee of $120. Hmmm. While you're thinking about that, you can change your passwords for free.


STD is as STD Does

"The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says young people ages 13 to 24 make up approximately one in four new HIV infections in the US, and about 60 percent of those infected don't know they have the disease." Those are facts that many teens don't know about. And it turns out that -- according to a recent survey -- a third of them don't even know that HIV is an STD. This is either a truly remarkable stat or a really bad survey.


The State of Bass

Researchers are learning what heavy metal fans have known for years. Music with a heavy bass line makes us feel powerful. According to one of the researchers behind the study: "The effect of music appears to manifest itself not only in its ability to entertain, but also in the ability to imbue humans with a real sense of power." I think what he's trying to say is: "I want to rock!"

+ They could have saved a lot of time and energy on the study if they just asked the opinion of the guy who self-inflicted a brain injury by headbanging at too many Motorhead concerts.


Monkey See, Monkey Sue

Wikimedia has repeatedly refused a photographer's request to take down an image that has been posted without his permission. The photo is a selfie taken by a monkey. And the folks at Wikimedia argue "that because a monkey pressed the shutter button it should own the copyright." I guess we'll have to wait and see how this case evolves.


Phoning it In

On July 1, 1930, Richard G. Hendrickson called the National Weather Service and reported the temperature from his family's Long Island farm. And, according to the NYT, he's done the same every day since. "Twice a day, every day, he has recorded the temperature, precipitation and wind from the same area of Bridgehampton. He has been at it through 14 presidencies, 13 New York governorships and 14 mayoralties in that city 96 miles away. The Weather Service says he has taken more than 150,000 individual readings." Keep your venture capitalists and your fancy technology. No one disintermediates Richard G. Hendrickson.


Dialing for Dollars

When a service goes from 21 million subscribers down to 2.3 million in about a decade, it's rarely cause for celebration. But in this case, it's pretty remarkable. There are millions of people who still pay AOL twenty bucks a month for dial-up service.


The Bottom of the News

In what could be the ultimate man bites dog story of all time, Donald Trump is suing to have his name removed from two buildings. Trump argues that two casinos he once owned in Atlantic City have "fallen into such disrepair that their continued association with the Trump name is hurting his brand." Suggestion: Trump's hair should hire a lawyer.

+ Horses communicate by using their ears. (Humans should try that.)

+ Forget reservations. Now hot restaurants want you to buy tickets.

+ A guy was caught tagging a courthouse while he was there facing multiple counts of vandalism. You've got to him points for stick-to-itiveness.

+ Buzzfeed: I went to a One Direction concert by myself. This is my story.