Tuesday, September 2nd, 2014


The See Through Internet

"We use our smartphones almost like they are part of our brains. I don't think people realize how much of themselves they're giving to Apple, and potentially to hackers." In The New Yorker, Jay Kaspian Kang looks at the latest hack of celebrity photos and wonders, who's at risk now. Short answer: Everyone.

+ The FBI and Apple are investigating the leaks. But as Bloomberg's Leonid Bershidsky explains, whether it's fair or not, "any hacks are the user's fault after clicking that Accept button" on the terms of service. Maybe Apple's new wearable device should be a curtain.

+ Slate's Amanda Hess takes on commentators who have shared advice such as "don't take nude selfies" that appear to be blaming the victim: "These messages instruct women that they are to blame for being sexually exploited because they dared to express themselves sexually in private and in consensual contexts. (When hackers steal credit card information, the public isn't blamed for daring to shop.) As Lena Dunham succinctly put it, "The 'don't take naked pics if you don't want them online' argument is the 'she was wearing a short skirt' of the web.'" Hess brings up a lot of important points. But there is a difference between blaming the victim and reminding everyone of the inherent risks built into the network. We shouldn't blame someone who had their personal photos hacked any more than we should blame a victim of credit card theft. But we should advise both to assume that if it's on the Internet, it's not safe.


Another Beheading

A video appears to show American journalist Steven Sotloff becoming the latest victim of the Islamic State's terror campaign. Sotloff did freelance work for Time and Foreign Policy before he disappeared in Syria in 2013.

+ A new report from Amnesty confirms that the Islamic State has "carried out ethnic cleansing on a historic scale" and has literally changed "the demographic map of northern Iraq in a few weeks."

+ The man behind the Nairobi mall attack may have been killed by an airstrike

+ The New Yorker's Steve Coll explains why Obama's options in Iraq are terrible and in Syria, they're even worse.


Ebola’s Geo-Targeting

In past Ebola outbreaks, geography has helped to contain the virus. This time, Ebola is spreading to the cities. From David Nabarro, coordinator of the new U.N. Ebola effort: "We have never had this kind of experience with Ebola before. When it gets into the cities, then it takes on another dimension."

+ Jim Yong Kim and Paul Farmer: What's missing in the Ebola fight in West Africa.

+ NBC News: "A man who escaped from an Ebola quarantine center in the Liberian capital Monrovia fended off vigilantes with rocks and a stick before medics caught up with him."


That’s the Ticket

For some, the potential of winning a mega lottery jackpot is a lot more enticing than tossing a few bucks into a savings account (even if the latter provides a more promising route out of poverty). So how do you provide the thrill of a potential prize with the more sensible act of saving one's dough? As the NYT's Patricia Cohen explains, some financial institutions have introduced prize-linked savings accounts.

+ CityLab on an experimental program that uses barbershop intervention to bring health education to African American Men: A Shave, a Haircut, and a Blood Pressure Test.


Self Diagnosis

"In the mid-20th century, physicians were the pillars of any community. If you were smart and sincere and ambitious, at the top of your class, there was nothing nobler or more rewarding that you could aspire to become." In the WSJ, Sandeep Jauhar tries to explain why doctors are sick of their profession.

+ If you have any interest in the early days of surgery (or just an interest in good TV), check out The Knick starring Clive Owen.


Carb Sharks

For those still keeping score, the road to better cardiovascular health is paved with butter. The latest major study suggests you should maintain a diet low in carbs and higher in fats.

+ We're apparently already on the right track. The butter people can barely keep up with the demand. There is a season, churn, churn, churn.

+ Everlasting GOPstopper: Ever wonder how Republican your Hemp Granola is? Now you can use an app to determine the political leanings of your favorite food manufacturers.

+ Watching TV can make you overeat. But it might depend on what you're watching. (I'll read this article just as soon as I'm caught up on Cake Boss.)


Who’s On First?

"Over time, their lives were constrained -- or cushioned -- by the circumstances they were born into, by the employment and education prospects of their parents, by the addictions or job contacts that would become their economic inheritance." The researchers behind a long term study look back at the lives of Baltimore's first grade class of 1982 to better understand what your 1st-grade life says about the rest of it.

+ Maybe it was a concern about the importance of early childhood development that led parents to attempt to frame a rival PTA member by planting drugs in her car. Out here in Northern California, if you wanted to frame a rival parent, you'd plant gluten in their car.


The Home of Hardware

MIT's Joi Ito reports on his trip to Shenzhen, where he got a firsthand look at the world's manufacturing ecosystem: "The retail price of the cheapest full featured phone is about $9. Yes. $9. This could not be designed in the US -- this could only be designed by engineers with tooling grease under their fingernails who knew the manufacturing equipment inside and out, as well as the state of the art of high-end mobile phones."


Hold the Purpose

"Researchers tested ten 16 ounce decaf coffees from nine coffee shops. They found that 9 of the 10 cups contained between 8.6 milligrams and 13.9 milligrams of caffeine. And zero milligrams of purpose." Mental Floss answers your question: How Do They Make Decaf Coffee? Next, someone should explain why.


The Bottom of the News

"Sheepishly, I inform him that it's the colloquial term for the patch of skin between the genitals and the anus, properly known as the perineum. People call it the taint, I say, because it taint one part and it taint the other, either." NY Mag's Kevin Roose takes a stroll through Burning Man with Grover Norquist.

+ InFocus shares a Burning Man photo collection.

+ I assume you peel your apples using an electric screwdriver.

+ We may soon need an ice bucket challenge to collect money for victims of the ice bucket challenge.