September 8th – The Day’s Most Fascinating News

Video or It Didn’t Happen

A few months ago, Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice was caught by casino security cameras as he dragged his then fiancee, unconscious, from an elevator. He was suspended for two games. Today, the other part of the video was leaked to TMZ. This time we have visual evidence of what we essentially knew happened behind those elevators doors. For Rice, what we see determined what he got. The Ravens immediately fired Rice. What a difference a video can make.

+ Current and former NFL players wanted Rice banned the moment the video was released.

+ This incident is about domestic violence and one of America’s most prominent brands. But it’s also about the power of video to focus our attention on a story and to drive that story’s outcome. The importance of video as a medium has only been enhanced by the Internet, and it will play an even greater role in what we cover, what we discuss, and what outrages us as an increasing portion of our lives is lived on camera. From Vox: The people who have the footage have the power.


An ISIS Production

The barbarians behind ISIS know the power of video. They have killed thousands, taken cities, and been accused of ethnic cleansing. But they really moved to the front of American consciousness with the videotaped beheading of an American journalist. From David Carr in the NYT: “What they made are modern media artifacts being used to medieval ends. The videos serve as both propaganda and time machine, attempting to wipe away centuries of civilization and suggest that the dreamed-of caliphate flourishes and blood is cheap currency.”

+ “The woman said her captors had initially confiscated her mobile and those of all the other women, but had then changed strategy, returning the phones so that the women and girls could recount to the outside world the full horror of what was happening to them.” A Yazidi girl tells of horrific ordeal as ISIS sex slave.

+ The New Yorker: Inside the failed raid to save Foley and Sotloff.



A Harvard Business School report sums up a troubling divergence in the American economy: “Businesses are beneficiaries of the nation’s greatest strengths. Those include vibrant capital markets and the research coming out of universities. Workers, in contrast, are hostage to the weakest aspects of the US business environment.”

+ If you’re among the top 20 percent by income, you’ve enjoyed the economic recovery. If you’re not, you haven’t seen any signs of it. The NYT Upshot provides a guided tour of our financial well-being.


On the Row

“Finally proving Henry and Leon’s innocence was a great victory, but what I cannot forget is that this case is, above all, a tragedy. Two innocent men — both intellectually disabled — spent three decades of their lives being, essentially, tortured by the state of North Carolina.” From Kenneth J. Rose in WaPo: I just freed an innocent man from death row. And I’m still furious.

+ “Well, let’s say, if I was a bully, he is a pussy. How about that? I think Johnson Britt has been hanging around too much with the wine and cheese crowd.” From the NYT: As two men go free, a dogged ex-prosecutor digs in


The Circus Tent

It’s not a surprise that my cohort of tech-obsessed wired warriors are in frenzy as we head towards Tuesday’s special event taking place in or near a mysterious white tent in Cupertino. But I’m even hearing anticipatory remarks from normal civilians. Tech products are the new rock stars. And Apple is the Beatles. Here are five things to expect from the event tomorrow. (If Jesus, Moses, and Elvis emerge from that white tent, people will scream, “What? No iWatch?!”)

+ Buzzfeed takes a look at what could be the start of a giant smartwatch industry. (This is perfect timing as I’m about to launch my iPhone App that lets you check the time on your iWatch without having to turn your wrist.)


Defying Definition

“I can’t claim that what I have achieved is equivalent to what a woman has achieved. For the first half of my life, I was male.” From NY Mag: “Martine Rothblatt, the highest-paid female executive in America, was born male. But that is far from the thing that defines her. Just ask her wife. Then ask the robot version of her wife.”


Hashtag Dollar Sign

After much speculation, Twitter is now officially testing its buy button. Great, after distracting us so much we can no longer make a living, they want us to spend what little dough we have left.



At the risk of taking sides in the gender wars, I think we can safely say that, at least when it comes to the appetite of the average shark, men taste better than women.

+ Some dating sites are now pretending they can match you up with a good mate by examining your DNA. And yes, I just segued effortlessly from getting eaten by a shark to online dating. Accept no substitutes.


If I Can Bake it There…

“We never saw anything like this guy before. In terms of his longevity and scope, and the connections he had around the world, nothing, nobody, comes close.” The NYT’s Alan Feuer on the rise and fall of the biggest pot dealer in New York City.


The Bottom of the News

We started with the power of negative and disturbing videos. Let’s end with the power of an inspiring one. Here’s a time-lapse of an Amish barn raising in Ohio.

+ The 100 most iconic shots in movie history.

+ Kids complaining about getting up early to take the bus to school? Show them 25 of the most dangerous and unusual journeys to school in the world.

+ Five things we learned from The Knick’s medical advisor.

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