September 19th – The Day’s Most Fascinating News

Alibaba Dabba Doo!

One of the most feverishly anticipated tech stock IPOs lived up to its first day hype as Alibaba raised $21 billion and passed Facebook’s market capitalization on its first trade.

+ The NYT Dealbook takes you to Hangzhou: The city that minted thousands of Internet millionaires (and launched a whole lot of other Internet startups).

+ Yahoo owns a big chunk of Alibaba stock. How big? Big enough to be worth almost as much as Yahoo itself.

+ The WSJ has an excellent interactive piece that answers the question of the day: What is Alibaba? Imagine all the Internet’s most powerful business models rolled into one and aimed at the world’s most populated markets. (Just wait until the Alibaba Watch comes out.)



“They spiked the fountains with bubble bath in anticipation of a party in what was dubbed Scotland’s Yes city. But this morning only a hardy few supporters of Scottish independence remained in Dundee’s City Square.” By a significant margin, Scotland citizens voted against independence. From the BBC: The morning after the No before.

+ The referendum also served as a no vote for pollsters, and a yes vote for the bookies.

+ Here’s a look at some UK front pages.

+ Some interesting insights into why people voted the way they did, and a look at why Scotland’s vote won’t be the last battle of the generations.


Weekend Reads

If I looked really young, the last thing I’d want to do is sneak back into high school. But “Charity Johnson enrolled in 10th grade at New Life Christian School in Longview, Texas, a few weeks before her 34th birthday … She wasn’t a con artist for money. She was a con artist for love.”

+ “”Follow me around. I don’t care. I’m serious. If anybody wants to put a tail on me, go ahead. They’d be very bored.” From Matt Bai in the NYT Magazine: How Gary Hart’s downfall forever changed American politics.

+ Boston Globe Magazine: The secret world of the Dunkin’ Donuts franchise kings.

+ Businessweek’s Tim Cook interview: “Anybody coming out of there yesterday knows that innovation is alive and well in Cupertino. If there were any doubts, I think that they should be put to bed.”


Fear Itself

“This virus preys on care and love, piggybacking on the deepest, most distinctively human virtues. Affected parties are almost all medical professionals and family members, snared by Ebola while in the business of caring for their fellow humans. More strikingly, 75 percent of Ebola victims are women, people who do much of the care work throughout Africa and the rest of the world. In short, Ebola parasitizes our humanity.” Slate’s Benjamin Hale on the most terrifying thing about Ebola.

+ The Wire: Eight health workers in Guinea killed by villagers fearful of Ebola.

+ The New Yorker’s Michael Specter: Ebola and the cost of fear.


Food and Water

“Many governments will face challenges to meet even the basic needs of their people as they confront demographic change, resource constraints, effects of climate change, and risks of global infectious disease outbreaks.” While we’re focused on combating terrorism, Foreign Policy reminds us that there are new — and potentially much bigger — challenges facing America and its allies: Water Wars.

+ “A team of recently hired mathematicians is building an online database that one day could catalog the behavior of practically every plant protein on earth … a collection of digital information that could allow [them] to model the creation of new foods using computer software.” From Wired: The Future of Food Is Data.


Rich Man, Richer Man

There is a wide and growing gap between the rich and the really rich. Here’s Vox with a report on the growing gap between the megamillionaire and the millionaire next door.


When the Lights Go Down

When I was growing up, football was my favorite sport to play and watch. But the sport has taken some serious hits over the last few years. I’m a former player who would never let his son play. And here’s Friday Night Lights author Buzz Bissinger arguing that kids and parents should be repeatedly warned of the known risks of playing football: “Will they still be ready for some football after that? Only if they and those who love them have already lost their mind.”

+ And here’s Peter Berg, writer and director of the incredibly great TV series Friday Night Lights: Why my son is no longer allowed to play football.

+ “Over the past several weeks, we have seen all too much of the NFL doing wrong. And that starts with me … I got it wrong … and I’m sorry for that … but now I will get it right.” Roger Goodell vows to get the NFL’s house in order.

+ Most people probably assumed that the half-mile line in Baltimore was made up of people trying to get a new iPhone. But it was actually people waiting to trade in their Ray Rice jerseys.

+ OK, we need a positive NFL story. Ma’ake Kemoeatu retired from football to donate his kidney to his brother (and fellow player) Chris Kemoeatu,


With Friends Like These…

“Remember when you first came to my office — now look you’re ready for Hollywood!” Think of that quote as a warning before you enter the weird (and apparently, like so many weird things these days, completely normal) world of professors and students who friend each other on Facebook. (College students already vomit due to excessive drinking … did they really need another trigger?)

+ Why are men still paying for first dates?


I’m Too Old to Do Lines

And yes, today is new Apple iPhone day. And yes, that meant long, long lines. The first person to get one in Australia dropped it on the ground. And in today’s world, that means instant fame.

+ And no, you can’t charge your phone by putting it into the microwave.


The Bottom of the News

In the latest salvo in the new cold war, a Russian brewer has acquired Pabst Blue Ribbon. Pabst also owns Old Milwaukee, Schlitz and Colt 45. They might want to acquire Pepto Bismol next.

+ The Suitsy is a one piece suit.

+ It’s Talk Like a Pirrrrate Day. So it’s fair to ask why we think pirates talk like that.

+ And we’ve reached peak delivery service as Air Food One promises to deliver airline food right to your front door.

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