September 22nd – The Day’s Most Fascinating News

The Philosopher Kings

If you live in Europe, you have the right to be forgotten. Google has already deleted around sixty thousand pieces of content from its index, after receiving at least twice as many requests. Should you have the right to be deleted? And who should decide whether your request rises above some magical bar? Jules Polonetsky, the executive director of the Future of Privacy Forum, describes the issue: “If a particular Web site is doing something illegal, that should be stopped, and Google shouldn’t link to it. But for the Court to outsource to Google complicated case-specific decisions about whether to publish or suppress something is wrong. Requiring Google to be a court of philosopher kings shows a real lack of understanding about how this will play out in reality.” The Internet is reality. And its technological advances are dramatically outpacing our ability to create a new legal framework and an updated set of acceptable social norms. From Jeffrey Toobin in The New Yorker: The Solace of Oblivion.


Change in the Weather?

Ahead of the UN’s latest summit on climate change, hundreds of thousands of people marched in NYC and in other cities around the world. Here’s some drone footage of the scene.

+ Meanwhile, China, the U.S., and India have pushed world carbon output to record levels.

+ Some leaders hope to push this summit to a new level by focusing less on the weather and more on the bottom line. They might also want to focus on the cost of mortality from pollution as shown in this Economist chart.

+ The Rockefeller family’s foundation has pledged to sell off investments in fossil fuels and re-invest in clean energy. The family made its vast fortune from oil. In this case, even the tortoise moved faster than the heirs.

+ Devils and Dust: In Matter, Alan Heathcock takes you to the heart of the California drought: “It’s then I hear the dirt bike. A young and shirtless man coasts in from the west. His eyes turn to my silver Nissan with the out-of-state rental plates. He revs his engine, lurches into a wheelie then speeds in front of me, his middle finger thrust in my direction. Welcome to the Central Valley, ground zero of the water war. Outsiders take heed for this is a troubled land.”


Herniated Dis

When you get surgery for a herniated disk in your neck, the bulge is merely moved from your neck to someone else’s wallet. There’s no better way to understand health care’s absurd costs than with an example. From the NYT, the story of surprise $117K bill from a doctor the patient didn’t even remember meeting.


The Emma Dilemma

“I think it is right I am paid the same as my male counterparts. I think it is right that I should make decisions about my own body. I think it is right that women be involved on my behalf in the policies and decisions that affect my life. I think it is right that socially, I am afforded the same respect as men.” Emma Watson stopped by the UN and gave an excellent speech on feminism.

+ To understand the intense pressure someone like Emma Watson faces for stating publicly what is clearly obvious and obviously right, you have to go to the nasty regions of the Internet where the most pathetic among us are waging a war on women. You can start with the vicious attacks on the excellent Anita Sarkeesian.

+ Emma Watson has already been targeted by a countdown clock threatening to make her the next celebrity to be victimized by hacked personal photos.

+ NY Mag: Meet the college women who are starting a revolution against campus sexual assault.


Open Door Policy?

The Secret Service is considering a larger buffer zone around the White House after an intruder “jumped over the White House fence just after 7:20 p.m. and was able to sprint unimpeded to the North Portico and enter the unlocked front door of the White House.” If the larger buffer zone doesn’t do the trick, they might want to consider locking the door.


Bigger is Bigger

I know what you did last weekend. Apple sold ten million new phones during their debut weekend.

+ Think the new phones are expensive here? They can go for insanely high prices in China (irony not incuded).

+ The Onion has a helpful breakdown of the iPhone 6 vs the Samsung Galaxy S5.


Are You Ready For Some TV?

Why are these NFL stories so big? In part, it’s because the NFL is so big. And in part its because, as Derek Thompson explains, “TV is a sports bundle held together by football.”

+ The Ray Rice incident opened the floodgates on a swath of issues facing the NFL, including the brain trauma associated with playing football. As The New Yorker’s Ben McGrath writes: “It has become one of those clarifying moments, after which it is no longer possible to immerse oneself in a fog of ambiguity.”

+ The UFC has cut ties with two popular fighters facing accusations of domestic violence. Good, now we can stop associating their brand with violence.


Hold the Haggis

Almost half of those in Scotland voted for independence, and a similar (non-binding) vote will be held in Catalonia in November. What about people in the United States? It turns out that about one in four Americans support the general idea of splitting from the union. Interestingly, the other three-quarters are cool with them splitting.


Eric the Actor

Howard Stern spent over an hour remembering a frequent caller known as Eric the Actor who died over the weekend. It’s sort of impossible to explain the loss of Eric the Actor to someone who doesn’t listen to the Howard Stern Show, and unnecessary to explain it to anyone who does.


The Bottom of the News

“This is a column about Katie Ledecky. It has a simple thesis. The thesis is that Katie Ledecky kicks ass.” Trust me, so does this column by Grantland’s Brian Phillips.

+ A TV news reporter covered the story of the Alaska Cannabis Club before announcing (with a few expletives) to the audience that she was the club’s owner and would be quitting. Dropping the pipe is the new dropping the mic.

+ At long last, science explains why I can’t remember anything. It’s because I’m a dude.

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