October 21st – The Day’s Most Fascinating News

I’ve Seen the Future

“It’s so badass you can’t believe it. It’s one of the few things I’ve ever experienced in my life where I came out and said, ‘This changes everything. This is a marker of the future.'” That’s how one investor described his experience with the technology being developed by a company called Magic Leap. And several other big name backers, including Google, seem to agree. The company you’ve never heard of just raised $542 million to alter your reality. You’ve got your laptop, your smartphone, your tablet, and soon your watch. Welcome to the battle for what’s next. (Relax. You had me at Commodore 64.)

+ “A thick cable protruded from the crown of his shaven head. A sleeve sprouting wires enveloped his right arm. The 23 year-old had been paralysed from the neck down since a diving accident four years ago. But, in June this year, in a crowded room in the Wexner Medical Centre at Ohio State University, Burkhart’s hand spasmed into life.” The future could soon be inside of you. From The Telegraph: Meet the real cyborgs.

+ Darek Fidyka was paralysed from the chest down in a knife attack. But after a revolutionary treatment that included the transplant of cells from his nasal cavity to his spinal cord, he can walk again.

+ All you really wanted from the future was decent hoverboard. And it’s finally here. Sort of. Mental Floss checks the status on some other Back to the Future technologies.


Opposites Retract

According to the latest survey from Pew, “in America today, it is virtually impossible to live in an ideological bubble.” That’s not to suggest we aren’t giving it our best shot. We tend to watch news and share social media experiences with those who share our own indisputable views. But there are a few places we meet (and not all of them feature cat videos).


The Mutation

“As Ebola enters a deepening relationship with the human species, the question of how it is mutating has significance for every person on earth.” From the front lines in West Africa to the genomics researchers who hope to control the outbreak, The New Yorker’s Richard Preston provides a detailed and interesting look at The Ebola Wars.

+ The World Health Organization suggests a vaccine could be ready to be deployed to the most affected regions by January.

+ Buzzfeed: This is what it’s like to live in an ebola-quarantined apartment building.

+ Just about all the ebola-related news is bad. But it’s a good time to be in the hazmat suit making business.

+ “He may attract less fire, he conceded, because his disease is less controversial. It does not involve condoms, abstinence, homophobia or prostitution, and no one lobbies for mosquito rights.” But that doesn’t take anything away from the job Timothy Ziemer has done running the president’s Malaria initiative. Deaths from Malaria are down 40% worldwide since he took his post. From the NYT: The Malaria Fighter.


Working Off

Up until now, most nutrition labels haven’t been able to put a dent in our communal Doritos problem. But researchers found that could change dramatically if those labels told us how much exercise it would take to burn off the food we consume. (I’m glad I can walk and chew at the same time.)


Gnome Chomsky

TechCrunch loves it. Cult of Mac loves it. Allure and 7×7 love it. And I love it (and its creator). My remarkably creative wife Gina has launched a new Emoji app called Loly that is getting great reviews from the press and from quickly-addicted users. But no one — and I mean no one — drives more traffic to my wife’s app than me! What other Emoji app includes a Gnome Chomsky? Seriously. Our cat’s name is Emoji. We’re into this, and it’s really great. Get Loly.

+ From “Hey” to “OK, OK,” how do couples’ text messages change over time.


Blade Stunner

After a lengthy trial that riveted South Africa, Oscar Pistorius was sentenced to 5 years in prison (but he could serve as few as 10 months before being moved to house arrest).

+ CNN: Oscar Pistorius trial: 5 memorable moments that captivated the world.


Equipment Check

As the World Series gets underway, some viewers will be focused on a specific slugfest: The battle of the bats. In the past two years, a former player has managed to get a lot of players to select his artisanal wares over the dominant baseball brands.


Squash, the Beef

“Hordes of college-aged people overwhelmed the area, destroying property, heaving bottles of alcohol … the police responded in kind, breaking out the riot gear and letting loose with tear gas, pepper spray, and rubber crowd-dispersal bullets. Many were injured, heading to the hospital with injuries caused by thrown objects, most notably beer bottles.” In other words, this was not your average New England Pumpkin Festival.

+ This year, we’ll spend $350 million on Halloween costumes. For our pets. (My cat is going as a wallet.)


Winning and Building

Last month, I attended the XOXO Festival in Portland, where I saw a lot of interesting presentations. My favorite was from Darius Kazemi, who delivered a tremendous parody of every tech conference presentation.

+ More career advice: How to turn your laziness into efficiency. (I’ve always viewed those as synonyms.)


The Bottom of the News

Stairway to Heaven is arguably the most famous rock song in history. Was it stolen?

+ Some sandwich shops are forcing their sandwich makers to sign noncompete agreements.

+ Wanna play marbles? It could cost you as much as forty grand.

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