Thursday, October 23rd, 2014


The Horror, The Horror

When confronted by the lowest forms of Internet communication, even the most grizzled and cynical Internet veterans are regularly surprised on the downside. And most of us only see an infinitesimal fraction of the bile spewed during a never-ending horror show. Imagine being one of the thousands of moderators tasked with finding, viewing, and blocking the content that would otherwise render social networks uninhabitable. According to one of them, "Everybody hits the wall, generally between three and five months. You just think, 'Holy shit, what am I spending my day doing? This is awful.'" From Wired's Adrian Chen: The Laborers Who Keep Dick Pics and Beheadings Out of Your Facebook Feed.

+ Charity workers posed as a virtual ten year-old girl named Sweetie to lure potential online predators. "More than 20,000 users from 71 countries approached Sweetie with requests for obscene performances."

+ Buzzfeed: What kind of creep sells a celebrity's naked photos on the internet?

+ The NYT's Nick Bilton: Of Facebook's 7,185 employees, Arturo Bejar may have the most difficult job ... teaching the site's 1.3 billion users ... how to be nice and respectful to one another."


Farah Bueller’s Day Off

When the Farah daughters told their father they were too sick to go to school on a Friday, he believed them. By the time they were found, they were in Germany and on the way to Syria to join ISIS. This is not your typical runaway tale.

+ After decades in business, a Belgian chocolate maker known Italo Suisse decided it was time to change their brand name to something a little more modern and hip. Unfortunately, the name they came up with was ISIS.


Oy Polloi

You might have a reaction similar to Nir Iveniaki's grandmother ("the first thing she did was produce a gun") when you find out where thousands of young Israelis are moving. WaPo on the waves of Israelis and other Jews who have found a home in Berlin.



The classes never met. There were no tests. There was a final paper, but no one ever read it. At least 3,100 former UNC students will immediately recognize that college course description. The inflated grades and bogus classes uncovered in the University of North Carolina scandal suggest that the "myth of the student athlete" is more than idle rhetoric. (Of course, most of these students also took a fake rhetoric class.)

+ BusinessWeek: Fake classes for athletes were widespread: four blunt points.


Gnarly Profits, Dude

Employees can define their own hours. People are urged to leave the office before 5pm and the place is locked up by eight. And no one expects to see you at your desk if there are some tasty waves nearby. That might sound like a recipe for corporate disaster. But the strategy has helped Patagonia triple its profits since 2008. Brigid Schulte on a company that profits as it pampers.


White House Parkour

Yet another man jumped the fence and attempted to make it to the White House. This time, a couple of security dogs took him down and Secret Service agents restrained him. This is the seventh fence-jumping incident of the year.

+ Forget Sunny and Bo. Meet Hurricane and Jordan.


A Puff Piece

While vaping is still allowed (and perhaps even encouraged), employees will no longer be allowed to smoke in the hallways or at their desks at Reynolds; the company that makes Camel cigarettes. From a company spokesperson: "We're well aware that there will be folks who see this as an irony, but we believe it's the right thing to do and the right time to do it." Even non-smokers just coughed up a lung.


Get a Room

Facebook seems to be determined to help find us a place on the Internet where we can avoid our Facebook friends. Their latest offering is an app called Rooms. And as Kevin Roose explains, the new app is riding a wave of Web 1.0 nostalgia. It won't be long before they launch an 8-track tape.

+ Mark Zuckerberg did a Q&A in Beijing. In Mandarin. I'm beginning to think this kid's pretty talented.



Forget calculators. Too much effort is required of my fingertips. I much prefer this camera app that can solve algebra problems. This is gonna be huge at UNC.


The Bottom of the News

"It was a time-shifting experience. Instant availability of huge digital archives created crippling decision anxiety. And the constant pressure to work through the queue was immense." Rex Sorgatz interviews the Feral Netflix Child. (Reading this made me thankful that my kids don't have the attention span for Netflix.)

+ Speaking of Netflix, their upcoming original series called Bloodline looks good. Of course, I'm biased since the show comes from the Damages creators who named a key, bad character after me.

+ "How old were you when you lost your virginity? Two?" Bradley Pitz visits Between Two Ferns.