October 27th – The Day’s Most Fascinating News

And You’ll Like It…

The news you’ll read here today was selected and summarized by a human being (to the extent that someone who has 130 open tabs and is the Joey Chestnut of iced coffee consumption can be considered human). Enjoy it while you can. Human-driven editorializing could soon be as distant as the thud of a newspaper landing on your front stoop. Increasingly, algorithms are deciding what news you should read, and there is no algorithm more influential than the one that drives your Facebook News Feed. How influential? “About 30 percent of adults in the United States get their news on Facebook, according to a study from the Pew Research Center. The fortunes of a news site, in short, can rise or fall depending on how it performs in Facebook’s News Feed.” The NYT’s Ravi Somaiya explains how Facebook is changing the way its users consume journalism.

+ Save your Facebook friends from the machine and tell them to subscribe to NextDraft before it’s too late.

+ Ever notice that when you ask Google a question, it often finds an answer … on Google, instead sending you somewhere else on the Internet? The future of the Internet is not about search. It’s about artificial intelligence. And it’s coming soon. Wired’s Kevin Kelly on the three breakthroughs that have finally unleashed AI on the world.

+ And from Computerworld’s Mike Elgan: Why Google wants to replace Gmail. “The fact is that Google, and companies like Google, hate unmediated anything.”


The Jersey Lore

After a few days of being detained and held in isolation, quarantined nurse Kaci Hickox will be allowed to leave New Jersey and return home. Governor Chris Christie explained that Hickox (who had no symptoms of Ebola) “will understand his quarantine decision ‘when she has time to reflect.'” (Why do I have the feeling that a few lanes on the George Washington Bridge will be mysteriously closed before Hickox has a chance to leave town?)

+ Could quarantining health workers actually worsen the epidemic?



“Like so many of the world’s most brutal dictators, military leaders, tyrants, and jihadists, it appears Tarkhan was trained by the very best: the United States government.” The Daily Beast on the secret life of an ISIS warlord.



Both Rite Aid and CVS have already announced they won’t accept Apple Pay. “Objections to Apple Pay aren’t actually about convenience, reliability, or security — they are about a burgeoning war between a consortium of merchants, led by Walmart, and the credit card companies.” Now you can be angry about what you have to pay and how you have to pay. (I miss cash.)


Grain of Truth

The New Yorker’s Michael Specter does a good job of summing up this era’s most compelling dietary dilemma: “How could gluten, present in a staple food that has sustained humanity for thousands of years, have suddenly become so threatening? There are many theories but no clear, scientifically satisfying answers.” So, should you go gluten-free?

+ Don’t give me any of your fresh, young grains. I want ancient grains. (And yes, Cheerios with Ancient Grains is a thing…)

+ They came for your bread. Now they’re coming for your candy.

+ A compound found in chocolate might be able to reverse age-related memory loss. If I eat enough Hershey bars I might be able to remember the last time I had a bagel.

+ And finally, Billy Domineau with some carb-induced self-reflection: My Life on Olive Garden’s Pasta Pass.


What the Hail?

I once told someone that my favorite thing about NYC was that I could walk endlessly and just hail a cab when I got lost or tired. He quickly explained that he had no such option because he was black and often couldn’t get a cab. He was also a professor at Harvard. That was a while ago, but things apparently haven’t changed much. From Jenna Wortham: Ubering While Black.


Confederacy of Dunces

“In many cases, incompetence does not leave people disoriented, perplexed, or cautious. Instead, the incompetent are often blessed with an inappropriate confidence, buoyed by something that feels to them like knowledge.” (I’m absolutely sure that’s true.) From Pacific Standard: We are all confident idiots. That would make a pretty good tagline for the Internet…


That Shot is Not My Mug

“The California Highway Patrol officer accused of stealing nude photos from a DUI suspect’s phone told investigators that he and his fellow officers have been trading such images for years.” Yet another reminder. Anything digital is at risk.

+ In the past 90 days, more than two million license plates have been scanned at the Mall of America.


Venice Breach

“He’d hung from rusted rainspouts and rotted wooden shutters. By now, he was accustomed to the risk. He took a breath, regained his balance, looked up, and started climbing again.” From Epic Magazine: Pipino: Gentleman Thief — magicians, mafiosos, a missing painting, and the heist of a lifetime.


The Bottom of the News

According to a recent study, people prefer electric shocks to tedium. Remember that next time your kids complain that they’re bored.

+ On SNL, Jim Carrey lampooned Matthew McConaughey’s Lincoln ads.

+ Some good shots from the 2014 NatGeo photo contest.

+ It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Madison Bumgarner World. “In Game 1 of this year’s World Series, Bumgarner went seven innings, allowing just one run on three hits … and it was the worst of his four career World Series starts.”

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