Wednesday, October 29th, 2014



How many teen pregnancies are there in your country? Nope, wrong. What percentage of people are immigrants? Sorry, that's incorrect. How many Muslims live where you live? Whoa, way off. Let's spell it out Jeopardy-style. Hint: This person is wrong. Answer: Who is you? A recent study of public perception in 14 countries came to this basic conclusion: Everything you think you know about the news is probably wrong.

+ The Guardian: Mistaken perceptions can shape political opinion.


Double Crossed?

"During Isaac, Red Cross supervisors ordered dozens of trucks usually deployed to deliver aid to be driven around nearly empty instead, 'just to be seen' ... During Sandy, emergency vehicles were taken away from relief work and assigned to serve as backdrops for press conferences, angering disaster responders on the ground." At this point it's almost a Pavlovian response; a natural disaster hits and we hit the Red Cross donate button. We feel better, but do the victims benefit? NPR and ProPublica looked at internal emails and confidential reports and uncovered The Red Cross' Secret Disaster.


Soul Cycle

"One day, before he hit me, I made a point of expressing to him just how completely my face was pressed to the wall. 'You're going to hit me anyway?' I asked. 'What are you doing, sheikh? Why?' I peeked at him. He grinned. 'I want to train your soul,' he said." A couple years ago, journalist Theo Padnos was kidnapped by the Nusra Front. He was sure he'd eventually be killed. But he lived to tell his story in the NYT Magazine: My Captivity.

+ "So Satan marries a Jewish woman in Iraq. She lays an egg, which hatches and pops out a wild-eyed, bearded madman the proud couple names the ISIS-ling." The LA Times' David Zucchino yuks it up with Iraq's state-run, hit television show, where satirists give new meaning to risky comedy.


What Comes Around Comes Around

So the Department of Homeland security assigned an official to investigate the Secret Service's prostitution scandal. That investigator recently resigned after "being questioned about whether he had hired a prostitute in Florida."

+ The FBI allegedly had connectivity blocked at Caesar's in Vegas so agents could infiltrate an illegal gambling ring dressed as Internet technicians. (If there's really such thing as an Internet technician, can somebody please give their number to my parents...)


Escuela de Asesinato

"Teach them a lesson." So said Maria de los Angeles Pineda Villa, the wife of the mayor of Iguala in Mexico, when she gave the "Iguala police chief a fateful order" to use deadly force to keep students from disrupting "a party she was throwing in honor of herself." Now, the hunt continues for the victims of what observers say was a mass killing of 43 student-teachers -- and for the most wanted woman in Mexico.



"Over the years, Obama administration officials have described Netanyahu to me as recalcitrant, myopic, reactionary, obtuse, blustering, pompous, and 'Aspergery.' (These are verbatim descriptions; I keep a running list.)  But I had not previously heard Netanyahu described as a 'chickenshit.'" From Jeffrey Goldberg in The Atlantic: The crisis in U.S.-Israel relations is officially here.


Still the One

Apparently, enough years have gone by to allow us to feel nostalgic about earlier iterations of the web. From the Tilde club to Facebook's new app called Rooms, the Internet is kicking it old school. Gizmodo's Kyle Chayka has a beat on the great web 1.0 revival. (Warning, this article does not render properly in Netscape.)



If you signed up for CurrentC -- the payments system competing with Apple Pay -- you may have received a warning that "unauthorized third parties obtained the email addresses of some of you." In other news, you're being asked to trust your finances in the hands of a company called CurrentC


Loot Canal

The creator of the game Operation is using a crowd-funding strategy to raise the money to pay for his own operation. "John Spinello was never paid more than the $500 for his work, and cannot claim royalties from the sales of his invention." Maybe he should have spent more time with the guy who created Monopoly.


The Bottom of the News

What's worse: Demanding that drinks be served with giant, artisanal ice cubes, or criticizing the practice because of its negative environmental impact? I must be a total blockhead, because I have no idea.

+ It's National Cat Day and Uber is celebrating by bringing kittens right to your door. Watch out for Purrge-pricing.

+ Pop stars really do have a shorter life-expectancy than the rest of us.

+ NextDoor is offering up an app to help keep track of who's giving out candy in your neighborhood. (We've got serious problems if our kids can't put the phone down long enough to go outside and get free bags of candy.)