Monday, November 10th, 2014


Utility Player

President Obama has offered his full backing to the idea that Internet service should be treated as a utility: "Net neutrality has been built into the fabric of the Internet since its creation -- but it is also a principle that we cannot take for granted. We cannot allow Internet service providers (ISPs) to restrict the best access or to pick winners and losers in the online marketplace for services and ideas." The future will not be buffered.

+ The NYT's Upshot offers up a super-simple way to understand the Net Neutrality debate: "Is access to the Internet more like access to electricity, or more like cable television service?"

+ Most people who work in the Internet industry are reacting in much the same way as Chris Elliot in Cabin Boy.

+ In his strong opposition to net neutrality, Ted Cruz just made the point that… (whoops, out of bandwidth).


When the Wall Came Tumbling Down

"The collapse of the wall led to democracy for some and lawlessness or new forms of dictatorship for others. In other words, it shattered the amber in which history had, in many ways, been frozen for 44 years and freed the forces lying beneath -- the sects, tribes, ideologies, and allegiances -- to flow forth once more with unrestrained vigor, for better, worse, and both." Twenty-five years later, Slate's Fred Kaplan reflects on how the fall of Berlin Wall led to the world we know today.

+ InFocus has an excellent photo collection showing the rise and fall of the wall.


The Word

"I'm still uncomfortable with [a] white guy saying [it] But in 25 years, I would hope that my kid's not uncomfortable -- because that white guy wouldn't mean it in a demeaning, degrading way. He would mean it as a positive thing." In the N-Word Project, a team of WaPo journalists examine a racial slur entrenched in American vernacular: Redefining the Word.


Ruby Tuesday

It's already Tuesday in China. And that means it's an unofficial holiday called Singles Day, which is sort of like the opposite of Valentine's Day. But it's even more like Black Friday and Cyber-Monday, combined.

+ So far, it seems like it's going pretty well. From Quartz: Alibaba just sold $1.8 billion worth of goods in one hour of online shopping.


Strawberry Fields

How did a tear gas designed to make WWI soldiers vomit lead to so many strawberries that the fruit industry had to convince you to combine them with everything from cereal to Cool Whip? The Center for Investigative Reporting explains that and more as part of its brief history of the modern strawberry. (It never occurred to me to combine anything with my Cool Whip...)

+ If you want to grow certain kinds of apples, you have to be part of a club.


A Button Up Organization

"The greatest risk to my force is doing something stupid." MoJo's Josh Harkinson hangs out with the disgruntled guys who babysit our nuclear missiles: Death Wears Bunny Slippers.


Don’t Clique Here

Groups of teenagers have a natural instinct "to separate themselves into clusters and hierarchies." So why do cliques form at some high schools, and not others? (History has shown, you can either take the popularity in high school, or the Internet start-up equity later.)


The Marlboro Munchies

With the spread of legalization, the pot business is starting to develop in certain regions. "Just as everyone in San Francisco seems to be designing an app, everyone in Denver has an idea for a canna-business." But this is just the beginning and The Economist wonders: What would it take to build the Marlboro of Marijuana? (I'm guessing it will start with a really awkward social situation...)

+ Vox: The ridiculous profitability of illegal drugs.

+ "Clean, with citrus notes." NYT on the life of a pot critic.


When Selfies Required Skill

Some celebrities who are tired of having their photos hacked have decided to go old school and return to taking selfies with a Polaroid. I'm old enough to remember when cameras were still pointed outwards.

+ In my experience, kids love using old cameras. It just might take them a while to figure out how they work.


The Bottom of the News

According to Wired, MIT is developing crazy materials that could make for self-assembling Ikea furniture. That seems realistic. Given some time, most of it seems to disassemble itself.

+ Modern Farmer: 911 calls from inside corn mazes. Officially a thing.

+ 52 of the the world's most contagious misconceptions.