Tuesday, November 18th, 2014


Just Walk Away

In an era where everyone is striving for likes, retweets, and a few seconds of viral fame, it's rare to find a person who achieves it and then walks away. That alone makes Dave Chappelle contrarian enough to be interesting. But what really sticks out in his interview in GQ is his take on Donald Sterling, the former LA Clippers owner: "Ultimately, I don't think he should have lost his team. I don't like the idea that someone could record a secret conversation and that a person could lose their assets from that, even though I think what he said was awful. When you think about the intimacy of a situation, like, can a man just chill with his mistress in peace? I just don't like when things like that happen, because if they take shit away for things that people say that are objectionable, I may not have anything in a few years." This gets at a really important part of the Donald Sterling saga. A guy (yes, a bad guy) had his team taken away because of comments made in a private (and rather desperate) conversation, but the Internet has turned us into such pitchfork-wielding transparency-zealots that we barely noticed that part of the story. And that's exactly why we need comedians; to remind us of these things once in a while.


Boarded to Death

Whatever the grand jury decides this week, all media eyes will be on Ferguson where stores are already boarded up. But in this very interesting Citylab piece, Sarah Kendzior explains how all the plywood covering the windows tells a much broader economic story: "Protests did not destroy Ferguson. Destruction -- social, economic, and political -- created the protests."


Mourning Prayers

Attackers armed with cleavers and guns killed four rabbis (three American, one British) during morning prayers in a Jerusalem synagogue. Seven other people were hospitalized and the two attackers were killed by police. The incident both intensifies and widens the recent conflicts that have taken place near the Temple Mount. "The brutal nature of the attack, the shock of such a strike on a house of prayer and the fact that the episode took place in a part of western Jerusalem considered far removed from recent clashes boded ill for any calming of violence that has roiled Jerusalem for months."

+ The Guardian is tracking the latest developments from an increasingly unsettled Jerusalem.


The Grave Situation

Ever since news of the killing of 43 students swept across Mexico, authorities have been searching for a mass grave where they believed the bodies had been buried. They found one after another after another. As Greg Grandin explains: "They have found many mass graves. Just not the mass grave they have been looking for."


Strife in the Fast Lane

Uber is one of the fastest growing and most disruptive companies in a tech industry known for speed and disruption. But the company has also earned a lot of negative headlines. The latest speed bumps were created when a senior executive floated the idea of digging up dirt on journalists (while at a dinner with journalists). Might be time to pull over and cool off a bit.

+ And here's the headline of the day: Pentagon Distances Itself From Uber Executive. You know you're having a bad day when politicians want to distance themselves from you.

+ Matthew Yglesias in Vox: Uber has an a-hole problem.

+ What is it about guys named Travis and the taxi industry?


The Latest Rap on Music

The data they get is so damn good, that when you say you like it, they say we knew you would. The music industry is using big data to predict which songs will be hits. It's good for business. But is it bad for music?

+ The New Yorker: Is Spotify the music industry's friend or foe?

+ "Records obligate a different kind of attention. There's nothing random about them. They wear out. They're too fragile to be played without listeners." Colette LaBouff on the value of doing just one thing. (I'm convinced that this is what's behind the recent resurgence of vinyl.)

+ In 1993, Steve Albini wrote a popular essay called The Problem with Music. Now he's back with an LP-length follow-up. And he's singing a very different tune.


Room for Milk?

Humans are the only mammals that continue to drink milk long after childhood, and it's becoming more clear that this habit isn't all that helpful to our health. According to the NYT, it might even be detrimental. (This is exactly why I'm sticking with formula.)

+ Also from the NYT: A major study has found an alternative to popular anti-cholesterol drugs.

+ The Atlantic: Looking down at a cell phone is the equivalent of placing a 60-pound weight on one's neck.


Pass on the Kool-Aid

On the 36th anniversary of the massacre, Mark Armstrong interviews the author of Escape from Jonestown who explains why it's time to stop saying "drink the Kool-Aid."


Anyone Know Where They’re Registered?

Notorious murderer Charles Manson is about to marry a 26 year-old woman who has been working to exonerate him. Vhat? A Meshugganah like Charles Manson can find a nice girl, but you don't get married and make me a bubbeh?


The Bottom of the News

Conceptual artist Sven Sachsalber found a needle in a haystack. And I don't mean that metaphorically.

+ Syndicated from Kottke: In 2012, Joe Ayoob broke the world record for the longest distance paper airplane flight with a plane designed by John Collins. In this video, Collins demonstrates how to fold that plane, the Suzanne.

+ According the Oxford Dictionary, Vape is the word of the year.

+ Scientists plan to resurrect the woolly mammoth. What could go wrong?