Friday, November 21st, 2014


Se Habla Gridlock

Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free. And while you're at it, you better bring me your lawyers. President Obama announced his much-anticipated executive action on immigration. Republicans challenged the action, and filed a lawsuit over Obamacare. Political infighting and lengthy court battles are as good a way as any to welcome people to America. I just hope the heated politics don't spill over into our treatment of immigrants as people. My parents are both immigrants, and aside from the time my dad asked if I hit a home run in my football game, they've been good for this country.

+ WaPo: For millions of illegal immigrants, a mix of celebration and deep disappointment.

+ Vox: Obama's huge new immigration plan, explained.

+ FiveThirtyEight: Undocumented immigrants aren't who you think they are.

+ Silicon Valley's reaction to the new plan: Meh.


Here Comes the Judgment

As Ferguson residents, and media outlets everywhere, await the impending grand jury decision, The Interecept's Ryan Devereaux provides a look back at what we've learned about the Michael Brown case so far.


Weekend Reads

"My dissatisfaction was whiny and irrational, as I well knew, so I kept it to myself. When I thought about it -- which I did, a lot -- I rejected the term midlife crisis, because I was holding a steady course and never in fact experienced a crisis: more like a constant drizzle of disappointment." The Atlantic's Jonathan Rauch on The Real Roots of Midlife Crisis. (I'm convinced the so-called midlife crisis is plain old depression biologically triggered at a certain age.)

+ GQ's excellent Andrew Corsello interviews Michael Sam, currently out of the NFL, but still very much in the public eye.

+ "Gliese 667Cc is at the center of an epic controversy in astronomy -- a fight over the validity of data, the nature of scientific discovery, and the ever-important question of who got there first." Wired on scientists and the war of the worlds.

+ Vice: The man who made Tetris.

+ "The first computer wizards who called themselves hackers started underneath a toy train layout at MIT's Building 20." Steven Levy looks back at The Tech Model Railroad Club.


New Money

"Part of the Venmo experience is the continuous scroll of your friends' microeconomic activity as told through droll synopsis, inside jokes, and emoji." Venmo is the way a lot of young people are exchanging money (and yucks). Businessweek's Felix Gillette on why cash is for losers. (It's still not that fun to roll around on a bed with a pile of Venmo...)

+ How does a major brand compete in an increasingly digital world where everything from the places we shop to the way we pay seems to be changing by the minute? That's just what Buzzfeed's Sapna Maheshwari set out to learn from Gap's new CEO. "While honoring our stores and having our stores be a great expression of the brand, this [phone]…is really going to be the expression of the brand that most people engage with most significantly."


Hannibal Lecture

Why now? What makes a cold case like the rape allegations against Bill Cosby emerge from media shadows to dominate chatter around water coolers everywhere? Issues have to reach what one sociologist calls "collective and focused attention." In the NYT, Brendan Nyhan provides a sociological (and pretty depressing) explanation for Cosby's sudden fall: "Allegations by numerous young women that he drugged and raped them were largely ignored until a routine performed last month by the comedian Hannibal Buress drew newfound attention to the claims."

+ Maybe this sociological viewpoint helps explain why R. Kelly still has a career.


The Body Electric

You can stick with your coffee and energy drinks. But the people who really want to get pumped up for the day are hitting the electrodes pretty hard. It turns out that electrical brain stimulation beats caffeine -- and the effect lasts longer. (With enough electricity, the effect can be permanent.)


Anchor, Man…

As if we needed more proof, yet another study has shown that Americans get more informed via satirical news programs than via regular news outlets. I'd also bet that Americans react to more news than they actually ingest.

+ A meeting of the modern day anchormen. Jon Stewart finally made his debut as a Colbert Report guest.


The Nerds Rule Everything

They rose to the top of the business world. They became media sensations. They got the money (and the equity). And now the nerds have taken aim at their next conquest. Yes, the MIT football team is undefeated.

+ WSJ: How players at MIT engineered a football team. (As you can see, coming up with quality pun headlines is not that easy...)


826 Reasons to Do Me a Favor

I am a proud board member of 826 Valencia, an awesome non-profit (co-founded by Dave Eggers) that helps kids write, imagine, and dramatically improve their chances to succeed at school and beyond. They are close to being named 7x7 Magazine's Favorite Charity -- a title that comes with a cool 10K for this deserving org. Please do me a favor and take 5 seconds and vote for 826 Valencia at the bottom of this page. I'd really appreciate it -- and it will help prove my Internet street cred to my fellow board members and a lot of understandably dubious kids.


The Bottom of the News

"If they had stopped writing all this stuff about us, there would be no controversy left in the band and we probably would have died out years ago. They don't know that they're still responsible for us being around today." This is how you remind me that your hate has saved Nickelback

+ The Secret Life of String Cheese.

+ Venice is about to ban rolling suitcases with noisy wheels.

+ "During that period, your body takes a bit of a pounding. Fresh food is very important." Bloomberg: Rock stars ditch Jack Daniels for quinoa. Either way, I'd puke.