Tuesday, December 2nd, 2014


One Ring That Binds Them

If you are a regular follower of the media, you will likely be quite surprised at what you see lounging at the other end of the couch: Your spouse. A common journalistic refrain suggests that the divorce rate is above 50% and on the rise. But those numbers are dated. If you're a college educated person who got married in the 2000s, it's highly likely that you and the person you married are still coupled (consciously or otherwise). From Claire Cain Miller in the NYT: "Despite hand-wringing about the institution of marriage, marriages in this country are stronger today than they have been in a long time. The divorce rate peaked in the 1970s and early 1980s and has been declining for the three decades since."

+ Maybe breaking up is just too complicated in the social media era. From NY Mag: Winning the breakup in the age of Instagram.


Gov and Marriage

The wife and child of Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi have been detained in Lebanon. Authorities hope that the detained family members might lead to new insights on the movements and activities of the group, or serve as bargaining chips.

+ Some sources have described the woman (one of two of al-Baghdadi's wives) as a "powerful figure (who is) heavily involved in ISIS."


Freaks and Leaks

Welcome to the globalization of Seth Rogen. Last week, Sony Pictures suffered an enormous hack, and North Korea is the prime suspect. One key piece of suggestive evidence: When Sony announced plans to release the Seth Rogen/James Franco comedy about a plot to kill Kim Jong Un, a North Korean foreign ministry spokesperson claimed that everyone in his country was determined "to mercilessly destroy anyone who dares hurt or attack the supreme leadership of the country, even a bit." (Might be time for this dude to chill out and watch Pineapple Express .)

+ More details on the malware likely used in the Sony attack.

+ Kevin Roose: This "could be one of the largest corporate hacks in history."


Brazilian Hacks

Americans like to think of themselves as the masters of all things Internet. But when it comes to heavy usage, Brazil leads the pack, followed by Nigeria, South Africa, and Russia. From The Atlantic: The global geography of Internet addiction.

+ Maria Konnikova: Is Internet addiction really a thing? (Once, when my WiFi went down, I tried to snort my laptop.)


Immigrant Strong

"While other teams machined and welded metal frames, the guys broke out the rubber glue and began assembling the PVC pipe. They did the whole thing in one night, got high on the pungent fumes, and dubbed their new creation Stinky." With immigration in the headlines, Wired has reposted Josh Davis's excellent piece: How 4 Mexican Immigrant Kids and Their Cheap Robot Beat MIT.

+ A decade later, Josh Davis looks back at the competition and what happened to the participants. There couldn't be a more timely moment to release this book: Spare Parts: Four Undocumented Teenagers, One Ugly Robot, and the Battle for the American Dream.

+ "He is in formal legal terms an illegal entrant and as such commits a criminal offense under section 24 of the Immigration Act 1971. It is an offense punishable by up to six months in prison." An immigration lawyer reviews Paddington.


Art Imitates Fantasy

"If this comes as any surprise, it's because the first rule of beauty work is: Don't talk about beauty work." In Mashable, Josh Dickey projects some light onto the Hollywood procedure that has fooled us for years: Everyone is Altered. (The rest of us have to be satisfied posting old photos to Facebook.)



Yes, it's time to begin a month-long best-of list bombardment. Say Media breaks the ice (bucket) and gets us started with a look back at some of the top memes of 2014.

+ These lists are right in Buzzfeed's wheelhouse. Here's their look at 74 of the most amazing news photos of 2014.

+ Our pals at Longreads have a list of all their number one story picks of the year.


Dropping the Dime Bag

"If the U.S. continues to legalize pot, they'll run us into the ground." From NPR: Legal pot in the U.S. may be undercutting Mexican marijuana. Eso es bueno, no?


Memories Snapped

"I have days of photos and no actual memory of that day aside from the photos that I took. That's because I'm so lost in the minutia of the camera and trying to get a photo that I'm not participating. I'm hiding behind this machine." In a new interview series, Om Malik talks to photographer Cole Rise about pictures, software, sharing, and memories.

+ I continue to think that, of all the technologies associated with the Internet age, none has changed our perception of ourselves and others as dramatically as digital photography. Check out my post on our photographic memories: This is You on Smiles.


The Bottom of the News

Animated GIFs are everywhere. Emoji is in its prime. So maybe this is the perfect time to pay homage to the visual art form that started it all. Megan Garber with a eulogy to Clip Art, in Clip Art.

+ WSJ: How to train your voice to be more charismatic.

+ I just bought a turntable, so I suppose I'm in no position to make fun of someone who decides to buy a video store.

+ Our human ancestors started consuming alcohol about 10 million years ago. And our behavior while drunk has barely changed since then.