Thursday, December 4th, 2014


Eyes on the Guise

Cameras are everywhere. That invades our space. But it also makes it a lot harder to get away with anything. Unless it doesn't. For many people, the lesson of the non-indictment in the Eric Garner chokehold case is that cameras don't make a difference. Seeing is not believing. From WaPo: With Eric Garner, Obama's body camera argument just took a big hit.

+ The New Republic: Police cameras won't cure our national disease.

+ In NY Mag, Jesse Singal argues that, yes, body cameras are probably worth it. It's about knowing you're on camera. In Rialto, CA, "after cameras were introduced in February 2012, public complaints against officers plunged 88% compared with the previous 12 months. Officers' use of force fell by 60%."

+ The Marshall Project: What you need to know about body cameras.


No Man is an Island

"A central issue in cases like this is a failure to fully value black lives. That alone can be deadly. But we should also ask about a companion problem, one that shows itself the most with regard to accountability: an over-weighting of white intentions." From Amy Davidson in The New Yorker: What the Eric Garner Grand Jury Didn't See.

+ The NYT Editorial Board: "The imbalance between Mr. Garner's fate, on a Staten Island sidewalk in July, and his supposed infraction, selling loose cigarettes, is grotesque and outrageous."

+ FiveThirtyEight: Why the grand jury in Staten Island was especially unlikely to convict.

+ They shouted, "I can't breathe." The Atlantic shares scenes from last night's protest in NYC. Meanwhile, social media exploded with a series of hashtags and dueling messages. I'm not sure the transparency of social media has done much to foster understanding. We either ignore each other or we yell at each other. But no man is an island. (Not even Staten.)


The War Within

"Where al-Qaeda directed its anger at the "distant enemy," the United States, ISIS wants to destroy the near enemy, the Arab regimes, first. This is above all a war within Islam." Ahmed Rashid in the NY Review of Books: What the US doesn't understand.


Kitty Twitter

From Polaroids to The Pill, Businessweek celebrates its 85th anniversary with a look back at the 85 most disruptive ideas in our history. (Ironically, they left out listicles.)

+ Paul Ford digs deep on one of those disruptive ideas: Kitty Litter. It's the product that brought cats indoors. And indoor cats made for cat videos. And cat videos made the Internet.

+ "Some of our greatest cultural and technological achievements took place between 1945 and 1971." Aeon's Michael Hanlon wonders why our technological advances have stalled.


Flu the Coop

"About 90 percent of flu strains circulating in late November that were analyzed by the CDC were Type A strains, and half of those did not match the H3N2 strain contained in the vaccine." In other words, the flu vaccine may not work too well this year.


The Natural

"We have a supply of natural gas that can last America nearly 100 years." That was how President Obama described the boom that has dramatically changed global economics. But will the boom really last? From Nature: The fracking fallacy.

+ "The contest between the shalemen and the sheikhs has tipped the world from a shortage of oil to a surplus." The Economist on the new economics of oil.

+ Any discussion on energy needs to be coupled with a discussion about the environment. From Slate: The last time the Arctic was ice-free in the Summer, modern humans didn't exist. (I'm still not sure they do.)


Your Money’s No Good Here

"The policy is designed to generate either an ethical conflict for the critic, who cannot accept freebies." In Dallas, a bunch of restaurant owners have decided to fight back against a tough restaurant critic with an unusual, but possibly effective, tactic. They won't take her money.

+ NPR: The joys of good gas station food. (Seriously.)

+ Mexico's soda tax seems to be working.

+ Fat Daddy's, Fat Sam's, Fat Tony's, Fat Ricky's, Fat Boys, Fatty Magoo. What's with Chicago's obsession with fat-themed restaurants.


Welcome Back, Squatter

In one of its signs welcoming visitors, Brooklyn refers to itself as being "like no other place in the world." And that could be true. Especially when it comes to home affordability. Hipsters are the new Sweathogs.


Pocket Rocket

"The universe was in her and with each movement it unfolded to her. Somewhere in the night a stray rocket went off." A former Booker Prize winner earns this year's prize for worst sex scene.

+ Quite possibly related: U.S. birthrate hit new low in 2013.

+ Nick Bilton in the NYT: Are gadget-free bedrooms the secret to a happy relationship? My wife and I both have apps in the app store. For us, gadgets are foreplay.


The Bottom of the News

Hate the idea of watching a live TV version of Peter Pan? That's just what NBC is counting on. NPR on social media, musicals, and the modern art of hate watching.

+ Thanks to the now infamous hack, Sony's private, and often embarrassing, data is all over the Internet. It probably didn't help that they kept a ton of passwords in a file called Password.

+ A pregame pep talk from a Target employee.

+ Quartz is collecting contenders for the 2014 Internet chart of year.