Monday, December 8th, 2014


Your Cat is Screwed

There's a good reason your cat looks so depressed. The days of her antics dominating YouTube are long gone. As the New Yorker's Tad Friend explains, in addition to cats "YouTube was adults with camcorders shooting kids being adorably themselves. It was amateur hour." Since then, YouTube has gone pro. Jeffrey Katzenberg predicts that "within five years, YouTube will be the biggest media platform of any, by far, in the entire world." It's where your kids are. It's where the new stars are. And it's where your cat isn't. Welcome to the new Hollywood and Vine.

+ As other video services angle to get a piece of the action, Google looks to lock up its stars with big bonuses.

+ The news, as well as its impact, is also changing dramatically. From NY Mag: Is livestreaming the future of media or the future of activism?


Teach Your Children Well

"It's different for a white child. That's just the reality in this country. And with Dante, very early on with my son, we said, look, if a police officer stops you, do everything he tells you to do, don't move suddenly, don't reach for your cell phone, because we knew, sadly, there's a greater chance it might be misinterpreted if it was a young man of color." That's NY Mayor Bill De Blasio describing how he had to train his biracial son to deal with police.

+ The Daily News crunches the New York numbers: "At least 179 people were killed by on-duty NYPD officers over the past 15 years. Just three of the deaths have led to an indictment in state court ... Only one officer who killed someone while on duty has been convicted, but he was not sentenced to jail time."

+ Reuters: New York attorney general seeks to probe police killings of unarmed civilians


The Raid

"At 6 a.m. in Johannesburg, Imtiaz Sooliman, the director of the aid group that had led the long effort, sent a text message to Mrs. Korkie: 'The waiting is almost over.' At 8:03 a.m. his phone rang with incomprehensible news: Mr. Korkie was dead." The NYT on the two hostages killed by Al Qaeda guards during a U.S. raid to free them. One of them, South African Pierre Korkie, was scheduled to be released a few hours later.

+ The U.S. says it was unaware of the South African hostage talks.


Animal Farm

"The real truth is that we're work animals for the fields." Take a close look at the produce in your supermarket. If it comes from Mexico, there's a chance it was treated with lot more care and dignity than the person who picked it. A special report from the LA Times: A Product of Mexico.


World’s Fare

Uber has been banned in the Indian capital following reports of an alleged rape of a female customer. Uber has been seen by some as a safer mode of transport for women in India. I can't imagine the complexities associated with growing a company this quickly. And I'm not sure anyone else can either.

+ In a controversial move, Uber has started operations in Portland. They can expect retaliation from Portland Commissioner Steve Novick: "They think they can just come in here and flagrantly violate the law? This is really amazing. Apparently, they believe they're gods." (God doesn't have that kind of funding.)


Don’t Get Too Pumped

Oil is cheap. And as The New Yorker's Michael Specter explains, that's "good news for consumers; it means that they will have more disposable income. More gas means more travel and more spending, which our sluggish economy clearly needs." But that's only half of the story. There's also the trouble with cheap oil.


The Jello in the Jacuzzi

"Southeastern Louisiana might best be described as a layer cake made of Jell-O, floating in a swirling Jacuzzi of steadily warming, rising water. Scientists and engineers must prevent the Jell-O from melting -- while having no access to the Jacuzzi controls." (Finally, someone is translating science for Humanties majors.) ProPublica takes a look at a 50-year, $50 billion plan to keep a coast from disappearing. Louisiana's Moon Shot.


Know it Alls

According to the latest Pew survey, you think the Internet makes you better informed and doesn't overwhelm you. "Rather than crushing them with too much information and making it hard to find useful material, most Americans say the internet and cell phones have brought benefits in learning, sharing and diversifying the flow of information into their lives." And then their heads exploded.


Photo Finish

Nothing can tell the stories of the year like photos, and no one collects photos that tell a story better than Alan Taylor at InFocus. So let's get started: 2014: The Year in Photos, January - April.

+ Time picks its photos of the year.


The Bottom of the News

This is the most accurate headline I've seen in the tech media in a long time: Turns Out the Dot-Com Bust's Worst Flops Were Actually Fantastic Ideas. Awesome, so can I have my investment money back?

+ NPR Music picks its 50 favorite albums of the year. In related news, it turns out rock is not dead. Here's the single most important music performance of 2014. One bass, one set of drums. And the the return of rock that has James Hetfield, Dave Grohl, and Jimmy Page serving up rave reviews. Royal Blood plays Glastonbury. (It's great, but mostly I didn't want you to think I'm so old that I get all my music from NPR.)

+ Watching this pasta machine is a perfectly reasonable way to spend the next ten minutes or so.