Friday, December 12th, 2014


In Bed with Kim Jung-un

If you publish information uncovered and leaked by way of the massive Sony hack, then are you in cahoots with the (possibly North Korean) hackers? If you view and share personal photos stolen from a celebrity's phone, are you positioning yourself on the same moral patch of turf occupied by those who stole the images? Those answers might seem obvious to some and complex to others. And to some, the answers might not matter. Someone will publish leaked information. And others will consume and share it. Here's Anne Helen Peterson in Buzzfeed: "When it comes to future handling of such information, the gray area in which they reside -- between public and private, between prurient and illuminating -- might not be the exception, but the new normal. The stance that journalists and academics take on these documents has the potential to guide our nation's understanding of how we treat the compromise of the 21st century's most valuable commodity, for both individuals and corporations: privacy."

+ As far as I can tell, the conclusion being drawn by most editors is reflected in this headline from Variety: Why publishing stolen Sony data is problematic but necessary. That headline also provides an explanation as to why stealing private data will continue to be a growth market.


Life’s a Glitch

We got yet another reminder of how dependent we are on computers as a "technical problem" at England's Swanwick air traffic control centre caused chaos in the skies and widespread flight disruptions for travelors in Europe and beyond.

+ "Taking photos, or using most any electronic device, while piloting a commercial aircraft is prohibited by American and European regulators." And yet, we still have the Internet-famous pilots of Instagram. Autofocus is the new autopilot.


Weekend Reads

"Two strangers dragged me from bed in the middle of the night and drove me into the woods. But this wasn't a random abduction -- just my first step into the world of controversial boot camps for troubled teens." Kenneth Rosen in Narratively: The Night My Parents Had Me Kidnapped.

+ "They are signing up to spend years talking about something nobody else wants to talk about." Katie Heaney: Can The Next Generation Of Morticians Breathe Life Into The Death Industry?

+ Ryan Lizza in The New Yorker: Inside the Collapse of The New Republic.

+ From PRI: Shaggy dogs, sexy sharks, boozy birds -- it's the top animal stories of 2014.


Location, Location, Vocation

In some parts of the country, employers are having a hard time finding enough people to fill key jobs. In other parts, people are having a hard time finding any jobs to fill. It's part economic, part demographic, and part geographic. From the NYT Upshot: Where men aren't working.


Guarding Mess

"In California, an armed guard must have received 14 hours of gun training, six of them on a shooting range, in addition to 40 hours of instruction. Manicurists in the Golden State must complete 400 hours of training." The Center for Investigative Reporting has completed a year-long look into the world of security guards, where people are undertrained, underpaid, and quite often armed. Here's the full and quite remarkable report: Hired Guns.


The Prison Break?

"We could never have all got together like this in Baghdad, or anywhere else. It would have been impossibly dangerous. Here, we were not only safe, but we were only a few hundred metres away from the entire al-Qaida leadership." In The Guardian, Martin Chulov talks to a senior ISIS commander about the group's origins inside an Iraqi prison.


Like it Or Not

Occasionally I will "like" someone's post on Facebook just so I get the explicit opportunity to "unlike" it. My workaround may not always be necessary. Facebook has given some thought to a "dislike" function. (Of couse, for that, we always have the rest of the Internet.)

+ Someone at BestBuy tweeted a pretty tame joke related to the podcast, Serial. And then the Internet outrage machine stirred into action. Chill with the pitchforks...

+ FastCo's picks the worst corporate tweets of 2014.


Deck the Dormitory Halls

Your professor is a VC. Your advisor specializes in creating effective PowerPoint decks. And your roommate is a budding seed investor. Welcome to Stanford; the ultimate start-up accelerator. From Reuters: Venture capital reaches into the dorm.


All Dogs Go to Heaven

Do dogs and other pets go to heaven? We now have an answer -- a definitive yes -- from Pope Francis. So what do the other religions say? (I'm not sure this applies to my cats. One is agnostic and the other doesn't give a shit.)


The Bottom of the News

One set-up. Ten punchlines. Twenty-nine years. An ode to one of the longest-running jokes of all time: Top 10 Things to Love About Letterman's Top Ten Lists

+ The Navy's "spy fish" could be operational by next year.

+ The story behind AOL's iconic yellow running man.

+ And some advice from NY Mag's Chloe Schama: Never date a writer. You'll end up as material. (And never date a newsletter writer. You'll end up broke.)