Thursday, December 18th, 2014


The Pyongyang Show

There are times when Americans must unify, stand strong and make sacrifices. One of those moments arrived as President Obama called on us to "go to the movies." As Sony pulled The Interview from its lineup, its storyline has gone from comedy, to drama, to an outright horror show. Slate's David Auerbach: "For perhaps the first time, a major American company really did suffer a worst-case cyberassault scenario." And like with many bad movies, there will be sequels.

+ Hollywood celebrities were outraged by Sony's decision. And Steve Carrell definitely picked the wrong time to be preparing to shoot a movie called Pyongyang (that project has already been preemptively surrendered). And remember a few sentences ago when I predicted this story would have sequels? Paramount just banned theaters from showing Team America.

+ Sony's data was stolen. Much personal information is just given away. "We have never had ubiquitous surveillance before, much less a form of ubiquitous surveillance that emerges primarily from voluntary (if market-obscured) choices. Predicting how it shakes out is just fantasy." Is the title of Pew's latest report the ultimate oxymoron? The Future of Privacy.


The Avengers

"A group of journalists and researchers wade into ugly corners of the Internet to expose racists, creeps, and hypocrites. Have they gone too far?" Adrian Chen in MIT Technology Review: The Troll Hunters.


Vox Havana

"The back-channel negotiations were conducted not by professional diplomats but by two of Obama's national security advisers, making it clear to the Cubans that the opening was coming directly from the White House." WaPo on the years of secret negotiations that led to a landmark agreement between the U.S. and Cuba.

+ And on the streets of Miami: Calm.


The Lost Girls

"A mass rescue is no longer a real possibility; it probably never was." In The New Yorker, Alexis Okeowo asks: As the year ends, where are Nigeria's kidnapped girls? Almost all of the potential answers are terrible.

+ Meanwhile, today brings reports of yet another Boko Haram mass kidnapping.


Working in the Mine

"We saw his reading improve and we saw him become more and more willing to chat with other players and carry on conversations, something that was very hard for him. We also watched him build relationships with certain players. There is one player in particular that he loves to play with and asks about often. For our son this is a big deal." Buzzfeed's Charlie Warzel with a moving story about a Minecraft community for kids with Autism.

+ "How in this world do you heal a mind?" That's one of the core questions in what Latvian animator Signe Baumane calls her funny film about depression.


Case Not Dismissed

A 14 year-old kid named George Stinney Jr. was so small that he had to sit on top of phonebook to properly fit in the electric chair. Seventy years after his execution, a court has exonerated him.


You’re Not the Loss of Me

Our own efforts to slim down don't always work out that well. Will things be different when our employers are in charge? And should they even be involved? And who shackled this FitBit to my ankle? From WSJ: Memo to Staff: Time to Lose a Few Pounds.


It’ll Come to You

Amazon Prime customers in New York can now get more than 25,000 products delivered within an hour. This Christmas story is about the ghost of Kozmo past.

+ Speaking of online orders, shall we order some lunch ... from a few thousand miles away? (Let's just hope they get your order right.)


Yearly Check-out

Another year, another incredible selection of winners from the National Geographic Photo Contest.
Slate: Our favorite memes of 2014.

+ Clickhole: In Memoriam: Remembering all the content that didn't go viral this year.


The Bottom of the News

We had our pitchforks out in fine form this year. With that in mind, here's an interactive and entertaining look back at the year in outrage.

+ Sad, violent, scary. As any parent will recognize, I'm talking about kids' movies.

+ Flying this holiday season? Don't watch this video documenting the turbulence on a recent American Airlines flight.

+ Can Blackberry recreate the magic by releasing a classic Blackberry? If they can, I'm putting all my money into rotary phones.