Tuesday, January 6th, 2015


CES La Vie

Recently, my friend was walking out his front door when his smartwatch beeped to let him know it was out of his phone's range. It's happening. Our devices are now warning us not to forget our other devices. The CES show going on in Las Vegas is more than just the future of gadgets. It's the future of the tech that will be invading every part of our lives. Samsung just announced that 90% of the products it sells will be Internet-enabled by 2017. And, essentially, that means you will be too.

+ Here are some the stranger items you'll find at CES.

+ The Walkman is back. (Only this time, it's twelve hundred bucks.)

+ The new TVs are so thin that they're going to give your old TV a distorted body image.

+ And at long last, a flash for Selfies.


Connect or Die

Don't let anyone try to convince you that traditional TV is dead. But now that ESPN will be available without a cable package, the floodgates are going to open. Live sports was the last meaningful holdout.

+ A couple episodes of Game of Thrones will be shown on IMAX screens.


Cash Blowing 101

In a couple years, China could have more billionaires than the U.S. But there's a learning curve when it comes to spending all that excess cash and learning how to kick it like a playa. Luckily, Americans are coming to help. From GQ's Devin Friedman: The Bling Dynasty.


Diversity Training Wheels

The 114th Congress starts as one of the more diverse in American history. They are 80 percent white, 80 percent male and 92 percent Christian. The melting pot is set to simmer.



While their efforts were denounced by politicians and celebrities, "some 18,000 people attended one anti-immigration rally in Dresden on Monday," challenging what they see as the "Islamization" of Europe. In the following days, counter marches and protests have sprung up in different German cities.

+ NYT: "The turnout more or less equaled that of late December, before Chancellor Angela Merkel urged Germans in her New Year's address to shun the rallies and their organizers, who she said had 'prejudice, coldness, even hatred in their hearts.'"


Nothing’s Quiet on the Ethernet Front

According to South Korean officials, North Korea has boosted the size of its "cyber army" to more than 6,000 troops and aims to cause "physical and psychological paralysis" in South Korea and elsewhere. The Sony hack was a big deal (and, in retrospect, it may be viewed as the biggest story of 2014), but according to security experts and government folks I know, it was nothing compared to the real concern: An attack on infrastructure that could shut down power, etc, to huge regions.


The Unfrozen Tundra

Professional football just suffered a year of scandals, lawsuits, and general bad vibes. The net result: The NFL is more popular than ever. (That's the one football bet that would've been easy to win.)


Talk It Out

"So if she sees a car you can say, ‘Yes, that's a car. It's a big car. It's a blue car.'" From The New Yorker: "The poorer parents are, the less they talk with their children. The mayor of Providence is trying to close the word gap."

+ NPR: Sleeping near a smartphone can disturb a child's rest. (This is why I've insisted that my kids, 6 and 8, move out.)



"Having previously lost an eye and a hand in battle, Carton de Wiart, as commanding officer, was seen by his men pulling the pins of grenades out with his teeth and hurling them with his one good arm." The BBC on Adrian Carton de Wiart: The unkillable soldier, who in his memoir wrote: "Frankly, I had enjoyed the war." (Someone like this could really spice up this season's Downton Abbey.)


The Bottom of the News

"For three years, he has been able to capitalize on his unexpected fame. On the Internet, three years is a long time. It's enough time to let something become part of your identity -- even when the online fame begins to fade." WaPo with an inside look at what it's like Being Bad Luck Brian.

+ Quartz: Right now is the peak time of the year for online dating.

+ Many cities have had to create laws against sledding. Why? Too many lawsuits.

+ This year will have a one extra second. (I'm reserving that for my technology shabbat.)