Thursday, January 8th, 2015


Disappearing Ink

There was a time when identifying yourself a journalist covering a conflict would increase your safety. Today, it's more like putting a target on your back. The executive director of the Committee to Protect Journalists talked to PBS Newshour about the paradox: "We live in an age defined by information. And yet the people who bring us this information are dying, being imprisoned, being killed in record numbers. If you look at the data, it is shocking, but press freedom, freedom of expression is actually in decline around the world." Any attack on the press is also an attack on those who consume its output. The way I see it, there are 4 types of people who should be especially disgusted by recent events: Journalists, artists, comedians, and everyone.

+ "The killers proved the cartoonists' point with ghastly finality: theirs was a necessary, freedom-sustaining, and therefore life-giving, form of defiance. Without it, they knew, we-- humankind -- are less." The New Yorker's Philip Gourevitch with a short, powerful piece: The Pen vs. the Gun.

+ WaPo: News organizations wrestle with whether to publish Charlie Hebdo cartoons after attack.

+ George Packer: "The murders in Paris were so specific and so brazen as to make their meaning quite clear. The cartoonists died for an idea ... So we must all try to be Charlie, not just today but every day."


Where Wolves?

A huge manhunt for the suspected Charlie Hebdo killers is underway. The NYT is tracking the latest (with a solid new feature that highlights what we know and what we don't know.)

+ We've gotten better at tracking terror groups. But it's more difficult when actors are part of what is known as a wolfpack: "A small group of people, often connected by family ties, stage an attack in their home country without getting direct orders or training from a larger organization."

+ "I just went to get my daughter from daycare. As I got to the front door of the building, two masked, armed gunmen brutally threatened us. They wanted to enter, go up. I typed the code."


Eat Dirt

A new class of antibiotics that are more powerful (and to which we don't build up a resistance) could be on the way in a few years thanks to what scientists are calling a "paradigm shift." And the breakthrough was the dirt.


Doctor’s Orders

"My daughter is not going to die. This is about, 'This is my body, my choice, and let me decide.'" That's how Jackie Fortin sees her 17 year-old daughter's choice to opt out of getting chemotherapy. Her doctors say just the opposite is true. So the state got involved. From NPR: Can Connecticut force a teenage girl to undergo chemotherapy?"


Cutting Through It

For some of us, CES basically looks like a group-trip to Vegas in between Apple Keynotes. But of course, there were interesting new products if you knew where to look. And The Wirecutter is usually spot-on when it comes to guiding us to the good stuff: The realist's guide to CES. One of the items on the list is a system to enable you to monitor and play with your pet remotely. (That might be a little too real...)


Something to Chew On

Syndicated from Kottke: Buzzfeed's Carolyn Kylstra asked some scientists and medical professionals about juice cleanses and while they are (mostly) harmless, they definitely don't do any of the magical things you think they do, like flush the toxins out of your body or reset your system. Your juice cleanse is bull....

+ GuacTalk: If you want to fight bad cholesterol the natural way, you have a big pill to swallow: An avocado.


Screenage Wasteland

Most of what you're checking on your phone can wait until later. Some of it can wait until never. And you know that. But you still stare at that damn screen all day long. Since two of the hot items these days are selfie sticks and selfie camera flashes, it's probably a reasonable time to take a good look at ourselves. From InFocus: A world transfixed by screens (which is a photo collection you will be viewing on a screen. With NextDraft, there are always layers, my friends.)

+ "At 3:30pm on the afternoon of September 25, 2014, the 57-year old soccer coach and grocery store owner unbuttoned his blue jeans." In the age of selfies, this can only be read as the first line in a cautionary tale.

+ Vice: The mirrors of the future will point out all your flaws to sell you products. (So what will close friends be for?)


You’re Not That Pitchy, Dawg

Point: Aeon's Elizabeth Hellmuth Margulis explains that while you might not be a virtuoso, you actually have remarkable music abilities. Counterpoint: Karaoke.

+ Nautilus: Brain damage saved his music.


Lego My iPad

Over the past decade, it's become "a profit-generating, design-driven miracle built around premium, intuitive, highly covetable hardware that fans can't get enough of." FastCo on how Lego became the Apple of toys. (Neither of my kids have ever threatened to move out because I wouldn't let them borrow my Lego.)


The Bottom of the News

If you're a gamer, there's a decent chance you've killed Reuben Langdon. Grantland's Mike Powell visits with a motion-capture stuntman and resident of the future: Action figure.

+ It's better to give than to receive. Unless you're participating in a reality show knife-throwing performance on live TV.