Friday, January 9th, 2015



The battle between pen and sword in France came down to a gunfight as French police killed the two brothers who carried out the Charlie Hebdo massacre. In a related raid, police stormed a kosher supermarket and killed a gunman. Several hostages were freed from the market, but at least four are dead. French President Francois Hollande praised the work of police, and urged citizens to resist "anything and everything that can divide us ... unity is our best weapon." Here's The Guardian with the latest.

+ "Hayat Boumeddiene went from anonymous to the most-wanted woman in France almost instantly Friday." The Daily Beast on the search for a 26 year-old woman linked to the murder of a policewoman and possibly to the kosher market hostage standoff.

+ A timeline of the Charlie Hebdo attacks: Three days of madness.

+ Slate: "Violent acts of 'blasphemy' are unfortunately pretty common. They're just usually perpetrated by governments."

+ In Saudi Arabia, a convicted blogger was flogged in public 50 times for writing pieces critical of influential clerics. He was sentenced to 10 years in prison is still scheduled to receive 950 more floggings.



In Nigeria, there are reports that in a recent attack Boko Haram may have killed up to 2,000 people. And it's been 269 days since more than 200 teenage girl were abducted.


Weekend Reads

"While the other tech bloggers were getting glassy-eyed visiting selfie-stick booths on the convention floor, I headed out to Pahrump for a visit." ReCode's Nellie Bowles pays a visit to the unofficial brothel of CES where an annual pilgrimage of geeks results in an entirely new meaning for the like button.

+ "You've heard of suicide by cop? This is suicide by crazy effing Elvis guy. It's a tragic story because these are two people who needed help and there was nowhere for them to get help." Elise Jordan in Buzzfeed: The Last Days Of Graceland Too

+ "When I recently asked Ruggeri, the chief investigator, to sum up the case, she stared at her desk and just said incredible four times. The Guardian's Tobias Jones on the murder that has obsessed Italy.

+ "In theory, a priest wearing a lucha libre mask sounds strange. But in the case of Padre Fray Tormenta, it looks and feels completely normal." From Eric Nusbaum inVice, Addict, Priest, Luchador: The unbelievable life of Fray Tormenta.


A Cold Lead

Going out in the cold isn't what causes you to get a cold. Unless it is. Scientists at Yale think they've found a key clue to understanding the effectiveness of the rhinoviruses, which apparently takes advantage of the cold air in our noses." Maybe this is why my kids scrunch of their noses every time I tell them not to leave the house without a coat.

+ 95% of Americans risk eye problems by staring at screens all day. (The other five percent figured out how to increase the font size.)


The New Math

President Obama announced a new plan to make community college free for millions of qualifying students. "What I'd like to do is to see the first two years of community college free for everybody who's willing to work for it." (The next six years are on you.)


Precocious Kid

There's a decent chance that you're holding hands with an eight year-old right now. When you consider how much of our experience of the world has changed, it's hard to believe that the iPhone is only eight years old today.

+ While the NextDraft app is gratis, the app store may have managed to pull to pull in about a half a billion in sales last week. When I was eight, I had a paper route.

+ John Markoff in the NYT, 8 years ago: "With characteristic showmanship, Steven P. Jobs introduced Apple's long-awaited entry into the cellphone world." (Spolier alert: It did well.)


Everybody Must Get Keystoned

For a variety of reasons, the Keystone Pipeline has become a political battlefield and "a proxy for a much bigger debate about energy and climate." And that battle is about to really heat up. So if you don't know much about Keystone, this is good time to cop to it. From Vox: Nine questions about the Keystone XL pipeline debate you were too embarrassed to ask.


The Sermon

"He called on his congregation to support same sex marriage in the upcoming Irish referendum at the end of May. He said: 'I'm gay myself.'" And with that, a Dublin priest received a standing ovation.


Know When to Code Them

In what is actually an incredibly difficult challenge, scientists at the University of Alberta have designed a computer program that can defeat any human in limit Texas Hold'em. Of course, they could be bluffing.


The Bottom of the News

People in Portland are bracing for the end of an era. Their airport's notorious carpet (a local celebrity that has inspired shirts, socks, and selfies) will be gone any day now.

+ 13 strange moments from the Golden Globes to get you ready for this weekend's show.

+ Howard Stern interviewing Larry David. I mean seriously Internet, what more do you want?