January 14th – The Day’s Most Fascinating News

The Free Speech Gag

A fews days after hosting one of the world’s most inspirational free-speech rallies, France has arrested a ‘comedian’ for, well, speech. As far as I can tell, Dieudonné M’bala M’bala is a repellant, offensive, anti-semitic jerk. But if speech is free, shouldn’t his be included? As many free societies have learned, the answers to questions like that are complicated, especially in the immediate aftermath of hate-fueled terrorism

+ France arrests 54 for defending terror.

+ WaPo: French Muslims feel deeply torn by viral ‘I am Charlie’ slogan

+ LA Times: Al Qaeda in Yemen claims responsibility for the attack.

+ Center for Investigative Reporting: Could the Paris terrorist attack have happened at The Onion?


Where Else?

Faced with competition from communication tools like Slack, Facebook is now rolling out a new app called Facebook at Work. (There’s already a product that serves as a Facebook used all day by people at work. It’s called Facebook.)

+ Maybe MySpace needs to launch a work app too. Did you know that the site still reaches more than 50 million people a month. (Face it, you’ll look at almost anything to keep from looking up from this screen.)


Crying and Lurching

“I want to tell you that a headache made me overdose on pain medication once, and all I remember was lurching up my lunch at the student health clinic in Carbondale, Illinois, and a beautiful nurse patting my back because I was crying at the same time, crying and lurching, crying and lurching, because the pain didn’t go away, the one in my head, the one pulsating like a heart about to explode. I want to tell you that I know someone who had a headache and the only way he got rid of it was he shot himself. I want to tell you that I’ve thought about shooting myself.” From Longreads: A Meditation on Pain.


Having a Cow

Let’s take a moment and mourn the passing of one of the all time greats. He will be missed by industry journalists who referred to him as “a dream bull.” He will be missed by the keepers of the official record book who painstakingly tracked his progress as he set a new mark for semen production. And he will be missed by his offspring. All half-a-million of them. From the WSJ: Farmers say goodbye to the bull who sired 500,000 offspring.

+ “There were 12 2-year-olds. It’s one of those things that feels incredibly bizarre for half an hour. Then it feels totally normal.” The Hollywood Reporter on the ever-changing composition of the modern family: 23 Hollywood Moms With Same Sperm Donor Go On Vacation. (I find it logistically impossible to get my two kids to their school bus stop on time.)

+ The Economist takes a crack at explaining how marriage makes a people healthier.

+ Apparently, the key to a happy marriage is having a big, cheap wedding.

+ Nascar’s Kurt Busch testified that his ex-girlfriend is an assassin: “Everybody on the outside can tell me I’m crazy, but I lived on the inside and saw it firsthand.” (Sounds like a pretty typical relationship.)


Who Left the Radio On?

Traditional radio could be on the way out. But it’s definitely taking the long way. From Quartz: Streaming hasn’t killed the radio star.

+ Gizmodo: Don’t buy what Neil Young is selling. And Stereogum: Overpay for all your favorite classic rock records at the Pono store. I’m at the tail-end of a pretty severe audio-related midlife crisis (related: Anyone want to buy some vinyl?) and I’m convinced that the return to Vinyl and the quest for audio excellence has less to do with sound quality and more to do with nostalgia for what listening to music used to be — an often communal activity that required focus and was more than just a soundtrack for whatever else you happened to be doing at the moment.


Canary in a Cage Free

“What kind of farm do you imagine when you think of organic or cage-free eggs? Images of hens frolicking in lush meadows?” MoJo’s Tom Philpott| explains that the reality is a bird of another feather.

+ Outside: Does your down puffy have a brutal backstory?


The Insider

“It’s been more than eight years since I took a train, or rode a Vespa, took a stroll or went out for a beer. Everything is scheduled to the minute; nothing is left to chance.” Author Roberto Saviano exposed many secrets of the Naples mafia. And now he describes his life under armed guard.


Capitan Oh Capitan

Two climbers are nearing the end of a several-week effort to reach the top of El Capitan, in what has been described the hardest rock climb in the world. Here’s the latest from the NYT. You can also follow reporter John Branch on Twitter. And if you get this in time, you can also watch it live.

+ (Somewhat) related: GoPro’s stock took a hit after Apple was given a patent for a remote control camera system. (Now I don’t feel so silly about having this Macbook Air strapped to my head.)



News from the Virginia General Assembly: “Morrissey, who is serving a six-month term following his midemeanor conviction of contributing to the delinquency of a minor, dismayed many of his colleagues in the state legislature by winning reelection Tuesday night.”


The Bottom of the News

“His buttocks caused ‘serious, disabling and permanent injuries,’ according to her 2007 lawsuit.” Rick Springfield was back in court facing charges that his butt caused injuries during a concert. This case has been in and out of court for more than a decade. I bet Springfield wishes that he had Jesse’s lawyer.

+ “Welcome,’ he said, ‘to the NASA of Colombia.'” Vice takes you inside the world’s most advanced coffee laboratory. (That’s how I describe my stomach lining.)

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