January 15th – The Day’s Most Fascinating News

The Stress Test

Relax, you’re not stressed. You’re not sleeping. You’re twitchy. You can’t interact with humans. You’re never offline. You can’t focus. You and your kids scream at each other about iPad time. You use apps the same way Elvis used prescription drugs. You’re under surveillance. You’re sharing secrets. Your identity has been stolen. You suffer simultaneously from FOMO (fear of missing out) and FOBIA (fear of being invited again). You never really leave work. You obsess over your social networking stats and have deep concerns about the development of your personal brand. You downloaded several productivity apps to be more efficient when selecting your next productivity app. You take a series of mindfullness, meditation, and yoga classes all of which share the common goal of reminding you to breathe. You feel something vibrating on your thigh even when your phone is not in your pocket. But you’re not stressed. The NYT Upshot on the latest Pew survey which proves it once and for all: Technology has made life different, but not necessarily more stressful. Isn’t that a relief?


To Asme with Love and Squalor

OK, we can admit that the red carpet arrivals aren’t going to be quite as spectacular, but the big award nominations of the day were given to those pieces named national magazine award finalists by The American Society of Magazine Editors (ASME). Your reading queue runneth over.


Papal Said Knock You Out

In an exchange with reporters, the Pope said that freedom of speech should not impose on freedom of religion. “You can’t provoke, you can’t insult the faith of others, you can’t make fun of faith … You can’t make a toy out of the religions of others … These people provoke and then (something can happen). In freedom of expression there are limits.” He also implied it would be a mistake to say something about about his mama.


Let Them Take Uber

“The world is actually even safer than when I was a child, and I just want to give them the same freedom and independence that I had — basically an old-fashioned childhood. I think it’s absolutely critical for their development — to learn responsibility, to experience the world, to gain confidence and competency.” From WaPo: Parents investigated for neglect after letting kids walk home alone. The oldest kid was ten.


Boyhood to Birdman

The Oscar nominees have been announced. Clint Eastwood’s American Sniper, which had been left off of some other lists, joined Boyhood and Birdman among the this year’s top prospects. Here’s a full list of all the nominees.

+ All the spray tan in the world can’t change the fact that the Oscars haven’t been this white in 19 Years. And NPR explains that it’s a good year to be an idiosyncratic man.

+ Buzzfeed has the 17 biggest surprises, and The Wrap features the 19 biggest snubs and surprises. Consider this: Steve James’ documentary on Roger Ebert, Life Itself, was considered the frontrunner in the category. But James probably wasn’t surprised by the lack of a nomination. Two decades ago, Oscar voters failed to nominate another one of his docs: Hoop Dreams.

+ Speaking of snubs, The Lego Movie director was left to make his own trophy, out of Lego.

+ For many of us, the Oscar nominations read more like a to-do list. So here are the 2015 Oscar-nominated movies you can watch from home.


There’s Equity in Them Thar Hills

“One of the greatest evils which has ever overtaken the city of San Francisco — the greatest because the parent of many other evils — has been the overvaluation of property.” That’s an opinion that wouldn’t surprise many in today’s San Francisco. But it was written in 1855. Welcome back to the gold rush.


A Pound of Fantasy

It’s already hard to communicate with a loved one who you’ve lost to the seemingly never-ending schedule of televised sports. But it’s going to be hopeless once they figure out a way to make money off of their habit. From Businessweek: How fake sports are turning man cave dwellers into millionaires.


You Need Them On That Wall

“I hope it inspires people to find their own Dawn Wall, if you will. We’ve been working on this thing a long time, slowly and surely. I think everyone has their own secret Dawn Wall to complete one day, and maybe they can put this project in their own context.” The two climbers who used only their hands and feet to climb up El Capitan reflect on the experience of pursuing the impossible. (Next, they plan to attempt to scale the side of an iPhone 6 Plus.)

+ If you’re not the climbing type, you can always get your adventure by way of the elevator.


A (Good) Apple a Day

“If we’re going up against potato chips and candy bars, we can’t have every third apple not tasting the way it should.” From The New Yorker’s Nicola Twilley: Can a laser judge your apple’s ripeness? (Even if it can, I’m not sure you want to go up against potato chips.)
WSJ: The FDA has a approved a “pacemaker for the stomach.”


The Bottom of the News

As if it’s not bad enough that other people can give you their coughs and colds, it may turn out that shivers are contagious.

+ According to US Magazine, Bethenny Frankel is planning to launch Skinnygirl Marijuana, a strain of pot that won’t cause the munchies. (This seems unnecessary. Reality TV makes me lose my appetite even if I’m high…)

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