Thursday, January 22nd, 2015


Let’s Not Do Lunch

The food is fresh. Natural. Locally sourced. Sometimes even organic. That might sound like your local farmer's market, but it's actually part of a new and growing movement in the fast-food industry. Think Shake Shack, Chipotle, Panera. While we're not exactly seeing tractors in the drive-thrus, the rise of these chains (and the pressure on their predecessors that placed a lot more emphasis on the fast than the food) tell us a lot about economic inequality, the modern workday, and fries. From The New Yorker's James Surowiecki: The Shake Shack Economy.

+ McDonald's reveals the potatoes (and many other ingredients) that go into its french fries.

+ The rise of healthier fast-food options has mirrored a significant shift in how people in middle to high income jobs choose to do lunch. From the NYT: Power lunches are out. Crumbs in the keyboard are in.


Mr. Popularity

I was recently at a conference with people from a variety of fields. Of all the sessions I attended, the one on cyber-security was by far the most crowded. That will come as no surprise to cyber-security guru Eugene Kaspersky and his colleagues who have become the most sought after people at Davos. Welcome to the year executives got serious about security. We used to chase the engineers who could build the next great product. Now we chase the engineers who can protect what we've already got.



Following threats and ransom demands from ISIS, the Japanese government is insisting it will not cave in to terrorism. And even if they had another policy, so far, they have no way of contacting the terror group.

+ According to John Kerry, U.S. airstrikes have killed half of ISIS' leaders.


You’re Gonna Need a Bigger Drone

"In a plea deal, I received a sentence of 2½ years. After leaving prison, I soon got a job as a reporter at a local newspaper. Then Cornell allowed me to start taking classes again, and I graduated last month. What made my quick rebound possible? I am white." Keri Blakinger in WaPo: Heroin addiction sent me to prison. White privilege got me out.

+ LA Times: A drone loaded with meth crashed near the Mexico-California border.

+ BoingBoing: Why animals eat psychoactive plants. (Hint: humans are animals...)


Silk Road Scholar

"If alleged Silk Road mastermind Ross Ulbricht had awoken on October 1, 2013 and decided to toss his laptop into the San Francisco Bay, he might still be a free man today." In Vice, Samuel Oakford explains that a lot of the evidence that the government is using against Ulbricht was found in a diary and a series of notes and screenshots that he kept on his computer. (If he's like the rest of us, they were probably all contained in a folder called evidence.)

+ Michael Daly: Silk Road mom learns the sad truth about her son.


Eye Phone

"If I could magically turn the debugger on, we'd see photons bouncing throughout this world. Eventually they hit the back of your eyes, and through that, you reason about what the world is. You essentially hallucinate the world, or you see what your mind wants you to see." Wired's Jessi Hempel gets a first look at the product that could remake Microsoft: Project HoloLens.

+ And here's Hempel's related cover story: Satya Nadella's got a plan to make you care about Microsoft.

+ Twitter has a new feature called "while you were away" that will provide a recap of tweets you missed while you were away from your screen. (Life should launch a "while you were away" feature to update you on what you missed while you were on Twitter.)


Too Close to the Truth?

On his last day alive, Argentinian prosecutor Alberto Nisman said, "I might get out of this dead." The next day, the lawyer who had spent the last decade investigating the 1994 suicide bombing of a Jewish center that killed 85 people (and who said he had made connections between the attack and top Iranian officials), was found dead in his apartment. It was called a suicide, but now even the country's president is admitting that probably wasn't the case. Here's more background on the story from the NYT"s Jonathan Gilbert and Simon Romero: Puzzling Death of a Prosecutor Grips Argentina.


There Are No Shortcuts in Life

"I know a shortcut." That phrase used to mean something. The person in your passenger seat knew you were a local or had done your research or had a navigational sense unique to good drivers. Now, it just means you have an app. That's a bit sad for those who knew the shortcuts before technology did. It's really sad for the people who live in residential areas now being overwhelmed by traffic.

+ Oh, and the sound your big, tough engine is making is probably fake.


The Other Deflated Balls Story

"Mike indelibly linked his entire persona, his soul, to this brand's image. He even tried to make himself look like his customers. He used to run around in ripped jeans and a T-shirt. He had plastic surgery. For him to change the brand would have taken the greatest psychologist in the world." Businessweek's cover story on the aging of Abercrombie & Fitch. (I'm sticking with my strategy of staying young by dressing like a child.)


The Bottom of the News

"History books may soon be updated with the most recent (and possibly the greatest) chapter in the stick's continuing relationship with humankind. That humble tool now enables us to lift our phones and cameras aloft, to take better photos of our surroundings...and ourselves. Behold, the selfie stick." (It's time to admit that the selfie stick is really a tool to enable people over 40 to hold their phones far enough away to read the words.)

+ Grantland presents a short 30 for 30 documentary on the interesting origins of Gatorade.

+ Wired: Brain Drinks Might Make You Less Smart. Either that, or the product category invites the less smart to self-select.

+ Vinyl is making a comeback. Well, sort of. Here's a chart that shows what that "comeback" really looks like.