Friday, January 30th, 2015


Mother’s Little Helper

To be a helicopter parent, you need to be able to afford a helicopter. That seems to be the gist of a recent study that found money makes a much bigger difference than marital status when it comes to the practice of parenting. "This was particularly noticeable when it came to participation in extracurricular activities."

+ The income gap has created an activity gap. From Alia Wong in The Atlantic: Access to after-school programs is growing more unequal, and that's pushing disadvantaged kids further behind.

+ In the NYT, the author of a new book called The Opposite of Spoiled argues that you should tell your kids how much money you make. "It may sound improbable, but you can begin to initiate them when they're as young as 5 or 6." My kids are satisfied knowing that I make iPad money.


Time is Money

What is your time worth? That question was at the core of a Connecticut state claims commissioner's decision to award $6 million to Kenneth Ireland who spent 21 years in prison for a rape and murder that he didn't commit.

+ Vox: A record 125 people were exonerated of crimes in 2014. Here are 6 of their stories.

+ Marketplace: How big banks turn prisons into profit centers.


Weekend Reads

"Unless you tackle a problem that's already solved, which is boring, or one whose solution is clear from the beginning, mostly you are stuck. But Zhang is willing to be stuck much longer." In The New Yorker, Alec Wilkinson on a a part-time calculus teacher who recently solved a theorem that has stumped mathematicians for more than a century: The Pursuit of Beauty.

+ "Feminists were constantly asking, 'How can we clone you?' At parties, women would plop me down in front of their husbands with instructions to 'tell him what you told me.'" Times changed for William Farrell. MoJo's Mariah Blake takes you inside the Men's Rights Movement -- and the Army of Misogynists and Trolls It Spawned

+ "The video shows the boys laughing and joking between tries, horsing around, cuffing each other. Then Richard flicks the lighter a fourth time. This time, the skirt ignites. Lloyd calls to the driver to open the back door. Richard jumps off the bus. Lloyd looks back and then stops, transfixed, as Sasha's skirt erupts into a sheet of flame." From NYT Magazine's Dashka Slater: The Fire on the 57 Bus in Oakland.

+ "Who lives and who dies depends on what sort of healthcare system is available. And who recovers, if recovery is possible, depends on the way emergency care and hospitals are financed." Paul Farmer on the iniquities of healthcare funding.


Put Your Lips Together and Suck

We celebrate whistleblowers when they manage to win a case or change the system. But those outcomes are rare. According to Reveal, "in the decade wrapping up in 2014, only 439 out of more than 23,000 whistleblower complaints were found to have merit. That means only 2 percent of whistleblowers win their cases. Seniors on NCAA football teams face similar odds of being drafted by the NFL."


The Fugitive

"Before they became fugitives, they had lived under the radar for six years -- that is, if living in a Florida mansion could be considered a surreptitious lifestyle. They paid rent for the multi-million dollar Vero Beach property in cold, sweaty cash that had become damp and moldy after being buried underground." WaPo's Abby Phillip on how treasure hunter Tommy Thompson (described as one of the smartest fugitives ever) was finally caught. (I'm guessing that every screenwriter in Hollywood will reading this article along with you.)


Punt, Pass and Purr

In recent years, Super Bowl commercials have become increasingly sexual and/or violent. Following a year when the league was plagued by scandals related to domestic abuse and concussions, you can expect a course reversal. From Fortune: Expect lots of puppies, little cleavage in Super Bowl ads. (There will, however, be plenty of deflated balls jokes on Twitter.)

+ Digg's guide on how to be the smartest person at your Super Bowl party.

+ "He focuses on a different body part each workout, doing four sets of four exercises and performing between 10 to 12 repetitions of each." Is he a defensive lineman chasing the quarterback? Nope. He's a cameraman chasing the quarterback.

+ Bloomberg's Venessa Wong argues that there's no such thing as Nacho Cheese. (You've got all day Sunday to prove her wrong.)


Vitamin B(S)

Aside from the potential of wasting your money, is there a risk associated with guzzling down vitamin drinks? Is there actually a chance that too much of a good thing can be a bad thing? Maybe. From the NYT: Are Vitamin Drinks a Bad Idea?


Rap Sheet

"Looks like he drove backwards and struck the victims and drove forwards and struck them again." Suge Knight has been arrested once again. This time it's on suspicion of murder resulting from hit and run that took place near a movie set in LA.

+ The most sustainable business models I've seen lately are Apple, Amazon, and being Suge Knight's lawyer. The Daily Beast on Suge Knight's rap sheet.


I Can (re)Name That Tune

This week, Tom Petty earned royalties from Sam Smith's song Stay with Me after providing a convincing argument that Smith's hit borrows a little too liberally from his own I Won't Back Down. In Pacific Standard, J. Wesley Judd argues that the case doesn't necessarily suggest that Sam Smith and his co-writer did it on purpose. "There is, as it turns out, a known phenomenon, called cryptomnesia, where previously stored memories present themselves as original creations." (The other name for this is Twitter.)

+ Have a listen to a mashup of the two songs and see what you think.

+ Jay-Z just spent $56 million on a Spotify competitor.


The Bottom of the News

"'It scared me' remembers Renée -- she didn't want to lose the fantastic help that her mom had been offering around the house." From FastCo: Why this entrepreneur pays her own mom to babysit. (Maybe her mom should have negotiated for equity.)

+ PopSci: Three body hacks you shouldn't try at home.

+ Buzzfeed: There is now a Vine for kids. That implies that the other one is intended for grown-ups...