Thursday, February 5th, 2015


Hollywood Shuffle

Amy Pascal has stepped down as the co-head of Sony Pictures Entertainment in a move that is particularly unsurprising, even in a town known for predictable plot twists. Pascal's embarrassing emails were among the lowlights of the Sony hack heard 'round the world. Those emails made extending Pascal's tenure impossible. They also serve as a metaphor for our modern times when private emails can become public disturbances. I examined this topic in a recent article on the coming age of self-censorship. I Will Not Post This.

+ Bloomberg: Investigators see signs of Chinese hackers in the recent breach of Anthem. Data connected to as many as 80 million people may have been exposed.

+ "I think of the cloud as a drunken copier machine." The next big thing in corporate communication could be the delete button.


Toga, Toga … Yoga

A recent survey out of UCLA uncovered some interesting trends among incoming students. In brief, they party a lot less and worry a lot more than their predecessors.


Islamic State of Emergency

A United Nations watchdog group issued a disturbing report on the latest abuses from groups associated with the Islamic State. "Islamic State militants are selling abducted Iraqi children at markets as sex slaves, and killing other youth, including by crucifixion or burying them alive." They're also using them as suicide bombers.

+ Jordan carried out airstrikes against ISIS two days after the release of a video showing a Jordanian pilot being burned to death.

+ PBS Newshour: What does Jordan's anger mean for the fight against Islamic State?


A New Mourning

"Somebody I didn't know died last week." In The Guardian, Nicky Woolf asks a question that will likely confront of all us: How do you grieve when you lose an internet friend?

+ How real are Facebook friendships? The Atlantic's Jacoba Urist has the story of an artist who tried to answer that question by tracking down and photographing every one of her social-media connections. (And you thought Pokes were too personal...)


Sometimes You Feel Like a Nut

"A left-right alliance between health nuts and wingnuts will almost certainly save the day for the herbalists." Jonathan Alter in The Daily Beast: Anti-Vaxxers are as American as apple pie. (I assume he means gluten-free apple pie...)

+ Earlier this week, we got another dose of evidence suggesting that supplements can't be trusted. But sales of supplements are going through the roof.

+ NatGeo: Why do many reasonable people doubt science?

+ The New Yorker: How do we talk to vaccine resistors? (Preferably in a calm manner, and at a distance.)


This Decathlon Goes to Eleven

"He simply is a real-life version of the American dream, fairly bursting with honest vitality, infectious health and cheerful good humor. Is it his fault that he's direct, self-assured, sincere? The type of person we'd all like to be when we grow up?" That was how WaPo described Bruce Jenner back in 1977. Today, Jenner is once again emblematic of a reality TV and social media-fueled version of the American dream. And for better or worse, his story is about to get bigger than ever. Emily Yahr with a very interesting refresher on the forgotten history of Bruce Jenner.


Making History

"I spent much of the weekend thinking I'd gone crazy. I feel terrible about making this mistake." NBC's Brian Williams recants his story about being on a helicopter that was shot down by an RPG in Iraq in 2003. Maybe people should go easy on Williams. Every story about Iraq turned out to be false.


Portrait of An Artist As Broke

"Renovate that bromide making ends meet and you might be nearer the mark: Members of the creative class are meeting their ends. What does it mean when the middle-class makers of art are relegated to a socioeconomic purgatory?" TNR's William Giraldi wonders whether it's still possible to survive as an artist in America.


The Glass is Half Full of It

"It was the must-have toy that was going to set the gold standard for a new class of wearable computers." The NYT's Nick Bilton attempts to explain why Google Glass broke.


The Bottom of the News

"People endowed Lorne with all this power. People wanted his approval in a personal way, but you literally needed his approval to get airtime -- and many people lost their minds in pursuit of it." In The Hollywood Reporter, Bill Carter shares some reflections on covering SNL and Lorne Michaels for forty years.

+ 50 Shades of Grey pre-sale tickets are selling fastest in the South. (I imagine they're not selling all that well here in San Francisco. I usually see 75-80 shades of grey before lunch.)

+ WaPo on a barber who will publicly shame your misbehaving kid with an old man's haircut. (I think you're better off waiting on nature.)