Thursday, February 26th, 2015


Basket Case

Many patients suffering from cancer and other diseases have been arguing in favor of the need for speed when it comes to testing and trialling our way to effective drugs. And now, many in the medical community are listening. The NYT's Gina Kolata on the new, faster way to try many drugs. "The studies of this new method, called basket studies because they lump together different kinds of cancer, are revolutionary, much smaller than the usual studies, and without control groups."

+ A doctor in Italy says we're only two years away from being able to graft a living person's head onto a donor body. (I still have hope for decent abs.)


Badge Bunny

"She used her position to look up personnel files, identification photographs and flight schedules to pinpoint air marshals she was interested in meeting and possibly dating. 'She's a badge bunny.'" Reveal on how an investigation into a harassment claim unraveled a scandal in which federal air marshalls redefined the mile high club. "More than 60 federal employees are under scrutiny as investigators look into whether flights considered at risk of hijacking or a terrorist attack were left without marshals on board."



The brutal Islamic State killer known as Jihadi John has been unmasked. He "is Mohammed Emwazi, a Briton from a well-to-do family who grew up in West London and graduated from college with a degree in computer programming."

+ Buzzfeed: A timeline of how Mohammed Emwazi became the ISIS militant known as Jihadi John.

+ "They were Central Asian immigrants who dressed in hoodies and high-tops and looked younger than their 19 and 24 years. But prosecutors say they were headed to wage jihad in Syria." Michael Daly on the Brooklyn punks who dreamed of ISIS.


Giving Boys to Men

"When David was finished, he told him to keep quiet. John obeyed ... he had been down long enough to know that snitches suffer fates worse than rape." The Marshall Project on a boy among men. What happens when you throw a teenager into an adult prison?

+ WaPo: How a book club is helping to keep ex-offenders from going back to jail.


Breaking Out

"Then something happens. By the three hundredth game, the A.I. has stopped missing the ball." The New Yorker's Nicola Twilley on the computer program that learned how to play Breakout and other Atari games. All on its own. Artificial Intelligence Goes to the Arcade.

+ London Review of Books "We are ... on the verge of a new industrial revolution, one which will have as much impact on the world as the first one. Whole categories of work will be transformed by the power of computing, and in particular by the impact of robots." (The key is to find a job so crappy that a robot wouldn't want it.)


The Color of Money

"Hollywood is not progressing at the same rate as America is diversifying." So says Darnell Hunt, lead author of UCLA's Hollywood Diversity Report. And the lack of progress could be hurting the bottom line. From The Hollywood Reporter: Diverse casts deliver higher ratings and bigger box office.


Shifting into Neutral

"The Internet is the ultimate vehicle for free expression. The Internet is simply too important to allow broadband providers to be the ones making the rules." That was FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler as his commission voted in favor of net neutrality.


Grave Vigor

A young guy quickly earning an enormous amount of wealth (at least on paper) is hardly headline news in the Internet business. But, as Kevin Roose reports, "typically, they're not funeral industry workers from Central Pennsylvania who spend three weeks learning to game referral competitions. But there's a first time for everything." Here's the very cool story of a guy who used an insane get-rich-quick scheme to become a start-up millionaire in three weeks.


Swim Clear of Closing Doors

Sometimes, pictures are the best way to tell a story. First, take a look at the economic turmoil in Europe by way of the amazing junk stackers of Palermo. (Think you've loaded a lot of stuff into your car? Think again.) Next, CityLab shares the fantastic transformation of subway cars into artificial reefs. And finally, InFocus has the winners of the 2015 Sony World Photography Awards. Amazing.


The Bottom of the News

"You can possess up to two ounces, but you can't buy any. You can share, but you can't sell. You can grow up to six plants, but only three can be mature." Pot is now legal in D.C. We should have bipartisanship by dinner.

+ The tree planted in memory of George Harrison in Griffith Park needs to be replaced. It was destroyed. By beetles. (Many still blame Yoko.)

+ Wondering why shares of contraceptive manufacturers are surging in South Korea? The country's highest court just struck down its law that banned adultery.

+ Donald Trump says he's "more serious" than ever about running for president. Which means he's about .0001% serious.

+ "I know what you're thinking: Won't I look strange if I'm the only one in my office standing up to work? Not as strange as you'll look when you keel over dead at your computer from a lethal combination of sciatica and weak calves." Tom O'Donnell in The New Yorker: I Switched to a Standing Desk, So Now You Should, Too.