Friday, February 27th, 2015


Devil in a Blue Dress

This morning, in the conference rooms of mainstream news outlets across the world, frustrated editors asked their reporters one question: How did we miss the dress? But it was old news by then. More than 12 hours before those meetings, the Internet had erupted with pleasure as Buzzfeed asked us to determine whether a dress was blue and black or white and gold. That was all it took. We were hooked. Millions and millions of us joined a global conversation on the world's biggest front stoop. It was so all-encompassing that I started to feel nostalgic for the two Llamas meme that had swept the net only hours before. Digiday's Brian Morrissey summed things up: "Viral publishing is a lot like pregnancy: You can't do it halfway ... We are all Buzzfeed now.

+ Paul Ford: "What I saw, as I looked through the voluminous BuzzFeed coverage of the dress, is an organization at the peak of a craft they've been honing since 2006. They are masters of the form they pioneered." (To me, the amazing thing about Buzzfeed is that seem to have figured out how to manufacture serendipity.)

+ "What shall be annotated in history books as the dress phenomenon began on the Scottish Isle of Colonsay." WaPo with the inside story of the 'white dress, blue dress drama' that divided a planet.


Beam Him Up

Today, memes can come and go in a few hours. When many of us were kids, a meme could last an entire childhood. That's why the death of Leonard Nimoy feels so personal. In the NYT, Virginia Heffernan fits a lot into the opening sentence of Nimoy's obituary: "Leonard Nimoy, the sonorous, gaunt-faced actor who won a worshipful global following as Mr. Spock, the resolutely logical human-alien first officer of the Starship Enterprise in the television and movie juggernaut Star Trek, died on Friday morning at his home in the Bel Air section of Los Angeles." (Leonard Nimoy took Spock as seriously as we kids did. That was an incredible gift. Beam him up...)

+ "Days after it was the on the air, I was getting it on the street." Nimoy explains the Jewish origins of his vulcan gesture.

+ "A life is like a garden. Perfect moments can be had, but not preserved, except in memory." Nimoy was saying goodbye for months on Twitter

+ "I loved him like a brother." William Shatner and other celebrities say goodbye.

+ Esquire: Leonard Nimoy -- What I've Learned.


Weekend Reads

Rebecca Boyle in Aeon: "A child's brain can master anything from language to music. Can neuroscience extend that genius across the lifespan?"

+ Fistfights. Lawsuits. $1,000 Sundaes. From Emily Codik in The Washingtonian: Inside The Great Ice Cream Parlor War.

+ Roy Wenzl in The Wichita Eagle: When your father is the BTK serial killer, forgiveness is not tidy.

+ "I'd ask him, 'Why? Why do you do this? What do you want from me? Where I come from, nobody's just doing something for nothing. He couldn't give me an answer.'" From Jesse Katz in The California Sunday Magazine: Scott Budnick produced the Hangover movies. He's also one of the most effective advocates for prison reform.


Oil and Water

"People with knowledge of Netanyahu's thinking say he believes he will be able, after the election (and assuming he forms the next government), to cauterize the wounds he has opened with the Obama administration. But as Michael Oren, who served as Israel's ambassador to the United States until 2013, has noted, the U.S.-Israel relationship is now in 'uncharted waters.'" Jeffrey Goldberg with a partial accounting of the damage Netanyahu is doing to Israel.

+ The Saudis had an idea. If they let oil prices slide, could they put a big hurt on their competitors and competing energy sources? In short, yes.

+ When oil prices drop, people get a lot less interested in electric cars.



He was a former teacher, one of the most feared drug kingpins in Mexico, and a YouTube star who liked to taunt of officials. As of today, La Tuta is in jail.


It Feels So Good

In South Africa, parents have been reunited with their 17 year-old daughter who was kidnapped when she was a newborn at a Cape Town hospital. "The amazing discovery happened by chance when she became friends with her younger biological sister, when they attended the same school."


The Other SF Tech Story

Blogger Zack Crockett was disturbed "after watching onlookers film a Mission District fire on their cell phones while weeping residents fled the engulfed building." So he decided to do something about it. And last night, he handed out $165,000 to the victims of that fire.

+ Facebook will now reach out to users who their friends think are suicidal.



Have a pain in your neck? What if I told you that your pain could be eased without any medication or anyone touching you? (I know, it's mean to ask you two questions when nodding or shaking your head makes it hurt.) It's possible that virtual reality could trick your brain and give you some relief.


The Longshot

"Sexy marketing, shrinking pants, and changing shopping habits created the nation's dominant underwear." Bloomberg explains how the boxer brief got into America's pants. (Since you asked, I'm not a fan.)


The Bottom of the News

Ever wonder where your old clothes go? It's probably not where you think. I sell all of mine to hipsters for twice the price.

+ "Held a douche recently? No, not the Adam Levine kind -- the kind that claims to make you as fresh as a dewey spring morning. The kind that has been a part of some women's hygiene routines for way too long." Fusion on the rise and fall of the douche.

+ The oral history of Don't You Forget About Me.

+ I had a pretty weird call with someone at Verizon.