Thursday, March 5th, 2015


Are You For Real?

Are you really my friend? If we met online, and maintained a relationship there, is our friendship as real as the ones we form in the physical world? In New Republic, Kyle Chayka says yes: "The time has come to obliterate the false distinctions between digital ties and the ones that bind us in the physical world." For what it's worth, the NextDraft design and engineering duties have been performed by several of my friends, none of whom I've met in real life. (I have a feeling if they met me in person -- and found out that I wasn't really a single, attractive, NBA cheerleader looking for casual but intimate encounters -- they might end up charging me at their full rate.)

+ NYT Room for Debate: Real relationships in a digital world?

+ The New Yorker's Maria Konnikova on the power of touch: "The more we learn about touch, the more we realize just how central it is in all aspects of our lives -- cognitive, emotional, developmental, behavioral -- from womb into old age."


Broadcast dot Bomb

The club made up of the ultra-rich has lost all claims to exclusivity. There are now 173,000 people in the world who are worth more than $30 million.

+ Mark Cuban is convinced that this tech bubble is worse than the last one. (Try telling that to the Yahoo execs who bought his company.)


The Unforgiven

"As unforgiving as this system is to the poor black residents, it appears to be far more flexible for the officials who run it, and their friends and family." The NYT on the Justice Department's report on Ferguson: Policing, Discrimination and Raising Revenue.

+ WaPo: 12 key highlights from the DOJ's scathing Ferguson report.


Enemy Mine

"You can't have your cake and eat it too -- the U.S. strategy in Iraq has been successful so far largely because of Iran." The relationship between America and Iran is further complicated (or simplified, I'm not sure) by the fact that the two countries share a common enemy in ISIS.


So What in So Cal?

Want to avoid traffic in Los Angeles? Just head to your polling place on the day of an election. During this week's election in LA, about 8% of registered voters cast a ballot. In many major cities, the simple act of voting is enough to grant you a wildly disproportional impact on the future direction of your municipality


To Air is Divine

"There were 175 polluted days last year. That means that for half of the year, I had no choice but to keep her at home, shut in like a prisoner." A documentary on China's air quality crisis has been viewed hundreds of millions of times since it was released last weekend. From NPR: The anti-pollution documentary that's taken China by storm.

+ InFocus: Beijing's Toxic Sky.

+ During February, Earth hit CO2 levels likely not reached for about 23 million years. Congrats.


Mind, The Gap

It's time we stopped letting political correctness prevent us from finally having an open conversation about the weaker sex. As The Economist points out: "Boys are being outclassed by girls at both school and university, and the gap is widening."


Don’t Come Knocking if the Van is Balking

"A few have felt so badly for him that they've approached the van with prayers and crumpled bills, assuming he must be homeless. They wonder: Is he a runaway teen? A destitute surfer? A new-age wanderer lost on some spiritual quest? The truth is even stranger: The Van Man has a consistent 92-mile-an-hour fastball, a $2 million signing bonus, a deal with Nike and a growing fan club." ESPN with what could be the weirdest pitcher story since George Plimpton created the legend of Sidd Finch: Eli Saslow on the man in the van.



The first time you go to Benihana, it's pretty fun. Each subsequent time your kids drag you there is increasingly painful as guilt forces you into faking a smile at yet another viewing of the spatula-launched shrimp or the onion volcano. So, it's with some relief that I report on a new Benihana show. This one is playing out in the courts, but at least it's got a new twist. From Fortune: The Beni Burger and the crazy, bitter battle over Benihana.


The Bottom of the News

"Graffiti is an act of vandalism. By correcting it, we turn it into something ironic." A pair of anonymous vigilantes are fighting back against the graffiti in Ecuador, by correcting its grammar.

+ Syndicated from Kottke: Beautiful video of the Himalayas shot from a helicopter flying at up to 24,000 feet high.

+ WaPo: Decades of human waste have made Mount Everest "a fecal time bomb." (That would make a great title for a book on the first year of parenting.)

+ Scientists have figured out what makes Indian food so delicious.