Friday, March 6th, 2015


Let’s Make a Baby

Making babies is still a reasonably straight forward proposition. But science could soon be thrusting us into a new reality. Researchers are making advances that could enable us to essentially edit cells. That would theoretically make it possible to pull out horrible disease genes and penetrate into the embryo and insert good ones that could lengthen and smooth the average lifespan. As Antonio Regalado explains: "That's the promise. The fear is that germ line engineering is a path toward a dystopia of super people and designer babies for those who can afford it. Want a child with blue eyes and blond hair? Why not design a highly intelligent group of people who could be tomorrow's leaders and scientists?" From MIT Technology Review: Engineering the Perfect Baby.


Indiana’s Stones

Harrison Ford crashed his World War II-era plane into a golf course after his engine gave out. While he suffered what fire department officials called "moderate" injuries, he managed to somehow walk away from the wreckage, which left everyone on the Internet humming the Raiders of the Lost Ark theme. (I bet when the plane was going down towards the course, he said something cool like, "Mind if I play through?") The last time Harrison Ford was injured this seriously was when he broke his leg "in an accident involving the door of the ... famed Millennium Falcon spaceship."


Weekend Reads

"Some argue for the flashy and obvious, such as the DMC-12's gull-wing doors and rust proof stainless steel body. But other innovations attributed to DeLorean include the lane-change turn signal, the recessed windshield wiper, and a list of inventions and patents ranging from 3 to 200, depending on who you ask." In the age of the Tesla, Longreads shares Suzanne Snider's look back at the rise and fall of John DeLorean.

+ "Now that most of the major figures are dead, the truth is emerging about the systematic sexual abuse of children by members of the British government." Nico Hines in The Daily Beast: How Thatcher's government covered up a VIP crime ring.

+ "Slowness rage is not confined to the sidewalk, of course. Slow drivers, slow Internet, slow grocery lines -- they all drive us crazy. Even the opening of this article may be going on a little too long for you." Chelsea Wald in Nautilus on Why Your Brain Hates Slowpokes.

+ Aeon's Carlin Flora on How Luck Works.



Selma isn't "so much a place of imagination and triumph as a poor Alabama city where more than 40 percent of the population lives in poverty and the unemployment rate is twice the state average. It was a place still struggling to overcome the racial divisions that have in many ways defined it for generations." WaPo's Greg Jaffe and Juliet Eilperin report from Selma where dignitaries will gather this weekend to mark the fiftieth anniversary of the town's bloody Sunday march.


The Snow Job

"Among the 19 cities that have hosted the winter Olympics -- including Calgary, Chamonix, Nagano, and Oslo -- the average February temperature is up to 46 degrees, up from 32 in the 1920s. These days, everyone is making snow. And among them, Heavenly's system is known to be one of the most expensive and sophisticated. If they can't save their season, no one can." Conditions in Tahoe and other skiing regions are so bad that even the big money players are having trouble making enough snow and dough to stay open. Bloomberg takes you inside the high-tech fight to save California skiing.

+ Barren gravel doesn't make for a very good Iditarod.

+ The mysterious (and cool) science of icicles.


Memory Device

"In the first debriefing, she remembered the incident as a fistfight between her and another girl. In the second, she remembered having thrown a small rock at her adversary after the girl uttered a slur. By the third debriefing, the rock had grown to the size of her fist and she had hurled it at the girl's face." The New Yorker's Douglas Starr on studies that explain how you can remember a crime you didn't commit.


Undercover Songs

"Welcome to the world of soundalikes. They're remakes -- 'cover songs' in the parlance of the music business -- except they're not interpretations or creative variations of the original, but carbon copies." Cuepoint's Shawn Setaro provides a very interesting look (and listen) into the two-faced business of soundalike recordings.

+ Vox: The eight biggest names in pop music you've never heard.


The Old College Trial

"Given that you are a Jewish student and very active in the Jewish community, how do you see yourself being able to maintain an unbiased view?" The question above was asked at a UCLA student council meeting.


Winning Streaker

"What's you first question?" ... "I don't have a first question. What's your first answer?" A classic start to Errol Morris's documentary on the world's most famous streaker. It's part of Errol Morris Week at Grantland, which includes a series of docs that are about to make your weekend.


The Bottom of the News

Lawyers for Daryl Hall and John Oates are suing a small company called Early Bird Foods & Co over their granola that they call Haulin' Oats. Seems to me the cereal name is more of an homage than an infringement. If anything, the granola guys should sue the band for Your Kiss is on My List.

+ "I'm not sure what happened to the third dog, but I think it fell into some lava. There was, again, the single yelp, followed by a sizzle. No more dog." Charlie Huenemann wonders how you should feel when your Minecraft dog gets killed.

+ If your cats don't like human music, play them this instead. (Because you haven't already altered enough of your life to please them.)

+ BBC: The man who mailed himself to Australia.