Thursday, March 12th, 2015


Secret Service on the Rocks

Even the Secret Service can't keep a secret anymore. According to WaPo's Carol D. Leonnig, two agents (including one senior member of the President's protective detail) followed up a night of cocktails by driving a car into White House security barricades. This story -- which comes as another blow to one of the last government agencies to engender a high level of respect from the public -- is interesting in part because we're hearing about it all. Between leaks, cameras, and social media, it's becoming increasingly difficult for even the most locked-down organizations to keep things under wraps. Maybe that explains the agency's most notable accessory. The future's so bright, you gotta wear shades.



Ferguson continues to make headlines. A day after their top cop announced his resignation, two officers were "ambushed" during a late night protest. According to witnesses, the gunfire did not come from the area where protestors were gathered. Both officers have been released from the hospital.


Not For Kids

"Syria, traditionally, was not a refugee producing country but a host country. Three years ago it changed and we never expected that to happen." The war in (and around) Syria is one of the top drivers that is turning much of the world into a bad place to be a kid. According to Fusion's report, Generation in Crisis, there are currently "one billion children are living in countries and territories affected by war or conflict."

+ ABC News: The Syrian conflict in photos.


I Drink Your Prehistoric Milkshake

"It is older than the earliest pyramids on the Nile, older than the world's oldest tree, the bristlecone pine. It was swirling down rivers and streams 15,000 to 20,000 years ago when humans were crossing the Bering Strait from Asia." That's how deep California farmers are digging to find water to get through a lengthy drought. And that means the land sinks, the aquifers shrink, and all of us could use a drink.

+ Related: We're drinking whiskey too fast.


The Blame Game

In Aeon, Judy Wajcman makes the case that tech isn't to blame for that never ending sense of being pressed for time. You are. Unless you read her article while you're supposed to be paying attention to something else, in which case, she is.

+ A slow motion look at the price of distraction at an NBA game.


One Hit Wonder

It's been weeks since Harper Collins surprised the literary world with word of the impending release of a second book by Harper Lee. Then the controversy started. And now the state of Alabama is involved. As the plot thickens, one wonders if even Atticus Finch could get to the bottom of the case of the followup to literature's unstoppable hit, To Kill a Mockingbird. Maybe they should just release it as a Tweet.

+ And in much less controversial sequel news, Disney officially announced plans for Frozen 2 at a most fitting location: Its annual shareholder meeting.


You Will Meet the Deadline

"I can't focus on finishing my story, and as the deadline approaches, that makes me more uptight and it gets even harder to write. But then I apply electrodes to my head and neck, power up a small electronic device, and shock myself. Within a few minutes I calm down. I can focus on my story. I meet the deadline." MIT Tech Review's Kevin Bullis on a startup that wants to attach electrodes to your head to improve your mood. Feelings. Whoa!! Whoa!! Whoa!! Feelings.

+ The idea has promise. It's worked before.


Powder Keg

"Just a short time ago, I was taken hostage in a small Mozambique village. Now I'm speeding through the bush in a pick-up truck driven by the boss of a criminal gang, his underlings hooting and hollering in the back. They are going to 'finish' me, they had told me earlier, and I am convinced that they will stop at the next clearing and beat me to death like a dog." Bartholomäus Grill on the risks of trying to get the scoop on rhino poachers who are drawn in by the big money Rhino-horn powder market (in some places, it's considered a miracle drug).

+ The age of powered alcohol has arrived.


Hue Dunnit?

Salmon have that reddish color thanks to a diet of "krill and shrimp, which contain a reddish-orange compound called astaxanthin." Farmed salmon don't have the same eating habits. So how do they get red, and who decides on the particular hue? The farmer, that's who.

+ Food courts are out. Foodie courts are in.


The Bottom of the News

Crime is incredibly common in South Africa. But even the locals were a bit shocked when a well known TV journalist got mugged, while he was on camera.

+ In Finland, you can get a $103,000 speeding ticket. (Why does that sound like a dare?)

+ How do you steal more than a thousand dairy cows? Apparently, you need to do it very slowly. I'm hoping that, in the end, the thieves will be foiled by a lactose intolerance.

+ And further proof that the Internet is the gift that just keeps giving, here's Howard Stern interviewing Madonna.