March 23rd – The Day’s Most Fascinating News

Always One More Thing

It’s hard to read the near-constant debate over a watch that hasn’t yet been released without concluding that our obsession with devices will be to the human race what many scientists argue a giant asteroid was to the dinosaurs. That said, the potential success of the smart watch isn’t even the most controversial subject being contested when it comes to Apple. That would be the legacy of Steve Jobs. In Backchannel, Steven Levy takes a look at the war over who Steve Jobs was.


Shaken Diagnosis

“To me, she is a monster … She’s the woman who abused my son, who repeatedly beat him on the back of the head with something to the point where his brain swelled and died.” That was how one grieving mother described the person who ran the day care where she believes her son was the victim of Shaken Baby Syndrome. A jury agreed. That’s common in these cases. But now the diagnosis — not just in this case, but in all cases — has been called into question. WaPo’s Debbie Cenziper provides an exhaustive report on the disputed diagnosis that has imprisoned many caregivers, and many parents.


I Am Not a Schnook

“Wasn’t it possible that Netanyahu, whose political biography was steeped in the intransigent nationalism of the Revisionist movement, was just the right politician to make a lasting peace with the Palestinians?” In a word: Uggh. The New Yorker’s David Remnick on Israel’s election and how Netanyahu became Nixon. (And not even the right Nixon.)


Blame Canada

Maybe being first to market is overrated. Ted Cruz just became the first major 2016 presidential contender. Cruz is a controversial Senator most well-known nationally for a 21-hour filibuster against Obamacare, during which he read Green Eggs and Ham. Here are five things you need to know about Ted Cruz.

+ Cruz was born in Canada. So how can he be eligible for president? (I’ve been writing-in Justin Bieber for years.)


The Start-Up Founder

“Among a number of 20th-century luminaries asked by the Wall Street Journal in 1999 to pick the most influential invention of the millennium, he alone shunned the printing press, electricity, the internal combustion engine and the internet and chose the air-conditioner. He explained that, before air-con, people living in the tropics were at a disadvantage because the heat and humidity damaged the quality of their work.” Here’s The Economist’s obituary of Lee Kuan Yew, the founder of Singapore.

+ Lee Kuan Yew was at helm of the one of the most astonishing economic records of the last century.


Maybe The Shadow Doesn’t Know

“A study by the University of California, Los Angeles, has found that American kids spend 90 percent of their leisure time at home, often in front of the TV or playing video games. Even when kids are physically active, they are watched closely by adults, either in school, at home, at afternoon activities or in the car, shuttling them from place to place.” In the NYT, Clemens Wergin makes the case for free range parenting. After reading this, I realize I live the stereotypical overparenting life. After school today, I will pick up my son, give him a snack, drive him to his baseball game, and give him visual signals and verbal support as the team’s the third base coach. When he gets a hit and crosses first base, I’m sometimes surprised he doesn’t just keep on running.


The Knows Have It

“In terms of evolution, it’s unclear whether this is a facility that we’ve evolved, or if this turns out to be the problem that evolution hasn’t successfully tackled yet.” A Cornell professor reflects on overconfidence and our predisposition to be ready to talk knowingly about things we can’t possibly know anything about. (As a newsletter writer, I’m going to have to recuse myself from this debate.)


Blues Clues

Because there’s been a series of famous musicians who died young, there’s a perception that going into the music business is a risky career choice. University of Sydney’s Dianna Theadora Kenny has been studying that topic for some time. In this piece, she examines how genre affects popular musicians’ life expectancy. (Spoiler alert: If you’re singing the blues, you might want to stop complaining.)


Why You’re a Top

In Vice, the excellent Edith Young uses her background in photography and art history to help explain one of digital life’s little mysteries. Why are all those Instagram food photos shot from above? (I tried to shoot mine from below, but the table kept getting in the way.)


The Bottom of the News

Here’s a stat for you: Americans spend more money on NCAA Tournament betting than on presidential elections. By a lot. (In fairness, at least the bettors have some chance at getting a satisfying return.)

+ Starbucks has stopped writing Race Together on the side of cups. They should replace it with: “Can’t all of us who can afford 4 dollar coffee just get along?”

+ Only two weeks until Mad Men’s final season starts. Let’s get warmed up the only way we know how. With a Buzzfeed list.

+ Jack White has been playing Led Zeppelin’s The Lemon Song on his latest tour. So Robert Plant joined him.

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