Thursday, March 26th, 2015



I spend as much time reading news stories as almost anyone. But when the NYT broke this news suggesting the co-pilot of the Germanwings deliberately crashed the plane, it took my breath away: "A senior French military official involved in the investigation described a 'very smooth, very cool' conversation between the pilots during the early part of the flight ... Then the audio indicated that one of the pilots left the cockpit and could not re-enter. 'The guy outside is knocking lightly on the door, and there is no answer ... And then he hits the door stronger, and no answer. There is never an answer. You can hear he is trying to smash the door down."

+ Flight 4U 9525: What happened in the final 30 minutes.

+ Buzzfeed: What do we know about co-pilot Andreas Lubitz.

+ Wired: It's remarkably easy to lock a pilot out of the cockpit.

+ NPR: Pilots downing their planes is unusual, but not unprecedented.

+ BBC: Germanwings crash latest updates.


Castles Made of Sand

"The 'mafia,' as people called them, had for years been robbing the village of a coveted natural resource, one of the most sought-after commodities of the 21st century." Wired's Vince Beiser with a very interesting look at the deadly global war for sand.


No Country for Yemen

The regional strife in the Middle East, and America's war on terror, is getting even more complicated as Saudi Arabia and its allies opened an air campaign to push back Yemen rebels. Ground troops are expected to follow. Here's WaPo's Ishaan Tharoor with an explanation of what the bombing of Yemen means for the Middle East.

+ Bloomberg: "Escalating chaos in Yemen threatens the Obama administration's ability to combat the al-Qaeda affiliate that's most intent on attacking the U.S. and its allies."



According to a new report released by the Justice Department, DEA agents in Colombia had "sex parties" with prostitutes provided by local drug cartels while Colombian police officers guarded their weapons and other property. (Other than that, the war on drugs is going really well.)

+ Reveal has a follow-up to their investigative report on the Air Marshall service where former and current officers "describe a 'wheels-up, rings-off' culture rife with adultery, prostitution and other misconduct."


Home Alone

Welcome to the future. You work non-stop in your house while everything you need is delivered to you via Internet companies that employ the last few workers who actually have to leave their homes (at least until they're replaced by a robot in the backseat of self-driving Uber). Matter's Lauren Smiley on The Shut-In Economy.


Hoosier Acts Like a Total Hoser

Indiana Governor Mike Pence signed a so-called religious freedom bill that "could allow business owners to refuse services to same-sex couples." Pathetic.

+ In California, almost any measure can get on the ballot if supporters can collect enough signatures. That reality is making it difficult for state lawmakers to prevent the consideration of an absurd ballot initative that "would authorize the killing of gays and lesbians by 'bullets to the head' -- or by 'any other convenient method.'"


Life Lessons

"Here's what they learn: gratitude; generosity; self-awareness; adaptability ... In lieu of a final exam -- the class is pass/fail -- students present three radically different five-year plans to their peers." FastCo on Stanford's most popular class: Designing Your Life.


The Human Show

Twitter just officially launched its latest app, Periscope. Like Meerkat (the app that swept through the early-adopter crowd last week), Periscope enables users to live stream video from their smartphones. I just downloaded the app and later today, I plan to live stream a stranger reading The Circle without their knowledge.


Darwinning Em Over?

"The student then made it known that everything I was teaching was a lie and stomped out of the auditorium, slamming the door behind him. A few years later during the same lecture, another student also shouted out from the back row that I was lying." James J. Krupa explains what it's like to teach evolution at the University of Kentucky (and why it's so important).


The Bottom of the News

Telemarketers, junk mail, credit card offers ... the list goes on. Vox has put together a simple list of ways you can opt out of everything. (Except headlines that over-promise...)

+ Syndicated from Kottke: Feminist Ben & Jerry's flavors -- From Amanda McCall, a selection of Ben & Jerry's flavors featuring women.

+ Willie Nelson is launching his own brand of weed. (It's called Willie's Reserve, but he's branded himself so well over the years, he could have probably just called it weed and people would get the association.)