Wednesday, April 1st, 2015


Sleeping Single in Double Bed

The Internet has become a pretty good place to avoid isolation. But it's not as good when it comes to avoiding loneliness."Proximity, as city dwellers know, does not necessarily mean intimacy. Access to other people is not by itself enough to dispel the gloom of internal isolation. Loneliness can be most acute in a crowd." The Guardian's Olivia Laing provides a very interesting look at the future of loneliness and the search for real intimacy amid shifting identities and permanent surveillance. (Sometimes I feel like my avatar is the only one who really understands me.)

+ For many new companies, the goal is to make every purchase a social experience. As Buzzfeed's Kayleen Schaefer explains, even a purchase as mundane as a mattress must be transformed "into a quirky, shareable adventure ... It's no longer enough for an object to be functional; it has to make you giggle, or at least smirk -- at which point, these brands and their investors hope, you'll tweet about the experience. Or Vine it. Or post your new purchase to Instagram -- all of which gives an odd intimacy to things that used to be chores." Great, now I feel lonely and alienated.



These days, the only thing streaming in California is media. So for the first time in the state's history, Governor Jerry Brown is implementing mandatory water restrictions.


Backlash to the Future

"Was I expecting this kind of backlash? Heavens no." That was Indiana Governor Mike Pence reflecting on the uproar over his state's religious freedom law. And maybe we should take him at his word. The (justified) anger about these kinds of laws reflects a dramatic and rapid shift in public opinion when it comes to gay rights.

+ Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson sent back a similar bill and asked state lawmakers to tweak the wording. "This is a bill that in ordinary times would not be controversial. But these are not ordinary times." Nope, these are extraordinary times.

+ Meanwhile, Crystal O'Connor, owner of Indiana's Memories Pizza, is standing firm: "If a gay couple came in and wanted us to provide pizzas for their wedding, we would have to say no." (Something tells me that principle will never be put to the test.)


To Know Thyselfie

This is supposed to be the information age. So why do we still have almost no data when it comes to our own health? Steven Keating has "pushed and prodded to get his medical information, collecting an estimated 70 gigabytes of his own patient data by now." And it's a good thing he did. His personal sleuthing helped doctors realize they needed to remove a "cancerous tumor the size of a tennis ball from his brain." But Keating's data collection practices are the exception. Most of us have nothing in the way of medical records as we're pushed through a medical system where complete strangers often know more about our condition that we do. Here's the NYT's Steven Lohr on the healing power of your own medical records.



Workers "jumped into the sea out of desperation and panic" during a Mexico oil rig fire that killed four and injured 16. And there's no word on how much oil spilled.


Hitting the Sippy Cup

Researchers at Brown surveyed a bunch of middle schoolers and found that the ones who were allowed to sip alcohol before the sixth grade were more likely to drink, and get drunk, by the time they began high school."


Laughs on Track

"There has never been a better time to be a comedian." That's a bold statement to those of us who came of age when comedy clubs were packed. But Jesse David Fox says the Internet and a new generation of superfans helped create the second comedy boom. (I'm assuming the first comedy boom was the whoopee cushion.)


Sidd Finch Takes the Mound

It's April 1, and the Internet is doling out its usual array of pranks. But there will never be anything that beats George Plimpton's epic Sports Illustrated piece: The Curious Case of Sidd Finch.

+ The Finch legend was created back when we all took a little more time to put together such things. Grantland has a short 30 for 30 video on the people who got together to make the hoax possible.

+ Buzzfeed's guide to the best pranks on the Internet today.

+ Vox: 5 April Fools' Day pranks that backfired disastrously.


Getting the JLowdown

"The men consistently preferred silhouettes with the 45-degree angle curve, regardless of their buttock size." The Atlantic's Olga Khazan on the study that collected data (one assumes big data) in an effort to answer the question of our time: How Did the Gluteus Become Maximus?


The Bottom of the News

"This really weird thing happened to me. Then it got even weirder. Then it turned insane. Do I have a story for you." Matt Stopera: I Followed My Stolen iPhone Across The World, Became A Celebrity In China, And Found A Friend For Life.

+ CityLab: The universal pleasures of 7PM.

+ MoJo: Why leftover pasta might be healthier than fresh.