April 16th – The Day’s Most Fascinating News

Planet of the Vapes

Technological advances outpace legal frameworks. We’ve seen that over and over in the Internet business. And the same thing seems to be happening when it comes to e-cigarettes. Tobacco use is up among teenagers, and the e-cigarrette market has exploded. And as the NYT’s Sabrina Tavernise explains, “many experts worry that habits are forming far faster than rules are being written. Because e-cigarettes are so new, little is known about their long-term health effects.”


Unreasonable Demands

From Fusion: Meet the lawyer taking on Uber and the rest of the on-demand economy. “Here’s Uber — this business model with $40 billion behind it, that is seen as the future — but if she’s correct about their needing to classify all of these drivers as employees, it destroys that model. And it means all these venture capital investors who have poured millions of dollars into the company have bought a pig in a poke.” (That just gave me a great idea for a billion dollar startup. It’s like Uber for bacon.)

+ Wired: The Roomba for lawns is really pissing of astronomers. (And I’m guessing gardeners aren’t exactly psyched.)


A Crock in the Park

The Meitiv kids got busted again. Dvora (6) and Rafi (10) were picked up by police after a neighbor saw them walking home alone from a park (that was two and half blocks from their front door). The bust once again puts these kids at the forefront of the debate over free-range parenting, which is defined here by their mother: “It means that we’re giving our children the childhood that we had. It’s the idea that kids can be trusted to go down the block, to play at the park, to walk home from school.” (Modern parents don’t give their kids as much freedom as they give their chickens.)


Stream of Consciousness

Netflix just had another great quarter and the company is now bigger than CBS. Netflix still has a low monthly price. One imagines that will increase, and I don’t see all that many folks unsubscribing when it does. (Related: You should be watching Bloodline.)

+ FastCo: How HBO’s quest to win the streaming wars became a binge-worthy drama as juicy as Game of Thrones. (Without the dragons, nudity, incest, or the dude just saying Hodor again and again.)


Fare Jumpers

Should states be able to tell Welfare recipients how to spend their money? Lawmakers in Kansas think they should. And there are more than twenty other states that have similar rules.


It’s All Relative

“Around the world, in politics and business, power is still concentrated in the family. Power families and dynasties are here to stay.” With nepotism in business and more Bushes and Clintons vying for the White House, The Economist argues that the enduring power of families in business and politics should trouble believers in meritocracy.


Kim Jong Run

The NYT’s Jere Longman gives us a glimpse “into one of the world’s most closed and enigmatic countries and surely the only distance race with a promotional video featuring an all-accordion boy band doing a cover of Norwegian synth-pop music.” Welcome to the starting line of the Pyongyang Marathon. (Is it just me, or does this sound like it could be a pretty good plot for a Seth Rogen movie?)


Threat Level

The Guardian’s Stuart Jeffries takes us back to a time “when the death threat was the weapon of last resort, or at least had the whiff of the exotic about it.” Thanks to social media, death threats are more common than ever.


Read it And Bleep

In The Morning News, Nikkitha Bakshani takes a look at what she calls Binge Reading Disorder. “The typical American consumes more than 100,000 words a day, and remembers none of them. When everybody’s reading, but nobody’s smarter, what value has the word?” (She should subscribe to NextDraft and let me read and forget the words for her.)


The Bottom of the News

You can shout and cheer at most sporting events, but there are some where you’re required to be totally silent (aside from the occasional “Bababooey“). But wouldn’t a sport like tennis be a lot more fun if you could scream during the points? Big 12 schools are trying to answer that question with a lot of yelling.

+ MoJo: How a massive environmental crisis led to the invention of cheese.

+ NPR: Why knuckles crack.

+ Yes, yes. I know. There’s a new Star Wars trailer out.

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