Tuesday, April 21st, 2015


The Doors

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. And it's definitely the tale of two cities. As Mireya Navarro reports in the NYT, "a glassy new tower in New York City attracted an outcry for featuring one entrance for condominium owners and another for low-income tenants." So who would want to put their name in for one the 55 units that will require inhabitants to use a separate entrance? So far, 88,000 people have applied.


The Last Trials

"I ask for forgiveness. I share morally in the guilt but whether I am guilty under criminal law, you will have to decide." So said 93-year-old former Nazi SS guard Oskar Groening who was known as the Bookkeeper of Auschwitz. Groening is on trial for being an accessory to at least 300,000 murders.


Better Off Med

"According to Italian estimates there are between 500,000 and one million currently in Libya awaiting passage; living conditions are usually bad, but most migrants have no way back to where they came from." The Economist has an excellent explainer on what you want to know about migration across the Mediterranean.

+ "I tell them its 95% sure that you will die." From CNN: Eating toothpaste, avoiding gangs: Why migrants head to Mediterranean.


The Missing

In Ferguson, for every 100 black women between the ages of 25 and 54, there are 60 black men. While Ferguson is extreme, it's not exceptional. Across America, we see similar numbers. So the question arises: What happened to all the black men? The short answer to that question is incarceration and premature death. The longer answer is equally upsetting. From Upshot: 1.5 Million Missing Black Men.


The Long View

Nearsightedness among Americans has increased quite a bit over the past few decades, but it's nothing compared to the spike in Asia. In a recent study, "80% of 4,798 Beijing teenagers tested as nearsighted." While researchers can't be sure exactly what's causing the change, they have found at least one treatment that seems to help. Going outdoors more.


Black and White and Red All Over

"Look at this. Vacant. Vacant. Vacant. Vacant. Vacant." That was the city editor of a small Southern California newspaper called the Daily Breeze as he gave a tour of the desks in his newsroom. The last empty desk belonged to the lead reporter on the story that just won the paper its first Pulitzer prize. Rob Kuznia had to leave the paper after taking a pay cut. This story is about both the power of local journalism, and the difficulty of keeping it alive.

+ Longreads has a linked list of the 2015 Pulitzer winners.


Chimp Change

Should Chimpanzees be viewed as persons under the law? That question appears to be getting some serious consideration in New York where a judge has granted two research chimps the writ of habeas corpus. They can now challenge their detention (which is something my cats have been doing for years).

+ Joshua Foer with an interesting piece in NatGeo: Breaking the communication barrier between dolphins and humans. "The question is not how smart are dolphins, but how are dolphins smart?"


Cops and Robert

"We haven't been able to rule him out." Karen Mitchell disappeared from a remote Northern California town and no one was ever arrested. The Guardian's Michelle Dean on another cold case; and another set of questions about Robert Durst.



According to the WSJ, Amazon is getting into yet another business: Hotel rentals. So far, the service is only available at a few hotels and during limited dates. But that could change.

+ Syndicated from Kottke: Included in Amazon's recently launched Home Services is a goat grazing service, currently in beta.


The Bottom of the News

"He leans in, big warm smile, not wanting to correct me, but needing to: 'Sorbette,' he says, like a news anchor. 'It's pronounced sorbette.'" GQ's Taffy Brodesser-Akner on the legend of CNN's Don Lemon.

+ Something about this newly found species of frog looks familiar.

+ NYMag: Is the first date too early for couples therapy?

+ How will we know when we've hit peak streaming television? I'm not sure. But a reboot of Full House sure seems like a pretty big clue.