Friday, April 24th, 2015


Goodbye Yellow Brick Road

The problem with miracle cures backed by fake science is that they prey on people at their most vulnerable moments -- when they're sick, in pain, or even dying; when they want or even need to believe, when they'll try anything. That's why some of the ridiculous claims spread by Dr. Oz (and many other less telegenic MDs) can be so damaging. In The Atlantic, Alan Levinovitz asks where is the line between alternative therapies and "quackademic" medicine?

+ In BoingBoing, cancer patient Xeni Jardin takes on Belle Gibson, who lied about having brain cancer and then profited from lying about bogus cancer cures. "She's not the only one who should be ashamed: the enablers who promote this crap deserve condemnation, too."

+ NY Mag: How a cancer-faking huckster was able to fool so many people.

+ When several doctors petitioned Columbia to remove Dr. Oz from its faculty, Oz struck back. Here's Julia Belluz and Steven Hoffman in Vox explaining why all of the arguments Dr. Oz made against his critics were wrong. (How about if Columbia keeps Dr. Oz, but TV gets rid of him?)


Game of Drones

"Obama's advisers have for years told him that 'this would never happen, and now it did. It is going to be a big deal.'" From WaPo's Greg Miller: Hostages' deaths raise wider questions about drone strikes' civilian toll.

+ While news of the hostage deaths has increased the criticism of military drone use, that strategy also seems to be taking a serious toll on Al Qaeda's leadership.


Weekend Reads

"Here was a toy used by bored youths to pass time, which through video culture and trick one-upsmanship transformed into a social movement ... Theoretically, that is the route Cardistry could take." Vanity Fair's Kevin Pang gives you a visual tour inside the world of Cardistry.

+ From Quartz, a photo essay on the Afghan girls who are forbidden from riding bikes. So they skateboard around Kabul.

+ Vox provides a brief history of the bizarre and sadistic Presidential Fitness Test. (I can still remember the day my 7th grade PE teacher decided to give me a break and credit me with completing one-half of a pull up.)

+ Hamish Wyatt on photographing surfers and being a cork bobbing in a beautifully angry ocean.


A Pipe Dream Deferred

"With that, Comcast's repeated claims that its proposed merger had no bearing on competition fell apart." The New Yorker's Tim Wu on the death of the Comcast/TimeWarner cable merger.

+ The Consumerist: Anatomy Of A Comcastrophe.


Chaat or Not

"'I don't think so,' responded Ms. Pant, a 27-year-old special education teacher, after seeing a picture of a man with streaks of color in his hair. So her father picked another profile. 'Are you kidding?' And another. 'Ugh.'" The NYT's Gardiner Harris on the way the Internet is turning India's arranged marriages into semi-arranged marriages.

+ For many in San Francisco and Los Angeles, the love litmus test consists of only one question. This video explains: When Giants Fan Met Dodgers Fan (Episode 1).


Tipping the Scale

Will it scale? That was a question that used to be a staple of tech industry investor pitches. These days, scalability is almost a given. And that all started with Amazon's web services. The company's latest earnings report highlighted the unbelievable power of Amazon's cloud.


Pop Til You Drop

After much consumer backlash, Diet Pepsi will replace aspartame with "a blend of sucralose and acesulfame potassium" later this year. It's good to know they finally got the one unhealthy ingredient out of the recipe.

+ Thirty years ago today, Coke launched New Coke (Because that's just what America needed in 1985 ... more kinds of coke.)


Keep Your Hands and Feet In

"The key to the ride's success isn't so much what it does to riders physically, but how it works them over psychologically, wringing them out with alternating applications of terror, surprise, and exhilaration." Bloomberg's Jeff Wise talks to the experts to find out how to design a roller coaster that'll make you beg for mercy.

+ Related: A virtual reality guided tour of 21 years of the Nasdaq. (Ride at your own risk.)


Starved for Affection

The study's sample size is small (and getting smaller), but it sure seems like there's no diet like the I'm running for president diet. The NYT's Michael Barbaro on the latest person to get in on the craze. Jeb Bush is thinking of running for president. And he is starving.


The Bottom of the News

"The First Rule Of Air Sex Is: You must have sex with air. No human partners allowed. The second rule of Air Sex is: All orgasms must be simulated." GQ's Taffy Brodesser-Akner: I can feel it coming in the air tonight.

I'm not sure if this is an example of the endless creativity associated with the human spirit, or just a sign that the end is nigh. Introducing California's newest sport: Rock Skiing.

+ Grantland: The Rise and Rise (and Rise) of Stephen Curry: The Wildly Miraculous and Quietly Inevitable Success of Golden State's Point Guard.