Thursday, April 30th, 2015


Secret Is Out

Secret, the anonymous sharing app that was once all the rage in the tech community, announced that they are throwing in the towel. While the move is certainly evidence of the fragile nature of the app business and the pace at which a high-flying service can come crashing down, is it also evidence that we've finally grown weary of services that enable people to anonymously spread rumors about each other? Probably not. One of Secret's competitors, Whisper, just announced that they hit 10 million users (and many people think Whisper's advantage was that it's more secretive than Secret). But even Secret's CEO David Byttow admits that anonymity can have its downsides: "I believe in honest, open communication and creative expression, and anonymity is a great device to achieve it. But it's also the ultimate double-edged sword, which must be wielded with great respect and care." I guess I'm old school because I still think you should have the guts to anonymously say it to my face.


A Little Chin Music

Times have changed since Fiddler on the Roof's Tevye sang If I Were a Rich Man and fantasized about the day when his wife would have the physical attributes associated with wealth: "Yubby dibby dibby dibby dibby dibby dibby dum. If I were a biddy biddy rich, idle-diddle-daidle-daidle man. I'd see my wife, my Golde, looking like a rich man's wife with a proper double-chin." Today, 70% of Americans wish they could lose their double chins. And the FDA just approved an injection that could make that wish come true. Oy.


Our Time is Up

"The involvement of health professionals in the Bush-era interrogation program was significant because it enabled the Justice Department to argue in secret opinions that the program was legal and did not constitute torture." The NYT's James Risen on how the American Psychological Association bolstered the post 9-11 torture program. (If the water boarding doesn't get them to break, then maybe a $300 bill for 50 minutes will.)

+ The Intercept: The life and death of an Al Qaeda spokesman. "One of the pictures he sent me showed him with long hair, dressed in a blue T-shirt with the words 'Men gone surfing' printed across it."


Closing Windows

"I could hear something hitting the stone, and I realized someone was coming to save me. I began to cry." A teenage boy was rescued after surviving for more than 80 hours beneath the rubble in Nepal.

+ Here's LA Fire Dept official Chris Schaff on being part of a team that found another teenager alive earlier in the day: "It gets a little discouraging near the end [of the survival window], so it was great to be able to assist the Nepali rescue team on this."

+ A tourist shares chilling quake video shot from a rooftop.


A Four Block Radius

GQ talks to a former Baltimore cop: "One thing that sticks out from my time is how much all cops hate the ghetto. And that's not a race thing. I think black cops are better at picking up the class nuances of the ghetto and defining it more about that than about geographic area. Some people want to make this a racial thing, I really think it's a class issue. You have this underclass that has no education, no jobs, no experience outside of a four block radius. And we ignore it."

+ According to a document obtained by WaPo, Freddie Gray "was intentionally trying to injure himself" in the back of the police transport van.

+ With all the recent stories, you'd assume that there's been a sharp rise in police killings in the last few years. You'd be wrong.


Doctor Oztracized

Now that health insurance companies are starting to get on board, your next vist to the doctor office could be via webcam. From Wired: Video is about to become the way we all visit the doctor. (Why do I have the feeling my next checkup is going to somehow involve a selfie stick...)

+ Vox: Oprah just dumped Dr. Oz's radio show.


Think Fast

"The story of the Wonderlic, however, is more than just a range of easily regurgitated numbers. It's the story of how one guy's American Dream helped shape a new American pastime." As the NFL Draft kicks off, FIveThirtyEIght examines how a multiple-choice test became a fixture of the NFL Draft.

+ He "had nine knee operations and experienced chronic back pain, numbness on his left side and memory problems." The NYT's Ken Belson takes an in-depth look back at the 1990 NFL draft class. (For some, the best multiple choice answer would have been none of the above.)


Louie Louie

"They were convinced that lurking in its mumbled vocals were unspeakable, almost literally unimaginable obscenities." Kingsmen singer Jack Ely has died. You know him as the singer of the song "Louie Louie." BBC looks back at how the song became a sensation that some lawmakers thought should be outlawed. (Maybe they thought the title was too redundant?)


Skirt Stake

A secondary school in France sent a student home twice in one week because of her attire. What was the issue? Her skirt was too long.


The Bottom of the News

"I don't know how you guys do it. I look at your normal toilets, the ones with seats that are as cold as ice, the ones that don't spray and buff your nethers with a soothing shower of cleansing H2O, and I shake my head. I look at your dry-wiping ways, and I wonder how your mom raised you." Farhad Manjoo goes deep in explaining why the electronic bidet toilet seat is the luxury you won't want to live without.

+ Quartz: Japan tracks electronic toilet seat sales as a measure of national prosperity.

+ "I'm going to go out on a limb and say you probably don't expose your belly a whole lot." Jennifer Wright shares the story of the bikini on a site called Racked.

+ "She could go on for another 50 years - all she needs is a new set of tires every now and again." David Pescovitz with the hare-raising tale of the legless tortoise who was given prosthetic wheels.