Thursday, May 14th, 2015

1

Buzz Kill

Something has been killing the bees. And that something doesn't seem to be going away. The latest study indicates that forty percent of honeybee hives died in the past year. While that number is bad news for the bees, it could also point to much broader environmental issues. Study co-author Keith Delaplane explains: "What we're seeing with this bee problem is just a loud signal that there's some bad things happening with our agro-ecosystems. We just happen to notice it with the honeybee because they are so easy to count."

+ Vox: Why Wall Street investors and Chinese firms are buying farmland all over the world.

+ "The community, which has about 3,600 members, has consistently rejected the plan over concerns that it would harm fish habitats, particularly for salmon." From the NYT: A small Canadian aboriginal community rejected a $1 billion fee for natural gas project.

2

Bearman on the Road Again

I recently linked to part one of Josh Bearman's action-packed piece on the rise and fall of Silk Road. Anyone who read it will undoubtedly want to head over to Wired for part two. This story is an entertaining read about a timely event, but it also holds some broader metaphors for the way all of us navigate the often complex and blurred borders that separate our online and offline selves (although, most of our selves don't order hit jobs on other people's selves).

3

Down with TPP

"It's been made available in the basement of the Capitol, inside a secured, sound-proof room. There, lawmakers surrender their cell phones and other mobile devices ... Any notes taken inside the room must be left in the room." Don't feel bad if you don't understand the details of Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal that's currently being battled over by lawmakers and lobbyists. Only a few have access to it, most of those haven't read it, and those who read it undoubtedly don't get it. (So, many lawmakers are feverishly debating an issue which they know very little about. You know, like the Internet.)

4

A Turn for the Worse

As an eighth victim of the Amtrak crash in Philadelphia is found, investigators shifted their focus to the man at the controls, and the general safety shortcomings that allowed the derailment to take place. The engineer's initial statement on the matter comes via his lawyer: "As a result of his concussion, he has absolutely no recollection whatsoever of the events."

5

Sychological Warfare

Whether you buy some, all, or none of Sy Hersh's article on the killing of Osama bin Laden, you'll almost certainly enjoy every word of the interview he did with Slate. "I just said what I said. I don't want to hear what the upshot is. If you have another question then ask it. This is going on too long. I am too old and too cranky and too tired. I have been doing this f*cking thing for a day. I told you, I warned you, that I am really irritable." (I'd give anything if Hersh would help me coach my son's little league team...)

6

Santa Monica Boulevard of Broken Schemes

On one side, you have local politicians and "a coalition of irritated neighbors, affordable housing advocates and the hotel industry." On the other side, you have people making good money renting out their properties via services like Airbnb. Will Santa Monica be the place where the short term rental buck stops?

7

The Ties That Bind

"But her Kindle (and later an iPad) sat mostly untouched in her office drawer. On birthdays and Christmases, heavy rectangular-shaped gifts still arrived in my mailbox. And then, in March, she died." The NYT's Nick Bilton on rediscovering the power of print in his mother's library.

8

Don’t Go Into the Lyte

Mix equal parts electrolyte and celebrity endorsements and you've got the latest, hip energy drink: Pedialyte. Marketwatch explains how a drink for babies became the adult hangover cure of choice

9

He Will Rock You

Billboard Magazine wanted to take music fans back to the best concert of their lives. So they hired a hypnotist to help them go back there.

10

Bottom of the News

This is officially the last moment to order your NextDraft Internet Superhero T-shirt from Cotton Bureau (my favorite shirt site). I don't make any profit on these shirts, I just want to see my head on your boobs.

+ Syndicated via Kottke: RIP Mr. Burns, Smithers, and Ned Flanders. Harry Shearer is leaving The Simpsons.

+ "Jansrud -- an energetic blend of scientist and sprite -- gives herself a hickie with a vacuum cleaner, narrates over a simulated masturbation demonstration, and reveals the science behind orgasm. Other videos in the series cover topics like pimples, menstruation, and body hair and breast growth." Welcome to sex ed class, Norway style. (Reading this made me realize that it's probably time for me and my son to have the talk about the birds and the bees and the incognito browsing.)

+ ScienceMag: Rats forsake chocolate to save a drowning companion. (I'm not sure if this test was intended to show that rats have empathy, or to show that humans don't.)

+ A one year-old's view of social media.