May 18th – The Day’s Most Fascinating News

The International Language

“I hear you called me out today. If you’re so confident, let’s debate the Constitution.” That tweeted throw-down directed at the Iranian foreign minister by Senator Tom Cotton is an example of the wave of 140 character assassination that’s sweeping the political world. In WaPo, Professor Daniel W. Drezner explains how trolling could become the new international language of diplomacy. (Makes sense, it’s the new international language of everything else.)

+ And apparently, Barack Obama doesn’t want to miss out on the action, because he just joined Twitter.


Queasy Rider

“In 34 years of law enforcement, this is the worst crime scene, the most violent crime scene I have ever been involved in.” That’s how Waco Police Sgt. W. Patrick Swanton described the scene following a bathroom scuffle that led to a fight that included chains, knives, guns (and one assumes a time machine) between biker gangs in Texas. Nine people were killed and 170 were arrested.


The Marriage Plot

“When they came, they would select the one they wanted to sleep with. They said, ‘If you do not marry us, we will slaughter you.'” The NYT’s Adam Nossiter on Boko Haram’s sick plot to increase its number of followers by repeatedly raping the girls they kidnap.


Rubble Rousers

“All the search and rescue teams wore GoPros, wearable cameras to capture their heroics in real time. I saw footage of teams from different countries fighting over body bags and stretchers to make sure the helmet with their logo got into the frame so they could get credit for the rescue or body retrieval.” Israeli journalist Melanie Lidman on Nepal and the ethical minefield of international aid and reporting on disasters.


Irk From Home

“It’s possible the cartels might be more upset about this new technology than law enforcement.” The New Yorker’s Jill Lepore on the discovery (and ramifications) of a single yeast cell that enables you to cook up morphine from scratch.

+ “One man ran naked through a Florida neighborhood, tried to have sex with a tree and told police he was the mythical god Thor. Another ran nude down a busy city street in broad daylight, convinced a pack of German shepherds was pursuing him.” (As you’ve probably guessed by now, both men were in Florida.) AP on the weird reactions to a synthetic drug known as Flakka.

+ Pacific Standard’s Maia Szalavitz on the drug courts that embolden judges to practice medicine without a license.


Upper East Side Anthropologist

“Women who didn’t get them joked about possible sexual performance metrics. Women who received them usually retreated, demurring when pressed to discuss it further, proof to an anthropologist that a topic is taboo, culturally loaded and dense with meaning.” In the NYT Wednesday Martin stirs up the high-brow NYC scene with a piece on wife bonuses; the men who pay them and the wives who earn them.


Wholesome Upbringing

“This ‘dairy paradox’ begs the question: Why does eating food with more fat lower the risk of obesity?” In Quartz, Deena Shanker makes the case for drinking whole milk.


Nothing to Be Mad About

“Consider it a masterful achievement, then that Mad Men not only made a finale the bulk of its fans will appreciate, but one that was creatively equal to a wide group of its best episodes through the course of its seven season run.” THR’s Tim Goodman on the masterful achievement of the Mad Men series finale.

+ The always interesting Tim Carmody with Mad Men and the Coke Jingle Theory

+ I managed to keep my Mad Men thinkpiece extremely short and spoiler-free.


Next Gen Flip Book

Syndicated from Kottke: Software from a group at the University of Washington and Google discovers time lapses lurking in photos posted to the internet. For example, their bot found hundreds of photos of a Norwegian glacier on the Web, taken over a span of 10 years. Voila, instant time lapse of a retreating glacier.


Bottom of the News

According to a recent survey, one in ten households are sharing passwords for Netflix and other streaming services. Put another way, 90% of households have no idea how to use the Internet.

+ The Consumerist asks: How important is it to wash new clothes before wearing them? Apparently, the answer depends on how you feel about rashes.

+ The strength of your handshake grip can predict the length of your life.

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