Tuesday, May 26th, 2015


The Ascent Is Too Damn High

Shuttered storefronts. Abandoned retail locations. Small businesses that fall like the House of Cards & Curiosities on Eighth Avenue. These are the signs of urban blight we usually associate with economic downturns or poor, forgotten neighborhoods. But these shuttered storefronts are in one of America's wealthiest neighborhoods; NYC's West Village. As The New Yorker's Tim Wu explains, some urban blight emerges when economic times are too good and rents get too high. And we're not just talking about mom and pop here. Even Starbucks is closing some Manhattan locations due to rent hikes.

+ The Zawisnys managed to keep their Brooklyn store open in the 80s by paying protection money to local organized crime figures. But then the yuppies came, and that was too much. Vivian Yee in the NYT: Shop Owners in a Changing Brooklyn Decide to Call It Quits.

+ "The number one rule is stated twice, once in the classroom and once on the bus: 'Don't make fun of the residents.'" Welcome to the boot camp that teaches you how to make a fortune by buying up trailer parks.


Who’s Your Daddy?

It's right up there with Google and Apple when it comes to the top places for women technologists, and women fill about 39% of its new technical hires from universities. And many of those women join the company after their initial reaction which is usually pretty similar to one expressed by the company's CTO Elissa Murphy: "Absolutely not." But then they find themselves surprised, as you might be, to learn that GoDaddy isn't the company you think it is.


Flood Pressure

Long periods of drought followed by extreme rain conspired to hit Houston with unprecedented flooding. Several people have been killed by flooding in Texas and Oklahoma and the forecast is not helping. Sadly, the flooding took the life of a Texas homecoming queen on her way home from the prom.

+ In two southeastern states in India, a heatwave with temperatures close to 120 degrees has killed at least 1,100 people.


The Cable Buy

Comcast abandoned its efforts to acquire Time Warner Cable. So now Charter communications has moved in to buy the company in a deal valued at nearly $80 billion.

+ Quartz has the charts and maps you need to understand why Charter is buying Time Warner.


Delude Trucks

How far will Putin go to hide the fact (from outsiders and his own citizens) that Russian soldiers are fighting alongside Ukrainian separatists? House Armed Services Committee Chairman Mac Thornberry answers that question: "The Russians are trying to hide their casualties by taking mobile crematoriums with them."


Now That Ain’t Working

The robots are coming. The software wants your job. It seems inevitable that running this planet will require fewer humans in the future. But we'll all still need at least some basic income to survive, which leads us to a question being asked in many countries, and by The Atlantic's David R. Wheeler: What If everybody didn't have to work to get paid? (I never knew that the allowance policy I have for my kids was so far ahead of its time.)

+ Scott Santens in Medium: Why should we support the idea of an unconditional basic income?


Any Ive League of Their Own

"Apple is now far and away the most valuable company on earth. Industry analysts, tech-bloggers and stock-market pundits have been dumbfounded by such astonishing and seemingly unstoppable success. Websites proliferate that attempt to make sense of Apple's worth: more than the entire 1977 US Stock Market. More than the entire global coffee industry." In The Telegraph, Stephen Fry talks to Jony Ive about his new role as Chief Design Officer.

+ One thing seemed clear in the early days of the digital revolution: We'd be using a lot less paper. Well, maybe it wasn't as clear as it seemed. From NPR: Don't write off paper just yet.


Let Them Drink Cake

Out in Silicon Valley, we're way too busy to chew. So from Soylent to other meal-replacing protein drinks, the tech crowd is blending their way through gallons of liquid meals. My family is living on our own custom Soylent blend (mint chip ice cream, milk). So far we feel great, and my kids finally love me unconditionally.

+ As if the average man needed one more reason to drink coffee, a new study out of The University of Texas Health Science Center found that consuming considerable amounts of coffee each day could help keep up more than just your energy level.

+ Fellow Californians, enjoy the shakes and coffee while they last. In the near future, we could be drinking sewage that's been turned into drinking water.


Spiegel’s Catapult

"I don't think anyone saw coming what they are building. At worst, they are the next-generation MTV. At best, they are the next-generation Viacom." Bloomberg on Evan Spiegel's plan to turn Snapchat into a real business: CEO says he knows what millennials and teens want, and it's not on television or Facebook.

+ Related: A Chrome extension that replaces the word Millennials with "Snake People."


Bottom of the News

"They pose no health hazard of any kind. If there are massive outbreaks of illnesses, your local health department should be able to tell you if it is an abnormal event." From Fusion: Kylie Jenner just outed herself as a ‘chemtrail' truther. Here's what that means.

+ Minnesota, land of ten thousand dessert salads.

+ "The house will have almost every amenity available in the world. The asking price will be $500 million." (But it's in California, so don't be surprised if you're still stuck with tandem parking.)