Friday, September 4th, 2015


Give Me Some Office Space

Maybe that open office plan is a little too open because you're spending a lot less of your leisure time with your co-workers. For decades, it's been increasingly clear that you're just not that into them. "In 1985, about half of Americans said they had a close friend at work; by 2004, this was true for only 30 percent." Maybe that number continues to fall because we now come to work with our entire social networks in our pockets. We don't need to find friends at work because we bring our existing friends with us. Or maybe the explanation is even more simple. When you have Slackbot, who needs friends?


Turning a Negative Into a Positive?

Citing a "moral responsibility", David Cameron said the U.K. would take in thousands of additional refugees. Of course, the moral issue hasn't changed much in recent days. What changed was the introduction of the photo of the Syrian boy who died fleeing a war torn region. As NatGeo reports, this wouldn't be the first time that a child's photo changed history.

+ About a thousand migrants stuck at a railway station in Budapest have decided to use other means of transportation to get to the Austrian border. They're walking.


Weekend Reads

"Now the conflict was about the conflict itself, and each uptick in brinksmanship edged the parties closer to disaster. The Cold War had gone to DefCon 1." In the always-excellent Epic Magazine, David Wolman and Julian Smith share the perfect story to end your Summer. Welcome to the world of dueling ice cream trucks: The Cold War. (On a personal note, I should mention that I find it hard to connect with adults who don't get excited when an ice cream truck shows up.)

+ "Even more disquieting was the development of an insatiable sexual appetite." One last interesting story from Oliver Sacks: Urge.

+ ""Mom & Dad Love you. Tyler Love you most! Janelle Love you Sorry. I told the truth." The job made me do it." Buzzfeed's Albert Samaha on the whistleblowing prison guard who couldn't escape prison.


Rice and Bean Counters

"In recent decades, an increasing number of geneticists and plant breeders have realized that crops' wild relatives hold immense value because they have not been domesticated." In order to feed billions of people, we need a lot of rice. So scientists are on a constant quest to find strains that will be able to survive climate change. To do that, they search for rice that has learned to survive on its own. Very interesting stuff from California Sunday Magazine's Lisa M. Hamilton: Uncharted.

+ The Verge: Here's why farm kids have fewer allergies and less asthma.


Generation WTF

According to a recent survey by Pew, most Millennials don't think they are Millennials. That makes sense. The name is less complimentary that The Greatest Generation and harder to spell than Generation X. It was doomed from the start. In other news, Pew has run out of survey topics.


Hit and Hit and Hit and Run

"Security cameras have regularly captured drivers driving back and forth on top of victims to make sure that they are dead." Slate Geoffrey Sant provides some insight on why drivers in China intentionally kill the pedestrians they hit.


Lego My Logo

The New Yorker's Sarah Larson describes Google's old logo as part of an effort to explain why you hate the new one: "It had true confidence. It didn't need to pretend to be the post office or a butler. The white glow of a clean, bare screen, the brightly colored, old-fashioned letters, the name that came from math and whimsy -- it was all very promising, and its brilliance spoke for itself." I bet it took Sarah Larson longer to sculpt that sentence than it took Google founders to design their first logo.


Beetle Juice

"Mealworms and superworms aren't actually worms at all -- they're the larval forms of two species of darkling beetles." OK, then let's eat. The LA Times Sasha Harris-Lovett on why you're going to be eating more insects.


Weekend Warriors Come Out to Play

"The men sport earmuffs and digital camouflage cargo shorts bought on clearance, and their beer bellies hang over gun belts stocked with pistols and extra clips. Lunch was at a diner where every overstuffed sandwich came with a side of soup -- plus somebody's wife made brownies." Gus Garcia-Roberts takes you behind the scenes in one of several training camps where for $525, you can learn how to fight terrorists. (I'd pay twice that to figure out a way to deal with web commenters.)


Bottom of the News

"If Pablo Escobar were alive today, he'd be selling coffee." Yes, it's time for my latest edition of Just Admit It. This will feel good, I promise.

+ Ars Technica: I met my first girlfriend through Windows 95: An Internet love story. This one might not be safe for work if you're an Apple user.

+ Quartz: Here's the best way to guess correctly on multiple choice test.

+ And, on a personal note, I would be remiss if I didn't mention my misgivings about publishing today as I've been very public with my belief that it's totally ridiculous that we have to work on Beyonce's birthday.