Tuesday, September 15th, 2015


Sharing is Sparing

The sharing economy has never really been about sharing. It's all about paying people as little as possible to do something you just don't feel like doing: Drive me somewhere, pick up and clean my clothes, bring me dinner, find me news I'll be interested in reading (OK, that was a low blow). For the startups that have focused on real sharing, it's been rough going; which brings us to the question posed by Sarah Kessler's FastCo piece: The sharing economy is dead, and we killed it: "Is it really worth your time to trek potentially 25 minutes to go get something that you spent $15 to use for the day, and then have to trek back?" Maybe there's another question worth asking: Do we really want the legacy of our tech revolution to be that we invented a way to monetize borrowing a cup of sugar from your neighbor?


Bar Charts

"From the mid-1970s to the mid-'80s, America's incarceration rate doubled. From the mid-'80s to the mid-'90s, it doubled again. Then it went still higher." And a lot of those being incarcerated have one thing in common. Consider this stat: "One in four black men born since the late 1970s has spent time in prison." In a sweeping Atlantic piece, Ta-Nehisi Coates tracks the history of The Black Family in the Age of Mass Incarceration.

+ While were on the topic of crime-related stats, here's another one: Between 1776 and today, there have been a total of 656,397 U.S. military personnel killed in battle. Between 1989 and 2014, there have been 836,290 gun related deaths in the United States.



As Hungary moves to complete a razor wire fence to deter migrant crossings, Quartz reports on the hundreds of Europeans who are driving to Hungary to offer rides to stranded migrants.

+ "Europe will soon have more physical barriers on its national borders than it did during the Cold War." The Economist charts a world increasingly divided by walls and fences.

+ "Everyone I know is leaving." From WaPo: Syria is emptying.

+ The NYT has an interactive piece that puts things into some perspective: Each of these dots represents one person who was killed during the Syrian conflict.

+ And there are some incredible photos in a piece called Scenes From a Human Flood.


I’ll Have What She’s Having?

"Not too long ago, it was all but unquestioned that, in cases like these, civic obligation trumped religious expression." Some people and politicians seem to be arguing that one can pick and choose which laws they follow. The New Yorker's Jeffrey Toobin on Kim Davis's cafeteria government. This reminds me of the two life rules I constantly hammer into my kids: If you really feel the need to break the law, do it to defend love not hate. And never touch Daddy's iPhone.


Hitting the Coddle

Obama chimes in on the growing movement to silence certain ideas on college campuses: "I've heard some college campuses where they don't want to have a guest speaker who is too conservative or they don't want to read a book if it has language that is offensive to African-Americans or somehow sends a demeaning signal towards women. I gotta tell you, I don't agree with that either. I don't agree that you, when you become students at colleges, have to be coddled and protected from different points of view."


Cover Letter of the Law

So you get hacked or become the victim of some kind of fraud that results in the emptying of a large portion of your bank account. At least the bank will cover your losses, right? Yes, if you're an individual. But not necessarily if you're a small business (even if that business has only one employee).


Be the Algorithm

"I lost 100 pounds once thanks to a database. This was before the 'quantified self' movement." Paul Ford on how the charts and graphs helped him lose a lot of weight, but they weren't enough to keep it off.

+ Fusion: I tried three apps that claim to make you more likable -- and am now addicted to one of them. (I'm pretty sure that every app that distracts me from human interaction makes me more likable.)


Punch Drunk Love

So here comes a man "who boxed for the United States in the 1998 summer Olympics in Korea, and a man with absolutely zero diplomatic credentials or experience, sipping tea in an occupied city in an annexed region with the president of the country doing the occupying and the annexing, begging for citizenship even as that president and his country are providing military support to a dictator in the Middle East ... And still some people say the world isn't a wonderland of possibilities." A headline you probably weren't expecting: Vladimir Putin Grants Roy Jones Jr. Russian Citizenship.

+ And another rather surprising headline: Vladimir Putin calls Elton John to talk about gay rights in Russia.


Like Finally

In a Q&A, Mark Zuckerberg confirmed that Facebook is working on some kind of a "Dislike" button. Now all I need is a button that indicates that I'm actively ignoring your birthday because I'm busy and you're a grown-up.


Bottom of the News

NBC has announced that Arnold Schwarzenegger will take over for Donald Trump on Celebrity Apprentice. That moves climate change down to the second spot on my list of top concerns for the future of humanity.

+ Who Said It: Donald Trump or Lucille Bluth from Arrested Development?

+ The Verge throws a wet blanket on the notion that rice really save your wet phone. (South of Market, we call that an artisanal stir fry.)

+ Syndicated via Kotte: Camera Restricta is a speculative camera design by Philipp Schmitt that won't allow you to take photos if too many have already been taken by others at that location.

+ We're one week into the NFL season, and there's already a call to fire the Seattle Seahawks' offensive coordinator. And it's coming from Marshawn Lynch's mom.