Tuesday, September 29th, 2015


The Lid Has Been Blown Off

It's no secret that the Internet has provided a platform for pathetic, hateful losers to spew their invective from the safe, warm confines of their laptop screen's glow. And there are few places where this screed oozes more freely than at the intersection of women, sports and social media. Journalist Julie Dicaro shares her story (which, sadly, is anything but unique) in Sports Illustrated: Threats. Vitriol. Hate. The ugly truth about women in sports and social media.

+ The BBC's Sarah Teale was harassed while she was doing a report about harassment.


Life is a Highway

Let's cut to the chase. You can't drive. I don't mean you in particular, I mean the general you that ruins every trip on the roads, from our daily commute to a Sunday drive. And the human element of driving comes at a cost far greater than the irritation of those few folks who know how to drive. The Atlantic's Adrienne Lafrance explains how the oncoming era of the self-driving car could rank among the most transformative public-health initiatives in human history. In the meantime, seriously, pull over.

+ "A lot of people go to work and sit in a cubicle. Our cube just happens to move around the roads. And if we are successful, we are going to put ourselves out of a job." Here's a job description that didn't exist a few years ago: A driver of a driverless car.


Ever Afghanistan

For the first time since 9/11, the Taliban has retaken a major Afghanistan city. And the U.S. has responded with airstrikes. From WaPo: "Afghan forces struck back Tuesday in the besieged northern city of Kunduz, opening potentially risky street-by-street battles seeking to drive back Taliban fighters and reverse a humiliating blow to Afghanistan's Western-backed government."

+ "It's the best way to provide a counter narrative to extremists." The U.S. government is turning to Hollywood to try to combat ISIS propaganda. Hopefully this sequel turns out better than its many predecessors.


G Money

"Your cable box doesn't work! And you've given me terrible service." That was the speech that composer, writer and actor Lin-Manuel Miranda had ready when he answered a call he was sure was from his cable company trying to win back his business. It turned out to be the MacArthur Foundation calling to tell him that he was one of 24 recipients of this year's fellowships -- otherwise know as genius grants -- which include $625,000 paid out over a few years. (It doesn't take a genius to know that the only time a cable company calls is when your bill is late.)

+ One of this year's recipients is U.C. Berkeley's Peidong Yang who has managed to create artificial leaves that photosynthesize. "And just like nature's version of photosynthesis, it releases oxygen into the air."


Crappy Ending

The always excellent Mark Leibovich tagged along with this political season's most interesting candidate (maybe its only interesting candidate): "Where does this end? I kept asking Trump this as we sat around his office and rode around in limousines and airplanes. 'I have no idea,'' he always said, sometimes modifying the noun with a big, unclassy profanity. 'But I'm here now. And it's beautiful.'" From the NYT Mag: Donald Trump Is Not Going Anywhere.

+ As I've mentioned before, I know exactly where this ends.


Free Ramen Parents

"They wear knee socks, polished patent leather shoes, and plaid jumpers, with wide-brimmed hats fastened under the chin and train passes pinned to their backpacks. The kids are as young as six or seven, on their way to and from school, and there is nary a guardian in sight." It's something we haven't seen in America for at least a generation. But in Japan, little kids are pretty independent.


Off With The Top of Your Head

I'm going to do a quick, self-guided improvisational exercise. Dave, what's the one thing that could make working in a big office seem worse? Oh, I don't know, maybe adding in an improv class? OK, I suppose I need to rethink that answer, because improv training is now apparently a thing.


With a Side of Side Effects

America and New Zealand are the only places where drug companies can market their wares directly to consumers. And because of the way those ads are regulated, you often end up hearing an incredibly long list of side effects.

+ "If your hair begins to smell like burning tires, move away from any buildings or populated areas, and apply tincture of iodine to the head until you no longer hear what could be taken for a countdown." Steve Martin once wrote the quintessential list of side effects.



"I have discussed, at length, over drinks, whether or not she works out. How many phones she has. If she ever gets sick. If there exists a man who could date her and, more importantly, who we'd want that man to be, because surely we deserve a vote, because stars are just like us, and of all stars, Rihanna feels the most real." Fader's Mary H.K. Choi takes a crack at writing a story about Rihanna without Rihanna. (In my mind, I've been working on a similar piece about Beyonce for the better part of a decade.)


Bottom of the News

"After coffee beans are decaffeinated, several coffee manufacturers sell the caffeine to soda and pharmaceutical companies." That's just one of the facts you should be aware of since it's national coffee day.

+ What's the deal with the LL Bean Duck boots that are always out of stock?

+ Lettermans's new beard makes him look like he's set to re-do his velcro suit stunt, without the velcro suit.

+ If a yellow card doesn't work, you can always try a red card ... or a loaded gun.