Monday, October 5th, 2015


Garbage In, Garbage Out

You feel pretty good about yourself when you separate the bottles, cans, paper, and food scraps from the rest of your garbage and place each item in the properly categorized and colored garbage bin. But is our trash compact really making a difference beyond those feelings of self-satisfaction? In the NYT Sunday Review, John Tierney provides his take on the current reign of recycling. "Recycling has been relentlessly promoted as a goal in and of itself: an unalloyed public good and private virtue that is indoctrinated in students from kindergarten through college. As a result, otherwise well-informed and educated people have no idea of the relative costs and benefits." (I don't compost as often as I should, but at least most of my jokes are recycled.)


Threat Roulette

Evil Thoughts, Wicked Deeds and 20 Years of Workplace Shootings are two of the sessions that take place during the annual conference of the Association of Threat Assessment Professionals (oddly held at Disneyland), where hundreds of psychologists and law enforcement officials race to stop the next mass killer. "Mass murder is not an impulsive crime -- and therein lies the promise of threat assessment."

+ The NYT looks back at fourteen recent mass shootings with a single question in mind: How did they get their guns?


Pacific Rim Job Completed

"Long after the details of this negotiation like tons of butter have been regarded as a footnote in history, the bigger picture of what we have achieved today remains." That celebratory, yet nearly indecipherable, quote from New Zealand trade minister Tim Groser gives you some idea of how hard it was for the U.S. and eleven other countries to finally agree to a trade pact that has been in the works for years. (Sidenote: The U.S. negotiations were run by the highly-regarded Michael Froman, a kid from my old neighborhood. So yes, that single neighborhood was responsible for giving rise to one kid who went on to become a historically consequential trade representative and another kid who came up with this section's headline.)


Error Strike

Twenty-two people were killed when a U.S. airstrike targeted a Doctors without Borders hospital in Afghanistan. The Pentagon says it's determined to get to the bottom of what caused the tragic error, but at Vox, Max Fisher argues it's yet another example of the modern way America does war.


Host of Accolades for Parasite Experts

Three people were awarded the Nobel prize in Medicine for their work on drugs that fight parasitic diseases. One of the noted drugs has dramatically reduced the impact of a disease known as river blindness (that has blinded tens of millions of people), and another drug has powered a sharp decline in malaria-related deaths.

+ Newshour: 2,000-year-old Chinese herbal therapy plays major role in Nobel Prize for Medicine.

+ Scientific American: 12 surprising facts about Nobel Prizes.


This Is Not An Exhaust Pipe

The VW emissions scandal investigation is apparently narrowing in on the actions of two key engineers: "Ulrich Hackenberg, Audi's chief engineer, and Wolfgang Hatz, developer of Porsche's Formula One and Le Mans racing engines." (I don't see how the knowledge of this kind of software effort could have been limited to just a few people.)


French Laundry

After Air France officials announced plans to cut as many as 3,000 jobs, their meeting was stormed by hundreds of protesting employees. And things got a little tense. Like executives hopping fences as their shirts were ripped off tense. (You better return your seat to its upright position before checking this out.)


Rope a Pope

It's been a week since Pope Francis completed his U.S. tour, but people are still trying to get to the bottom of the "meeting" between the pontiff and the highly controversial Kim Davis. The Daily Beast's Brandon Ambrosino digs and finds the shady group that played the Pope.


Reid Digests

The New Yorker's Nicholas Lemann invites you into the world of one of Silicon Valley's smartest and most interesting minds. Lemann's piece on Reid Hoffman, The Network Man, begins as Hoffman sits down to lunch with Zynga's Mark Pincus. (Full disclosure: While I know them both, I wasn't an investor in either Hoffman's LinkedIn or Pincus's Zynga. The least they could have done is invite me to the damn lunch.)

+ As expected (at least over the last week or so), Jack Dorsey has been named the new Twitter CEO. His first move should be to introduce All Day Breakfast.


Bottom of the News

San Francisco has seen a surge in the number of emergency calls the city receives. So they called in the experts to see what was behind the increase. The answer? Butt dials.

+ I recently encountered a midlife crisis during which I briefly became a vinyl-loving audiophile. Little did I know I wasn't even coming close to self-actualizing my listening experience. It turns out that Reel-to-Reel tape is the new vinyl. (While it's fair game to give someone a hard time about their vinyl collection, the audiophiles who are running reel-to-reel machines need our help and love, not our ridicule.)

+ From Quartz, here's a look at the prize-winning facial hair from the 2015 World Beard and Moustache Championship. (Or, what it looks like in the men's room at a Mumford and Sons concert.)