Tuesday, November 3rd, 2015


Stuck in the Middle

"Half a million people are dead who should not be dead." That sums up the startling findings of a new review of life expectancy statistics. In advanced nations, life expectancy generally goes up. But for a group of middle-aged, white Americans with less than a college education, the trend has been reversed. And according to the study's Nobel prize-winning co-author Angus Deaton, "Drugs and alcohol, and suicide . . . are clearly the proximate cause."

+ The Awl with a look at the voluntary human extinction movement: Live Long and Die Out. "Since humans are responsible for every environmental catastrophe, maybe the planet would be better off if we all just died." (That perfectly summarizes the look on my cat's face.)


Soul Cycles

According to the latest numbers from Pew, God is not polling particularly well. From NPR: Americans, especially millennials, are moving away from religion. My guess is that organized worship is on the decline because of the politicization of religion. The fanatics have ruined it for everyone else.

+ Here's the whole report from Pew. And here are some interesting insights about people who don't believe in God. Five percent of those who don't believe in God do believe in Hell. (Damn...)


Bashar Tank

"Absolutely not, we never said that." Russian officials now contend that keeping Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in power is "not crucial."

+ Yes, one of the most popular phrases chanted in some circles in Iran is "Death to America." But as Ayatollah Ali Khamenei explains, you're taking it all wrong.


Small Town

If we want to understand some of the root causes behind spikes in suicide rates, we should take a close look at what's happening in small town America. Consider this stat: "Rural adolescents commit suicide at roughly twice the rate of their urban peers." From the NYT: Small towns face rising suicide rates.


Crushed It

Activision just bought the maker of Candy Crush Saga for $5.9 billion. (Pong sold way too early.)

+ Twitter got rid of its favoriting stars and replaced them with red heart icons. (If nothing else, the move makes my Valentine's Day a whole lot easier.)

+ Google's new email bot will attempt to write your replies to emails.


Putting Bogart Before the Hoarse

After today, Ohio could be the first Midwestern state to legalize recreational marijuana. Ohio could also become the first state to simultaneously legalize medical and recreational marijuana at the same time. They might also be creating the nation's first legalized marijuana monopoly. And one of the investors with a lot at stake is Nick Lachey.

+ MoJo: Here are 6 things you should care about in today's state elections.


Rich Man Poor Man

In Quartz, Allison Schrager looks at a growing segment of the population: "the income rich-ish and asset poor." Many middle class (and even upper middle class) Americans have the same financial emergency cushion as the poor: None.


Another Click in the Wall

Amazon is adding a new feature to its shopping experience: Walls. The ecommerce giant just opened its first terrestrial bookstore in Seattle. While it might seem like a sick joke being played on shuttered bookstores, the new store will actually test a theory. Can Amazon use the data it collects online to create a more profitable offline retail operation?


Billboard Charts You

"Inside the ad, a camera captured their facial expressions and fed them through an algorithm, reading emotional reactions like happiness, surprise, anger, disgust, fear and sadness." The NYT on the science of Neuropolitics: When you look at a billboard, it's looking back at you to measure your response. (So it probably knows I'm rolling my eyes right now...)


Bottom of the News

You never read that long iTunes user agreement. But maybe you will now that someone decided to turn it into a graphic novel.

+ "Appearing on television 22 minutes a night clearly broke me. I'm pretty sure I can produce a few minutes of content every now and again." Jon Stewart signed a four-year deal with HBO.

+ Teens spend about nine hours a day using media. And given the opportunity, gorillas would do the same.

+ If you haven't listened yet, don't miss the latest edition of What Hurts where Phil Bronstein and I talk sources, rumors, and bacon.