Tuesday, December 8th, 2015


It’s a Beautiful Day

"They were robbed of their stage three weeks ago, so we'd like to offer them ours tonight." U2 returned to Paris to play the concert originally scheduled during the week of the terrorist attacks. At the end of the show, they invited members of the Eagles of Death Metal onstage to join them for a rendition of Patti Smith's People Have the Power. The full concert is available on HBO.

+ The following day, the Eagles of Death Metal returned to Bataclan concert hall in Paris.


Morality Fail

Why do people do terrible things? That's a question that's been on our minds a lot over the past few weeks. According to MIT lecturer Tage Rai, what seems like a complete breakdown of morality might actually be just the opposite. From Quartz: Most violence in the world is motivated by personal morality.


Trump’s Tower of Babble

The Internet exploded. The media went nuts. Politicians from both sides of the aisle balked. Foreign leaders shook their heads. Seasoned pundits performed involuntary spit takes. But none of it mattered. Why? Because Donald Trump represents a new moment in American politics when a media-savvy, celebrity-powered candidate can go around all the traditional intermediaries and speak directly to his intended audience. In fact, the nearly universal public condemnations may actually play right into his hands. From Vox: Donald Trump's call to halt Muslim immigration is getting exactly the reaction he wanted.

+ There's a more disturbing reason why the call to ban all Muslim immigration isn't getting the same reaction from the voters as it's getting from the talking heads. In a recent survey, "fifty-six percent of all Americans ... agreed Islamic values are incompatible with American values."


Guac the Plank

"Our restaurant at Cleveland Circle in Boston is temporarily closed while we work with local health officials to investigate a number of illnesses among Boston College students." So said a Chipotle spokesperson as the restaurant chain faces yet another health-related challenge.

+ This is big news because Chipotle's brand and stock price have already taken big hits because of a far-reaching E. coli outbreak. And the E. coli outbreak is big news precisely because Chipotle's brand value is so associated with health. From Bloomberg: Chipotle's biggest strength is suddenly its biggest weakness.

+ Harvard Gazette: Chemical flavorings found in e-cigarettes linked to lung disease.


Tackling the Block

There are now 88 milion Millennials in the U.S. That makes them the biggest voting block in America. And, as it turns out, they are diverse and have political opinions that aren't always predictable.


Right Turn Clyde

Robert Langellier decided to mark the end of college and the beginning of paralyzing student debt by getting a gig on a big rig. He shares his experiences in Esquire: One year of solitude on america's highways: "There's something metaphysical about driving alone through the night. As the world slips into darkness, you enter a free-form self that is post-sleep and incoherent. After a few hours, the parameters that separate you from the prism of night dissolve, and only an elongated tube of light sucks you along. And you begin to hallucinate." (That's basically what it's like opening seventy-five news tabs.)

+ "I cried once more, a few weeks in." With the holiday rush on the way, a look at life as a mail carrier.


I’ll Buy That

"Stories are one of the most powerful forces of persuasion available to us, especially stories that fit in with our view of what the world should be like. Facts can be contested. Stories are far trickier. I can dismiss someone's logic, but dismissing how I feel is harder." In the NYT: Maria Konnikova (who just published a book on the topic) explains why you were basically born to be conned.


The Day the Music Died

Mary Forsberg Weiland wrote an open letter to reflect on the death of Scott Weiland of the Stone Temple Pilots: "December 3rd, 2015 is not the day Scott Weiland died. It is the official day the public will use to mourn him, and it was the last day he could be propped up in front of a microphone for the financial benefit or enjoyment of others."


I Want No Part of Your Milkshake

"The best way to describe a decomp clean is peeling layers off an onion. You just gotta keep pulling back those layers until you don't find anymore body material." Honestly, the best way to describe a decomp clean is probably a lot more gross than that. Which leads us to the story of the Minnesota cleanup crew that gets called in after a body has been sitting around for a few weeks (or months): There will be blood.


Bottom of the News

News. Blah. Blah. I know what you're really here for. And so does NatGeo. So here are the top ten viral animal videos of the year.

+ LeBron James just signed a massive, lifetime contract with Nike.

+ Dictionary dot com's word of the year: Identity.

+ WaPo: "Researchers led by Binghamton University's Celia Klin report that text messages ending with a period are perceived as being less sincere, probably because the people sending them are heartless."