Wednesday, December 16th, 2015


I Found What You’re Searching For

What did your 2015 searches tell us about you? Well, let's start with the most obvious takeaway: The force of the extended Kardashian empire looms large. The most popular Google topic of the year was Lamar Odom. The second most searched for person was Caitlyn Jenner. The most popular beauty question was related to the Kylie Jenner lip challenge. And Kim Kardashian birthed the most searched-for celebrity pregnancy. Aside from that rather disturbing trend, Charlie Sheen and Bill Cosby were the actors that interested you most. Ronda Rousey and Holly Holm were the most searched for athletes (raise your hand if you predicted that). And the caloric content of Starbucks Toasted Graham Latte concerned you slightly more than that of the Little Caesars Bacon Wrapped Deep Dish. Here are all the chart toppers, along with Google's own guide to the year in search.


The End of Zero

For the first time in nearly a decade, the Fed did what most observers expected them to do and raised interest rates. "The Federal Open Market Committee unanimously voted to set the new target range for the federal funds rate at 0.25 percent to 0.5 percent, up from zero to 0.25 percent."

+ From the NYT: What happens when the Fed raises rates, in one Rube Goldberg Machine. (Because sometimes, even charts aren't fun enough.)

+ That being said ... charts.


The Lies That Bind

The same emails reached school districts across the country. In NYC, officials viewed them as part of a never-ending stream of obvious hoaxes. Across the country (and a lot closer the most recent terrorist attack), LA officials took the emails seriously enough to close schools for the day. From WaPo: "The two cities' divergent choices, made in the face of similar threats, are a sign of the murky calculus that government officials face as they try to protect the public without giving in to the fear terrorists seek to cultivate." I sure wouldn't want to have to make that call.

+ "In the annals of terrorism, the clichés about attackers—the quiet neighbors, the silent coworkers, the last ones you'd expect—are unsatisfying but often true." From The New Yorker: San Bernardino and the Mechanics of a Double Life.



The fevered pace of social media updates and the high TV ratings have made one thing very clear: GOP Debates is by far the top miniseries of 2015. And last night's throwdown was no exception. According to Nate Silver, the fifth Republican debate ended in a nine-way draw.

+ Digg provides a rundown of just the good stuff from the Republican debate.


She Said She Said

"An 18-year-old said she was attacked at knifepoint. Then she said she made it up. That's where our story begins." The Marshall Project and ProPublica with an unbelievable story of rape.


These Are The Reviews You’re Looking For

At least one (and maybe both) of the Js in JJ Abrams now stands for Jedi as the early reviews of the new Star Wars movie are almost universally excellent. If history is a predictor, that means we should be getting two more good movies before having our hearts ripped out.



In 2012, James Lawrence completed 30 Ironman triathlons in 11 different countries. But he wasn't satisfied: "I just didn't feel like I pushed myself physically or mentally." That's when he decided to do 50 Ironmans in 50 days in 50 states. And to make sure he spent time with his kids, he ran a 5K with them every evening during the stretch. (Last night, I told my son I was too worn out to play ping pong.)

+ The New Yorker: The Spiritual Life of the Long-Distance Runner.


The Inhale Crowd

For the first time, American teens are smoking more pot daily than cigarettes. Part of that is due to e-cigarettes and anti-smoking campaigns. And part of it is because teens view marijuana as less harmful these days.


Go Bears (and Bulls)

The University of California system has put together a $250 million fund to invest in student entrepreneurs. Finally, young people in California will have a place to raise money for their startups.

+ Quartz: Uber may replace its five-star driver rating system with emoji. (That ought to add an extra couple billion to their marketcap.)


Bottom of the News

A few years ago, a study found that only 56% of people could correctly identify sarcasm in an email (gee, that's a surprise). Thankfully, there's now a computer algorithm that can do better.

+ This is my favorite headline of the day: Self-driving cars must have driver behind the wheel, California says.

+ Quartz takes you inside the ugly war between fake Christmas tree makers and real tree growers. (Last week, my 9 year-old son explained to his younger sister that there is no Santa Claus, and even if there were, he wouldn't come to our house because we're Jewish and we have a gas fireplace, so there's no way he could get past the glass. All holiday wars are ugly.)

+ There's still time to have your photo taken with Fashion Santa. (This guy definitely looks like he prefers Dos Equis.)