Monday, January 25th, 2016


Your Money or Your Life?

One of the big problems with living in rough parts of major cities is that it often takes a long time for the police to respond to emergency calls. A company called BlueLight wants to improve that situation, for a price: "The service cost $20 a year and promises users that when they dial 911 from anywhere in Oakland, the Oakland Police Department will have access to their exact geographic location." At first glance, this service seems to provide the perfect illustration of the growing technology gap. But it's more than that. It's a stark reminder that the inequality gap impacts almost every aspect of personal health and safety. From better food to concierge medicine to home security systems to safer cars, it really does pay to have money. And if you expect something as basic as equal access to first responders, well, there's a gap for that.


The Jonas Smothers

Here's an overview of the weekend's big storm. Media: "The snow is everywhere, people are in danger, this is terrible, the end is nigh." Everyone on Facebook: "Oh cool, snow!" Let's go with the people and focus on the photos. From satellite shots to sledding, here are some pictures of the storm from Buzzfeed, Atlantic's inFocus, Slate, and WaPo.

+ Did the storm break records? Well, we're not quite sure.

+ And here's the latest on the cleanup efforts.


Mosquito Fray

The World Health Organization is warning that the mosquito-borne Zika virus, already found in 21 countries, is likely to spread. At least four countries have recommended that women delay getting pregnant due to the potential impact of the virus. "Brazil said the number of babies born with suspected microcephaly -- or abnormally small heads -- had reached nearly 4,000 since October."

+ Vox: Zika virus explained in 6 charts and maps.


I Know Why the Caged Bird Clings

"Without caged birds, it's entirely possible that the Egg McMuffin itself may never have existed and would certainly not be as globally accessible -- and affordable -- as it is today." But times have changed and now many fast food joints are promising a shift to cage free birds. That move won't be easy. From Wired: The Insanely Complicated Logistics of Cage-Free Eggs for All.

+ Remember how McDonald's was doomed? Well, its stock price just hit an all-time high. And that has a lot to do with all-day breakfast. (It probably helps that, so far, Big Macs don't cause E.Coli.)


An Earnest Attempt

"When my hero, Ernest Shackleton, was 97 miles from the South Pole on the morning of January the 9th 1909, he said he'd shot his bolt. Well today I have to inform you with some sadness that I too have shot my bolt." That was Henry Worsley's last message from his attempt to cross Antarctica unaided. He was later rescued 30 miles short of his destination, but sadly, he died of exhaustion, dehydration and other complications.


When the Writ Hits the Fan

"Today, men and women, not assumed to be only heterosexual, are expected to function at work alongside one another, eat at adjacent seats in restaurants, sit cheek by jowl in buses and airplanes, take classes, study in libraries, and, with some exceptions, even pray together. Why is the multi-stall bathroom the last public vestige of gendered social separation?" The New Yorker's Jeannie Suk wants to know: Who's Afraid of Gender-Neutral Bathrooms? (All public restrooms scare the hell out of me.)


When the Twit Hits the Fan

Over the weekend, news leaked that Twitter was losing several of its top executives. CEO Jack Dorsey immediately got online to make it clear that the employees "had chosen to leave the company." (The difference between being a Twitter user and a Twitter employee is that the latter can choose to leave.)

+ ReCode: "This week's departures don't offer much solace, since executive turmoil has become one of Twitter's most defining characteristics over the years." It's not just executive turmoil. It's the mismanaging of the public relations around that turmoil.


Do Not Pass Go

"One of the escapees is accused of torturing and mutilating the owner of a marijuana dispensary. Another was awaiting trial for a gang-related murder. The third was charged with shooting into a house full of people." In other words, police are in a big hurry to catch the three inmates who escaped from an Orange County jail on Friday.


See Spot Show

"He died like a dog, because he was a dog, but not just any dog. He was a champion show dog named Thendara Satisfaction, nicknamed Jagger, who had just triumphed as second in his breed." In Vanity Fair, Mark Seal gives you a glimpse of the dark underside of the show dog world.


Bottom of the News

It is "likely the only videogame developed by an 83-year-old man using a Dictaphone to record memos for the programmers." Donald Rumsfeld, app developer.

+ This could be the most disturbing headline in the history of business: How To Combine Networking And Playdates.

+ Listen to two stoned pot smugglers turn themselves in because they're sure they are surrounded by cops in unmarked vehicles.

+ The robots are not taking over. The robots are not taking over. Oh damn, the robots just took over.