January 27th – The Day’s Most Fascinating News

Totally Like Whatever

The Facebook Like button is clicked on more than 6 billion times a day. Making a change to the user experience around “liking” something on Facebook is a risky move. But it’s apparently one that executives at the social networking juggernaut are willing to take, because many of them (and many of us) find the current experience too limiting. The solution is something called Reactions. “It will arrive soon. And it will expand the range of Facebook-compatible human emotions from one to six.” (I know this all seems a little frivolous. But this is where we live now. Technology news is the new local news.) From BloombergBusinessweek: Inside Facebook’s Decision to Blow Up the Like Button.

+ Let’s look at a couple of other numbers that help illustrate the scope of our tech habit. First, there’s this detail from Apple’s earnings call: “Apple sold an average of 34,000 iPhones per hour, 24 hours a day for 13 consecutive weeks.” And Amazon now has 54 million Prime members.


The Oregon Trail

“The group’s leaders had felt comfortable enough to move freely, leaving the refuge’s headquarters to attend meetings with residents and law enforcement officials.” The FBI arrested the leaders of the Oregon militia group while they were away from the site. There were eight arrests and one person was killed. Meanwhile, there are still armed protestors, now sealed off.


Minutes to Memories

“The fact that the clock’s hands aren’t moving isn’t good news. It’s an expression of grave concern about how the global situation remains largely the same. The last time the clock was this close to midnight was in 1983 — the height of the Cold War.” In The New Yorker, Lawrence M. Krauss checks the time on the Doomsday Clock, designed to give us “an easy way to gauge the likelihood that our species will destroy itself.”


Was It Just a Spring Fling?

“Mr. Khalil is one of hundreds of Egyptians who have recently been subjected to what human rights groups call enforced disappearance.” That’s how activists say the Egyptian government is dealing with its opposition. From the NYT: Hundreds vanishing in Egypt as crackdown widens.

+ “They are the farmers revolting against the privatisation of their land; the DJs creating illicit new music in backstreet garages; the ceramics plant employees kidnapping their boss and seizing control of their workplace; the Bedouins storming a government nuclear site to reclaim stolen territory; the schoolchildren who spend their lunch breaks playing games of revolution in Zawyet Dahshur. Their stories rarely make it into the international media. But within them lies the revolution’s threat, and its living, giddying possibilities.” The Guardian’s Jack Shenker with a broad overview of the future of the Egyptian revolution.


Crazy Like a Fox?

With the first GOP caucus less than a week away, Donald Trump is making headlines again. This time, the frontrunner is refusing to participate in a debate on Fox News, in part because of his long-running feud with anchor Megyn Kelly. Will an ongoing public spat with the the extremely popular Kelly hurt Trump, or will his untraditional campaigning style only further endear him to supporters? Oh, who the hell knows…

+ From WaPo: The long, strange history of the Donald Trump-Megyn Kelly feud.


Farm to Fable

“The shaming of the brothers, for their beards, their claims, and the quality of their chocolate, had the hallmarks of a fundamentalist purge, an expulsion of the impure from the ranks of the orthodox.” The New Yorker’s Dana Goodyear looks back at the artisanal re-melted chocolate scandal and how it will impact the the way forward for hipster food. Maybe it’s time for the perpetuators of this movement to take their mustache wax, top hats, and pocket-watches and just go home and have a bag of Doritos.


A Hot Mess

“Choudhury admitted keeping a fleet of up to 40 luxury cars — including Bentleys, Ferraris and Rolls-Royces — in a Van Nuys garage. He said he gave the vehicles to the state to start a school, the Bikram auto engineering school for children.” After a cross-examination that drew a few laughs from jurors, Yoga guru Bikram Choudhury must pay $6.4 million in damages to the women who accused him of sexual misconduct, and just generally behaving like a downward facing douchebag. There are more lawsuits in the queue.


Pliers Poker

“And after researching this topic further, I am now convinced that the wisdom teeth industry is probably a scam.” In Fusion, Rob Wile argues that you might want to think twice about getting your wisdom teeth removed.


Hedge Hog

“They gave me my own cell and there were like, ten dudes in the other cell,” he says. “I was like the king.” This Vice piece brings up an interesting question: Why Is Martin Shkreli Still Talking? I’m almost positive that Shkreli represents something remarkably important about our era. But I’m still trying to figure out what.


Bottom of the News

With all the controversy over the Oscar nominees, I’m guessing this isn’t gonna go over particularly well. Joseph Fiennes just got cast to play Michael Jackson in a roadtrip comedy. (Maybe he’ll play opposite Rachel Dolezal as Ice Cube.)

+ Syndicated from Kottke: Watch these inspiring film pioneers in this behind the scenes look at the first movie shot entirely with a Prius backup camera.

+ ESPN: On Jan. 15, legendary surfers took on Maui’s skyscraper-sized waves. The best-case scenario was an epic, record-breaking ride. The worst was death. (The other day I skipped my walk because it was sprinkling.)

+ Slate: These McDonald’s Mozzarella Sticks Have a Problem: No Cheese. (It’s only a problem until you experience the wonder of deep-fried air.)

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