Thursday, January 28th, 2016


You’ve Been Sold Out

Your phone alarm goes off. You refresh the web page that's been loaded for hours at the exact second those Springsteen tickets go on sale. And yet there are no decent tickets available. So you take a risk, and you refresh again to see if a second try will yield better results. It's sold out. Welcome to the darkness on the edge of town, where you're most certainly not alone. Consider this: "A single high-tech scalper bought more than 1,000 tickets in less than a minute for one U2 show at Madison Square Garden. Tickets for Springsteen's 2016 River tour started appearing on secondary ticket-selling sites like StubHub before they went on sale." A three-year investigation by the NY Attorney General confirms what you already know: Ticketing is a fixed game. (Bruce, if you're reading this, hook me up.)


A Caucus and Bull Story

"I unplug our house phone during election seasons. I also taped a fairly crude note to my front door to avoid pollsters from knocking." Watching a campaign invade a state on television is like reading about torture. You might get the gist, but you have no idea how it feels. The NYT asked some residents what it's like to live in Iowa before the caucuses.


Mosquito Threat

The World Heath Organization has convened an emergency committee to discuss the Zika virus. WHO's director general described the virus as spreading "explosively" and "one WHO scientist estimated there could be 3 to 4 million Zika infections in the Americas over the next year."



"Malheur is the first real siege brought about by a group of occupiers on the offensive." There have been plenty of other public standoffs with the federal government. But as WaPo's Joe Heim explains, the Oregon standoff was (and maybe still is) different in some very troubling ways.


The One With the Teacher

"Reagan looked at me with this look on his face, and said, 'Isn't that the one with the teacher on it?' And I said, 'Yes, sir.'" Today marks the 30th anniversary of one of the most horribly memorable moments in history. Popular Mechanics interviewed more than two dozen people to create an oral history of the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster.


The Lead Spread

The water disaster in Flint has brought the issue of lead to the headlines. But as the Detroit News reports: "While much of the state's focus on lead has rightly been on poisoned water in Flint, the metal continues to turn up annually in the bodies of thousands of children across the state, at percentages well above the numbers that raised red flags in Flint."


Cal Bears

"This entire enterprise, from the Beltsville facility to the numbers on the packets of the food we buy, creates an aura of scientific precision around the business of counting calories. That precision is illusory." It's a metric we obsess over but one that a lot of us barely understand. And it might not help much of we did. Mosaic explains why the calorie is broken.


Diamond Run

"When I go to the grocery store, I see the people who are sleeping in shifts. We see the gap continuing to widen between the uppermost levels of income earners and the rest." If you want to get an idea of how today's income equality gap is different, spend a few days skiing in a popular resort town and notice the one thing you won't find there. Locals. The NYT: Precipitous Rents in Ski Country Push Workers to Edges.


Tower of Power

What if I told you that there was a place where 85 Tower Records stores not only still exist, but do about a half a billion dollars a year in sales? And what if I told you that this was happening, not in some obscure, unconnected nether region, but in the world's second largest market? It turns out that in Japan, the CD is still king. Why does one culture resist online music?


Bottom of the News

"Yes, some people will say we are late to the game. But changes at a huge corporation take time." Mattel has finally released a curvy Barbie. (Maybe we need an invisible Barbie?)

+ Kanye, Wiz, Amber Rose and, at long last, the true purpose of Twitter exposed.

+ A celebration of the simple genius of binder clips.

+ "Helen Keller can tell you from the grave that Clearview looks better." The unexpected, and apparently quite contentious, sudden u-turn on highway fonts.

+ And now, Martin Shkreli has a rap beef.