February 4th – The Day’s Most Fascinating News

The Ultimate Retirement Plan

“I’m looking at a picture of two mice. The one on the right looks healthy. The one on the left has graying fur, a hunched back, and an eye that’s been whitened by cataracts.” What’s the difference? Well, scientists at the Mayo clinic used a process to remove senescent (or retired) cells from one of them. And that process leads to mice who age better and live longer. As one researcher not connected to the study explains: “The usual caveats apply — it’s got to be reproduced by other people — but if it’s correct, without wanting to be too hyperbolic, it’s one of the more important aging discoveries ever.”

+ And we want you living a long, healthy life. Because it turns out you probably won’t reach your happiest level until you’re 65.


Taking the Phifth

“You all spent all of your time strategizing about how to hide your price increase … and coming up with stupid jokes while other people were sitting there trying to figure out how they were going to survive.” So said U.S. Representative Elijah Cummings as Pharma Bro Martin Shkreli made weird faces, laughed, and took the Fifth during his short exchange with a House oversight committee. He later tweeted that the folks on the committee are imbeciles.

+ It’s fun (and probably appropriate) to demonize Pharma Bro. But don’t let it take your eye off the bigger issue. Crazy medical costs. From Bloomberg: Shkreli Was Right. Everyone’s Hiking Drug Prices.



“Military planners are still awaiting orders on whether American involvement would include striking senior leaders, attacking a broader set of targets, or deploying teams of commandos.” As the NYT reports, with ISIS numbers growing, President Obama is being pressed to open a military front in Libya.

+ Will striking ISIS make Americans any safer?


Keep Em Separated

Hundreds Register for New Facebook website, read a headline in The Crimson on February 9, 2004. Why the site gained so many users so quickly was a mystery, even to its founder. ‘I have no idea why it’s so popular.'” That was twelve years ago, and it turns out that The Facebook got even more popular. Here’s a look at what college newspapers thought about the new network back in the day.

+ Six degrees of separation? That’s the old thinking. Thanks to Facebook, it’s more like 3.57 degrees of separation.


Passing the Plato

From WaPo: You want an Ivy League education, you could fork over $200 grand or so and go to Cornell or Harvard for four years. Alternatively, you could save a ton of cash by simply reading the same books Ivy League students are assigned.” (Or better yet, wait until those books are condensed down into a series of animated GIFs.)


All The Rage

To really understand the deeper meaning of the Donald Trump phenomenon, you need to understand what drives his most ardent supporters. A lot of it has to do with a belief that Trump is simply saying the things many other people are thinking. My friends at Reveal have put together a great podcast episode that focuses on just this issue. Give a listen to Pumped on Trump.

+ BBC: Why are Americans so angry?


The Art of AI

“The truth is that even the experts don’t completely understand how neural nets work. But they do work. If you feed enough photos of a platypus into a neural net, it can learn to identify a platypus. If you show it enough computer malware code, it can learn to recognize a virus.” Wired’s Cade Metz with an interesting piece on how artificial intelligence is transforming Google search. And as goes Google, so goes the the rest of the web.


The Shelf Life of Shelves

“Amazon stores would serve as local warehouses, distribution centers, and someday, perhaps, drone-delivery airports.” The New Yorker’s David Sax with some of the reasons why Amazon would want to be the New Barnes & Noble. (At this point, don’t we all just want to get offline now and then?)

+ ReCode: Meet the Guy Behind Amazon’s Secret Retail Store Plans.


Premature Adulation

While many of us who are aging will do anything to avoid going gray, some in the younger crowd are actually using hair dye to get that distinguished look. From the NYT: For Millennial Men, Gray Hair Is Welcome. If they like going gray, wait until they try ironic dementia, authentic constipation, and artisanal impotence.


Bottom of the News

You’re always trying to be everything to everyone. Try this instead: Be nothing to no one. Here are my six simple steps to uncomplicate your life.

+ Your next sport: Droneboarding.

+ It’s a weird week to be living in Denver, North Carolina.

+ When R. Kelly learned about the Pied Piper.

+ A moment that sums up San Franciso’s uneasy role hosting the Super Bowl: A Bud Light truck bottomed out on a hill.

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