February 26th – The Day’s Most Fascinating News

Am I Ugly?

Chip Rowe took a long look in the mirror and this is what he saw: “My bulbous nose drifts to the right, and my chin is a bit weak, although it’s skillfully hidden behind a goatee. It’s more difficult to hide the bags under my eyes or the fact I have lost most of my hair, which probably kept me from a career in television. And a few months ago, after more than four decades of checking the mirror daily for zits, I noticed that my right ear lobe is shorter than my left. How do you miss something like that?” All this was part of Rowe’s attempt — with some help from what science says about outer beauty — to answer a question: Am I Ugly?


Rap Battle

The latest GOP debate devolved into a dissing match as Marco Rubio (somewhat successfully) and Ted Cruz (less successfully) went on the attack against Donald Trump. Amy Davidson on what we learned from the debate: “Rubio acted a little too pleased with his hits, like a guy doing an extended dance after hitting a single in the company softball game.” (My kids nearly walked into the room where I was watching the debate, but luckily I turned the channel to The Walking Dead in time.)

+ Just as Rubio was gaining some momentum in the race, he ran into a good, old fashioned Chris Christie traffic jam. In a pretty shocking move, Chris Christie just endorsed Trump. (This turn of events, just hours after a rip-roaring debate, proves once again that The GOP 2016 Presidential Election is the greatest television show of all time.)

+ From Digg, here’s just the good stuff from the debate.

+ Ben Carson didn’t say much, but what he said was memorable, including this meme-able gem on his Supreme Court litmus test: “What kind of associations do they have? That will tell you a lot more than an interview will tell you. The fruit salad of their life is what I would look at.”

+ Lindsay Graham: “My Party Has Gone Batshit Crazy.”


Weekend Reads

“That’s the biggest buncha crap on Earth,’ Brinkley said disgustedly, of the idea of death. ‘It never happens.'” Jezebel’s Anna Merlan took a cruise out to sea with America’s largest floating gathering of conspiracy theorists. Needless to say, by the end of the trip, most of them suspected her of being up to something terrible.

+ “With few exceptions all are murderers, most at least a decade into their sentences, including the early leader, a lifer named Markelle Taylor, who has run this course before but never for as long or as fast as he hopes to today.” GQ’s Jesse Katz takes you inside the San Quentin marathon.

+ BBC Magazine goes full scroll with Adele, the full story.

+ Vanity Fair: How Randy Newman and his family have shaped movie music for generations.


Antonin the Money

“Growing political uncertainties due to recent events with the Supreme Court and increased likelihood for unfavorable outcomes for business involved in class-action suits have changed Dow’s risk assessment of the situation.” Because of Justice Scalia’s death, Dow Chemical just decided to settle a suit for more than $800 million.


Daddy Dearest

There’s very little doubt that being an empathetic parent will have a positive impact on your child. It also will very likely physiologically destroy you. (Looks like I’m doing it right then…)


White Swash

As the Academy Awards approaches, the LA Times crunched the numbers on the Oscar voters to see who was picking the winners during this particularly contentious season. Here’s what they found: 91% white. 76% male.

+ Is the problem the voters, or that not enough films feature diverse casts? Or does it just come down to money? From FiveThirtyEight: Hollywood studios barely promoted non-white actors and films.

+ One new thing you’ll see during this year’s Oscar telecast: A Thank You Scroll.


Shuttle Rebuttle

Here’s an unexpected twist. A story appeared about someone and the Internet responded, and that response actually made the person feel better. A nice story from NPR: Your letters helped a Challenger Shuttle engineer shed 30 years of guilt.


Espresso Love

“That small bag held as much caffeine as 1,000 tall lattes from Starbucks, or 2,000 cans of Coke or Pepsi. It was enough to kill several people.” Dan Charles examines the hidden trade of the substance at the heart of America’s true addiction: Caffeine for Sale.


Fame is Fleeting

Syndicated from Kottke: From Pantheon at MIT, an adjustable graph of which kinds of people were globally famous in different eras. Up until the Renaissance, the most well-known people in the world were mostly politicians and religious figures, with some writers and philosophers thrown in for good measure … For the past 50 years, athletes and entertainers dominate the list, with footballers making up almost a third of the most known.


Bottom of the News

“From two llamas escaping an Arizona retirement community to fashion’s most notorious optical illusion, February 26, 2015, was the day that everyone — everyone — came together online to cheer, then argue.” A year later, Buzzfeed shares the oral history of the day that rocked the Internet.

+ “It seems like a passing thought if only I could be an animal. In fact I think it’s a universal. I remember thinking as child if only I could be a cat, then I wouldn’t have to go to school.” PRI with the story of a guy who attempted to cross the Alps wearing prosthetic hooves.

+ A supermarket in Denmark is trying to stand out from the crowd by selling food that is too ugly or old to be sold elsewhere. (I wouldn’t bet the farm on this one…)

+ Before you strap on that Apple Watch, Jawbone, and Fitbit, consider this new study that suggests that measuring an activity makes it less enjoyable. (Yeah, because before all this tech came along, walking ten thousand steps was an absolute blast.)

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