Thursday, March 24th, 2016


Behind Stall Doors

Yesterday, North Carolina "passed a sweeping law overturning gay and transgender protections at the local level and requiring students to use restrooms that correspond to the sex listed on their birth certificates." It all happened in response to Charlotte's recently adopted nondiscrimination ordinance that some legislators said went too far. (Too much nondiscrimination; that's a new one.) I'm not sure we need our officials wasting time overturning nondiscriminatory bathroom laws. I have stage fright in front of all people equally.

+ North Carolina is actually fighting an increasingly common legislative battle. One between progressive cities and conservative rural and suburban areas. You'll see this very clear pattern play out during the general election. It's not about blue states and red states anymore. It's about blue towns and red towns.

+ And increasingly, out-of-towners are exercising their muscle. Following similar warnings from the NFL, Disney (and many other companies and celebrities) are threatening a boycott of Georgia if the state passes an anti-Gay bill.

+ Want to understand the scope of the American cultural split? Check out this note from a principal in Georgia: "While we have been practicing de-stressing techniques in many classrooms for years, there have been some recent practices associated with mindfulness that are offensive to some." Yup. People are pissed about Yoga. (Can't we try to be a little more flexible?)

+ Reminder: On Friday at 10am (pt), I'm going to taking questions via chat on Product Hunt Live. (I got that Yoga joke out of my system just in time.) I'll be talking news, media and probably a little angel investing too. Please enter your email here to get a reminder.


The Long (Slow) Arm of the Law

The crimes were committed in the 90s. The trial has lasted eight years. But slow justice is better than no justice. Former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic has been convicted of genocide and war crimes and sentenced to forty years in jail.


Brothers in Arms

Brussels. Paris. Charlie Hebdo. Boston. 9/11. What do all of those terrorist attacks have in common? Brothers. From the LA Times: Brothers who work together in the name of terror.

+ This Quartz headline sums up a lot of what I've read over the past few days: Terrorists don't recognize borders. Europe's security forces are failing because they do.


It’s Not All In Your Head

"Confidential data obtained by The Times shows that more than 100 diagnosed concussions were omitted from the studies -- including some severe injuries to stars like quarterbacks Steve Young and Troy Aikman." The NYT has a damning report on the NFL's data collection (or lack thereof) when it comes to concussions. Another problematic sign: The league hired lobbyists, lawyers and consultants who previously represented the tobacco industry.


You’re Doing it Wrong

"Does anybody think it's unwise to be lean, nimble, and innovative? Who needs a book to know that rote behavior and fear of uncertainty are not going to take us very far?" It turns out, a lot of people need (or at least think they need) those books. The New Yorker's Louis Menand on best-selling books that are all part of the life biz. (Coming soon: How to Save for Retirement By Waiting for the Paperback Edition.)


Pat, I’d Like to Buy an Election

"Demographics explain why campaigns target the show. The average viewer is 50 years old, and 70 percent say they always vote." Want to get a glimpse of the frontlines of the 2016 commercial battlefield? Just watch Wheel of Fortune.

+ The Atlantic: The Weaponization of Heidi Cruz and Melania Trump.


Solitary Together

"The two men would have to eat, sleep, and defecate inches from one another for nearly 24 hours a day in a space smaller than a parking spot, if a parking spot had walls made of cement and steel on all sides." We've seen a lot of reports about the mental damage that can be done by putting a prisoner into solitary confinement. Here's The Marshall Project on what it's like sharing one of those cells with a homicidal roommate.


Big Wave Channel Surfing

"What if all the TVs in your home were just extensions of your phone?" In The Verge, Nilay Patel explains how how Vizio and Google radically reinvented the TV. Here's a radical idea. Just put a browser on the TV and let us watch what we want to watch without needing a PhD in information architecture. It was hard enough teaching my parents how to program a VCR. There's no way I'm gonna try to explain how to create folders for apps on the new Apple TV.


That’s Not My Jam

"We see this in consumer goods -- if there are too many flavors of jam at the store, for instance, you might feel that it's just too complicated to consider the jam aisle, you might end up skipping it all together, you might decide it's not worth settling down with one jam." WaPo tries to find out how well online dating works by talking to someone who has been studying it for years. (When I was young, we'd settle for any jam we could get...)


Bottom of the News

Twenty-four hours before, this was the idea: "Microsoft unveiled Tay -- a Twitter bot that the company described as an experiment in "conversational understanding." The more you chat with Tay, said Microsoft, the smarter it gets, learning to engage people through 'casual and playful conversation.'" Twenty-four hours later, interactions with humans had turned Tay into a racist jerk.

+ Syndicated from Kottke: This is an experiment about expectations. Six photographers are given an assignment to shoot photos of one man. Each photographer is told a different story about the man: he's a millionaire, a lifesaver, an ex-con, a fisherman, a psychic, a recovering alcoholic. As you might expect, the photos taken by the different photographers of the same person are pretty different.

+ Continuity and change. It was a satirical slogan on the show Veep. Until it was adopted by the prime minister of Australia.

+ A guy just got arrested for not returning a VHS version of Freddy Got Fingered that he rented back in 2002. Considering the movie, he probably should've been arrested the second rented it.