Monday, May 16th, 2016


This is Gonna Sting

"Last January, Malcolm Bird took his 1-year-old daughter, Colette, to the local emergency room. His wife had accidentally cut the young girl's pinky finger while clipping her fingernails, and it had begun to bleed. They were nervous, first-time parents who wanted a doctor's opinion." As you might imagine, what they got was a band-aid. As you may or may not have imagined, they also got an absurdly inflated bill. Vox's Sarah Kliff on the case of the $629 Band-Aid -- and what it reveals about American health care.

+ A divided Supreme Court boots the Obamacare contraception case back to lower courts. This thing has been in court so many times it should be called the Judicial Care Act.

+ Everybody Is Constipated, Nobody Is Constipated. That might sound like the title of Metamucil's new jingle, but it's actually FiveThirtyEight's look at the history of constipation which "exists in your head and your heart, as well as in your colon."

+ PBS Newshour: Boston hospital records first penis transplant in U.S. Doctors predict the patient's sexual function should return within a few months.


The Tortoise and O’Hare

At least 450 passengers missed flights, and a lot more lost their minds, because of long TSA lines (we're talking more than two hours) at Chicago's O'Hare Airport.

+ As many travelers know, the O'Hare fiasco is emblematic of a broader problem. Quartz breaks the issue down with the world's most simple chart. (They were gonna add a line for travelers' rage, but the Internet isn't big enough.)


Maternity War

"The day had begun with the usual hazards: chronic shortages of antibiotics, intravenous solutions, even food. Then a blackout swept over the city, shutting down the respirators in the maternity ward. Doctors kept ailing infants alive by pumping air into their lungs by hand for hours. By nightfall, four more newborns had died." The NYT's Nicholas Casey on the brutal health care toll of Venezuela's economic meltdown.

+ InFocus: The empty cupboards of Venezuela's families.


Money Shots

In the mid-90s, "the total wealth or real net worth of the world's billionaires" was about $1 trillion. By 2015, that number had surged to $5 trillion. Key factors: The rise of China and the Internet business. From CityLab: Understanding the rise of the global super-rich.

+ There are still plenty of dot com unicorns. Business Insider has a list of some of the youngest ones.


Brawl in the Family

In the NYT, Mujib Mashal describes it as "just another sign of how long the violence has dragged on, and of how it has permeated the deepest levels of society and poisoned the closest of relationships." It's the story of a father determined to kill his own son: I Will Kill Him.


Let’s Hear it For the Brand

Amazon has gotten really good at selling and delivering products. Soon, a lot of those products will be private-labeled. And as Jason Del Rey explains, that's going to a be a really big deal (especially for those who currently sell products in the same categories).

+ Did you know that, if things had gone a little differently, the post office could have delivered your first email? Instead, they just delivered a ton of America Online CDs.


Invitation to a Mastheading

Over the past week, there's been a lot of controversy about the way Facebook's humans and algorithms work together to present trending news. But do that many people really turn to Facebook as primary source of hard news? In a word, yes.

+ And according to Digiday, 43 percent of social media users don't know where the stories they read originally appeared.


Smirch Engine

"Caldwell arrived here at the beginning of 2015 after an epic crime spree that was eerily similar to his NFL career -- short-lived, unfocused and full of colossal blunders. His 10-month rager included two SWAT raids, four arrests, a half-eaten hoagie (we'll explain) and Maxwell House coffee tins stuffed with cash." From ESPN's David Fleming: How Reche Caldwell Googled his way from the Patriots to prison. (Without Incognito Mode, we'd probably all have done that by now.)


Getting to Know You

ProPublica gives the people what they want: "We threw the door open to questions: what magical investigative reporter superpowers would you like to possess? The ability to bring evil corporate polluters to their knees? To expose corruption on some school board failing our children? No, you said. It was how to research your Tinder match."

+ Racked: I tried smell dating and it didn't stink.


Bottom of the News

Last week, we witnessed one of the craziest, most absurd, and most fantastically wonderful 36 hours in political entertainment history and it made me realize; there's a way out of this. It's a win-win. All upside, no downside. Trust me. I've Got a Deal for Donald Trump

+ "As I finished each book, I began to perform it and keep it alive in repertory while committing the next to memory." Meet the guy who memorized Paradise Lost.

+ Syndicated via Kottke: When a show spans 27 seasons and almost 600 episodes, you're bound to hit your futuristic mark at least some of the time. Here are ten instances in which The Simpsons predicted inventions which have since come to pass, including smartwatches you can talk to, baby translators, and left-handed stores.