Friday, May 20th, 2016


It’s Like Uber for Navel Gazing

Uber. Lyft. On demand. Sharing economy. These are the buzzwords of a generation. But not the whole generation. According to a report by Pew, 15% of Americans have used a ride hailing service. On one hand, that's a huge number of people using some relatively new services. On the other hand, it might be lower than those on the coasts and in big cities would have imagined. Consider that "about twice as many people have never even heard of these services as have actually used one." That's a reality check for folks who live in a screen-dominated world. And it's also evidence that these kinds of companies still have room for enormous growth.

+ A few other stats from the full Pew Report: 61% of Americans have never heard of the term crowdfunding. 73% are not familiar with the term sharing economy (this is probably good since the sharing economy really doesn't have much to do with sharing). And 89% are not familiar with the term gig economy. (Giggity.)

+ Consumerist: 9 things we learned about how few Americans are regularly taking part in the "sharing economy." (Reducing a bunch of data or news down to a handy list... Now that's a modern service that we're all familiar with.)



After a few false reports of wreckage sightings, Egyptian forces have found luggage, plane seats, and body parts in a 40 mile radius in the Mediterranean. Still no black box. Still no certainty about what caused the plane to swerve and then go down. Here's the latest from The Guardian.


Weekend Reads

"Like many other singers and crew staging the 17-hour, four-opera Wagner extravaganza at the Kennedy Center, Ms. Bishop got her first taste of opera from a cartoon rabbit and his speech-impaired nemesis." Michael Phillips on How Bugs Bunny and Kill the Wabbit Inspired a Generation of Opera Stars.

+ "It is still so hard to believe that at my age, my birth mother is still alive. I get chills and goose bumps all at the same time when I think of this." Vikki Ortiz Healy with the story of a daughter who finally met her birth mother, who, by then, was 99 years old.

+ The Verge: Dr. Snapchat: one dentist's journey toward social media stardom. (If I ever have the misfortune of a dental appointment with someone known as Dr. Snapchat, I can tell you one thing: I'm skipping the Nitrous Oxide.)


Naughty By Nature

"But nests are also nature, and nature can be nasty. Last month, a Pittsburgh cam's bald eagles made national news when they fed a small cat to their eaglets." Everyone loves a nice animal-cam. Until things get nasty.

+ WaPo: How cameras in the wild have transformed what we know about animals.


Addressing Labels

The FDA is out with its new required food labels. Among the changes: Food makers will now have to use more reasonable serving sizes and highlight a product's added sugars.


Stop and Frisco

"The progress we have made has been meaningful, but it hasn't been fast enough, not for me and not for Greg, and that's why I have asked Chief Suhr for his resignation." After yet another controversial shooting, San Francisco's Mayor Ed Lee succumbed to increasing pressure and forced police chief Greg Suhr to resign.

+ Here's a timeline of Suhr's troubled tenure.


Hunger Claims

Sure, Tolstoy gets all the cred from the professional book reviewers. But what about the rest of us? Are we more impressed with War and Peace or the latest installment of Hunger Games? Pricenomics takes an interesting look at the question: What is the Internet's Favorite Book? (We already know its favorite newsletter.)



Some of America's best thinkers (including my mom) have raved about Yuval Noah Harari's book Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind. Now the author is working on a new book in which he predicts the future of humans. In short, Siri and Alexa are going to mess you up, real bad: "Instead of silicon assistants we'll build silicon assassins. The doomsday story of an evil AI has been told a thousand times. But our fate at the hand of clever clogs robots may in fact be worse -- to summon a class of eternally useless human beings." (Finally, a role for which we're over-qualified.)


Throw in the Kitchen Clink

"The hens are free range and the chefs locked up." Bloomberg's Richard Vines on the restaurant run by inmates, where diners need to go though a security check: This May Be the World's Best Prison Food.


Bottom of the News

Are you 25 years old? There's a chance you'll never have more friends than you do right now. From Quartz: Research has uncovered the precise age at which we start losing friends. (The validity of this study seems a little questionable, which I suppose is implied by the fact that it's on the Internet.)

+ The three-point shot is all the rage. Is it time to consider the four-point shot? (And how many points does Steph Curry get if he sinks a basket from the parking lot?)

+ Google patents human flypaper for self-driving car crashes.

+ Candace Payne's enthusiastic video about her new Chewbacca mask is going viral. And with good reason.