Wednesday, June 8th, 2016


Working My Way Back to You Babe

So let's say humans came up with a technology that would enable us to communicate with each other from remote locations using wired computers. Then imagine that this new mode of communicating was untethered and could be managed from mobile devices anywhere in the world. If that happened, you'd assume there would be less incentive or need for us to be together for work. But a funny thing happened on the way to the Slack forum. We decided we still really want to be in the same place at the same time. And people are following each other -- and the money -- to increasingly crowded and expensive urban areas. In CityLab, Richard Florida explains the trend: "More than half of all startup neighborhoods are urban, with 57 percent of startup companies and 54 percent of venture-capital investments located in urban ZIP codes. The second is that startup neighborhoods have considerably greater shares of commuters who walk, bike, or take transit to work." Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in.

+ The Guardian: When many lower-income Americans feel isolated and empty, they yearn for physical social networks. All across US, this happens organically at McDonald's.


Turn Your Head and Search

"We asked ourselves, 'If we heard the whispers of people online, would it provide strong evidence or a clue that something's going on?'" Researchers at Microsoft analyzed a huge pool of our search queries and they found something pretty remarkable. It looks like some of our search history can be used to detect serious diseases. From the NYT's John Markoff: Microsoft Finds Cancer Clues in Search Queries.


The Fire Still Berns

"Thanks to you, we've reached a milestone, the first time in our nation's history that a woman will be a major party's nominee. Tonight's victory is not about one person -- it belongs to generations of women and men who struggled and sacrificed and made this moment possible." So said Hillary Clinton as she won several major states and cemented the top spot on Democratic ticket. Meanwhile, Bernie Sanders chose not to concede and insisted that his campaign will continue all the way to the convention. My guess is that Bernie will actually drop out way before that. In Silicon Valley parlance, it's time to pivot.

+ The Atlantic: Hillary Clinton's Remarkable Comeback.

+ As we shift to the general election, WaPo charts the positions Trump and Clinton have taken on key issues. As you might imagine, there are big differences.


A Case of He Says He Says

It's usually a bad sign when people openly question whether a candidate will follow through on his proposals. But there is nothing usual about Donald Trump's rise to the top of the GOP ticket, which helps explain this WaPo quote that would be impossible to process if it were written about any other candidate: "The wall along the Mexican border is one of Trump's most enduring and popular proposals, prompting raucous cheering and chants wherever he goes. Yet many of Trump's fans don't actually think he will build a wall -- and they don't care if he doesn't."


Don’t Vote for Pedro

"When we left, the co-owner and chef, Davide Cerretini, gave me a sticker that said, 'I gave Botto one star on Yelp.; If I did that, my next pizza would be half price." Are online ratings of any real value? Many researchers doubt it. Meanwhile, consumers are overwhelmed, and some small business are so frustrated that they're asking customers to give them lousy reviews to make a point. From the NYT: Online Reviews? Researchers Give Them a Low Rating.


Foodie Call

"What leisurely plutocrat with too much time on his hands isn't tempted to throw his energies into some hobby with immediate built-in payoffs, like becoming an overnight expert on the expensive aged cheeses of the world? What better pastime for a wealthy faux-hippie housewife than raising egg-laying hens (they're adorable!) or learning to pickle the organic vegetables her child is growing at his pricey progressive preschool?" If you're a bit irritated by the emerging foodie culture, you're gonna love Heather Havrilesky's piece in the Baffler. Delusion at the Gastropub: On the foodie devolution. (I found that this article was best paired with either a wooden bowl of artisanal, hand-crafted, farm to table Doritos, or some of that hipster chocolate that turned out to be regular chocolate, remelted.)


Horror Movie

John Jairo Velásquez used to be know as Popeye. He was one of Pablo Escobar's enforcers and it's estimated that he killed at least three hundred people. He went to jail. Now he's out. And he's better at going viral than you are. He says his video channel is intended to reduce crime, but many people aren't too happy with the idea of Popeye becoming a YouTube star.


Today in Troll News

"Of course, these people are not scholars of the Holocaust. As Julia Ioffe and others have pointed out, many of them are Holocaust deniers, even as they express admiration for genocide. The message: 'The Holocaust never happened, but it was awesome.'" In The Atlantic, Jeffrey Goldberg provides a brief introduction to the pro-Holocaust Twitterverse.


Nothing But Net

Give some more arc. Snap your wrist. These were the kinds of basketball shooting tips once reserved for coaches. But the new coach is a combination of cameras and software. From Bloomberg: This Machine Knows Shooting Better Than Steph Curry.


Bottom of the News

People were so worried that our attention spans would shrink during the digital age. Well, relax. Our ability to focus on something for hours, or even days, is alive and well. Just ask Netflix.

+ In Kenya, a nationwide blackout occurred when a monkey fell into a crucial piece of equipment. (At least, he says he fell...)

+ Tall people are more productive. (I'm 6'4, so there are exceptions.)