Friday, June 10th, 2016


You are the One

"Does it matter that we might be living in a simulation?" That question has been raised more often since Elon Musk suggested the possibility in a recent interview. He's not the only one who thinks it's a possibility (or even a likelihood). If we're part of a computer simulation, then this election year seems like a good time for a system software update. The New Yorker's Joshua Rothman helps explain why the posthuman future has never been easier to imagine -- especially for those who work at the forefront of technology.? (After reading this, I had a terrible dream that I was reincarnated as part of a Windows Phone.)



Hulk Hogan spent a career competing against opponents in fake fights where no one was supposed to really get hurt. His career as a plaintiff has been very different. If the goal of his Peter Thiel-backed sex tape lawsuit against Gawker was to drive the indie publisher into bankruptcy, then it was a success as Gawker just filed Chapter 11 to protect assets from seizure by Hulk Hogan. This could be the first celebrity sex tape without a happy ending.


Weekend Reads

"Davontae Sanford was released Wednesday from prison after serving nine years for a murder to which he confessed, but the state now doubts he committed." The Atlantic's J. Weston Phippen on a story that is representative of a broad trend: How an Innocent Teenager Confessed to Murder.

+ "It was a century-long marriage made in heaven, as start-up department stores and start-up newspapers fed each other, and both became wealthy. Now, once again, their fortunes are fused -- as both suffer epochal declines." Politico's Ken Doctor on The Macy's Factor.

+ "Who helps wounded veterans? Adele Levine shares her experience working with military amputees as a physical therapist at Walter Reed Army Medical Center." From The War Horse: The Man With Half A Head.

+ "I spend thousands of dollars on nostalgic toy horses. When I finally opened up to my husband about my hush-hush habit, it actually brought us closer together." From Narratively: How I learned to stop worrying and embrace my My Little Pony obsession. (As of this week, I have two dogs and three cats. At this point, a toy pet fetish would come as a relief.)


This Must Be Some Kind Mix Up

"On the day they're born, all the fluffy male chicks born to egg-laying hens at hatcheries are gruesomely killed -- usually by being run, while conscious, through what is essentially a blender." WaPo on the disturbing practice that large egg producers have pledged to stop by 2020.


String Theory

As more Americans get hooked on opioids, some hospitals are looking for ways to ease pain without resorting to the addictive drugs. From the NYT: "Instead of opioids, an ER in New Jersey now treats many pain patients with alternatives like laughing gas, trigger-point injections and even a therapy harp." (I wonder if a therapy harp and laughing gas aren't a little redundant.)

+ Quartz: A new study of 250 million patients shows medicine is still full of guesswork.


This is a Dirty Little Blurb

12,167 hours. That's about how much time we each spend washing our bodies. Are we wasting too much time in the shower? Do we even need to bathe? And are we scrubbing away the very bacteria that's there to protect us? Those questions are addressed by James Hamblin's piece: I Quit Showering, and Life Continued. If I tried this, I'm pretty sure my family would be living at an Extended Stay America within 48 hours.

+ I recently saw an interesting presentation by a company that is looking to replace some of the bacteria we wash away (or avoid by staying inside all the time) with a collection of mists and cleansers. If you want join my journey into bacteria, check out the Mother Dirt bundle. You can get my 25% discount with this code: THEWHAT25. (I was down to either trying this or closing my laptop and going outside.)


Taking the Gloves Off

As I'm writing this, a lot of you could watching updates of the Muhammad Ali funeral. Here are updates from the Washington Post and from The Undefeated.

+ We lost another sports great this week as Gordie Howe died at the age of 88. People called him Mr. Hockey. And no one questioned whether he lived up to the nickname.


Two Waters, Please

Restaurants want you to come in, be with people you feel relaxed around, leave after a reasonable amount of time, and feel loose enough to have a few drinks and order a big meal. In other words, they hate customers who are on Tinder dates. And they can spot them right away.


Franchise Opportunity?

"Affiliates were expected to find their own victims and set their own ransom demands. Some preferred to cast as wide a net as possible, using networks of compromised computers called botnets to infect many computers at once. Others preferred to chase high-value targets like rich individuals or critical services -- think hospitals or government agencies -- that might be willing to pay much higher ransoms to regain access to their systems." In case you were wondering, here's how to run a Russian hacking ring.s


Bottom of the News

"His taste buds are insured for more than both of Rihanna's legs and on par with one of Madonna's boobs, depending on the exchange rate." Learn how the world's most valuable master tea taster found his calling.

+ Wired: Nice Minnesotans Don't Get the Cruelly Efficient Zipper Merge.

+ The NYT makes the case that periods are going out of style by publishing an article without any. (There's no doubt we're entering the age of the semi-colon.)

+ The Marshall Project on the dogs that can sniff out iPhones almost anywhere. (I wonder if I can borrow one of them to find out where my son keeps hiding my iPad.)