Monday, August 8th, 2016


With Friends Like These…

Ever get a little freaked out when someone you barely know describes you as a dear friend? Would it surprise you if a person you thought of as your BFF thought of you as more of an acquaintance? (Cat owners know this feeling all too well.) It turns out that different perceptions about friendship are quite common. "Recent research indicates that only about half of perceived friendships are mutual. That is, someone you think is your friend might not be so keen on you. Or, vice versa, as when someone you feel you hardly know claims you as a bestie." From the NYT: Do Your Friends Actually Like You?


Life’s a Glitch

Thousands of people are stuck at airports around the world today. Why? A power outage in the middle of the night took down Delta's computer systems. Southwest experienced a similar outage last month. It's seems a little amazing that the systems run by major companies are this vulnerable to meltdown.


Hospital Bombing

At least 63 people were killed in a suicide bombing in Pakistan. "Many of those hurt or killed were lawyers or journalists who had gathered at the hospital after prominent lawyer Bilal Anwar Kasti was shot dead earlier on Monday morning and brought to the emergency department."


Cageless Beauty

"It also amounts to one of the animal advocacy movement's biggest victories in decades -- one brought about by ballot measures, campaigns against companies, foodie culture and, above all, the power of the Internet." WaPo's Karin Brulliard on the dramatic changes in the way we think about chickens and eggs (starting with the fact that we think about them at all). How eggs became a victory for the animal welfare movement.


Five Ring Circus

NBC has suffered some pretty weak viewership ratings so far, but my family is about 50 hours into our Olympics watching binge. It's ironic that for every American not in the Olympics, these are the most sedentary weeks of our lives. So far, we've learned that Simone Biles and crew have surpassed their own reputations, Katie Ledecky is remarkable, and Michael Phelps won another gold medal (all of which East Coast viewers knew three hours earlier than West Coast viewers even though, well, Internet.)

+ That giant sucking sound you hear is the cupping fad that has spread among competing swim teams. It also explains those big red circles on everyone. (To be safe, let's keep the air rifle competitors away from the aquatics stadium.)

+ Deadspin: What Is everyone trying to tell us about Katinka HosszĂș and her hot-tempered coach-husband?

+ Here's a video that will explain gymnastics scoring. (My therapist has recommended that I take Xanax or watch less Balance Beam.)

+ As per usual, the Olympics sites that would never be ready on time seem to be holding up OK. But there's no doubt that it's been a tough few years for Brazil. Franklin Foer went to Rio to find out if Brazil can be saved.


Trump Threesome

After a rough week, Donald Trump gave a speech in which he explained his plans for the economy, which include "collapsing the federal income tax rate from seven brackets down to three and ... allowing child-care expenses to be exempt from taxation."

+ What was the most important thing pollsters learned last week? Trump's floor in the polls is probably higher than you think.


Our See Through Society

"In other words, Assange's project has been from the start more like opposition research than dispassionate reporting. His goal is to find dirt in the servers of powerful individuals or organizations he sees as corrupt or dangerous, and bring them down by exposing it. As he memorably told Der Spiegel in 2010, 'I enjoy crushing bastards.'" The Intercept: What Julian Assange's war on Hillary Clinton says about WikiLeaks. It says that you should be careful about rooting for organizations that hack other people's data, and, most of the time, you probably shouldn't disseminate it when they do. Of course, at this point, that'd be like tossing a pebble at a Tsunami.


What the Buck?

Question: What can a hundred bucks buy you in California? Answer: About $89. The NYT provides an interesting look at the relative value of $100 in each state.



"This past March, researcher eMarketer ranked the top 25 companies in online retail. First place, not surprisingly, was Amazon, which scored over $79 billion in e-commerce sales last year. Walmart came in second place -- at $13.5 billion. That's not a gap; it's a chasm." Will Wal-Mart's $3 billion purchase of Jet make a difference? For that kind of money, it better. (Wal-Mart is still immense offline.) From Wired: Walmart's $3 Billion Buy Still Leaves It Way Behind. (After seeing the immense size and scope of that jungle in Brazil this week, I can totally see why they named it after Amazon.)


Bottom of the News

"The series will feature the lifestyle maven and the D-O-double-G teaming up each week to host a dinner party with celebrity guests." Yes, Martha Stewart and Snoop Dogg are teaming up a for VH1 dinner-party series. I'm still waiting for VH1 to do a Behind the Music on VH1.

+ ABC: Bride walks down the aisle with man who was saved by her father's heart donation.

+ CNN: Do your genes decide when you lose your virginity? (That would explain why I spent so many years sitting home alone reading about Crispr.)