Tuesday, November 13th, 2018


The King of Queens

A whopping 238 locations threw their proposals in the ring to be the site of Amazon's second headquarters. "For the chance to win high-paying tech jobs, cities and states offered as much as $8.5 billion in tax incentives, revamped their transit plans, and staged elaborate marketing campaigns to lure the company." They also shared a ton of valuable information with a company that thrives on having a ton of valuable information. In the end, HQ2 will be divided between Arlington, VA and Long Island City in Queens. The only way the other 236 applicants could be any more disappointed would if Bezos decided to locate HQ2 within the campus of HQ1.

+ The bigger story here is about bigness. "Google, Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Microsoft have together acquired more than 500 companies in the past decade." Are we letting a few companies become way too massive because of an outdated definition of monopoly?

+ NYT: Amazon Is Getting $1.5 Billion to Come to Queens. Now Begins the Fight Over if It's Worth It. (I had a feeling Queens would be the winner when I asked Alexa to tell me where HQ2 would end up and she said, "fuggedaboutit.")

+ From Gizmodo, here's one small example of Amazon's influence. How Amazon Now Shapes What Our Stuff Looks Like. "Part of the challenge for companies that see sales shifting from store shelves to Amazon warehouses is the fact that selling certain goods comes with a lot of special Amazon-specific packaging requirements."


Hate Watching

The latest hate crime numbers are in, and they're not promising. "Hate crimes in America rose 17 percent last year, the third consecutive year that such crimes increased, according to newly released FBI data that showed an even larger increase in anti-Semitic attacks."

+ "In the photo, most of the 60 boys from Baraboo High School, where students of color make up 12 percent of the nearly 1,000 students, in Baraboo, Wisconsin, are doing the Nazi salute and laughing." A viral photo depicts a spreading virus. (Sidenote: When I went to a regional paper to learn more about the seig heil story, I was presented with an ad for a menorah.)

+ Rep Steve King dared a conservative magazine to release audio of him calling immigrants ‘dirt.' It did.


The Fall of Fall

"Authorities moved to set up a rapid DNA-analysis system and bring in cadaver dogs, mobile morgues and more search teams in an intensified effort to find and identify victims of the deadliest wildfire in California history, an inferno that killed at least 42 people." Dogs and portable morgues: Search intensifies in fire zone. Here's the latest from Buzzfeed.

+ "The area usually gets about 15 storms during the summer and early fall, adding up to five inches of rain. But this year, it got a measly one-seventh of an inch. The vegetation around Paradise was explosively dry." Autumn rain in California vanishes amid global warming.

+ "If firefighters, climatologists, and California's governor are correct, these infernos are only a taste of the destruction California will face in the coming years." Nat Geo: How catastrophic fires have raged through California.


Emmanuel Shift

After misunderstanding some defense-related comments from the French president, a childish Twitter troll mocked France's performance during WW2.

+ "The U.S. midterm elections produced a divided Congress, limiting movement on major domestic issues for the next two years. As he mounts his reëlection bid for 2020 Trump will need foreign-policy breakthroughs to appear either productive or Presidential. Yet he seems, instead, to be withdrawing further." The New Yorker: Trump Completes a Shameful Trip to Paris, Just as He Needs the Global Stage.


Nano Nano

"Their lack of fame is one of the qualities that make them approachable. When they recommend a shampoo or a lotion or a furniture brand on Instagram, their word seems as genuine as advice from a friend." We've long known that brands reach consumers via commercial deals with celebrities who have massive social followings. But it turns out, even those with relatively tiny follower numbers are getting in on the game. Sapna Maheshwari in the NYT: Are You Ready for the Nanoinfluencers? (Me: "These marketing relationships are eating away at the meaning of human relationships." My family: "Dude, please, get a revenue model already...")

+ And it turns out that the social media influencer action extends to patients recommending treatments to followers. "It's a lucrative new frontier for drug advertising — and for patients, too, who benefit from close contact with the drug maker and, often, a fee. But it is also an increasingly regulated frontier, and one with ethical quandaries that some experts say the drug industry hasn't fully considered."


Crime Doesn’t Pay (But No Crime Does)

"In most American cities, a homicide costs the city about a million dollars, easily ... That's important when you start to think about the cost of this type of interruption approach versus the cost each unprevented shooting has on a city." What if you could spend a lot less money and also prevent the homicide? That's the goal of program that basically pays violent criminals to stay out of trouble. WaPo: In Sacramento, trying to stop a killing before it happens.


Pass Backwards

"The lawsuit filed in DC District Court on Tuesday morning demanded that the administration return Acosta's White House 'hard pass' credentials and asked the court for an immediate restraining order requiring Acosta's pass to be returned. A hard pass allows journalists regular and unescorted access to the White House and White House briefings." CNN just sued President Trump for banning Jim Acosta from The White House.


Lee Way

"Few things are more tragic than the death of an idea. Especially one that has been a shining beacon for the entire world." A Stan Lee comic from 2007: America Is a Dream.

+ LA Times: An illustrated tribute to Stan Lee and his career.

+ "The character was supposed to be gray, but according to Lee, the printer had a hard time keeping the color consistent. 'So as of issue 2, with no explanation, he turned green." 10 interesting facts about Stan Lee.


Wasted Youth

"With the exception of perhaps incest and bestiality—and of course nonconsensual sex more generally—our culture has never been more tolerant of sex in just about every permutation. But despite all this, American teenagers and young adults are having less sex." The Atlantic: Why Are Young People Having So Little Sex? (Netflix and Chill has slowly evolved into Netflix and More Netflix...)

+ Politico: How the GOP Gave Up on Porn. "Once, the fight against pornography was the beating heart of the American culture war. Now porn is a ballooning industry — and maybe a harmful one —with no real opponents. What happened?" (Editor's note: The internet happened...)


Bottom of the News

"Until now, its mass has been defined by the granddaddy of all kilos: a golf ball-sized metal cylinder locked in a vault in France. For more than a century, it has been the one true kilogram upon which all others were based. No longer." The kilogram is changing.

+ Paper coffee cups will be the death of us. (And we were so sure it would be plastic straws...)

+ Want to see a fast pit stop? Trust me, this won't take much of your time.