Friday, July 26th, 2019


The Revolution Will Not Be Televised

"In this so-called golden age of television, some critics have pointed out that the best of the form is equivalent to the most enriching novels. And high-quality programming for children can be educational. But the latest evidence also suggests there can be negative consequences to our abundant watching, particularly when the shows are mostly entertainment. The harm seems to come not so much from the content itself but from the fact that it replaces more enlightening ways of spending time." The NYT Upshot: There's new evidence that viewing habits can affect your thinking, political preferences, even cognitive ability. (It's probably a bad sign that I don't even have enough remaining cognitive ability to be able to find my Apple TV remote.)


Inside Voice

"As the scrutiny of the world's biggest tech companies has intensified in the last year, many of the complaints about them have come from competitors or academics." But, increasingly, the complaints are coming for those who worked in big tech, and even those who help found the companies. NYT: Chris Hughes Worked to Create Facebook. Now, He Is Working to Break It Up.


Weekend Whats

What to Doc: You think you've read enough about Cambridge Analytica. You're sick to death of the explorations of the Brexit and Trump elections. And the last thing you want to do is spend your weekend thinking about the dangers of big tech and social media. Well, forget all that and watch, The Great Hack on Netflix. It's fast-paced, riveting, and one of the most important stories of our time.

+ What to Draw From: There are few people who have had a bigger global impact on their field than Japanese filmmaker Hayao Miyazaki. You can get spirited away with a look at his creative process in this online doc: 10 Years with Hayao Miyazaki.

+ What to Summit: I've spent the last year hearing people rave about my wife's incredible summit. I couldn't attend, because the event is only for women. This year's summit promises to be even better, and it's being held at the incredible Skywalker Ranch. Find out more and sign up for The What Summit 2019.


Juul Be Sorry

"With the Juuls, kids are able to get a much higher dose of nicotine — and dose matters ... These kids have behaviors that we often see in patients who have opioid or marijuana addiction, but we didn't typically see with kids who developed addiction to traditional tobacco cigarettes." WaPo: E-cigarettes spawn a form of teen addiction that worries doctors, parents and schools. (Nicotine plus oral fixation plus technology. Who could have guessed that this product would be addictive?)


State of Denial

"It underscores two vital points: 1) that determined foreign actors can gain access to America's election infrastructure, and 2) Russia is skilled and willing to meddle inside of it." Vox: New Senate Intelligence report shows 'extensive' Russia 2016 election interference. The report "found that hackers likely tried to access election systems in all 50 states." (Apparently, 51 is the threshold at which we decide to do something to address the threat...)


Head Rush

"It involves growing hair from stem cells—not fetal, but stem cells derived from a person's own skin or blood—and implanting hair follicles rich with dermal papillae into the space around a person's old, shrunken, dormant follicles." (It's incredible how determined scientists are to fill in my bald spot.) James Hamblin in The Atlantic: Thanks to stem cells and 3-D printing, Soon There Will Be Unlimited Hair. (That makes me feel even more guilty for harvesting from my kids all these years.)


A Gripping Story

"On each of its fingertips is a sensor that allows the robot to feel, a sensation that's piped across the world into my haptic glove. If I merely brush the Shadow Hand against a ball, I get a subtle sensation. When I grip the ball, the sensation grows more intense. Amazingly, there's very little latency between my movement and the robot's, even though the system is running through a 4G phone sitting on the table beside me. With the glove on my hand, I am both there in London and not there. I can feel the ball, but also not feel it, because what I'm getting is a reproduction of sensation. The gentle proddings are kind of like having a bunch of pixies dancing on each fingertip." Matt Simon in Wired: How I Became a Robot in London—From 5,000 Miles Away. (And they said long distance relationships couldn't work.)


Sportscenter, Left, and Right

"I've had this discussion internally with hundreds of our employees that sports is about uniting, and ESPN needs to unite people around sports ... That's our role." WaPo with a very interesting look at an increasingly contentious debate within ESPN about when it's OK to get into politics. As ESPN tries to stick to sports, president Jimmy Pitaro must define what that means. (On one hand, now more than ever, we need an escape from the nonstop barrage of divisive politics. On the the other hand, now more than ever, we need to come to terms with the fact that everything is political. I suppose we should just follow the advice of Yogi Berra: "When you come to a fork in the road, take it.")


That’s So Metal

"Selected following a nationwide competition, the newly unveiled designs have a pebble-like appearance and will measure 8.5 centimeters in diameter. As in recent Olympics, the front face will feature an image of Nike, the Greek goddess of victory.
But unlike in previous years, all the medals will be produced from gold, silver and bronze (in this case, copper and zinc) that has been stripped from donated cellphones and other electronics." CNN: Tokyo 2020 unveils Olympic medals made from old electronics. (Hopefully, someone remembered to turn off notifications...)


Feel Good Friday

NPR: "The Senate has voted 97-2 to approve a bill that will virtually ensure permanent funding for rescue workers whose work after the Sept. 11 attacks caused health problems." This is a feel good story that also gave us a feel good photo.

+ "Dale Schroeder lived simply for his entire life. He grew up poor, never married or had kids, and worked as a carpenter at the same company for 67 years. He owned just two pair of jeans and drove a rusty old Chevrolet truck." He also saved $3 million to put 33 strangers through college.

+ New law lets Pennsylvania foster kids attend college tuition-free.

+ The Winners of the 2019 iPhone Photography Awards.

+ Neighbors Form Human Chain to Block ICE from Detaining Father and Son.

+ "A 73-year-old man who was stranded in the remote Oregon high desert for four days with his two dogs was rescued when a long-distance mountain biker discovered him near death on a dirt road"

+ Baby born on 7-Eleven Day at 7:11 p.m., weighs 7 lbs., 11 oz., gets 7-Eleven college fund.

+ Hair stylist carries her red salon chair to the homeless. "If fear is contagious, why can't kindness be?"