Om… Om… Omg
A few months ago, my wife and I took a course on mindfulness and meditation. One of things I noticed was that the sensation of meditating provided just about the exact opposite sensation as I have when when I fire up Twitter and Facebook, and open my first seventy-five browser tabs of the morning. So it doesn’t come as much of a surprise that many tech companies have turned to meditation to help their employees chill out. And it’s even less surprising that, as Noah Shactman explains in Wired, meditation in the Valley is not just about inner peace — it’s about getting ahead. Inhale through your nose. And feel the price of your equity gently float upwards as you exhale…
The Supreme Court sent Texas’ affirmative action case back to the lower court for further review. The Court also advised the lower courts that any affirmative action plan must pass a test of “strict scrutiny.”
+ The New Yorker takes a look back at some key landmark rulings from desegregation to affirmative action.
Have Laptop, Will Travel
Where in the world is Edward Snowden? The NSA leaker has departed Hong Kong and arrived in Moscow. By most accounts, his next move will be to head to Ecuador (possibly by way of Havana). According to one of Snowden’s lawyers, the prospect of life without WiFi was one of factors that dictated the latest travel plans: “He didn’t go out, he spent all his time inside a tiny space, but he said it was O.K. because he had his computer … If you were to deprive him of his computer, that would be totally intolerable.”
+ Aside from its decent Internet access, how did Ecuador become the best place for Edward Snowden to hide?
Busted in Brazil
Eike Batista is worth about $4.8 billion. For most people, that would be the good news. But Brazil’s most famous industrialist was worth about seven times that amount just last year (and he once famously predicted he’d eventually be worth $100 billion). What happened? Brazil’s economy happened. And as Brazil goes, so goes Eike Batista.
Miami Unsound Machine
“Even more than Silicon Valley, Miami embodies the central technological myth of our time — that nature can not only be tamed but made irrelevant. Miami was a mosquito-and-crocodile-filled swampland for thousands of years, virtually uninhabited until the late 1800s.” Rolling Stone’s Jeff Goodell: Goodbye Miami.
+ Upward Mobility: How do you get a whole neighborhood to be better protected from rising sea levels and flooding? Introducing the new profession of extreme-weather architect.
The Race Towards Danger
“Two things happened in Boston on Marathon Monday. One was a violent crime and an act of terror. The other? Its opposite. A superhuman effort to help those injured … a near miraculous fight to save lives and limbs.” From GQ’s Sean Flynn: The Finish Line.
The Tipping Point
One of the reasons people love taking an Uber car (even though it’s more expensive than a taxi) is because it takes tipping out of the equation. Figuring out how much to tip in different situations is a major drag. And in a lot of cases, depending on those tips can be even worse. Here’s Esquire’s Elizabeth Gunnison Dunn on why tipping should be outlawed.
It’s not unusual for extremely violent movies to be met with with protests, but usually the person behind the protests is not also the star of the film. Jim Carrey has dropped his support of his own upcoming movie, Kick-Ass 2: “I did Kickass a month b4 Sandy Hook and now in all good conscience I cannot support that level of violence … My apologies to others involved with the film. I am not ashamed of it but recent events have caused a change in my heart.” Somewhere in Hollywood, someone is working on a rewrite of Dumb and Dumber 2 which turns it into a story about two unusually bright guys.
The first episode of this season’s Mad Men series featured Don Draper reading The Inferno. In some ways, the rest of the season showed him living it. “I felt this season was a descent into Don’s anxiety about why he was still the way he was, and I wanted to have a moment of realization of whether he can change or not. That he was going to have to, on some level, confront who he is, and that is the big tension in his life.” So says the show’s creator Matthew Wiener in this Q&A on season six. Ultimately, Don is like the rest of us (just way better looking).
+ Here are some folks at Slate geeking out on season six.
+ And for your review, Buzzfeed tracks Don Draper’s downward spiral (in, what else, gifs).
+ Paul Giamatti is set to join Downton Abbey’s fourth season as the playboy brother of Lady Grantham. For the sake on an industry, I really hope he doesn’t show up at the manor house with a few cases of merlot.
The Bottom of the News
In a rare occurrence, the bar has actually been raised when it comes to reality television. On Sunday evening, Nil Wallenda was watched live as he performed a high-wire walk across a section of the Grand Canyon. While we’re used to hearing athletes thank god after an event, this is the first time I’ve heard an athlete talking to god during one. God, and of course, the network. Here’s a real quote from the high-wire: “Thank you Lord. Thank you Discovery Channel for believing in me.”
+ I can’t tell the difference between good wine and bad wine. It turns out that’s something I have in common with a lot of wine experts.