You Shouldn’t Text N.J. Drivers and Other Fascinating News on the Web

August 29, 2013

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  1. The Danger of Texting Drivers

    At this point, it’s no secret that it’s a bad idea to text while driving. And it’s against the law in most states. But what about the person who is sitting on their couch at home and exchanging messages with someone who is out on the road? Can that person be held accountable if the driver causes an accident? According to an appeals court in New Jersey, the answer is yes: “We hold that the sender of a text message can potentially be liable if an accident is caused by texting, but only if the sender knew or had special reason to know that the recipient would view the text while driving and thus be distracted.” It will be incredibly interesting to see how things play out as our laws gradually catch up to our technology usage.

  2. Older Fast Food Workers

    In a quest to get higher wages, fast food workers are striking in as many as fifty states in what organizers hope will be the biggest strike of its kind. Retail workers from other industries were also planning to join the strike.

    + The wages paid to folks at Burger King and McDonald’s have never been particularly high. Why is this fast food strike happening now? The difference has to do with the demographics of the people behind the counter. NPR sums it up: “Traditionally, the food and restaurant industry has been an entry point for young people, who then move up. But today, according to government figures, the average such employee is 29 years old.”

  3. More Chemical Reactions

    According to some news sources, there appears to be a slight slowdown in the momentum leading towards a strike on Syria led by the U.S. and the U.K. There are many factors at play, from pressure by lawmakers on both sides of the pond, to Russian warships headed for the Mediterranean. Here’s an overview of some of the moving parts.

    + President Obama made his case for action during an interview with PBS Newshour.

    + From NPR: Who Are Syria’s Friends And Why Are They Supporting Assad?

    + And here’s an interesting piece from The Atlantic’s Conor Friedersdorf: How an Insular Beltway Elite Makes Wars of Choice More Likely.

  4. Controversial Ruling

    In Montana, a former high school teacher was found guilty of raping a 14 year-old student who ultimately committed suicide. The judge in the case sentenced the man to 31 days (yes, days) in prison — including credit for one day already served. In explaining his decision, Judge G. Todd Baugh said that the girl was “older than her chronological age” and “in as much in control of the situation” as her teacher.

  5. The Sharing Economy

    Don’t ever take candy from a stranger. Unless that stranger is part of a new-fangled candy sharing service. Times have changed. When I was in junior high, my parents admonished me never to get into a car with a stranger. Today’s young people are sharing rides, apartments, bikes, and just about everything else. The fear of the other has seemingly been replaced by a desire to share the other’s stuff. Here’s an interesting look at the trend towards having more faith in strangers from The Verge’s Ben Popper: The decline of serial killers and rise of the sharing economy.

    + We’re even sharing our workouts and athletic endeavors. From Grantland: CrossFit, Tough Mudders, and the rise of social-physical challenges. (I think I’ll stick with psychological-alienation challenges for now…)

  6. Thanks, Doc

    Staff Sgt. Ty Carter recently became one of only five living people in the last decade or so to be awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor. His acceptance speech was interesting in a few ways. He spoke of the dramatic anguish associated with battle, and he thanked his shrink for help.

  7. Explaining the Internet

    How would someone explain the Internet if they’ve never used it? Here’s Buzzfeed with The Internet Explained By Prisoners Who Have Never Seen It. According to one prisoner: “I thought they were just sites for people to socialize and spend their idle time.” Sounds about right…

  8. Beloved Polar Bear Dies

    “There are not a huge number of ways to become famous as a polar bear. Gus somehow managed to do it by behaving like a perfectly ordinary New Yorker: he was neurotic. He became the Neurotic Polar Bear.” The NYT: Farewell to Gus, Whose Issues Made Him a Star. How did Andrew Dice Clay make it into a Woody Allen movie before this bear?

  9. Top Fall Albums

    “It sounds like Arcade Fire in the way that only Arcade Fire sound like Arcade Fire, you know? It’s really fu*king epic. Seriously.” The Atlantic takes a look at 21 albums to listen for this Fall.

  10. The Bottom of the News

    The angst over Miley Cyrus’ twerking with Robin Thicke and a foam finger has officially become ridiculous. How do we know that? Here’s how. The guy who invented the foam finger is now chiming in: “She took an honorable icon that is seen in sporting venues everywhere and degraded it. Fortunately, the foam finger has been around long enough that it will survive this incident.” When I’m at a sporting event, I’d much rather sit behind someone twerking than someone holding up a foam finger.

    + This InFocus photo collection of tidal bores is both a testament to nature’s ferocious power, and surfers’ determination not to miss a decent wave.

    + With a holiday weekend coming up, it pays to review the 7 kinds of email vacation responders everyone hates. Here’s an 8th kind: All of them.

    + Is Pedialyte the best cure for a hangover? I’m not sure about that, but it makes a decent mixer.

    + Check out this Ironman winner who nearly lost at the finish line after some premature celebration.