The Uncrossable Street
We are divided by an increasingly wide income gap. Sometimes this gap can be seen from across a street or park (even if we sometimes try not to look). The NYT takes us for a journey into the world of a homeless girl named Dasani in a multipart piece called Invisible Child: “On the Brooklyn block that is Dasani’s dominion, shoppers can buy a $3 malt liquor in an airless deli where food stamps are traded for cigarettes. Or they can cross the street for a $740 bottle of chardonnay at an industrial wine shop accented with modern art.”
+ Here’s David Simon, creator of The Wire, on the two Americas: “I live in one, on one block in Baltimore that is part of the viable America, the America that is connected to its own economy, where there is a plausible future for the people born into it. About 20 blocks away is another America entirely. It’s astonishing how little we have to do with each other, and yet we are living in such proximity.”
+ AP: In the U.S., about twenty percent of adults become rich for at least part of their lives.
+ A Harvard study confirms that the rent is too damn high.
There will be 95,000 mourners inside an open air stadium. Among them will be one current and three former presidents of the United States and leaders from across the globe. The funeral of Nelson Mandela will be one of the most watched events in recent memory, and one that presents significant security challenges.
+ I highly recommend the 30 for 30 documentary called The 16th Man which chronicles the South African rugby team’s 1995 World Cup win. The story was also made into a feature film called Invictus.
Is Zelda Spying on You?
According to the latest Snowden data dump, “American and British spies have infiltrated the fantasy worlds of World of Warcraft and Second Life, conducting surveillance and scooping up data in the online games played by millions of people across the globe.” This is why I still refuse to play anything other than Coleco football.
+ AOL, Facebook, Yahoo, Google, Microsoft, Apple and other big tech companies have banded to together to call for a reform of government surveillance programs. Here’s the site they created, along with a letter to the president.
Protests in Ukraine
Tensions continue to be high in Kiev and other Ukrainian cities amid protests calling for the ouster of President Viktor Yanukovych. One of the key figures in the protest is the current WBC heavyweight champ Vitali Klitschko, otherwise known as Dr. Ironfist.
+ The Atlantic: The fascinating history behind Ukraine’s toppled Lenin statue.
Former San Diego mayor Bob Filner has been sentenced to ninety days in home confinement and three years probation for kissing or grabbing three women. At least 19 women accused him of offensive behavior. He should be out just in time to run for mayor of Toronto.
Energy drinks got their start in Japan where executives wanted an extra boost to get ahead. Today, the often intensely caffeinated beverages are doing brisk sales in many parts of the world. Here’s a look at what was (and is) in those energy drinks, and some perspective on their impact: From researcher Kathleen E. Miller: “I’ve found that if you report that you have six or more energy drinks over the course of a month, you’re also more likely to report that you got in a fight last year, that you had sex without a condom or that you drove without a seat belt.” Of course, that could just be because you’re awake more.
Snow Plowing to Glory
“Ten months later, Mr. Bragiel was a lean 36-year-old Colombian citizen with icicles in his beard, standing on the starting line of a November race alongside some of the world’s best cross-country skiers, in the town of Muonio, Finland, above the Arctic Circle.” Venture capitalist and entrepreneurial dude Paul Bragiel decided that he wanted to compete in the Olympics. All he needed was a sport, a country, a new body, and a lot of luck. Hey, that sounds like it has better odds than betting on startups! Here’s what Bragiel is doing to try to make his dream a reality.
Picturing the Year
The great collections of the photos of the year continue to roll in. Alan Taylor has posted his first installment of the year in photos at InFocus. And Buzzfeed has a remarkable (at at times, disturbing) collection of the 45 most powerful photos of 2013.
+ From life events to news topics to you, here’s Facebook’s look at the 2013 year in review.
Your First Car
“She studied the screen. It was true: it was her car, the first that she’d bought with her own money, two years after Endless Love. From The New Yorker, the weird story of how Brooke Shields bought her new old car.
The Bottom of the News
In Philadelphia, a group of runners decided to create a race that retraces the unusual route run by Rocky Balboa in Rocky II. Those runners ended up having to run 31 miles.
+ Want to increase your status at work and elsewhere? It’s easy. Just speak softly and carry a big latte.
+ Bruno Leduc is a litigious dude. He’s filed more than 70 small claims against people and companies. But a Canadian judge finally said enough is enough when Leduc sued the Dominican Republic because it rained during his vacation.
+ In praise of Johnny Garneau. The restaurateur/germaphobe who brought us the buffet sneeze guard.
+ Ron Burgundy is selling a hell of lot of Dodge Durangos.