Punt, Pass, and Click
In a clear reflection of these modern times, there will be a new rule on Super Bowl Sunday. The NFL has announced that live streaming of the game “will be blocked on the Wi-Fi and cellular networks at MetLife Stadium in New Jersey.” Why? Because streaming clogs up the networks and can prevent other fans in the stadium from feverishly sharing every moment of their experience via social media. This is what has become of large gatherings of humans. In order to enable all participants to stare at their phones and overshare throughout the event, they will be prohibited from watching a video stream of the game they are watching in person. If they really want to catch the action on the field, the folks at the stadium may actually have to look up.
+ So where should you go if you want be around people who are actually watching the game? Vegas. This is the weekend the dumb money comes to town. And the smart money is waiting. Welcome to the world of the Wizard of Odds.
Attention Span Theater
“I have worked on five State of the Union addresses, and they never get easier. The President starts thinking about this speech in late November, and each year, he would begin with a few bold pronouncements: ‘This will not be a laundry list!’ and ‘This one will be shorter than all the rest!'” Former presidential speech writer Jon Favreau: How Obama prepares for the grueling State of the Union. Given the storyline over the past year, Obama should spend the entire State of the Union Address delivering an introductory course on how to scale a website.
+ Here’s the key stat to focus on during this year’s SOTU: How many people are watching? Obama has a serious attention-getting problem these days. And if this State of the Union was open to anyone who wanted to attend, well, let’s just put it this way; there would still be plenty of tickets available.
+ Forget who will be there. The more important factor at each SOTU is who won’t be there. One member of the cabinet will be essentially hiding in an undisclosed location. And for the duration of the speech, that cabinet member is dubbed the “Designated Survivor.” Here’s more from Mental Floss’ brief history of the State of the Union.
Birds of a Feather
Trying to be careful with your personal data? You might want to take it easy on the games. Ad networks and leaky apps are slinging your information around as you sling those Angry Birds.
+ “According to the FBI, some jealous lovers are going straight to the nuclear option: hiring hackers to find your email password.”
Has Your Brain Been Played?
There is now a seemingly endless supply of brain games that promise to improve your cognition and help ward off the forgetfulness associated with aging. Here’s another way to exercise your brain: Be dubious.
NYT: The older mind may just be a fuller mind. (If my kids were old enough to understand that headline, they’d laugh.)
“Athletes deserve an equal voice when it comes to their physical, academic and financial protections.” The might seem like common sense. But it’s anything but when it comes to the NCAA where the athletes have few rights other than standing by while their schools rake in the cash. That could change if the first ever efforts to unionize college athletes gets anywhere.
+ In an effort to protect them from the risks associated with being hit by a line drive, Major League Baseball has approved a padded cap for pitchers.
And a Time to Every Purpose
“At some point, Pete Seeger decided he’d be a walking, singing reminder of all of America’s history. He’d be a living archive of America’s music and conscience, a testament to the power of song and culture to nudge history along, to push American events towards a more humane and justified ends.” That’s Bruce Springsteen on the friend who inspired him and countless other musicians (and stood up to Congress). Pete Seeger has died at the age of 94.
+ Here’s Seeger and some famous friends performing This Land is Your Land.
Each year, about 400 people in the United States die from falling out of bed. Three hundred die in a bathtub. And almost three thousand people are killed by hippos each year. Which brings us to air travel. Last year, three billion people boarded a flight. And only 224 died in airline crashes. The lesson here is clear: Never sit in bathtub perched on top of a bed on a flight loaded with a herd of hippos. (You’re welcome.)
Not Going Anywhere For Awhile?
Cafe culture is threatening to slow down the fast food business. Folks are showing up, ordering a McLatte, opening up their laptops, and sticking around for a long time.
The Worst Acting Gig
“He knew the cigarettes had a hold on him. He knew, yet he still couldn’t stop.” That is Eric Lawson’s wife on her husband’s nicotine habit. Lawson was one of the actors who played the Marlboro Man. He’s also one of at least four of them who died from smoking related causes. Just stop and think about that for a second.
The Bottom of the News
Let them watch us eating cake. It may sound weird, but Gastronomic Voyeurism is a thing. People pay to watch other people eating in front of a webcam. (And to think I’m wasting all this time typing…)
+ The American hot sauce craze in one chart.
+ He’s still in diapers. And he rides a skateboard better than you.
+ Let’s end on an incredibly positive note. The long regulatory road to America’s first cat cafe could finally reach the promised land.