This is 25
With the World Wide Web on the cusp of its 25th birthday, Pew took a look at how we feel about it. About 87% of American adults use the Internet and most of us think it’s a pretty good thing that has strengthened our personal relationships. And here’s the most surprising finding: About three-quarters of those surveyed have found that people on the Internet are mostly kind to one another.
+ Quartz: “Survey respondents who have landline phones still thought that their home phones would be harder to give up than social media.” (Makes sense. No one ever tried to share a funny cat video over your landline.)
+ About five minutes after the advent of the web, people started trying to sell stuff on it. And today, online shopping is big. Really big. Unless you compare it to offline shopping.
+ Over the past couple decades, we’ve seen some big website flops. But perhaps none was more public than the health care site disaster. According to one senior advisor, meetings about the site “drove the President crazy. Nobody could even tell us if the system was up as we were sitting there, except by taking out laptops and trying to go on it.” Then the President called in the trauma team. And this is the story of how they fixed the site.
+ No matter where you live, the Internet is a part of your life. But if you live in Mountain View, it’s really a part of your life. From The Verge: Here’s how a city becomes company property — Welcome to Googletown.
Private Eyes Are Watching You
Pretty much from the time you started using the Internet, someone’s been watching you use it. Now we’re finding out that Britain’s surveillance agency GCHQ has been monitoring people who use Yahoo’s webcam service. A quote from one document sums up what they found: “Unfortunately … it would appear that a surprising number of people use webcam conversations to show intimate parts of their body to the other person.” (Wait, is there another use for a webcam?)
Armed gunman raising Russian flags. A new prime minister. An ousted president appealing to Russia for protection. The NYT has a blog with the latest updates from Ukraine.
A Priest, A Doctor and a Military Man
“A priest recommends prayer, a doctor recommends medicine, a military man recommends how to defend.” So said Angel Vivas who has become something of folk hero during the recent unrest in Venezuela.
+ InFocus: Some amazing photos of the protests and unrest in Venezuela.
The FDA is proposing a design overhaul to the nutrition labels we see on the side of food packages. Suggested changes include bigger and bolder fonts, clearer information about added sugars, and realistic serving sizes (a wheelbarrow of chips? a pool of Pepsi?). The FDA is asking for feedback from the public, and Anil Dash provided a great idea: Put nutrition labels on the front of packages.
+ If beverage makers are forced to put realistic serving sizes on the side of cans, you know what we might get? Smaller cans.
Going to Arizona…
“Religious liberty is a core American and Arizona value. So is nondiscrimination.” As was widely expected, Arizona Governor Jan Brewer vetoed a bill would have enabled businesses to refuse service to gays and lesbians due to “sincerely held” religious beliefs. The New Yorker’s Hendrik Hertzberg provides a close reading of exactly what she said.
Freaks and Geeks Speak
“I came here today for a few reasons. One: I’m a huge House of Cards fan…” That was Seth Rogan who appeared in front of a Senate panel on Alzheimer’s. At one point, he also added: “I’ll address the question I assume many of you are asking. Yes, I am aware that this has nothing to do with the legalization of marijuana.” You can see Rogan’s entire speech (funny, touching) here.
+ Rogan’s appearance brings up an important question: Why Does Congress Listen to Celebrities like him and Ben Affleck? (Hint: Because you probably clicked on the link above to see what Rogan had to say.)
The Mammoth Reunion Tour
“There’s always this fear that somehow, if we do it, we’re going to accidentally make something horrible, because only nature can really do it right. But nature is totally random. Nature makes monsters.” In the NYT Magazine, Nathaniel Rich provides a glimpse into the world of those trying to de-extinct certain species. “Bringing extinct animals back to life is really happening — and it’s going to be very, very cool. Unless it ends up being very, very bad.”
Taxi Cab Confessions
“I was basically picking up hitchhikers and trying to convince myself: Murderers don’t use iPhones.” From GQ’s Mickey Rapkin: Uber Cab Confessions.
The Bottom of the News
According to Buzzfeed’s Will Herrmann, it’s not all that tough to use data to predict who will win this year’s top Academy Awards.
+ Does the NFL have any business telling Black players to stop saying the N-Word? (And if so, can they penalize a player for calling someone a Redskin?)
+ The A’s Josh Reddick welcomes us back to baseball with two homerun stealing grabs.
+ How a good user interface can make you tip more.
+ Adam Driver, the guy from Girls, just landed a part in the new Star Wars movie.
+ My wife is on a plane. And by the time she lands, I want to have gotten her a thousand new Twitter followers. In the Internet age, this is what counts as a grand, romantic gesture. And if I don’t prove that I can accomplish this feat, she might not believe my subscriber numbers and make me get a real job. So, Follow My Wife, Please (and tell your followers to do the same). Oh, and you’ll totally enjoy following her. She’s like me, but attractive, smart, funny, and less needy.