Why Oranges Need Saving and Other Fascinating News on the Web

July 29, 2013

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  1. The Disease Killing Oranges

    Ricke Kress is the president of Southern Gardens Citrus. You may not know those names, but there’s a decent chance you’ve ingested the fruits of their labor since the company manages two and a half million orange trees and squeezes those oranges for some of the largest juice companies. But like many orange growers, Kress has a big problem. His orange trees are suffering from a disease known as citrus greening. And even after chopping down hundreds of thousands of trees, growers can’t seem to stop it. So the latest plan is to alter the DNA of oranges. Will consumers stand for an orange that isn’t quite an orange anymore? Kress insists says that “the consumer will support us if it’s the only way.” The debate (even among growers) is heated, and how we handle the orange situation could have a big impact on the future of crops. Here’s the NYT’s always excellent Amy Harmon on  a race to save the orange by altering it’s DNA.

    + For a glimpse into the debate, you can check out Michael Pollan’s related tweet and the responses he got.

  2. The Pope on Gay Priests

    “If someone is gay and he searches for the Lord and has good will, who am I to judge?” If you haven’t seen any news reports today, I bet it would be pretty difficult to guess the person who said that. The answer is Pope Francis. This doesn’t mean Francis will be the grand marshall of a pride parade anytime soon. But it sure seems like a significant shift of tone.

  3. The New Yorker Tries Google Glass

    “Doug knows a movie producer who recently got Glass and said, ‘This is as close as I’ll ever get to being a rock star.’ When the velvet-rope hostess at the of-the-moment Wythe Hotel bar in Williamsburg stops to take a photo of me with her iPhone, I know exactly what the producer meant. This is the most I will ever be loved by strangers.” Author Gary Shteyngart spends some time wearing Google Glass and shares the experience (as only he can) in The New Yorker: Confessions of a Google Glass Explorer: “I hear that in San Francisco the term ‘Glassholes’ is already current, but in New York I am a conquering hero.”

    + Is lifehacking just making us work more?

    + Using a graphical program, Kindergarteners are learning to code before they learn to read. Now they just need to learn to get startup equity before they can count.

  4. Kayaking Raises Awareness about Climate Change

    “‘Jason [Box] has one very important quality as a scientist,'” says Thomas Painter, a research scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. “‘He is willing to say crazy stuff and push the boundaries of conventional wisdom.'” And some of that crazy stuff is happening. This summer, people are attempting to navigate the northern route from the Atlantic to the Pacific … in a kayak. “In just one week in July last year, the ice and snow virtually disappeared from the surface of Greenland’s barren interior.” Here’s an interesting (and beautifully designed) Rolling Stone piece: Greenland Melting.

  5. Why Some Millionaires Still Feel Poor

    How much money would it take for you to consider yourself wealthy? Only 28% of those in the $1 million to $5 million bracket consider themselves to be wealthy. And 40% of those worth more than $5 million don’t consider themselves wealthy. They key factor seems to be whether people feel that they have no financial constraints on activities. (My favorite activity is sitting around counting more than five million bucks.)

  6. Big Data’s Role in the Latest Ad Merger

    Two ad giants, Omnicom and Publicis, plan to merge. And the merger will not just be about talent, clients, or billings. It’s about data. The big ad players are racing to know as much about you as Google and Facebook already know.

    + The merged BloombergBusinessweek with ten things you need to know about the Publicis-Omnicom merger.

    + “I begin my project by shutting off all the technology in my house that automatically collects or sends out data about me. It’s a horrifyingly long list.” NY Magazine’s Kevin Roose attempts to live a surveillance-free day.

  7. The GIF That Keeps on Giving

    “It starts as the train has already begun cascading into the concrete wall and ends just after it flattens a pole. Then the GIF freezes. The train comes to a stop on its side, just short of the camera. Then it starts all over again.” Matt Buchanan on experiencing events in the age of the animated GIF: The Endless Train Wreck.

  8. Poker Players Bet on Math Theory

    Some kids in school complain that they’ll never use math lessons in real life. Those kids are not likely to be among the growing group of future poker players. As The WSJ’s Christopher Chabris explains: Bluffing still matters, but the best players now depend on math theory.

  9. Pepper-Spraying Cop Appeals for Aid

    If you had an Internet connection in 2011, you undoubtedly remember the pepper-spraying cop from U.C. Davis. Well, he’s back in the news. He’s appealing for worker’s compensation, “claiming psychiatric injury caused by the incident.” Is that rubbing salt in the wound? (Sorry. I was too weak to delete that.)

  10. The Bottom of the News

    Some writers at Slate created a simulation of what would happen if Google and Apple went to (actual) war. If history is any indicator, I’m guessing more than a few bombs would end up landing on Microsoft.

    + Scientists unveil the secret of Usain Bolt’s speed.

    + If you are planning to have kids, should you avoid getting a dog? (This article completely ignores the huge swath of parents who prefer their pets to their kids.)

    + This edition of NextDraft has included plenty of controversial topics. But let’s push it to eleven: Six reasons why Montreal bagels are better than all other bagels.