What a Harvard “A” Means and Other Fascinating News on the Web

December 4, 2013

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  1. The “In” Crowd

    Woody Allen famously said that “showing up is 80 percent of life.” Well, showing up (or getting in) seems to go a long way towards getting good grades at Harvard. During a faculty Q&A session earlier this week, Dean of Undergraduate Education Jay M. Harris summed up the grades this way: “The median grade in Harvard College is indeed an A-. The most frequently awarded grade in Harvard College is actually a straight A.” If you don’t know the difference between a median grade and a most frequent grade, then you get an A-.

  2. Punt, Pass and Click

    For years, NFL owners have been competing against their own product. The excellence of just sitting on the couch and watching multiple games makes it more difficult to draw people to stadiums. The NFL has obviously been up to the challenge. But these days, they are facing you on your couch with multiple screens. The solution (they hope): A more immersive, interactive experience at the stadium. Instead of ignoring your family every Sunday, you can go to a stadium and ignore thousands of people.

  3. The Innocent Man

    “There was no scientific evidence, there was no eyewitness, there was no murder weapon, there was no believable motive. I didn’t see how any rational, thinking person would say that’s enough for a guilty verdict.” Eventually, the legal system shared Michael Morton’s view of his own murder charges. But it took 25 years.

  4. Rolling Up Their Sleeves

    It’s hard to walk into an H&M clothing store without wondering what price workers are paying so that we can can pay so little for some new threads. But now the retailer is taking a major step towards improving working conditions at its supplier factories.

    + If you haven’t checked out NPR’s multipart series on the making of a shirt, you really should.

  5. The Story That Almost Broke

    “Early one morning last December, Glenn Greenwald opened his laptop, scanned through his e-mail, and made a decision that almost cost him the story of his life.” From Rolling Stone’s Janet Reitman: How two alienated, angry geeks broke the story of the year.

  6. Going Long

    “Nobody realized it at first, but Avi didn’t resurface after his plunge. He was underwater and sinking to the bottom, passing out at some point, for reasons that are still unknown. When he was next seen on the surface, at least eight and a half minutes after he’d jumped, he would be unconscious and in the arms of a rescue diver.” Extreme athletics are more popular than ever. But a death and lawsuit could force us to rethink how much is too much. From Outside: A Death at Tough Mudder.

    + WSJ: For these runners, a marathon is a warm-up.

    + And a story that’s more my speed: Why a brisk walk is better.

  7. The Bubble

    Harrison Okene was trapped in an air bubble of an overturned ship for three days. Here’s a look at his rescue, and the physics behind his survival.

  8. Bend It Like Brazuca

    Adidas spent an incredible amount of time and money on their latest soccer ball called the Brazuca. As the official ball of 2014 World Cup, it could be worth a half a billion dollars. And hopefully, goalies like it better than the last World Cup ball.

  9. Doritos Locos Taco Inventor Dies

    Todd Mills passed away last week at the young age of 41. But before that, he led a tireless online campaign to convince Taco Bell to make a shell out of Doritos. If you’ve ever had a Doritos Locos Taco (and some of you must have since the company has sold more than 600 million of them), you have Mills to thank.

  10. The Bottom of the News

    “A fat nominee could be exactly what a Republican Party needs to shed its image as out of touch with ordinary Americans.” Politico’s Daniel Allott makes the case that Chris Christie’s biggest asset is his weight.

    + Jeopardy chimes in on the neverending debate over the pronunciation of the word GIF. From now on, I’m spelling it Geopardy.

    + Madison Square Garden has a new house band. Billy Joel will play the arena every month … for the rest of his life.

    + Hoping to stay home on Valentine’s Day? You’ve got your excuse. Season 2 of House of Cards (all of it) will be released on Feb 14.