Tens of thousands of South Africans joined leaders from across the globe as they paid tribute to Nelson Mandela during a rain-soaked ceremony. From President Obama: “It took a man like Madiba to free not just the prisoner, but the jailer as well; to show that you must trust others so that they may trust you. He changed laws, but also hearts.”
+ From Obama’s full speech, to a global leader selfie, to a handshake heard round the world, here’s a look at the five biggest moments from the Mandela memorial.
+ BBC: The Mandela memorial service in pictures.
+ Obama, Hillary, and W shared a flight to South Africa, continuing a long tradition of political adversaries building relationships at 30,000 feet.
GM’s New CEO
Mary Barra has been named the next CEO of General Motors. She is the first female chief executive of a major automaker. She started as an intern at the company three decades ago.
+ Five things to know about Mary Barra.
Dress in Layers
From below zero Chicago, my friend Mordy made fun of those of us out in the Bay Area who are complaining about an unusual cold snap (there was frost on my windshield this morning!). Yes, he has it worse. But for the really cold weather, we need to head to Antarctica, still the coldest place on earth. According to satellite data, in 2010, Antarctica reached -135.8 degrees Fahrenheit.
+ Off to Never Never Land: A little cold weather can’t stop heavy metal. Metallica just played a concert in Antartica, becoming the first band ever to play all seven continents.
Sharing is Erring
Many of the most immediately viral content on the Internet turns out to be fake. From NYT’s Ravi Somaiya and Leslie Kaufman: “Truth has never been an essential ingredient of viral content on the Internet. But in the stepped-up competition for readers, digital news sites are increasingly blurring the line between fact and fiction, and saying that it is all part of doing business in the rough-and-tumble world of online journalism.” The big question: When it comes to the more goofy viral content, do we really care if it’s real or not?
+ The Atlantic’s Derek Thompson charts the sites we share on Facebook and Twitter. Key takeaways: Facebook drives a ton of traffic. The stuff we share on Twitter and Facebook is quite different. And Upworthy knows how to do viral.
+ Demand Media: The rise and fall of a content farm. Longform content is one of the hottest things on the Internet and content farms are failing. Hope for the future?
You Are What You Eat?
“You are a typical egg-laying chicken in America, and this is your life: You’re trapped in a cage with six to eight hens, each given less than a square foot of space to roost and sleep in. The cages rise five high and run thousands long in a warehouse without windows or skylights. You see and smell nothing from the moment of your birth but the shit coming down through the open slats of the battery cages above you. It coats your feathers and becomes a second skin; by the time you’re plucked from your cage for slaughter, your bones and wings breaking in the grasp of harried workers, you look less like a hen than an oil-spill duck, blackened by years of droppings.” Rolling Stone takes us inside the belly of the beast of the meat business.
The Shirt Off Your Back
Jeff Steinberg dropped off his lacrosse shirt at a Goodwill store in Miami. A few months later, he saw a guy in Sierra Leone wearing the same shirt. From NPR: The Afterlife of American Clothes.
“Athletes talk about hearing the pop. Some describe it as a sound like a rubber band snapping. Some say you not only hear the pop the way you hear ordinary sounds, but that it travels up your body from the knee, so that your whole trunk reverberates with it.” Grantland’s Neal Gabler on the ACL and the nastiest injury in sports.
You Are Nuts
Pistachios, almonds, Brazil nuts, cashews, hazelnuts, macadamias, pecans, pine nuts, peanuts and walnuts. Take your pick or eat them all. More and more studies suggest that snacking on nuts is a good way to stick around a little longer: “The more often nuts were consumed, the less likely participants were to die of cancer, heart disease and respiratory disease, and not because nut eaters succumbed to other diseases. Their death rate from any cause was lower during the years they were followed.”
Here are some more year end lists beginning with another great photo collection from InFocus.
+ The ten worst-reviewed movies of 2013.
+ NPR Music’s 50 albums of the year.
+ From Time, the seconds, minutes and days that mattered most in 2013.
+ My syndication partner Jason Kottke is out with his excellent holiday gift guide.
+ For more excellent picks, don’t miss The Wirecutter’s Gifts we want to give in 2013.
The Bottom of the News
Why are there so many squirrels in U.S. parks? In part because we put them there.
+ Politico Magazine: “Was it really harder to come out as an atheist politician in 2013 than as a gay one 25 years ago? Incredibly, the answer might be yes.”
+ Patrick Moen is the embodiment of the changes in public attitudes towards marijuana. He used to be a DEA supervisor. Now he works for a firm that invests in companies tied to the pot business.
+ From Chinese state media, here are some great things about toxic air.