Hacking with a Crowbar
On March 8, 1971, while millions watched a televised fight between Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier, a group of burglars used a crowbar to break into an FBI office in Media, Pennsylvania. They filled suitcases with files and used getaway cars to disappear into the night. Now, more than four decades later, some of the people involved in the burglary are coming forward to tell their story. Keith Forsyth echoes Edward Snowden as he explains the motivation for the effort: “When you talked to people outside the movement about what the F.B.I. was doing, nobody wanted to believe it. There was only one way to convince people that it was true, and that was to get it in their handwriting.”
Hacking with a Mouse
“Not just revenue was at stake. So were ideals that have sustained the tech world since the Internet exploded from a Department of Defense project into an interconnected global web that spurred promises of a new era of comity.” Wired’s Steven Levy provides an inside look at the year from hell experienced by several major tech players: How the NSA Almost Killed the Internet.
Occasionally, one can find a single headline that summarizes a widespread story. This one from a North Dakota website seems to do the trick: “Fargo man finds refuge from bitter cold in a freezer, where there’s no wind chill.”
+ Every state other than Hawaii is experiencing freezing temperatures this week.
+ Each year, we dump about 137 pounds of salt per person on our roads to melt ice. So where does all the salt go? (Related question: When you’re swimming, do you ever have the feeling that you’re being pickled in brine?)
+ Robert Vick picked the wrong week to escape from a Kentucky prison. Within a few hours, he was so cold that he turned himself in.
+ And because you asked, this is what happens when you jump on a frozen trampoline.
Too Big to Jail?
Another day, another JP Morgan Chase fine. This time, the bank will dish out $2 billion, for “turning a blind eye” to Bernie Madoff’s ponzi scheme. So far, that’s about $15 billion in payouts over the past three months. And no criminal charges.
“And as the Internet becomes increasingly central to the human experience, the ability of women to live and work freely online will be shaped, and too often limited, by the technology companies that host these threats, the constellation of local and federal law enforcement officers who investigate them, and the popular commentators who dismiss them.” Pacific Standard’s Amanda Hess explains why women aren’t welcome on the Internet.
Sunday, Sunday, Sunday
The congregation gathers on a Sunday morning. It looks like one of many such church gatherings. “But then the live band starts up — performing songs by the Beatles, the Rolling Stones and Jerry Lee Lewis. And instead of a sermon, there’s a lecture by experimental psychologist and neuroscientist Jessica Cail about the biology of gender identification and sexual orientation.” Welcome to the Sunday Assembly, a church for people who don’t believe in God.
Since You Asked
Twitter co-founder Biz Stone has launched his new company called Jelly. It’s a Q&A service that enables you to ask questions of your friends using images. It’s like Instagram meets Quora meets something else, or something.
+ Your brain can only handle a limited number of close friends (and their brains feel the same way).
Ask Me Anything
Seinfeld did one. Obama did one. The Atlantic’s Alexis Madrigal explains how Reddit AMAs became a new form of media. AMA stands for Ask Me Anything. It differs from the rest of social media where people just give you answers about themselves without you having ever asked for them.
Frank Luntz is a master at coming up with just the right language to persuade people of almost anything. But these days, he’s finding that we can’t be persuaded. Molly Ball on the agony of Frank Luntz.
The Bottom of the News
If it hasn’t already been consumed by a swollen solar fireball, the Earth’s orbit will have decayed and it will plunge into the sun. That’s the bad news. The good news is that probably won’t happen for another one hundred quintillion years. the BBC shares a timeline of the far future.
+ Jerry Sandusky wants his pension restored. Seriously.
+ T-Mobile CEO John Legere crashed the AT&T party at CES. And then got thrown out.