All About Net Neutrality
“What if you didn’t have to pay for your data plan? What if the biggest data hogs on your phone — your music apps, your streaming video apps — didn’t count toward your monthly limit?” It sounds like a tempting pitch and, thanks to the recent court decision that neutered net neutrality, it’s one you could be hearing soon. But it’s not a good deal. Imagine an Internet where established, deep-pocketed players could pay to deliver their data at a faster rate, leaving the rest of the content and service creators to slog through the swamps of second rate pipes. Welcome to what Buzzfeed’s John Herman calls The Net Neutrality Nightmare Scenario. Trust me, it’s a way bigger traffic story than the one in Fort Lee.
+ GigaOm’s Mathew Ingram has an excellent roundup of what you need to know about the court decision that just struck down net neutrality.
+ For a really quick, simple take on what the decision could mean, take a look at Fred Wilson’s: VC Pitches In A Year Or Two.
+ In the meantime, (surprise) your Internet connection is slower than advertised.
According to the latest Snowden documents, the NSA has implanted software in thousands of computers, enabling the data on those machines to be accessed via radio waves even when they are offline. “There is no evidence that the N.S.A. has implanted its software or used its radio frequency technology inside the United States.” Now you know about the strategy. And so do governments and hackers that may wish you harm. And so do drug cartels and other groups who were possibly being tracked. Are the risks worth the transparency? That’s an increasingly complex question as more Snowden-leaked data gets dumped.
Don’t Drink the Water
“It’s really different when someone says, ‘Your water is poisoned. We don’t know when you can have it back. And you certainly can’t get near it, or do your laundry, or take a shower, or wash your dishes, or drink it.'” Matt Stroud provides an interesting look at what leaked into West Virginia’s water supply, and explains why the crisis is everyone’s problem.
+ Discovery: How safe is U.S. drinking water?
Get a Little Bit Softer Now
We’re seeing two key trends among younger folks on the Internet. They want more anonymity, and they want to be someplace where their parents aren’t. So, many of them are heading for different services. Here’s a look inside one of them: The Angsty, Affirming World of Whisper.
+ Is technology making us smarter or stupider? The New Yorker’s Tim Wu considers that question: If a Time Traveller Saw a Smartphone.
Back to Benghazi
A Senate report on Benghazi found that the attacks could have been prevented. And it found that the cost of the report may have been extreme. “The report also notes, chillingly, that the FBI’s investigation into the attacks has been hampered inside Libya, and that 15 people ‘supporting the investigation or otherwise helpful to the United States’ have since been killed in Benghazi.”
Mahalo, But No Mahalo
If you’re a state official in Hawaii, here’s the one word you’d rather not hear yelled: Shark! It’s unclear how worried we should be about the problem, but there’s been a rise in reported shark attacks in one of the world’s top tourist destinations.
+ Almost none of us die from lightening strikes anymore. Why? (Even more rare are those of us who die from a lightning strike while in the mouth of a shark. But I’m staying inside anyway…)
Did You Know?
Apparently, the original Graham Cracker was “created by Sylvester Graham in response to what he deemed to be the single greatest health scourge facing Americans: sexual desire.” In the midnight hour, she cried s’more, s’more, s’more.
+ Want to eat healthy? Try living in a country that gives you the best odds.
+ MoJo: Wait, we inject antibiotics into eggs for organic chicken?!
Back to the Hoop
Hoop Dreams is a tremendous documentary that will be re-screened at Sundance this year, two decades after its initial release. Here’s an oral history of the making of the film.
+ Is Calcio Storico the most violent sport on Earth?
+ An important question for this era: What if the NFL logos were hipsters?
Burn it Off
First it was the designer coffee. Then came the tech startup scene. Then the ironic beards. And now, the fog. NYC really, really wants to be San Francisco.
The Bottom of the News
“Lie in bed with your partner. Ask to spoon, then hold her from behind. Ignore the cat that just jumped onto the bed.” From McSweeney’s, a guide to Kama Sutra for couples who have been dating over three years.
+ “The highway’s jammed with pissed off drivers with no place left to go.” Springsteen and Fallon rewrite Born to Run for the Gov Christie Traffic Jam.
+ Want to see how much CGI is used in major movies? Take a look at these outtakes from the Wolf of Wall Street.
+ What happens when the President sits down next to you at a cafe?
+ Lena Dunham. Vogue.
The Truth about Net Neutrality and Other Fascinating News on the Web
January 15, 2014