A brief gallivant about the marketplace of ideas.

Month: December, 2014

Read — 2014/12/31

Today’s selection of articles includes:

  1. Start-ups rise to close a gap for farmers“, by Stephanie Strom (NY Times). Marketing, transportation, and logistic services close the gap between farm and fork.
  2. What made College Football more like the pros? $7.3 billion, for a start“, by Marc Tracy & Tim Rohan (NY Times). College sports, and more specifically, college football: a function of the educational enterprise, or a professional-like money-making program?
  3. Insect-eating bats may be origin of Ebola outbreak, new study suggests“, by David Quammen (National Geographic). Recent evidence suggests that the 2014 Ebola outbreak may have originated with the Angolan free-tailed bat, Mops condylurus, a synanthropic species that lives under the roofs of village houses.
  4. Is Ebola here to stay?“, by Dina Fine Maron (Scientific American). Has Ebola moved from externally originating epidemics to human-sourced endemics? The consistency of results from genetic sequencing of Ebola patients in Sierra Leone suggests a continuous chain of transmission.
  5. Xiaomi, suddenly the world’s most valuable startup, raises $1.1B“, by Roger Cheng (CNET). Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi now has a valuation of $45B, according to its president Bin Lin. While its business model of low-profit-margin hardware followed by more-lucrative sales of software and services has been successful in China, concern over intellectual property violations hamper Xiaomi’s expansion into the global market.
  6. Not just a man’s drink: ladies lead the whiskey renaissance“, by Allison Aubrey (NPR). Women (re)claim their place among the crafters and drinkers of whiskey. Interesting to note that while women imbibing of whiskey in the home has long been socially acceptable in America, women drinking whiskey in bars has historically harbored a connection with prostitution.
  7. Politician’s fingerprint ‘cloned from photos’ by hacker“, by Zoe Kleinman (BBC). Thus claims Chaos Computer Club (CCC) member Jan Krissler. Responses include Glenn Gould-inspired “all glove everything” fashion and living biometrics like vein recognition and gait analysis.

On this day (31 December) 1946 (yes, 1946), President Harry S. Truman signed Presidential Proclamation 2714, “to officially declare the cessation of all hostilities in World War II” (Wikipedia). But didn’t fighting end in 1945? Wikipedia explains:

Even though the actual combat of the war ended May 8, 1945 in Europe and September 2, 1945 in the Pacific, the state of war was not lifted off of Japan and Germany in order to give a reason for the necessity of occupation troops in those countries.

Read — 2014/12/22

Today’s selection of articles includes:

  1. The 2014 Twitter glossary: hot take, shruggie, and more“, by Jessica Roy (NYMag). Never again will I look at the katakana “tsu” character (ツ) in quite the same way. I wonder what Cubist Cousin “shi” (シ) would say about its cousin’s rise to fame… ¯\_(シ)_/¯

Read — 2014/12/21

Today’s selection of articles includes:

  1. Johnny T on ‘Manspreading’“, by Ashley Maas (NY Times). “Stand clear of the closing doors…and close your frickin’ legs!” Johnny T for president of NYCTA.
  2. The year of Taylor Swift“, by Matthew Schneier (NY Times). A timeline-in-miniature, with a focus on fashion. I like the closing quote from Glamour editor Cindi Leive: “at this point, she’s got nothing left to prove”. That’s right. Ms. Swift can be what she’s always been: herself.

Read — 2014/12/15

Today’s selection of articles includes:

  1. Abe win fails to boost Japan’s Nikkei” (BBC News). Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe secures another four years in a snap election.
  2. The 10 best books of 2014“, by the editors of The New York Times Book Review (NY Times).
  3. A brief history of kissing in the movies“, by A.O. Scott (NY Times). Fun read, with topical reference to Frank O’Hara’s poem “Ave Maria“.

Point-counterpoint debating this year’s big winner at the European Film Awards, “Ida”:

  1. ‘Ida’: a film masterpiece“, by David Denby (The New Yorker).
  2. The distasteful vagueness of ‘Ida’“, by Richard Brody (The New Yorker).

The same two critics square off in picking the best films of 2014:

  1. The ten best movies of 2014“, by David Denby (The New Yorker).
  2. The best movies of 2014“, by Richard Brody (The New Yorker).

Read — 2014/12/09

Today’s selection of articles includes:

  1. How I made — instead of spent — 26 cents with a mobile app“, by Nick Wingfield (NY Times). Spare5 brings the world of nanoentrepreneurship to your mobile device. But at $1.30 an hour, don’t quit your day job.
  2. Four reasons for Tesla’s record-setting decline“, by Erik Holm (Wall Street Journal). The title is over-hyped. Analysts soft-pedal the long-term effect of lower oil prices, pointing instead to BMW and general market sentiment against momentum stocks.
  3. Siblings build a butcher shop for ‘meat’-loving vegans” (NPR). Kale and Aubry Walch and the Herbivorous Butcher.
  4. Playoff field is right, despite noise“, by Ivan Maisel (ESPN). (#1) Alabama v Ohio State (#4); (#2) Oregon v Florida State (#3). Perhaps if (#5) Baylor v TCU (#6) had been played (a Big-12 title game? Inconceivable!), things would have been different. Maisel convincingly argues for keeping future College Football Playoffs to four teams.

Read — 2014/12/07

Today’s selection of articles includes:

  1. When talking about bias backfires“, by Adam Grant & Sheryl Sandberg (NY Times). If you want to solve a problem, then make others aware that the problem exists — and that it’s unacceptable.
  2. Energy firms in secretive alliance with attorneys general“, by Eric Lipton (NY Times).
  3. How game theory helped improve New York City’s high school application process“, by Tracy Tullis (NY Times). Just another real-world example of the deferred-acceptance algorithm at work.

On this day in 1941:

  1. Japan wars on U.S. and Britain; makes sudden attack on Hawaii; heavy fighting at sea reported“, by Frank L. Kluckhorn (NY Times, 08 Dec 1941).