Read — 2014/12/31

by shwolff

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.