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Shit Worth Reading: May 15th, 2012
Shit Worth Reading: May 15th, 2012
05/15/12 at 01:30 PM by Jason Tate
Here's a bunch of stuff that I found fascinating around the interwebs over the past few days ... but first I want to just take a minute to make sure you've read the interview that I did with Brian Fallon of The Gaslight Anthem ... because, well, it's something I'm very proud of and I would love if you could take a few minutes to go check it out. So, here's the link - enjoy/share/read! Thanks.

Why Nikola Tesla was the greatest geek who ever lived
The Oatmeal at his best. Fucking Edison! - JT
Lunch With Warren Buffett: $2 Million-Plus?
The organizers of the 13th-annual charity auction of a steak lunch with Warren Buffett are hoping the winning bid will top $2 million for the fifth-straight year. The man who won the previous two auctions, however, presumably won't be participating.

Buffet buys lunch, right? - JT
Photo by Mandy-Lyn Antoniou
I don't think this is safe for work (girl, in bikini, in ocean), but something about the photo just hit me right ... pretty awesome. - JT
How to Use a Paper Towel

Ok, I saw this link and thought, "eh, weird" -- and then I watched the video. Sold. Everyone should watch it. So simple, yet it will absolutely come into my mind the next time I am in a restroom. I'll then grab something else to open the door with, but this could very well fundamentally change a current habit. Rare that happens. Worth the watch. - JT
Analyst Says Google Chrome Is Coming to iOS
There are good security reasons for Apple’s ban on third-party runtimes and disallowing marking memory as executable (which is why App Store apps don’t get the Nitro JavaScript engine). But I can’t think of a good reason why iOS users can’t specify third-party apps to be their default web browser (or email client, or calendar).
Fact-Checking DigiTimes
But the thing is, Digitimes isn’t just wrong some of the time. When it comes to the big Apple stories, it’s wrong most of the time. Sometimes wildly so. It’s reported that its sources had said that Apple was going to release MacBooks with AMD processors, iMacs with touch screens, iPhones with built-in projectors and iPads with OLED displays. Those products, and others mentioned in Digitimes articles, never showed up.
How research findings are distorted for the sake of journalism
But hey, that message isn’t nearly going to rack up the same number of page views as saying that “We get approximately the same type of pleasure from talking about ourselves on social media as we do from having sex.” I read so many “a new study suggests that…” articles that I just take at face value. Today I decided to read the actual research paper, and realized what kind of distortions happen the further you get from the source of a story. I’ll certainly be a lot more cautious about these kinds of stories going forward. Welcome to the new age of journalism, I guess.
More Reports of NVIDIA Graphics Chips in Next-Generation MacBook Pro
Apple has moved back and forth between NVIDIA and AMD several times over the years, taking advantage of whichever graphics chip firm is offering the better product with the right pricing and timing. Consequently, a shift to NVIDIA should not be taken as an indication that it is a long-term decision, although Apple has been rumored to be making a similar move for the Mac Pro.
Apple in Talks to Bring 'WatchESPN' App to Apple TV
The brief report doesn't specify exactly how access to the WatchESPN functionality on the Apple TV would work, but currently customers of a number of cable and Internet companies have varying levels of access to the app's content on iOS and other platforms, which includes nearly all of ESPN's live broadcasts including online-only ESPN3 content.
The rumored thin 15” MacBook Pro with Retina, USB 3
Since non-Retina graphics look worse on Retina screens than on older screens, Retina MacBook users would have significantly worse-looking web browsing for a while — probably years, not months. So I don’t think I’d rush out to get a Retina Mac, but I wouldn’t necessarily avoid a Retina screen when it comes time to upgrade for other reasons.

This is my initial feeling as well. While a cool feature for whenever my next "upgrade" happens, it's not a "mustfuckingbuy" feature for me. Maybe I'll see one and change my mind. Although, I'm not stoaked on having to re-do virtually every graphic on the websites we run. - JT

Businessweek on Apple’s Dominance in Hollywood Product Placement

HP Restarts Tablet Manufacturing
Extraordinary growth in tablet sales, or extraordinary growth in iPad sales?
Front-lit Kindle Due In July
While Amazon clearly controls the e-reader space, Barnes & Nobile continues to beat them to the punch on key technologies. First, it was an Android-based color tablet. Then it was the front-lit e-ink reader.
Nice takedown of nonsense by Philip Elmer-DeWitt.
iCloud is the Difference Between Great and Excellent
I would be surprised if iCloud wasn’t a very large part of WWDC this year. Apple will be putting the finishing touches on iCloud’s integration with iOS and Mac OS X, but they will also need developers to give widespread adoption to its use for the service to catch on.
Advertising is Hated — and Failing
In general, people hate ads so much that they’ve made ad avoidance an art. A tool that facilitates skipping ads is now part of a standard cable sign-up package. There is software that removes ads from webpages. Ads are used as a punishment, such as in the case of Spotify and Pandora, which will intersperse their music offerings with ads unless you pay them not to. Their ads might as well be cobbled together like ransom notes out of various typefaces from the newspaper.
Head of Time Warner Cable: ‘I’m not sure I know what AirPlay is’
AirPlay, a software tool included with Apple’s iPads and iPhones, is widely viewed as being potentially disruptive to the cable industry, because it makes it easy for people to view a broad variety of Internet content on a television. Time Warner Cable’s leader, however, hasn’t heard of it.
‘Reblog’ Regurgitation Dirtbaggery From The Next Web
Not only did they not credit my content in the original post, but the second sentence of the first paragraph is taken nearly word-for-word, as is most of the second paragraph.
Translation From PR-Speak to English of Selected Portions of Macrovision CEO Fred Amoroso’s Response to Steve Jobs’s ‘Thoughts on Music’
Keep in mind while re-reading this piece from 2007 that this clown — who in response to Steve Jobs’s seminal (and in hindsight, remarkably prescient) “Thoughts on Music” argued that Jobs was wrong and that the answer was more DRM — is the new chairman of the board at Yahoo.
Facebook Hires Team From Android Photosharing App Dev Lightbox To Quiet Mobile Fears

Imgur Now Sees 2 Billion Page Views A Month (And 3 Million Daily Uniques)
The company just announced that it’s reached 2 billion page views a month, up from 1 billion page views a month on February 1 of this year. Imgur has also surpassed 3 million daily uniques — a milestone in and of itself.
To Capitalize On Demand, Facebook Ups IPO Price To $34-$38, May Sell 50 Million Extra Shares
Everyone wants a piece of Facebook, so the company will will likely allow underwriters to sell a “greenshoe” of up to 50.6 million additional shares, and it increase its IPO share price range from between $28 and $35 to $34 and $38, I’ve confirmed with sources very close to the IPO. This means Facebook could sell up to 388 million shares to raise between $13.1 billion and $14.7 billion at a CNBC-reported valuation between $92B and $103B.
Americans Now Spend More Time On Facebook Mobile Than Its Website
Time spent on Facebook’s mobile site and apps per month (441 minutes) has finally surpassed usage of its classic website (391 minutes) — for Americans who use both Facebook interfaces according to the latest report from comScore.
Twitter Now Putting Tweets In Your Inbox With A Weekly Email Digest
The email digest, which will start appearing in users’ inboxes over the next few weeks, is designed to emulate the “Discover” tab in Twitter’s mobile apps. The idea is to feature the “best” content that appears on the network, even if it was written or promoted by folks you don’t follow.

Immediately added to my spam filter. GTFO. - JT
Quora Raises $50M At $400M From Peter Thiel, D’Angelo Puts In $20M Of His Own Money
Q&A site Quora has raised $50 million at a $400 million pre-money valuation according to a report by the Wall Street Journal and confirmed to me by the founders themselves.
Rdio’s Major Redesign Gives Listeners A Unified View, Enhanced Sharing, Private Playlists
That starts with making browsing and discovery in one place — i.e. making navigation something that isn’t quite so time consuming. In the new design, music, playlists, and a user’s network are all now under one view. And, speaking of playlists, one of the most requested features, Rdio says, has been the ability to add whole albums to playlists, so today the startup will begin offering this functionality on both the Web and in its desktop apps.
How To Appeal To Investors: Top VCs Reveal The Anatomy Of A Successful Entrepreneur
While some VCs are market-focused and others are entrepreneur-first, obviously if you want to build a billion-dollar company, you’re going to need both. But, when it comes to the entrepreneur, the common perception is that you need to be hyper intelligent, have a big ego, be a visionary, experimental, focused, and passionate. While these are all essential to the equation, Shah says the the traits that really matter most are authenticity, integrity, and motivation.

Bolding is mine. - JT
Zuckerberg Will Ring In Facebook IPO From Menlo Park HQ On Friday
TechCrunch has learned and confirmed that Facebook will IPO on Friday with CEO Mark Zuckerberg ringing the NASDAQ bell remotely from his company’s new Menlo Park headquarters.
Three Ways Facebook Can Leverage Mobile To Grow Their Revenues
While there are many things that Facebook can do to drive revenue related to display, search, and mobile – let’s take a look at three immediate steps Facebook could take to ramp up revenues from its 500 Million+ monthly active users on mobile devices.
On Knowing Your Enemy
The Israelis have had a spotless record of airline security since 1972. It is widely imagined that they would never be so stupid as to profile people on the basis of race, ethnicity, or nationality. But this is just a pious fantasy. The Israelis have well-trained screeners who use all the information they can possibly glean to mitigate the risk of terrorism. Racial and ethnic profiling appears to be central to their process. I agree with many of my critics that we should emulate the Israeli approach insofar as it is possible. That would require smart, well-trained screeners who are empowered to use their discretion (i.e., to profile).

Not sure I agree with this entire article, but fuck - it's something that made me think. And for something counter to my default setting ... that's important. It made me re-think how I look at things. That means a lot. - JT

Why We Regulate
Why, exactly, are banks special? Because history tells us that banking is and always has been subject to occasional destructive “panics,” which can wreak havoc with the economy as a whole. Current right-wing mythology has it that bad banking is always the result of government intervention, whether from the Federal Reserve or meddling liberals in Congress. In fact, however, Gilded Age America — a land with minimal government and no Fed — was subject to panics roughly once every six years. And some of these panics inflicted major economic losses.
The Black Pastors Are Coming!
Will these pastors convince their congregations to stay home and protest Barack Obama? It would be the first time that a black politician lost because he came out for gay marriage. It's assuming that some number of black Americans will say "meh" and let the first black president go down in flames in November. In Maryland, where voters might get to vote on the marriage law, why wouldn't some number of black voters split their tickets? That's what they did in 2008, when they voted for Prop 8 in California and for national gay marriage superhero Gavin Newsom for lieutenant governor.
Study: Republican primaries polarize. Democratic primaries don’t.
In other words, Republican primaries served to push the party to the right, while Democratic primaries didn’t. And remember: These numbers don’t include conservative primary challenges that helped convince Republican moderates to drop out, like the one Olympia Snowe faced in Maine, or that pushed the incumbent to switch parties, like the one faced by Arlen Specter in Pennsylvania or Lisa Murkowski in Alaska, or primary challenges that were unexpectedly close and so scared the incumbent into voting in a more conservative fashion both before and after the race.
Have ballot initiatives undermined gay marriage?
The six states with legal gay marriage have all gotten there through the courts or the legislature; none have done so by popular vote. So how does gay marriage keep losing the popular vote at the same time that it’s becoming more popular?
True oil independence is an unrealistic dream
The only way the United States could completely shield itself from global swings in price, the CBO notes, is by cutting itself off from the world oil markets and preventing its domestic producers from ever selling crude abroad. Even then, CBO notes, this could only work if the United States kept discovering large new domestic fields and could somehow force multinational oil companies to keep investing in the United States even if they found it unprofitable to do so. In other words, it’s an unrealistic goal.
Will Smith is not moving to France
Romney wants defense spending to be much, much higher. The public doesn’t.
Travis Sharp, a budget analysis at the Center for a New American Security, ran the numbers based on Romney’s plan for defense spending for CNNMoney and found that the presumptive GOP nominee would increase Pentagon spending in 2013 by $96 billion. That’s about a 17 percent increase over 2012 spending levels—nearly the same amount by which the public wants to decrease the defense budget, according to the Stimson Center’s recent study.
Is the filibuster unconstitutional?
Bondurant thinks the filibuster is unconstitutional. And, alongside Common Cause, where he serves on the board of directors, he’s suing to have the Supreme Court abolish it.
Gay marriage is a health-care issue, too
A team of public health researchers looked at health-care patterns among gay and bisexual men before and after Massachusetts legalized same-sex unions in 2003 (this was prior to the state’s health insurance expansion). Health-care research has increasingly looked at how policy interventions that change the larger environment impact health-care outcomes. In this case, they wanted to know whether legal same-sex marriage — which had the potential to reduce risk factors such as stress — might have an impact.
YGLESIAS: America is headed towards default.
House Republicans voted to take money away from programs meant to help poor people and give it to the military instead. That’s not my idea of wise policy, but that’s what was terrible about it. The problem is that the vote constitutes a collective Republican welching on the agreement that was reached last spring to raise the statutory debt ceiling and avoid national default. Yesterday’s vote doesn’t undo the deal or cause any immediate problems, but by so speedily backing out of their agreement, the Republicans have done something much worse--made it impossible for anyone to negotiate with them in the future, because it’s clear they cannot be trusted to keep the promises they made. If President Obama wins re-election, the debt-ceiling issue will have to be confronted again, but now in a Congress that has been poisoned by the Republicans’ welching on the last agreement. The country, in other words, is set for an even more severe version of the crisis that crushed financial markets last summer.
Republicans governors vs. Obamacare
The conventional wisdom in health policy circles right now is that states that have not taken steps toward implementation yet just will not have the capacity to do so, on such a short time frame. Some of it has to do with the sheer scale of the task; California, for example, has been working on its exchange for over a year now, and is still far from being done.
Senate Republicans filibustered a student loan bill.
Senate Republicans on Tuesday blocked consideration of a Democratic bill to prevent the doubling of some student loan interest rates, leaving the legislation in limbo less than two months before rates on subsidized federal loans are set to shoot upward. Along party lines, the Senate voted 52 to 45 on a key procedural motion, failing to reach the 60 votes needed to begin debating the measure. Senator Olympia J. Snowe, the moderate Republican from Maine who is retiring, voted present...Republicans say they want to extend Democratic legislation passed in 2007 that temporarily reduced interest rates for low- and middle-income undergraduates who receive subsidized Stafford loans to 3.4 percent from 6.8 percent. But the Republicans would not accept the Senate Democrats’ proposal to pay for a one-year extension by changing a law that allows some wealthy taxpayers to avoid paying Social Security and Medicare taxes by classifying their pay as dividends, not cash income.
Schools may be key to preventing obesity.
Obesity is so entrenched in the U.S. that it would take an intense push by schools, employers, doctors and others to reverse an epidemic that accounts for billions of dollars in annual health-care costs, concluded a report released Tuesday. The report by the Institute of Medicine, an influential independent body that advises the federal government on health policy, recommended requiring at least 60 minutes of physical activity a day in schools and considering excise taxes on sugar-sweetened beverages. It urged food companies to improve nutritional standards for foods marketed to people under 18 years old, recommending that mandatory standards be considered at all levels of government if the companies don't adopt their own...Schools, in particular, should be a 'national focal point' for obesity prevention, because children spend up to half their waking hours and consume as many as half their daily calories there, the report said.
Taxpayers could make a profit on the AIG bailout.
Taxpayers could make a profit of up to $15.1 billion on the emergency assistance extended to American International Group during the financial crisis, the Government Accountability Office said Monday. The Federal Reserve and the Treasury made available more than $180 billion in aid to the struggling financial giant in 2008...'Based on the composition of the remaining federal assistance to AIG [and] the repayment and recovery progress thus far on all assistance . . . the government could receive total returns of approximately $15.1 billion in excess of the assistance provided, including interest, dividends, and fees,' the GAO said in its report. The GAO report noted, however, that those gains do not reflect the 'subsidy costs associated with the assistance.' The GAO did not calculate such costs, which relate to the compensation the government received in exchange for taking on great risks in 2008.
Mitt Romney's EPA might not be the radically different agency he envisions.
Mitt Romney isn’t certain about climate change, wants to reverse or halt a handful of the Obama administration’s environmental policies and would put the interests of business -- and Congress -- before the will of one of the executive branch’s most embattled agencies. But what really happens at Romney’s Environmental Protection Agency? Romney may talk a big game, but the reality is he’ll face significant roadblocks in Congress and the courts that may make wholesale change difficult. Moving new environmental legislation -- particularly to weaken current laws -- would prove difficult at best in such a divided Congress, which struggles to coalesce on nearly anything. And the courts -- tasked with interpreting the environmental legislation that is often deliberately vague, complicated and designed to rest on scientific information -- can often order the EPA to take action or revise legislation.
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