Thursday Ten

A little bit of a mix of links today.

Mourning Excalibur, the Ebola Dog: Are we all quite mad here in the developed world?  A petition to save Excalibur, the pet dog of a Spanish nursing assistant who has contracted Ebola, received more than 370,000 signatures before the animal was sedated and killed as a precautionary measure this evening. As his corpse was taken away in a van for incineration, a crowd of activists who had clashed with police during the day were reportedly shouting: “murderers!” (Bloomberg)

 ‘I Couldn’t Smell, and Then I Died’ A fading ability to identify scents is a sign that life’s end may be near. (The Atlantic)

Popular on Amazon: Wildly misleading self-published books about Ebola, by random people without medical degrees In the past 90 days, some 84 people have self-published Ebola e-books on Amazon, almost half of them in the past month alone. Many of them are popular, crawling their way up the bestsellers’ list to sit atop categories, such as health and medicine. Many of them are well-reviewed by their readers, who vow to buy Hazmat suits or start vitamins based on what they’ve read. And many of the books — almost all of them, in fact — contain information that’s either wildly misleading or flat-out wrong. (Washington Post) Note: I’m sorry if you all hate yourselves now, I know I do.

Meet the Hong Kong Cop Who Has Joined His City’s Protesters: I met John on Tuesday in Mong Kok, the shopping district of Kowloon where the previous night a man had driven a Mercedes-Benz through a crowd of protestors, fueling rumors that hired thugs were trying to cause trouble for the Occupy Central movement. John, who was carrying a backpack with a yellow ribbon pinned to the strap, told me there had also been reports of cars filled with weapons parked nearby. I asked how he knew so much, and he surreptitiously pulled a card out of his pocket: a police ID.  (The New Republic)

The U.S. media will believe anything on North Korea: some perspective from a long-time Asia hand (Tim Shorrock)

The Thugs of Mainland China: Last Friday, as the Occupy Central protests convulsed Hong Kong, James Bang, a twenty-eight-year-old digital-strategy consultant, found himself holding down the front line in the district of Mong Kok, his arms linked with other young protesters as they fended off surging groups of attackers. The assailants shoved the protesters, spat in their faces, and shouted, “Motherfuckers!” and “Go home!” Their accents signalled to Bang that they were from Guangdong, across the border, and they wore bags slung across their chests, a style common in mainland China. He was convinced that they weren’t locals. “Hong Kong people don’t spit on Hong Kong people,” he told me over Skype. “In Hong Kong, they spit on the roads.” (New Yorker)

Fond Memories Of Ebola Victim Eric Duncan, Anger Over His Death: He liked to joke around with his neighbors. And he always gave them a helping hand. The neighbors that Thomas Eric Duncan’s generous spirit is what cost him his life. (NPR)

Hope Solo abuse allegation can’t be ignored: Our league can no longer turn a blind eye to the allegations that Solo assaulted two family members. (USA Today)

 The Story Of A 12-Year-Old Norwegian Bride Brings Attention To A Global Issue: Child-aid organization Plan Norway uses a local face to raise awareness around the global issue of child brides. (Fast Company/Co.Create)

Adobe’s e-book reader sends your reading logs back to Adobe—in plain text: Digital Editions even tracks which pages you’ve read. It might break a New Jersey Law. (Ars Technica) Note: This has been making the rounds, but I haven’t shared it yet. FYI, Amazon does the same thing — and don’t blame the libraries, we had no idea this was going on.

Bonus Links:

Navigating All the Fringe Beliefs in LA: If you want to make friends in LA, one of the first things you must learn to do is to socialize with crazy people. Or rather, to socialize with otherwise sane people who will wait until several hours into a casual conversation to nonchalantly reveal a belief in elves, or telepathy, or the Hollow Earth. (The Bold Italic) Note: This is here to make you laugh, hopefully it did it’s job.

What It’s like to Fly the $23,000 Singapore Airlines Suites Class, the world’s best airline experience, from Singapore to New York:  In 2008, Singapore Airlines introduced their Suites Class, the most luxurious class of flying that is commercially available.  The Suites were exclusive to their flagship Airbus A380, and they go beyond flat beds by offering enclosed private cabins with sliding doors that cocoon you in your own little lap of luxury. The interior was designed by French luxury yacht designer Jean-Jacques Coste and comes along with a plush soft leather armchair hand-stitched by the Italian master craftsmen Poltrona Frau. Perhaps most well-known of all, Singapore Airlines became the first and only commercial airline with a double bed in the sky. (Medium)

Thursday Ten

When I was in high school, I was obsessed with many things. One of these things was Ebola and other, similar viruses. This was, obviously, in my young and less anxious years (I barely remember them, to be honest). I read Richard Preston’s The Hot Zone, watched Outbreak and struggled to finish The Coming Plague (I’m pretty sure I didn’t finish it). But after one too many nightmares, I gave up on all my dreams about being some sort of infectious disease doctor (I shudder to think of it now) and moved on with my life. But Ebola still remains and dominates the news (both here and abroad). And while today’s links do contain some information on Ebola, there are other things as welll. Including the protests for democracy in Hong Kong.

And on that note, here are this week’s links.

  • When no gender fits: A quest to be seen as just a person: How do you navigate the world when it is built on identifying with one group or another and the place that feels right is neither? (Washington Post)
  • I Had a Stroke at 33: On New Year’s Eve 2007, a clot blocked one half of my brain from the other. My reality would never be the same again. (BuzzFeed)
  • Message for Beijing Hidden in a Hong Kong Street Poem: On a busy Hong Kong street on Wednesday, a poem dashed out on a bare wooden crate contained a hidden message for China. (Sinosphere // New York Times)
  • Hong Kong’s protests don’t impress mainland Chinese visitors: Chinese tourists pouring into Hong Kong this week for a shopping holiday are getting an unexpected lesson in democracy from the city’s tens of thousands of protesters demanding free elections. So far, most of them are unimpressed. (Quartz)
  • 16 Dramatic Videos Show What It’s Like to Be in Hong Kong Right Now: Thousands of protesters braved clouds of tear gas and police batons charges to stand firm in center of Hong Kong in one of the biggest political challenges for China since the Tiananmen Square protests 25 years ago. (Mic)
  • Pro-Democracy Protesters Occupy Hong Kong’s Central District: In Photos (The Atlantic) Note: This was also posted on FB. You can also follow live coverage of the protests on the South China Morning Post’s Occupy Central blog.
  • The Supreme Court That Made It Easier to Buy Elections Just Made It Harder for People to Vote in Them: In case there was any remaining confusion with regard to the precise political intentions of the US Supreme Court’s activist majority, things were clarified Monday. The same majority that has made it easier for corporations to buy elections (with the Citizens United v. FEC decision) and for billionaires to become the dominant players in elections across the country (with the McCutcheon v. FEC decision) decided to make it harder for people in Ohio to vote. (The Nation)
  • Don’t panic over Ebola in America: The first thing to do is to calm down.  Ebola is terrifying. But it’s not likely to kill you, or to spread widely in the United States. What’s scary — and hyped — about Ebola isn’t what makes it dangerous. (Vox) Note: Actor Idris Elba wrote an impassioned plea to help stop the spread of Ebola. Read it: Stopping Ebola in Its Tracks (Huffington Post)
  • Incredible Close-Up Drone Video of an Erupting Volcano in Iceland: This epic video isn’t a CGI outtake from Lord of the Rings. It’s proof that a guy with a quadcopter managed to get very, very close to an erupting Icelandic volcano—close enough to melt the face of the GoPro camera that shot the video. (Wired)
  • The Hidden Costs of E-books at University Libraries: For the past few years, both the California State University and the University of California libraries have been experimenting with packages that replace paper books with e-books. The advantages are obvious. With e-books, you no longer have to schlep to a library to take out a book. You just log on from whatever device connects you to the web, at whatever time and in whatever state of dress, and voila! the book appears on your screen (Times of San Diego)

Bonus:

  • How to Plant a Library: Somewhere outside of Oslo, there are 1,000 newly planted spruce trees. One hundred years from now, if everything goes to plan, they’ll be published together as 100 pieces of art. (Pacific Standard)

The Thursday Ten

I’ve decided to try something different. Instead of listing all the links I’ve read and thought were interesting, I’m going to limit it to just ten, with maybe a bonus link or two. This first week of September will be my first week attempting this. Feedback is always welcome.

Onto the links:

  • Pop culture’s newest apocalypse: Visions of a smartphone dystopia Two acclaimed new books show how our smartphone addiction is changing the way we think about the end of the world  (Salon) Note: I have read neither book, but the premises of both are similar to many a YA dystopia — though that’s not a bad thing. I do wish the author was familiar with other dystopian novels, though.
  • Hong Kong’s Democracy Dilemma: On Sunday the Standing Committee of China’s National People’s Congress issued restrictive guidelines for the election of Hong Kong’s next chief executive in 2017. Shorn of its technical details, the proposal in effect gives Beijing the means to control who could run for the top office in Hong Kong: Voters would get to cast a ballot, but only for one of just a handful of candidates pre-selected by the Chinese government. (New York Times)
  • What’s missing in the Ebola fight in West Africa: If the Ebola epidemic devastating the countries of Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone had instead struck Washington, New York or Boston, there is no doubt that the health systems in place could contain and then eliminate the disease. (Washington Post)
  • Shenzhen trip report – visiting the world’s manufacturing ecosystem: Last year, a group of Media Lab students visited Shenzhen with, bunnie, an old friend and my hardware guru. He’s probably best known for hacking the Xbox, the chumby, an open source networked hardware appliance, and for helping so many people with their hardware, firmware and software designs. bunnie is “our man in Shenzhen” and understands the ecosystem of suppliers and factories in China better than anyone I know. (Joi Ito)
  • Death to the Gamer: Tainted by its misogyny and embrace of consumption as a way of life, gamer culture isn’t worth saving. (Jacobin)

Bonus links! Something a little more fun:

 

Links: July 12-17

A whole host of links covering everything from China to Vicks VapoRub (no, really). Look forward to a sports-only links post later in the week.

When You’re Poor, Money Is Expensive: For tens of millions of Americans without a bank account, paying a bill isn’t just an odyssey. It’s a part-time job.  (The Atlantic)

Tangled Web of Memories Lingers After a Breakup: The last thing I remember was the tears running in rivulets down my cheek as I confirmed that, yes, I did want to delete the picture on my Facebook page.  Several hours later, I, grossly hung over, was awoken by a flash flood of the rising sun through my hotel room. My face looked like Bubble Wrap after I fell asleep (likely with a thud) on the carpeted floor. And a bottle of whiskey, now empty, lay stranded amid a ruin of scrunched tissues, dried from my tears and snot, which sat in a makeshift shrine around me.  For a moment, as I started to piece together where I was, how I got there and what had happened the night before, I looked over at my laptop, which was clammed-open on the floor, and I felt sick to my stomach, not from the hangover but even worse, from what might be waiting to greet me on the Internet. (New York Times)

Naked selfies extracted from ‘factory reset’ phones: Thousands of pictures including “naked selfies” have been extracted from factory-wiped phones by a Czech Republic-based security firm. (BBC)

Why Google’s Waze Is Trading User Data With Local Governments: In Rio de Janeiro most eyes are on the final, nail-biting matches of the World Cup. Over in the command center of the city’s department of transport though, they’re on a different set of screens altogether.  Planners there are watching the aggregated data feeds of thousands of smartphones being walked or driven around a city, thanks to two popular travel apps, Waze and Moovit.  The goal is traffic management, and it involves swapping data for data. More cities are lining up to get access, and while the data the apps are sharing is all anonymous for now, identifying details could get more specific if cities like what they see, and people become more comfortable with being monitored through their smartphones in return for incentives. (Forbes)

Vicks VapoRub and Me: How the nostril-stinging salve helps me overcome chronic olfactory sensitivity, an Object Lesson (The Atlantic)

Getting Fired for a FOIA: A Chicago crime reporter, cold cases and more. (On The Media)

A New Narrative on Israel-Palestine: The latest surge of violence in the Gaza Strip and Israel was fueled by a horrific series of events involving Israeli and Palestinian teenagers. Brooke talks with Philip Weiss, co-editor of Mondoweiss, about coverage of these recent events, and how the view of the conflict is shifting in the media. (On The Media)

Behind the Border Crisis: For the past few weeks the media have been reporting on a surge in unaccompanied minors who are crossing the border illegally, bringing attention to the latest immigration crisis. But the reality of the situation is far more complicated. Brooke talks with reporter Bob Ortega about what’s really happening on the border. (On The Media)

George Clooney Is Right About the Daily Mail: The world’s most popular online newspaper does not deserve to be taken seriously. (Slate)

Watch: Sneaky Octopus Dismantles Camera: A sneaky octopus tried to literally steal the show when he recently took apart a camera off the coast of Jacksonville, Florida. (National Geographic)

Nature’s Most Perfect Killing Machine: Ebola is nightmare fuel: a biological doomsday device conspiring with our bodies to murder us in uniquely gruesome fashion. It’s also killed fewer than 2,000 people. How has a virus with such a modest body count so fiercely captured the darkest corners of our imagination? (Hazlitt/Random House)

A moth, a fern, a feline: a species name story (Lyman Entomological Museum)

What Will America Look Like in 2024? 25 charts that show what the nation expects over the next 10 years (The Atlantic)

Sandra Fluke: The Hobby Lobby case is an attack on women: How is birth control different from blood transfusions and vaccines? It’s not. (Washington Post)

In Hong Kong, a Potent Visual Echo of Tiananmen: Cecilia Ng was born seven years after the Goddess of Democracy statue in Tiananmen Square was destroyed during the bloody 1989 suppression of student-led protests. A quarter-century after the crackdown in Beijing, she and 10 of her friends made a smaller replica of the statue that on Tuesday was planted in the middle of one of central Hong Kong’s busiest streets. (Sinosphere/NYT)

Data Doppelgängers and the Uncanny Valley of Personalization: Why customized ads are so creepy, even when they miss their target (The Atlantic)

Understanding Facebook’s Lost Generation of Teens: The social network’s struggle to woo kids isn’t because it’s also their parents’ favorite social network (Fast Company)

How’s My Driving?: Car insurance companies want to track your every move—and you’re going to let them. (Quartz)

The Brilliant Machine That Could Finally Fix Airport Security: That machine is the Qylatron Entry Experience Solution, and it could soon replace a crappy experience of going through security checks at airports and other venues with one that’s faster and less invasive. Instead of having a human poke around in your bag, the machine scans it for a variety of threats in just a few seconds. Searching those Aussies and other soccer fans may prove to be a watershed moment for the system, a successful test of how well it can spot trouble and move people through security, efficiently and with their dignity intact. (Wired)

Spies Like Us: Is it because they know us so little — or because they know us too well — that the Americans can’t stop spying on us Germans? (New York Times)