From The Archives
2

A Hundred Years of Inquietude

For a start-up like Mr. Butterfield’s, reaching that valuation in such a short time is unheard of. Slack, which offers a chat-room-like product for businesses to use as an internal communication tool, was introduced publicly only eight months ago. It is focused on the enterprise, which means it sells its products primarily to businesses, rather than individual consumers.

But with a new $120 million round of financing, announced on Friday, venture capitalists believe that Mr. Butterfield is building an enterprise company that will lead the next 100 years of online collaboration.

Slack is nice. It might even be well worth a billion dollars. But no one believes this. [...]

---
0

Entropy Negative

"Slipknot are no longer in step with the times either, but here they are selling six figures anyway hawking the same downtuned riffs and frustrated aggression as ever. At the peak of the band’s popularity, with the likes of Spears and Eminem routinely moving a million copies in a week, 132,000 in sales wouldn’t have come close to topping the chart. But on the flattened playing field that is 2014, it all but guarantees a #1 debut. At a time when many legacy acts can barely muster 50,000 on their first week, Slipknot’s numbers are undoubtedly impressive. Still, The Gray Chapter’s strong showing doesn’t herald a big comeback for nu-metal [...]

---
0

Fantasy Delineated

"Let’s ponder, for a moment, the kind of culture an ambulatory fungus might construct. Individual fruiting bodies would probably seem, to us, utterly unconcerned with their own survival when confronted with large-scale dispersive destruction. Struck with a fireball, or blown up by your own bomb? No problem! The force of the blast spreads your spores over the battlefield. Chopped up by a surgeon to patch up some other creature (not necessarily a goblin)? Great! The new creature will carry you around for the rest of its life, dispersing your spores on the way. Killed in battle? Your spore-laden blood sticks to your adversary’s boots—and when she washes off in the [...]

---
1

Story Slow

Serial tackles one story over the course of many installments–roughly as many as encompass a season of an HBO drama such as True Detective, the show to which Serial is often compared because the first serial Koenig has tackled is the story of Adnan Syed, a high school student convicted of murdering his ex-girlfriend. Did he do it? Or has he been wrongly jailed for a crime he didn't commit? Each episode is an installment in an ongoing attempt to figure that out.

The producers themselves don't know how their story ends: They approach the subject as intensely curious storytellers, not crusaders for the accused or the deceased.

The new [...]

---
1

Shift The Darkness Around, It Won't Help Any

It's funny when people make distinctions about whether it's darker in the morning or the evening, as if it isn't the most obvious truth of our time that it's all darkness, and it's not going to get any better, ever. That said, the clocks go back this Sunday, so the inherent sense of gloom and futility you feel of an afternoon—the crushing knowledge that there's no point to any of it and no one is less useful than you and the sorrowful certainty that the things you spend your sad little days worrying about are just additions to the list of wasted time and chances missed—will be settling in an [...]

---
3

Matter Familiar

"McDonald’s Corp. is hoping a new marketing campaign can add some much-needed flavor to its business. Facing sagging profits, the fast food giant plans to launch a new advertising campaign starting early next year with the slogan “Lovin’ Beats Hatin’” — which aims to spread happiness in the face of Internet hate, said people familiar with the matter."

---
0

Experience Mediated

Windows 93.

---
0

Franchise Unbeatable

"At the end of the day, Brand Ebola may be too strong to counter. 'It’s got high awareness, it’s easy to understand, it’s got a fairy simple story,' said Calkins. 'It’s the ice bucket challenge, but bad.'"

---
1

Unrelenting Trauma: It's a Living

"So companies like Facebook and Twitter rely on an army of workers employed to soak up the worst of humanity in order to protect the rest of us. And there are legions of them—a vast, invisible pool of human labor. Hemanshu Nigam, the former chief security officer of MySpace who now runs online safety consultancy SSP Blue, estimates that the number of content moderators scrubbing the world’s social media sites, mobile apps, and cloud storage services runs to “well over 100,000”—that is, about twice the total head count of Google and nearly 14 times that of Facebook."

---
2

In this Sunday's forthcoming New York Times Magazine—which has been magically sent backward in time, from the future, to the internet of today—I have a short piece on how dynamic, demand-based pricing is probably going to become a staple of supremely popular restaurants as logistics-driven startups, of a piece with Uber and Airbnb, begin looking to disrupt (lol) woefully inefficient restaurant seating systems. In summary: Hope you like eating out on Tuesdays at 9PM. Unless you are rich, then why are you worrying about this, or anything at all? It'll be just fine. You'll be just fine. Everything's fine.

---
0

On the Many Previous Internets

"Falstaff Press and Panurge Press were the best-known of [mail-order smut] publishers, and their books were also the best made. They make up a subgenre in the history of pornography that has largely been left behind: Too titillating to have any real scientific value, they often also had too much deflating scientific detail to be thoroughly useful to the average masturbator."

---
2

Shoe Fit

"Ringo Starr Is The New Face Of Skechers."

---
0

Court Meddles

"A pregnant unwed mother can’t use Facebook alone to notify the father about the baby before putting the child up for adoption, Oklahoma’s highest civil court has ruled."

---
0

Pity the Poor Bodega Cigarette Man

Upon closer inspection of the shelves, he noticed that the rear wall stopped short, a couple of inches from the other side, suggesting a gap in between. He peered lower. There was a pinpoint hole in the rear wall. Below it, a toothpick lay on the shelf. Deputy Davis, 43, stuck the toothpick in the hole.

The toothpick pressed a hidden button that released a large magnet that kept a secret compartment locked. Deputy Davis lifted the front of the row of shelves like you would the trunk of a small car, and inside were rows and rows, all different brands, of contraband. Not narcotics or pills, but unopened packs [...]

---
2

Sounds Enumerated

In 2014, not a single artist’s album has gone platinum. Not one has managed to cross that million sales mark.

One album has managed to sell over a million copies so far this year, but it’s a soundtrack. The ever-popular Frozen soundtrack may slowly be working its way down the charts, but it is by far the best selling collection this year. Though it doesn’t have any marquee names on it—those that are usually expected to sell the best—the soundtrack has managed to move 3.2 million copies so far, and with winter coming, that number is sure to rise.

The most popular album of 2014 that was actually released [...]

---
0

Youth Harnessed

"While some elementary schools no longer have recess, and people like New Jersey Governor Chris Christie argue that school days should be even longer, a few schools are already moving in a different direction. Some are testing out standing desks, and realizing that a little bit of activity can actually improve attention spans. Others, like Ward Elementary in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, are starting to fill classrooms with exercise bikes, so students can work out while they learn." —Thought experiment: Would the ethical status of this program change, in any way, if the exercise bikes were used to generate electricity? The MOOC machines will need charging.

---
0

Moves Borrowed

"I am the Jonah Lehrer of sex, a serial plagiarist of stunning bravado and insouciance. So are you."

---
0

History and the Modern Presidency

Barack Obama, 2005, to the graduating class of Knox College: The true test of the American ideal is whether we’re able to recognize our failings and then rise together to meet the challenges of our time. Whether we allow ourselves to be shaped by events and history, or whether we act to shape them. Whether chance of birth or circumstance decides life’s big winners and losers, or whether we build a community where, at the very least, everyone has a chance to work hard, get ahead, and reach their dreams.

Barack Obama, 2009, accepting the Nobel Peace Price: For all the cruelty and hardship of our world, we are not [...]

---
1

Relief Sought

"The term of choice for its practitioners is BLARPing—business live action role play."

---
2

Ban Cars from Central Park

The mystery of the bear cub found dead on Monday in Central Park is one step closer to being solved: It was revealed on Tuesday that she died after being hit by a car.

The state’s Department of Environmental Conservation announced that the results of a necropsy showed that the cause of death was "blunt force injuries consistent with a motor vehicle collision."

I rest my case.

---