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Weekend Briefing No. 136
Welcome To The Weekend
Hello from San Francisco where I attended SOCAP. It was a pleasure meeting so many of you face to face at the conference. Thanks for saying hello.
This week we’re testing two new features. 1) This Week By The Numbers - We’re punching up the weekly summary by adding some stats. 2) Sharing - you can now share individual stories you find interesting by clicking the button below the story. Give it a shot. Let me know if you like these features or hate them or think they could be improved in any way. Enjoy!
This Week By The Numbers
$1.4bn – the amount GE spent on two industrial 3D printing companies.
1.3 million – the number of people that made the hadj to Mecca this year. Despite fears of overcrowding following last year’s stampede in which thousands died, this year’s pilgrimage, was marked by calm.
100(ish) – the number of pop up stores Amazon is planning to launch in US malls to drive sales of its hardware (hello Alexa!).
7% - the drop in Samsung’s stock price due to it’s exploding phones.
92 – the age at which Greta Zimmer Friedman, the woman who was kissed by a sailor in the iconic photograph on VJ Day. The kiss seen ’round the world is still remembered today as an image that marks the end of World War II.
I Ain’t Passed The Bar, But I Know A Lil Bit
This short film, narrated by Jay Z, is part history lesson about the war on drugs and part vision statement. As Ms. Crabapple’s haunting images flash by, the film takes us from the Nixon administration, the Rockefeller drug laws then through the extraordinary growth in our nation’s prison population and lastly, the emerging aboveground marijuana market of today. We learn how African-Americans can make up around 13 percent of the United States population — yet 31 percent of those arrested for drug law violations, even though they use and sell drugs at the same rate as whites. Watch the short film at New York Times (4 minutes).
To The Top Of The World
Dan Fredinburg, a Google engineer, member of the Summit and Burning Man communities and a friend, was more comfortable with pushing limits than anybody I’ve ever met. This has always inspired me. He lived boldly and died at the top of the world on Mt. Everest. How did this boy from Arkansas rise to such heights? Our friend Aimee Groth tells Dan’s story in a long-form piece for Quartz (19 minutes).
House Of Cards
In some ways, the near-universal adoration of Elizabeth Holmes, the founder of Theranos reflected her extraordinary ability to craft a narrative. In others, however, it reflected the Valley’s own narcissism. Finally, it seemed, there was a female innovator who was indeed able to personify the Valley’s vision of itself—someone who was endeavoring to make the world a better place. Holmes’s real story, however, was a little more complicated. Read the story on the stunning rise and fall of Theranos at Vanity Fair (27 minutes).
Adam Smith On Inequality
Most people that actually read Adam Smith are surprised to find that he believed economic inequality distorts people’s sympathies, leading them to admire and emulate the very rich and to neglect and even scorn the poor. Not only are people far more likely to notice the rich than the poor, according to Smith, but they are also far more likely to approve of them, to admire them, and to emulate them. Smith saw the widespread admiration of the rich as morally problematic because he did not believe that the rich in fact tend to be terribly admirable people and that the tendency to sympathize with the rich makes people less happy. Learn more at The Atlantic (6 minutes).
Defeating ISIS Online
Jigsaw (formerly Google Ideas) has a new project called Redirect Method, led by my friend and Weekend Briefing subscriber Yasmin Green. The project places advertising alongside results for any keywords and phrases people attracted to ISIS commonly search for. These ads link to videos Jigsaw believes can effectively undo ISIS’s brainwashing—clips like testimonials from former extremists, imams denouncing ISIS’s corruption of Islam, and surreptitiously filmed clips inside the group’s dysfunctional caliphate in Northern Syria and Iraq. Learn more at Wired (3 minutes).
How To Become A CEO
How does a person get to be the boss? According to a in a new study of 459,000 onetime management consultants by the social network LinkedIn, the answer has always included hard work, brains, leadership ability and luck. But in the 21st century it helps greatly to have experience in as many of a business’s functional areas as possible. However, there is still such a thing as too much variety - switching industries has a negative correlation with corporate success. Check out the interactive graphic to see how likely you are to be a CEO at the Upshot (6 minutes).
5 Second Rule
Bad news folks. According to a new study, the five-second rule doesn’t work. Bacteria can contaminate food that falls on the floor instantaneously. Bacteria don't have legs, they move with the moisture, and the wetter the food, the higher the risk of transfer. Also, longer food contact times usually result in the transfer of more bacteria from each surface to food. Interestingly, stainless steel surfaces transfer bacteria quicker than carpet. Learn more at MTN (4 minutes).
About The Weekend Briefing
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Thanks for making the Weekend Briefing a part of your Saturday morning routine. Have a restful and thoughtful weekend.