Beloit College Mindset List for this year’s college class of 2018

Beloit College:

Students heading into their first year of college this year were generally born in 1996.

Among those who have never been alive in their lifetime are Tupac Shakur, JonBenet Ramsey, Carl Sagan, and Tiny Tim.

Do not read this story unless you want to feel old.

Headphones mega-review

Marco Arment:

My criteria for this review is what someone seeking good headphones today probably wants:

Semi-portable, over-ear headphones — not pocketable, but should fit comfortably in a small bag; suitable for listening at your desk and bringing on an airplane, or maybe wearing outside

Closed-back design with at least moderate isolation

A straight, short cable with a 3-button clicker

The hard price cap is $400, but ideally, these should be under $300.

I’ve been thinking about new studio headphones so Marco’s review was of interest for the variety he tested if nothing else.

Whole Foods is taking heat for selling rabbit

Quartz:

No one is talking about selling kittens and puppies at the meat counter, but for the group of bunny-loving pet owners protesting near the Whole Foods in Union Square, they might as well be. Fifty or so women and men of all ages carry signs, pass out flyers and pamphlets, and try to spread their message to passing Manhattanites. “Boycott Whole Foods,” they say, “because they’re killing rabbits.”

This may seem like a trivial fight involving a disproportionate amount of vitriol, but at its core it’s a debate that sheds light on the sometimes arbitrary categories we construct to make sense of the world.

I always find it fascinating what foods, meat in particular, we will and won’t eat and how dependent on our cultural constructs those decisions are. Personally, I love rabbit meat and when I was a kid in Nova Scotia, it was a staple of our diet. My Mom’s Rabbit Stew was spectacular.

How Calgary husband-and-wife actors, and 23 family members, helped Apple win an Emmy

Calgary Herald:

For Calgary’s husband-and-wife thespians Chris Ippolito and Karen MacKenzie, the Emmy-winning Christmas commercial for Apple is a gift that keeps on giving.

First, there was the fact that Ippolito and MacKenzie booked the high-profile, Edmonton-shot gig to begin with. It also gave 23 of their family members, including two-year-old daughter Clara-Anne, a chance to create some new yuletide memories after both clans were cast alongside them. It became an international sensation on TV and online, garnering millions of viewers. Then came the news last Sunday that the emotional ad, titled Misunderstood, had won a Creative Arts Emmy Award in Los Angeles.

I knew Apple had shot the ad in Canada but hadn’t realized it was such a “family affair”.

iPhone 5 battery replacement program

Apple:

Apple has determined that a very small percentage of iPhone 5 devices may suddenly experience shorter battery life or need to be charged more frequently. The affected iPhone 5 devices were sold between September 2012 and January 2013 and fall within a limited serial number range.

If your iPhone 5 is experiencing these symptoms and meets the eligibility requirements noted below, Apple will replace your iPhone 5 battery, free of charge.

I checked mine. It “passed”. How about your iPhone 5?

Small heads, safe ears: The best headphones for kids

Macworld:

…as more and more schools are using iPads and laptops as part of the curriculum, teachers want students to be able to hear lessons and work on projects without disturbing each other. Still, it’s telling that headphones are in, and binder paper is largely out.

But after volunteering in my kids’ classrooms over the past three years, I can tell you that when it comes to children, not all headphones are created equal. The best headphones for adults are rarely the best models for kids, for a number of reasons

Not having kids, this is something I’ve never given any thought to. Good to see an article about this focused on the needs of little ones.

Most people don’t use phonebooks. So why do we still get them?

Vox:

Each year, you probably get a fat new yellow pages phone book delivered to your doorstep. It’s possible you also get the white pages either as a separate volume or combined as one book.

And if you’re like 70 percent of Americans, you probably don’t even open the phone book before the next year’s batch arrives.

For many of us, these are a giant PITA and just one more unwanted thing we need to deal with. Mine go straight into the recycling bin.

The science of depression explained in a simple video

AsapSCIENCE:

While the science here is interesting and concentrates on how we think depression is linked heavily to genes, the important takeaway is that depression is a disease with a biological basis. Which is to say, it’s not just something people can “get over.” If you, or someone you know is depressed, understanding what’s really going on in the body is an important part of dealing with it.

I’m only just beginning to get a handle on my own personal issues with depression and, while this video won’t help, it is an interesting explanation of what some of the causes might be.

How Apple took over the only segment of the PC market that still matters

ZDNet:

If 6.4 million MacBook Airs sounds unimpressive for a full year’s sales, put it in perspective: Gartner estimates that only 22 million premium ultramobiles were sold in all of 2013. That gives Apple nearly 30 percent of this fast-growing market, which Gartner forecasts to grow by roughly 50 percent this year and more than 70 percent in 2015.

It’s also a profitable segment, with average selling prices of $1000 or more.

I plan on buying a MacBook Air once it gets the Retina display.

Meet the hero designer who publicly shamed Showtime for asking him to work for free

AdWeek:

When Showtime invited Dan Cassaro to join a design “contest” he felt amounted to milking professionals for free work, he let the network—and the world—know how he felt about it.

After sending an email response slathered in sarcasm (“I know that boxing matches in Las Vegas are extremely low-budget affairs”), Cassaro then posted the exchange to Twitter.

Good for him! Far too many places want people to work for “exposure”. As soon as I can use exposure to pay my rent and buy food, I’ll work for it.

Seaworld’s most rewarding and traumatic job

Outside:

What follows are a series of surprising and shocking conversations in which the three talk about the rewarding and challenging sides of their jobs, from teaching a newborn orca how to eat to disposing of dead animals and witnessing dolphin mothers kill their calves.

Despite the often difficult nature of the work, Horton, Payne, and Dodge were dedicated to caring for the animals. “Animal care is the one thing that SeaWorld can be proud of,” Horton says. “We were the unsung heroes.”

Here are Horton, Payne, and Dodge in their own words.

There are good and bad aspects to the capture and study of these animals in these kinds of parks. I fall on the side of not doing it but I understand some of the reasons for having these animals in captivity. Regardless of your opinion, this is an interesting story from the point of view of those with the animals every day.

Maps.Me is temporarily free, so grab it while you can

TUAW:

Why would anyone need another maps app when they already have Apple and Google Maps? The main reason is that both Apple and Google map apps need an internet connection. Yes, some map data can be cached, but all of your points of interest need the internet in order to appear. Not so with Maps.Me. Once you load the app, you can download maps for anywhere (including hundreds of points of interest for any corner of the world) while you have an internet connection. When you get to your destination, everything is on your iOS device so you won’t be burning up those precious megabytes.

I can’t find my butt with a map and a flashlight so I always appreciate any app that can help. And for us Canadians who travel and get dinged with ridiculous roaming charges, anything that helps us use our iPhones offline while traveling while is welcome.

Life after death: Resuscitating a drowned iPhone 5

Macworld:

As I positioned the phone vertically, the boat rocked a bit from a small wave, and—you guessed it—the phone slipped out of my hands.

I watched my iPhone fall, land on the back of the boat, then sickeningly slide off the boat and splash into the water.

Not everyone is so lucky but the story of the near-death and complete resurrection of this iPhone is interesting.

I went undercover in America’s toughest prison

Vice:

How do we try to change whatever it was that brought someone into trouble with the law? And if that proves impossible, what is the best way that society can protect itself? I wanted to find out. I also wanted to see how much of what I knew—or thought I knew—about jail turned out to be true. So I wrote to corrections departments worldwide asking for access.

I discovered that I could go to jail in America as an “undercover voluntary detainee.”

I don’t know if the author is brave or stupid. Undoubtedly, a lot of both.

The best podcast apps for the iPhone

Anxious Machine:

I decided to do just that, purchasing and trying out Instacast, Downcast, Pocketcasts, Podwrangler, Castro, Mocast, and Overcast. I made comparison video to share what I observed.

I have no background in design, but perhaps because I have a degree in comparative literature, I find it endlessly fascinating to compare the interface of apps and savor the details of what each one offers. None of these apps is perfect, but it’s inspiring to see how a group of talented humans use their skills in different ways, through the endlessly plastic medium of software, to approach the same problems.

Good round up and comparison of what’s available.

Stop being a tourist

The Verge:

I consider “tourist” to be the filthiest of words. It’s the curse I grumble when caught behind pedestrians walking without purpose on big-city sidewalks. But I differentiate between explorer and tourist: the former being someone that travels to an unfamiliar place to learn about it, the latter a barbaric asshat driven by the desire to document his very existence.

Funny article that makes some great points about how far too many people “record without being present”.

3 days in Nova Scotia

Ashley Durance:

“The thing about the East Coast is it’s so beautifully Canadian.”

The Publisher and I were lucky enough to have been born in Nova Scotia, Canada. He is lucky enough to still live there. Even though I’ve been gone for 25 plus years, I still think of Nova Scotia my home. This photo series captures some of the beauty of it.

Watch Apple CEO Tim Cook take the ice bucket challenge

The Verge:

Apple’s CEO Tim Cook is the latest notable person to undertake the Ice Bucket Challenge, and doused himself with icy water in the name of charity at a company event earlier today. The challenge was created to raise money for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, better known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease. So far, numerous celebrities and tech personalities have undertaken the challenge, including Apple’s marketing chief Phil Schiller, who posted a shots of himself getting doused on a beach today.

“Under the rules you also get to call out others who have to do the challenge themselves, or face social shame.” Really? Do you really think these kinds of powerful people can be peer pressured into doing things?

Meet the beer bottle dictator

The Daily Beast:

For years, one man has approved virtually every beer label design in the United States. Among brewers, he’s a tyrant. A legend.

A pedantic pain in the ass.

Brewers and legal experts speak of him in hushed tones, with equal parts irritation and reverence.

And he goes by the name “Battle.”

I’d never thought of the fact that someone would have to approve beer labels.

Sugar: the evolution of a forbidden fruit

The Globe and Mail:

Sugars are themselves toxins, some researchers suggest, that cause obesity, diabetes, hyper- tension and Alzheimer’s disease. Sugar has joined salt and fat on the list of dietary evils. Governments and health experts are urging people to cut back their daily intake.

How did we get ourselves into this unhappy state?

It’s a shame something so many of us love and crave is potentially so deadly.

The best smart lights for your home

Connectedly:

One of the easiest ways for to jump into the connected home space is with some awesome connected lighting. Smart lights are simply bulbs (and usually a bridge or hub) that replaces your standard light bulbs and offer more functionality — namely being able to control them from your smartphone or tablet. These Wi-Fi bulbs are typically more expensive than standard bulbs, but last just as long (if not longer), plus they go above and beyond just keeping you out of the dark.

If I was a home owner, I’d probably investigate these (and other) kinds of lighting systems. Do any of you use/recommend any particular system you use in your own home?

The most wanted man in the world

Wired:

For almost nine months, I have been trying to set up an interview with (Edward Snowden) – traveling to Berlin, Rio de Janeiro twice, and New York multiple times to talk with the handful of his confidants who can arrange a meeting. Among other things, I want to answer a burning question: What drove Snowden to leak hundreds of thousands of top-secret documents, revelations that have laid bare the vast scope of the government’s domestic surveillance programs?

Interesting story about a fascinating and polarizing person.

Apple has added a Robin Williams section to the iTunes Store

Cult of Mac:

The tragic news of Robin Williams’ sudden death has sent most of us on a YouTube binge, watching TV shows, movies, and stand-up comedy bits from the funniest man who ever lived, and now Apple is paying its respects to late-comedian with a new iTunes section.

CoM says, “if you scroll through you can find 40 of his other gems like “Death to Smoochie”…” I’m sorry. I loved Robin Williams but “Death to Smoochy” was an awful movie.

The copy of the U.S. Constitution that’s installed on every Mac

TUAW:

There’s a copy of the U.S. Constitution on each and every Mac in the Dictionary app.

You’ll not only find such exciting information as who was on the editorial staff and advisory board for the Dictionary, but also a bunch of useful references.

In addition to the aforementioned Constitution of the United States of America, there’s also a complete Language Guide, a history of the English language, a list of the fifty states and each state capital, a list of every President of the U.S. from George Washington to George W. Bush (not sure what happened to the current incumbent…), the Declaration of Independence, a list of countries of the world, a list of chemical elements from hydrogen to meitnerium, a cross-reference of standard to metric measure conversions, and the Arabic, Hebrew, Greek and Russian alphabets.

Kind of interesting, especially for us trivia nerds, but a little odd to have this info buried in the Dictionary app.

Remembering Robin Williams: His Best Appearances on TV and Film

Mashable:

Oscar-winning actor and comedian Robin Williams died on Monday at the age of 63. As a performer, Williams had the rare ability to make audiences laugh and cry. In remembrance of Williams and his long legacy, we’ve compiled some of his finest moments from television, stand-up and film.

I was reminded by my friend Sly that I heckled Robin Williams during the taping of his HBO Special, “Live on Broadway”. He goes off on that Canada rant because some idiot in the audience (me) yelled out, “Yay Canada!” I met Williams years later on the show floor of Macworld Expo and we chatted for almost 30 minutes. I asked him about the heckling and he (jokingly) called me “an a-hole”. “You don’t heckle on Broadway!” he said.

Microsoft reignites Mac vs. PC conflict for new Surface Pro 3 ads

The Verge:

Microsoft is bringing the Mac vs. PC battle back with full force today.

While the company targeted the MacBook Air at the launch of the Surface Pro 3, Microsoft’s latest ads place both devices head-to-head. It’s a style that’s similar to how Microsoft has targeted the iPad and even Siri recently, and one that mimics Apple’s classic ads from the ‘00s. There’s three 30-second spots in total, and each focuses on the touchscreen and pen benefits of the Surface Pro 3 over Apple’s MacBook Air.

As always – don’t read the comments section.

Water and air are all you need to make one of world’s most important chemicals

The Conversation:

Researchers have developed a method to produce ammonia simply from air and water. Not only is it more energy efficient than the century-old Haber-Bosch process currently in use all over the world, but it is also greener.

Ammonia – made up of three parts hydrogen and one part nitrogen (or NH3) – has had a momentous impact on society. Without the mass production of this chemical, it is estimated that as many as a third of us won’t be alive. This is because its main use is to make fertilisers, which have helped improve crop yields and sustain a large population.

I had no idea that ammonia production “consumes nearly 2% of the world’s energy supply” but as the article points out, even this process is no where near as efficient as Mother Nature.

Simplifying the bull: how Picasso helps to teach Apple’s style

New York Times:

Steven P. Jobs established Apple University as a way to inculcate employees into Apple’s business culture and educate them about its history, particularly as the company grew and the tech business changed. Courses are not required, only recommended, but getting new employees to enroll is rarely a problem.

Although many companies have such internal programs, sometimes referred to as indoctrination, Apple’s version is a topic of speculation and fascination in the tech world.

As usual, take whatever Brian Chen says with a truckload of salt (he gets several details wrong, as usual) but it’s still an interesting look at a little known aspect of Apple.

Bring back the dark: How our overuse of artificial light is changing nighttime for the worse

Slate:

You don’t know night. Not real night, the way it was experienced pre-electricity; what we lost when we developed the ability to light up the night sky.

That sounds obvious to someone living near Times Square or in Vegas, but those are only extremes in a phenomenon that touches nearly all of us: Two-thirds of the world’s population, and 99 percent of people living in the continental U.S. and Western Europe, no longer experience what we might call true night — one free from the glow of artificial lights.

I’ve been a City Kid my entire life. I still remember the night I was walking outside on my dad’s farm and couldn’t figure out why, with no light around, it was so bright outside – I could see my shadow. I looked up and literally gasped at the sight of the Milky Way – which I had never seen before.

2014 World YoYo Champion, Gentry Stein

I loved playing with a YoYo when I was a kid. Tough to take this “championship” seriously but you have to admire his skill and showmanship. If I tried any of those tricks, I’d end up tied in knots tighter than a pair of handcuffs.