Friday Link List: Making Connections Edition

1. Missed Connections for A-Holes {new yorker}

We made small talk in the checkout line at Trader Joe’s. You said that you literally could not live without the salsa you were buying. I wish we could talk again. You used “literally” incorrectly. It really pissed me off. I wish you could literally not live without that salsa, because then I’d take it from you.

 

2. Spurious Correlations 

Tyler Vigen has created a site that draws attention to the ways in which statistical terms like correlation can be manipulated to fit a narrative:

Spurious Correlation

See also: Andrew Sullivan’s take and On the Media’s TLDR.

3. The EU Sticks up for the Right to Be Forgotten {npr}.

This seems cool but gosh will be a nightmare for the tech companies to manage.

Audie Cornish: So, give us a quick kind of sketch about the case that brought about the ruling. I understand it involved a man from Spain. He wanted to delete an auction notice of his home from a Spanish newspaper.

Meg Ambrose: That’s right. Usually, the content that we talk about with the right to be forgotten is much more salacious. This guy wanted an old debt to be removed from his Google search results. He took his complaint to the Spanish Data Protection Agency, who determined that he did have a case for the right to be forgotten. And the agency ordered Google to remove links to that content. It moved through the courts as Google appealed it and the case that came down was shocking, I think, for most people.

See also: Andrew Sullivan’s take.

4. A Spoon That Shakes To Counteract Hand Tremors {npr}

This is really cool:

“There’s a little motion sensor right near the spoon,” Pathak explains. “If I had tremor, it’s going to move opposite to what the shaking is doing. So, if I move to the left, it’ll physically move the spoon to the right.”

And that cancels out the tremor as the spoon moves from plate to mouth. In a clinical trial, the Liftware spoon canceled out more than 70 percent of a user’s tremor.

Friday Link List

1. The People’s Bailout {huffington post}.

Cartoonist David Reese’s take on the latest Occupy Wall Street initiative:

Like a lot of people, I used to think Occupy Wall Street was just a bunch of weirdos eating day-old bagels and banging pots and pans downtown. Not that there’s anything wrong with day-old bagels — they make excellent doorstops — but I always wondered what would happen if OWS took all their energy and applied it towards specific, practical goals…

The Rolling Jubilee has one simple purpose: To buy distressed debt for pennies on the dollar and then abolish it. As a test run, we spent $500, which bought $14,000 of distressed debt. We then ERASED THAT DEBT.

 

2. A Young Reporter Recounts Her Descent into Madness {npr}.

This one strikes a personal note with me (although hers was way more rare/intense than my experience.

As Najjar put it to her parents, “her brain was on fire.” This discovery led to her eventual diagnosis and treatment for anti-NMDA receptor encephalitis, a rare autoimmune disease that can attack the brain. Cahalan says that doctors think the illness may account for cases of “demonic possession” throughout history.

 

3. Symcat {via very short list}.

Cool site.

Tell Symcat your symptoms! It estimates, based on hundreds of thousands of patient records, which ailment you most likely have.

 

4. Ross Mantle.

Ross Mantle is a photographer who splits his time between Brooklyn, NY and his native Pittsburgh, Pa. His work often focuses on contemporary American life and the relationships between person and place.

 

5. Is the Web Driving Us Mad? {daily beast}.

An article about Jason Russell, the man who began the “Kony 2012” viral video sensation, and his subsequent breakdown:

Afterward, Russell was diagnosed with “reactive psychosis,” a form of temporary insanity. It had nothing to do with drugs or alcohol—his wife, Danica, stressed in a blog post—and everything to do with the machine that kept Russell connected even as he was breaking apart.

“Though new to us,” Danica continued, “doctors say this is a common experience,” given Russell’s “sudden transition from relative anonymity to worldwide attention—both raves and ridicules.” More than four months later, Jason is out of the hospital, his company says, but he is still in recovery. His wife took a “month of silence” on Twitter. Jason’s social-media accounts remain dark.