Understandably, there continues to be a lot of controversy over the NY Post cover shot of a man on the subway tracks, about to be killed. Should the photographer have dropped his camera and tried to help? (He said he was using his flash to warn the subway driver). Should the photo have been taken? And as the NYT's David Carr wonders, should the editors have used the photo to sell papers: "I’m not immune to the blunt, dirty pleasure of a well-executed tabloid cover, but there were many other images to choose from. Never mind the agency of the photo -- it doesn’t matter whether the photographer was using his flash to warn, as he suggested, or documenting the death of a man -- once it is in the can, it should have stayed there."
+ While the situation and photo are both unusual, the subway incident serves as a metaphor for the broader role of photos (and photo-sharing) in modern life. The other night I was at a Bruce Springsteen concert. The second the lights went down, the phones went up. Few, if any, of these distant camera phone shots would be worth their weight in digital bits. But there we all were, snapping the pictures, sharing them on social networks, and experiencing yet another one of life's moments through a small screen. The compulsion to snap and share the shot can be totally overwhelming. In the subway incident, the subject of a photo was killed. In the case of a man mauled by a bear in Alaska earlier this year, it was the photographer who paid for the images with his life.
+ Examples like subway deaths and bear attacks are extreme, but so too is our general obsession with recording every waking moment (often with a distant of hope of experiencing the feeling of going viral). In the New Yorker, Thomas Beller ponders the difference between experiencing and recording a moment: "If you are taking a picture of your children ... then are you, in that moment, looking at them? Or are you anticipating a moment in the future -- it is sometimes ten seconds in the future but it could well be ten years -- when you will be looking at this very moment?"
The big box stores are under increasing pressure from the likes of Amazon. It's almost impossible to compete on prices when they have to foot the bill for a massive real estate footprint. According to Newsweek's Megan McArdle, the big boxes have only one option: Get small and focus on luxury and service. "Can Goliath transform himself into David before the money runs out?" (As I recall, the original Goliath took quite a bit of convincing.)
In the eighties, college students were effective in their efforts to get universities to divest themselves of investments in companies doing business in South Africa. The movement helped bring the issue of Apartheid to to the forefront of education and business. Today, students at many universities are targeting the issue of climate change and demanding that universities rid their portfolios of holdings in large fossil fuel companies. This time we're talking about very big dollars and so far, the answer has been a resounding no.
4. How Mad Men Saved the World
Mad Men is awesome. But by mass television measurements, it really doesn't get all that many viewers. So how does AMC manage to keep an expensive and excellent show on the air? Simple. The people who aren't watching the show are still paying for it. From the NYT Magazine: The Mad Men Economic Miracle.
Business owners often stereotype bicyclists as being the kind of people who like to park their bike, walk into a cafe, order the cheapest cup of coffee, and sit down and sip it for the next four hours. But an interesting study out of Portland tells a different story. Over the course of a month, Cyclists and pedestrians actually spent more money at local stores than drivers did.
6. Follow Your Nose
The idea that you can tell if a person is lying by the lengthening of his nose is nothing more than a silly children's story. If you really want to know if someone is lying, you have to measure the temperature of the nose. I wonder whether the researcher who reported the results this study had an entirely cool schnoz.
Slate's Farhad Manjoo is quite certain that he has found the greatest hoodie ever made. Manufacturing in America, a industrial designer from Apple, and a founder who still wears the sweatshirt his father gave him decades ago - these factors add up to the fact that "there is really no comparison between American Giant’s hoodie and the competition."
Jay Z was riding the subway on the way to his eighth straight show at Barclay's arena in Brooklyn when he sat next to a woman who didn't know who was. Now she does, and we know him a little better too. This is a really cool video moment (tho I still think Beyonce would be happier with a newsletter writer...)