The best of the Web this week includes an explanation of "mansplaining," an amazing art project in China, 61 things you didn't know about hoboes, five tricks Facebook uses when dealing with your privacy, and more. Enjoy!


Arts and Culture

The Problem With Men Explaining Things / Rebecca Solnit / Mother Jones

This piece floored me. You should read it, especially if you're a man. Or a woman.





Obituary: Neil Armstrong / The Economist

An amazing man and story: "The original landing area turned out to be full of large boulders. ... By the time he found his spot, there was only 25 seconds of fuel left in the thanks."




61 Things I Learned At The National Hobo Convention / Matt Stopera / BuzzFeed

A wonderful story, animated by curiosity and genuine interest. Lots of gems, including: "6. When a hobo dies, they are said to have 'caught the Westbound.'"




Green Pedestrian Crossing In China Creates Leaves From Footprints / Christopher Jobson / Colossal

Art and advocacy meet in this clever and beautiful campaign.




Politics and World Affairs

I'm Right, You're Wrong And Other Political Truths / Ramesh Ponnuru / Bloomberg

Finally, something people from both parties can all agree on!




Fear Of A Black President / Ta-Nehisi Coates / The Atlantic

A searching and sobering consideration of race relations in America, and of the poignant mixture of disappointment and pride Coates finds in Obama and his administration.




What I Learned At Bain Capital / Mitt Romney / The Wall Street Journal

Romney makes the case for how his business experience has equipped him to turn around the economy.




So, Mitt, What Do You Really Believe? / The Economist

Ouch: "A businessman without a credible plan to fix a problem stops being a credible businessman. So does a businessman who tells you one thing at breakfast and the opposite at supper." (via Maurice)




The Reality Of Trying To Shrink Government / Lawrence Summers / The Washington Post

Important perspective: "For structural reasons, even preserving the amount of government functions that predated the financial crisis will require substantial increases in the share of U.S. economy devoted to the public sector."




Business and Economics

The Cheapest Generation / Derek Thompson and Jordan Weissman / The Atlantic

Car and home ownership are down significantly among millennials, with many interesting explanations and implications. One insight: "young people prize 'access over ownership.'"




The Acqui-Hire Scourge: Whatever Happened To Failure In The Valley? / Sarah Lacy / PandoDaily

Interesting and well-argued piece. "Everyone loves to say that Silicon Valley's great strength is an acceptance of failure." But widespread acquisitions may be undermining this.




The Case For Spending A Little More Sometimes / Carl Richards / The New York Times

Simple advice: Avoid the temptation of cheap and disposable, and invest in things that are worth owning for the long haul.





Tootsie's Secret Empire / Ben Kesling / The Wall Street Journal

A fun story on the candy company's secretive, and aging, CEO. Plus, this great lede: "How many licks does it take to get to the center of Tootsie Roll Industries? No one really knows."




Smart Service Design Needs A New Language For Anonymity / Jan Chipcase / Co.Design

Some interesting nuggets on the value, and dangers, of personal recognition in customer service. (via @dbkahn)




Science and Technology

Digital Scarcity / Tuhin Kumar

Soon enough, digital "... will replace physical as the primary dimension in which we spend our time. ... We need to find a better way to tell others what is worth their time."





5 Design Tricks Facebook Uses To Affect Your Privacy Decisions / Avi Charkham / TechCrunch

Side-by-side comparisons show a concerted effort to make it less clear what permissions you're granting.




Apple V. Samsung Verdict Is In: $1 Billion Loss For Samsung / Joe Mullin / Ars Technica

Interesting context: "Apple's ultimate target is Google," whose Android operating system so enraged Steve Jobs that he promised "thermonuclear war."




The Worldfalls / Oliver Morton / Heliophage

A short, vivid mental image that will change the way you think about energy, from the author of a book on photosynthesis called "Eating the Sun."




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Photo courtesy of Macy's
True

Seven year-old Pastor knows that simple joys make life worthwhile. He loves visits from Santa. And he loves a good hamburger.

However, unlike most kids his age, Pastor is bravely battling leukemia. After a year of doctors’ visits and painful cancer treatments, Pastor and his family needed a break. That’s when Macy’s and Make-A-Wish® stepped in to help lighten up Pastor’s year.

Make-A-Wish is a nonprofit that helps fulfill the wishes of children with critical illnesses. While some children wish for celebrity meetups or trips abroad, Pastor’s wish was specific and sweet: he wanted to meet Santa for a hamburger near his home in Sacramento.

To make it happen, Pastor’s local Make-A-Wish chapter reached out to its longtime partner Macy’s to arrange Santa’s journey from the North Pole to California.

Pastor arrived at the store in a white stretch limousine and was welcomed by smiling elves surrounded by hundreds of red and white balloons. Inside, Santa greeted Pastor from a silver throne inside a winter wonderland packed with oversized candy canes, golden gift boxes, and evergreens decked out in Christmas lights. Together they picked out ornaments from the Macy’s holiday display, then left the store together to visit Santa’s reindeer. After their big day, the pair feasted on burgers and hot chocolate with family and friends.

“When we heard about Pastor’s sweet wish to meet Santa, we quickly thought of our partners at Macy’s and what a wonderful tie-in to the annual Macy’s Believe letter-writing campaign,” said Michele Sanders, Vice President of Strategic Communications for Make-A-Wish. “Pastor, his entire family, and all involved were in awe of the ‘winter wonderland’ created just for him and Santa.”

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The song is a pop hymn of sorts, with two mantras from different religious traditions—"Hallelujah" from Christianity and "Hare Krishna" from Hinduism—alternating throughout. According to songfacts.com, Harrison wanted to convey that the two phrases were essentially the same, both calling out to God.

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This type of introspection inspired wildlife photographer Carla Rhodes to get a closer look at the furry friends that live near her home in the Catskill mountains of New York.

What she found was magical.

“The winter of 2020-2021 was particularly brutal to humankind. After months of enduring the Covid-19 pandemic, we were now collectively slogging through winter. As a result of being stuck at home, I focused on my immediate surroundings like never before,” Rhodes said in a statement.

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