What should the media do when campaigns lie? Plus, the best of the web this week.

How journalists should fact-check politicians. What police officers know that the rest of us don't. How the poor, middle class, and rich spend their money. A super-cool new technology coming in December. And more. Enjoy!


Politics and World Affairs

A Not-Very-Truthful Speech In A Not-Very-Truthful Campaign / Ezra Klein / The Washington Post

Klein tries "to bend over backward to be fair, to see it from Ryan's perspective," but finds it hard to be balanced amid Ryan's, and the campaign's, calculated dishonesty.




Obama Needs 80% Of Minority Vote To Win 2012 Election / Ron Brownstein / National Journal

A look at the demographic equations defining this election. The last paragraph suggests some major changes are in store for the Republican party.




Four More Years? / The Economist

The Economist is underwhelmed. "The defence of Mr Obama's record comes down to one phrase: it could all have been a lot worse."




I Am Barack Obama, President Of The United States—AMA / Barack Obama / Reddit

Obama takes (softball) questions from the horde. Interesting to read his writing style, and there's some really funny stuff in here, including someone who corrects his grammar.




Arts and Culture

What It's Like For A Deaf Person To Hear Music For The First Time / Rebecca Rosen / The Atlantic

A 23-year-old gets a new hearing aid, and with the help of friends and the Internet, discovers everything from Mozart to Sigur Rós.




What Have You Learned As A Police Officer About Life And Society That Most People Don't Know Or Underestimate? / Tim Dees / Quora

A fun list, including this: "Although they may not know it, there are people who find [your] hot buttons instinctively, and they live to push them."




52 Suburbs Around The World / Louise Hawson

A photographer takes a year off to travel the world with her daughter, documenting life in the suburbs of great global cities. (via @nickfraser)




Lance Armstrong's Secret Is Out / Christopher Keyes / Outside

A new book from Armstrong's former teammate "isn't just a game changer for the Lance Armstrong myth. It's the game ender." Also interesting on the weight of carrying a lie.




It's My Life What Ever I Wanna Do / Vennu Mallesh / YouTube

Oh, man. Prepare yourself for this, um, difficult-to-describe Indian music video. Rebecca Black, you have been eclipsed.




Business and Economics

How The Poor, The Middle Class, And The Rich Spend Their Money / Jacob Goldstein and Lam Vo / NPR

A simple graph. "Both the similarities and differences are striking." The rest of the graphs in the series, "Graphing America," look interesting as well.





How Paperbacks Transformed the Way Americans Read / Andrew Shaffer / Mental Floss

In 1939, a movie cost 20 cents, but a hardcover book cost $2.75. And yet, the idea of a cheap paperback was seen by the publishing industry as crazy. Great example of how incumbents can stifle innovation.





Gimme The Loot / Gavin Mueller / Jacobin

Fascinating take on piracy through the ages, from Blackbeard to Kim Dotcom. I had no idea pirates ran their ships so democratically.





A Hyper Cool (And Controversial) Rebranding For American Airlines / Anna Kovecses / CoDesign

I love this redesign.




Teen Titan / Lizzie Widdicombe / The New Yorker

A profile of Scooter Braun, "the man who made Justin Bieber," and who still manages to come across as surprisingly not terrible.




Science and Technology

The Andreessen Horowitz Effect / Erick Schonfeld / Techonomy

Profile of one of the most successful, and aggressive, venture capital shops in Silicon Valley. The list of companies they back is truly impressive.




In Defence Of TED / Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry / The Kernel

"If we resisted the siren call of feeling smugly superior ... we could perhaps see TED for what it actually is: a media company that has been very successful" at popularizing ideas.




The Most Important Technology Since The Smartphone Arrives December 2012 / Christopher Mims / Technology Review

Short article and really cool demo video for a product called Leap Motion, which its founder promises will be even better than the technology in "Minority Report."




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True

If the past year has taught us nothing else, it's that sending love out into the world through selfless acts of kindness can have a positive ripple effect on people and communities. People all over the United States seemed to have gotten the message — 71% of those surveyed by the World Giving Index helped a stranger in need in 2020. A nonprofit survey found 90% helped others by running errands, calling, texting and sending care packages. Many people needed a boost last year in one way or another and obliging good neighbors heeded the call over and over again — and continue to make a positive impact through their actions in this new year.

Upworthy and P&G Good Everyday wanted to help keep kindness going strong, so they partnered up to create the Lead with Love Fund. The fund awards do-gooders in communities around the country with grants to help them continue on with their unique missions. Hundreds of nominations came pouring in and five winners were selected based on three criteria: the impact of action, uniqueness, and "Upworthy-ness" of their story.

Here's a look at the five winners:

Edith Ornelas, co-creator of Mariposas Collective in Memphis, Tenn.

Edith Ornelas has a deep-rooted connection to the asylum-seeking immigrant families she brings food and supplies to families in Memphis, Tenn. She was born in Jalisco, Mexico, and immigrated to the United States when she was 7 years old with her parents and sister. Edith grew up in Chicago, then moved to Memphis in 2016, where she quickly realized how few community programs existed for immigrants. Two years later, she helped create Mariposas Collective, which initially aimed to help families who had just been released from detention centers and were seeking asylum. The collective started out small but has since grown to approximately 400 volunteers.

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Images via Canva and Unsplash

If there's one thing that everyone can agree on, it's that being in a pandemic sucks.

However, we seem to be on different pages as to what sucks most about it. Many of us are struggling with being separated from our friends and loved ones for so long. Some of us have lost friends and family to the virus, while others are dealing with ongoing health effects of their own illness. Millions are struggling with job loss and financial stress due to businesses being closed. Parents are drowning, dealing with their kids' online schooling and lack of in-person social interactions on top of their own work logistics. Most of us hate wearing masks (even if we do so diligently), and the vast majority of us are just tired of having to think about and deal with everything the pandemic entails.

Much has been made of the mental health impact of the pandemic, which is a good thing. We need to have more open conversations about mental health in general, and with everything so upside down, it's more important now than ever. However, it feels like pandemic mental health conversations have been dominated by people who want to justify anti-lockdown arguments. "We can't let the cure be worse than the disease," people say. Kids' mental health is cited as a reason to open schools, the mental health challenges of financial despair as a reason to keep businesses open, and the mental health impact of social isolation as a reason to ditch social distancing measures.

It's not that those mental health challenges aren't real. They most definitely are. But when we focus exclusively on the mental health impact of lockdowns, we miss the fact that there are also significant mental health struggles on the other side of those arguments.

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True

If the past year has taught us nothing else, it's that sending love out into the world through selfless acts of kindness can have a positive ripple effect on people and communities. People all over the United States seemed to have gotten the message — 71% of those surveyed by the World Giving Index helped a stranger in need in 2020. A nonprofit survey found 90% helped others by running errands, calling, texting and sending care packages. Many people needed a boost last year in one way or another and obliging good neighbors heeded the call over and over again — and continue to make a positive impact through their actions in this new year.

Upworthy and P&G Good Everyday wanted to help keep kindness going strong, so they partnered up to create the Lead with Love Fund. The fund awards do-gooders in communities around the country with grants to help them continue on with their unique missions. Hundreds of nominations came pouring in and five winners were selected based on three criteria: the impact of action, uniqueness, and "Upworthy-ness" of their story.

Here's a look at the five winners:

Edith Ornelas, co-creator of Mariposas Collective in Memphis, Tenn.

Edith Ornelas has a deep-rooted connection to the asylum-seeking immigrant families she brings food and supplies to families in Memphis, Tenn. She was born in Jalisco, Mexico, and immigrated to the United States when she was 7 years old with her parents and sister. Edith grew up in Chicago, then moved to Memphis in 2016, where she quickly realized how few community programs existed for immigrants. Two years later, she helped create Mariposas Collective, which initially aimed to help families who had just been released from detention centers and were seeking asylum. The collective started out small but has since grown to approximately 400 volunteers.

Keep Reading Show less
True
Gates Foundation

Once upon a time, a scientist named Dr. Andrew Wakefield published in the medical journal The Lancet that he had discovered a link between autism and vaccines.

After years of controversy and making parents mistrust vaccines, along with collecting $674,000 from lawyers who would benefit from suing vaccine makers, it was discovered he had made the whole thing up. The Lancet publicly apologized and reported that further investigation led to the discovery that he had fabricated everything.

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via Budweiser

Budweiser beer, and its low-calorie counterpart, Bud Light, have created some of the most memorable Super Bowl commercials of the past 37 years.

There were the Clydesdales playing football and the poor lost puppy who found its way home because of the helpful horses. Then there were the funny frogs who repeated the brand name, "Bud," "Weis," "Er."

We can't forget the "Wassup?!" ad that premiered in December 1999, spawning the most obnoxious catchphrase of the new millennium.

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