What's your state's stereotype? Plus, the best of the web this week.

Ever wish someone would read the entire Internet and give you a list of the best articles? Well, you're welcome! The best of the Web this week includes a map of American state stereotypes, an article about how the ancient Greeks would have dealt with Obamacare, a look at a startup with a surprising approach to helping young entrepreneurs get funding, and four simple steps to avoid getting hacked. Enjoy!


Arts and Culture

Why Are Americans So ... / Reena DiResta / No Upside

"A map of American state stereotypes, generated by Google autocomplete."(via Varina)




Hear, All Ye People; Hearken O Earth / Errol Morris / The New York Times

Brilliant: Errol Morris runs an experiment on Times readers to test whether our perceptions of the truth can be affected by fonts.




Call Me Maybe — Carly Rae Jepsen (Chatroulette Version) / Steve Kardynal / YouTube

Just when you thought you were getting sick of "Call Me Maybe," this comes along ...




Write Your Own Academic Sentence / Writing Program / University of Chicago

You're just four clicks away from writing like a PhD! Sample sentence: "The construction of post-capitalist hegemony is, and yet is not, the poetics of the gendered body."




Politics and World Affairs

Fussbudget / Ryan Lizza / New Yorker

Meet Paul Ryan, Mitt Romney's new running mate, in this in-depth profile from earlier this year.




Top Ten Differences Between White Terrorists And Others / Juan Cole / Informed Comment

Sadly relevant after last week's massacre at a Sikh temple. Number 6: "White terrorists are random events, like tornadoes. Other terrorists are long-running conspiracies."




What Pericles Would Say About Obamacare / Paul Woodruff / Oxford University Press Blog

Democracy, the ancient Greek way: "Imagine a council of 500 citizens chosen at random ... with no worries about reelection to find a solution to our health care problem."




Romney's Side Course Of Culture / Ta-Nehisi Coates / The New York Times

As usual, Coates manages to be both interesting and original where others are dull and predictable; be sure to click through to Ron Swanson's Pyramid of Greatness. (via Charley)




Addressing Poverty In Schools / Joe Nocera / New York Times

Can even good teachers make a difference when their students' lives are defined by poverty? One organization is trying to equip schools to deal with poverty head on, with promising results. (via Bo)




Business and Economics

New Crowdfunding Twist: Invest In A College Grad / Christina DesMarais / Inc

A new startup, Upstart, allows young entrepreneurs to raise capital by selling a share of their future earnings.




Japan Inc. Tests A New Survival Skill: English / Chico Harlan / The Washington Post

A Japanese billionaire worried about competitiveness decides his 6,000 employees need to speak English—and gives them two years to learn it, or face demotions.




No More Growth Miracles / Dani Rodrik / Project Syndicate

Argues that gains from rapid industrialization — which drove the growth of China, India, and others — will be more difficult to come by, and that future gains will have to come from improved institutions and governance.




Why Investors Should Avoid Hedge Funds / Felix Salmon / Reuters

Ouch: "If all the money that's ever been invested in hedge funds had been put in Treasury bills instead, the results would have been twice as good."




Science and Technology

How Not To Get Hacked / Farhad Manjoo / Slate

The crazy story of how a writer for Wired got hacked, and four simple steps you should take to safeguard your digital life; if you haven't done these yet, you're being reckless.




The Art Of The Passive-Aggressive Redesign / Russell Brandom / BuzzFeed

Fun roundup of unsolicited redesigns of popular websites, including Amazon, American Airlines, IMDB, and Wikipedia.




Back To The (Far-Fetched) Future / The New York Times

An enjoyable look back at predictions from 1964 on what New York would look like in 2000, with some fun graphs and a lovely tribute to the city by its then-mayor.




Terms Of Service; Didn't Read

"'I have read and agree to the Terms' is the biggest lie on the web. We aim to fix that," declares a new site that summarizes and rates different companies' terms of service.




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Frito-Lay

Did you know one in five families are unable to provide everyday essentials and food for their children? This summer was also the hungriest on record with one in four children not knowing where their next meal will come from – an increase from one in seven children prior to the pandemic. The effects of COVID-19 continue to be felt around the country and many people struggle to secure basic needs. Unemployment is at an all-time high and an alarming number of families face food insecurity, not only from the increased financial burdens but also because many students and families rely on schools for school meal programs and other daily essentials.

This school year is unlike any other. Frito-Lay knew the critical need to ensure children have enough food and resources to succeed. The company quickly pivoted to expand its partnership with Feed the Children, a leading nonprofit focused on alleviating childhood hunger, to create the "Building the Future Together" program to provide shelf-stable food to supplement more than a quarter-million meals and distribute 500,000 pantry staples, school supplies, snacks, books, hand sanitizer, and personal care items to schools in underserved communities.

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Photo by Nick Fewings on Unsplash

Last year, we shared the sad impact that plastic pollution has had on some of our planet's most beautiful places. With recycling not turning out to be the savior it was made out to be, solutions to our growing plastic problem can seem distant and complex.

We have seen some glimmers of hope from both human innovation and nature itself, however. In 2016, a bacteria that evolved with the ability to break down plastic was discovered in a Japanese waste site. Two years later, scientists managed to engineer the mutant plastic-eating enzyme they called PETase—named for polyethylene terephthalate, the most common plastic found in bottles and food packaging—in a lab.

Here's an explainer of how those enzymes work:

Ending Plastic Pollution with Designer Bacteria youtu.be

Now researchers have revealed another game-changer in the plastic-eater—a super-enzyme that can break down plastic six times faster than PETase alone.

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$200 billion of COVID-19 recovery funding is being used to bail out fossil fuel companies. These mayors are combatting this and instead investing in green jobs and a just recovery.

Learn more on how cities are taking action: c40.org/divest-invest


Former CBS News anchor Dan Rather has become a beloved voice of reason, knowledge, and experience for many Americans on social media the past few years. At 88, Rather has seen more than most of us, and as a journalist, he's had a front row seat as modern history has played out. He combines that lifetime of experience and perspective with an eloquence that hearkens to a time when eloquence mattered, he called us to our common American ideals with his book "What Unites Us," and he comforts many of is with his repeated message to stay "steady" through the turmoil the U.S. has been experiencing.

All of that is to say, when Dan Rather sounds the alarm, you know we've reached a critical historical moment.

Yesterday, President Trump again refused to commit to a peaceful transfer of power after the election when directly asked if he would—yet another democratic norm being toppled. Afterward, Rather posted the following words of wisdom—and warning—to his nearly three million Facebook fans:


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via DanielandDavid2 / Instagram

Editor's Note: We used "black" in lowercase for our headline and the body of this story in accordance with emerging guidelines from the Associated Press and other trusted news outlets who are using uppercase "Black" in reference to American descendants of the diaspora of individuals forcibly brought from Africa as slaves. As part of our ongoing efforts to be transparent and communicate choices with our readership, we've included this note for clarity. The original story begins below.

On February 26, 2019, Stacy and Babajide Omirin of Lagos, Nigeria got quite the shock. When Stacy delivered identical twins through C-section one came out black and the other, white.

The parents knew they were having identical twins and expected them to look exactly the same. But one has a white-looking complexion and golden, wavy hair.

"It was a massive surprise," Stacy told The Daily Mail. "Daniel came first, and then the nurse said the second baby has golden hair. I thought how can this be possible. I looked down and saw David, he was completely white."

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