All the news, views, and filtered excellence fit to consume during your morning grumpy.
1. After a massive decline during the last recession, corporate profits have now skyrocketed to historic levels. Somehow, it’s the fault of the government fault that those companies are not using those profits to hire people who would then use their new salaries to, ya know, buy stuff and stimulate the economy.
We tend to rewrite the histories of technological innovation, making myths about a guy who had a great idea that changed the world. In reality, though, innovation isn’t the goal; it’s everything that gets you there. It’s bad financial decisions and blueprints for machines that weren’t built until decades later. It’s the important leaps forward that synthesize lots of ideas, and it’s the belly-up failures that teach us what not to do.
When we ignore how innovation actually works, we make it hard to see what’s happening right in front of us today.
Worse, the fairy-tale view of history implies that innovation has an end. It doesn’t. What we want and what we need keeps changing. That’s what this issue is about: all the little failures, trivialities and not-quite-solved mysteries that make the successes possible. This is what innovation looks like. It’s messy, and it’s awesome.
An awesome list of cool things that reminds us what a tricky thing innovation can be. I’m a big fan of the “Shut-Up Gun”
3. Are people too dumb to participate in elections? A new study says they are.
The democratic process relies on the assumption that citizens (the majority of them, at least) can recognize the best political candidate, or best policy idea, when they see it. But a growing body of research has revealed an unfortunate aspect of the human psyche that would seem to disprove this notion, and imply instead that democratic elections produce mediocre leadership and policies.
If you live in Western New York, you know this to be fact.
4. Bill Moyers says we should pity the poor billionaires.
You see, according to the website Politico.com, the so-called “mega-donors,” unleashed by Citizens Unitedand pouring boundless big bucks into this year’s political campaigns, are upset that their massive contributions are being exposed to public view, ignoring the right of every one of us to know who is giving money to candidates — and the opportunity to try to figure out why.
As a reminder, welcome to the plutocracy.
5. A fantastic long read, “Our French Connection“.
For some Americans, the Parisian way of life is best. Others simply prefer “freedom fries.” A two-week journey across the United States—passing through a handful of small towns named Paris—to find out what Americans really think about the French these days.
Our attitudes toward the French tell us as much about our xenophobia as it does our openness to culture. The story is a journalistic diorama of American attitudes.
Fact Of The Day: 12% of all the people ever born are walking the planet at this very moment.
Quote Of The Day: “A little sincerity is a dangerous thing, and a great deal of it is absolutely fatal” – Oscar Wilde
Video Of The Day: Idea For “Canalside“! This would go really well next to the hot dog shed, deck chairs, and the solar powered whatnot they want to put down there. I’d love to see Donn Esmonde try it.
Song Of The Day: “Ain’t Good Enough For You” – Bruce Springsteen
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