- Nieman Reports: A Local Newspaper Endures a Stormy Backlash
This is the story of how the tiny Idaho Falls Post Register bravely uncovered a series of cases of pedophiles acting as leaders in area Boy Scout troops, as told by the managing editor of the paper. In the face of an angry public very much in denial and personal embarrassment heaped on the reporter (a closeted gay man, he was outed), they pushed on, eventually getting state law changed to help the victims and and winning the Scripps Howard First Amendment prize.
- Bret Victor: A Brief Rant on the Future of Interaction Design
Whether or not you care about the phrase "interaction design," you'll probably be interested in these thoughts about the poverty of our methods of interfacing with gizmos when compared with the rest of our interactions with the world.
- Food Safety News: Tests Show Most Store Honey Isn’t Honey
Anything related to honey is filtered out of most honey, leaving a sugar solution. Why? In part because it allows Chinese businesses to dump their antibiotics-laced honey on the U.S. market without any pollen left that would allow the honey to be IDd as Chinese. If you want real honey, just buy it from a local producer or from a health food store.
- New York Times: Nutrition Label Gets a Design Overhaul
Some of the ideas to overhaul food nutrition labels are pretty clever.
- New York Times: After Aiding Republicans, Business Groups Press Them on Debt Ceiling
The Chamber of Commerce threw the full weight of their support behind getting Democrats replaced by Republicans in last year's congressional election. Now those very Republican Congressmen are refusing to raise the debt ceiling—or support anything that Democrats or the president would agree to—and that's making the chamber crazy. (Businesses know it's essential to raise the debt ceiling.) The chamber has nobody to blame but themselves.
- The Brads: This is Why Your Newspaper is Dying
Nine examples of obvious mistakes that nearly every newspaper is making online. And, no, "paywalls" are not on the list.
- Science Daily: Eastern cougar is extinct, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service concludes
Well, that sucks. They figure it's been extinct since the 1930s. This isn't to say that cougars don't still exist in the eastern U.S., just that the rare specimens are not, in fact, of the eastern cougar species.
- Data Center Knowledge: Congressman Defeats IBM’s Watson in Jeopardy
If a congressman is going to defeat Watson, it's Rep. Rush Holt. He's an honest-to-God rocket scientist and, in fact, one-time Jeopardy champ.
- UX Movement: Why Hover Menus Do Users More Harm Than Good
This is a compelling argument for eschewing hover-based multi-level website menus with click-based menus. I use a hover-based menu on Richmond Sunlight, and I now suspect that's a mistake.
- The Gavel: 0—Number of Republicans Who Voted To Cut Taxpayer Subsidies for Big Oil
Whether we should continue to subsidize big oil companies (the world's most profitable businesses, let's remember) came to a vote in the House. Republicans voted unanimously in favor.
- IT World: Asus motherboard box doubles as a PC case
Asus is going to start shipping one of their Mini ATX motherboards in a padded cardboard box that can double as a case for the computer. They figure it'd only last for about a year. Whether or not anybody actually wants a cardboard box as a computer, I have no idea, but it's definitely clever. A cardboard box computer is sort of the anti-Apple, to a degree that I have to admire.
- Supreme Court: Snyder v. Phelps
Good for the Supreme Court for ruling in favor of Westboro Baptist Church. While Phelps and company are wretched human beings who behave in outrageously awful behavior, they have every legal right to do their thing. What's notable about this decision is that there was a dissenter—Justice Alito.
Call me a huge dork, but I’m really excited about this new milk jug design taken up by Wal-Mart and Costco. They’re rectangular, allowing them to be packed far more tightly in shipment, use less packaging, and have a greatly reduced overall environmental impact. This is precisely the sort of small manufacturing modification that big business has been without incentive to make while fuel was cheap, but that has been so badly needed. (I’ve been chewing over the design of the cereal box for the past couple of years. There’s a package ripe for improvement.) It’ll take a bit for people to learn this new jug, to adapt to the idea of tilting it in place, rather than lifting it up, but that’s an easy hurdle. My only concern is who owns the patent on this jug, and whether they’re charging for its implementation. Our milk comes in glass bottles, on which we pay a deposit, so I won’t be trying these new jugs anytime soon.