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City workers, office jerks and the rest of the best business stuff this week

Here at Grid we spend a lot of time reading what the Internet has to say about business. Or, as journalists like to call it, “working.” Every Friday, we let you benefit from our diligence by collecting the most interesting and entertaining stuff we’ve encountered this week.

The Amazon model: The rise of urban startups in smaller tech hubs

While many tech giants were going gangbusters on suburban campuses — Apple, Microsoft, Google, Facebook — Amazon chose to stay in Seattle proper. (What it’s doing for the once-industrial South Lake Union neighborhood is a separate, spectacular story.) So The Atlantic Cities looks at the urban shift in startup activity and venture capital in other markets: Austin, Texas, and Chicago. Someday, South Side. Sara White

Be a jerk without even being in the office

New York Magazine rounds up the worst vacation away messages so travelers can avoid making their coworkers feel worse about being in the office. Helpful. Now I know to update my away message periodically with new photos of me on Fijian beaches when I’m gone. That way my beloved colleagues can really feel like they’re with me. Sarah Collins

Stop it with the civil procedure already

It’s painfully expensive, and the jury’s out on whether it’s widely applicable in the real world. So when President Obama suggested that law school be pared down from three years to two, it made sense to a lot of people. But according to the Economist, the powers that be — in this case, the legal academy — occupy 10 of the 21 seats on the ABA’s task force on legal education. That means we won’t be seeing a fast track to the firm anytime soon. Matt Present

Bosses Say ‘Pick Up the Phone’

Millennials find phone calls so “annoying,” “outdated” and inconsiderate that companies are throwing down cash for phone-use consultants to train young employees. Meg Graham

Meet the new $100 bill

While ostensibly about the making of a new American icon, this Esquire article detailing all the tiny pieces going into the new $100 bill is one of the loveliest tributes to the value of work I have ever read. Sarah Collins

Pork and protectionism in America

The New Yorker explores America’s long history of resistance toward foreign ownership in light of Chinese hog producer Shuanghui International Holdings’ offer to buy Smithfield Foods for nearly $5 billion. Madeline Skaggs

Here’s a way to make your lunch hour more efficient

This gross but hilarious review from Ars Technica introduced me, and now you, to Soylent. Billed as “a nutritionally complete meal replacement,” Soylent was created by engineer and entrepreneur Rob Rhinehart, who wanted a product that took the inconvenience out of stopping to prepare food and eat. I guess that helps with all night coding or video game playing, but really, how hard is a Hot Pocket?

Anyway, Ars editor Lee Hutchinson is going to live off of the product for a full week. After reading his day two review, I have learned 10 more ways to describe farts and I’m convinced he and his marriage will not survive. I can’t wait to see if I’m right. Rex Chekal