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.
Snow on the pyramids? Twitter fights with Salsa companies and fellow plane passengers? All fake, along with dozens of other stories that came across our Facebook and Twitter feeds wrapped up in manipulative headlines. While I don’t necessarily agree that 2013 broke the Internet, as Esquire decrees, I did spend a lot more of the year hiding “viral” websites and meme generators from my news feeds. When even the New York Times makes critical errors in service of sensational points, it gets very frustrating and difficult to keep cranking out real, confirmed news every day, knowing we could be letting pageviews slip through our fingers. That said, we did some incredible work this year, and I couldn’t be more proud of the real journalism my colleagues cranked out this year. Here’s hoping truth continues to hold its own against fiction in 2014. Sarah Collins
We are a nation/newsroom of gadget geeks, but when it comes to wearables … would you? So far, meh. Asking consumers to add a piece of tech to their wardrobe every day is, well, asking a lot. TechCrunch questions wearables’ form/function/foolishness as it prepares the cover the heck out of the electronics show next week in Vegas, where“we’ll no doubt see a slew of face-based devices in the vein of Google Glass.” See what we mean?Sara White
When Aaron Swartz took his own life a little less than a year ago, it was a blow to hackers and free information activists everywhere. Swartz was under investigation for using MIT’s network to download millions of copyrighted articles from JSTOR, a scholarly database, and the stress from the proceedings and potential 35-year prison sentence led to Swartz’s suicide. Now his father, Highland Park resident Bob Swartz, is fighting to get MIT to admit having a role in Swartz’s death. A new report doesn’t show culpability, but it doesn’t portray the university — supposedly a home for hacker culture and the open exchange of ideas — in a very positive light. Sarah Collins
It’s not surprising that technology was all over JWT’s annual list of 100 Things to Watch in the new year: beacons, seamless payments and techno-paranoia, to name a few. But the ad agency threw in plenty to give us pause, including ugly produce, traditional folk clothing and snail slime. (Thankfully, that last one’s a beauty trend, not a food one.)Sara White
It’s not often that journalism spits out a bit of good news. So hats off to Kara Swisher and Walt Mossberg for starting 2014 off with the launch of Re/code. The two journalists left AllThingsD, the tech news website and conference series they ran under Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. to launch their own venture, backed by NBC Universal. News Corp. responded to the departure with WSJD, a revamped tech section that will launch its own line of conferences, hoping to replicate AllThingsD’s profitable model. A little healthy competition should lead to some great reading from both sites this year. Sarah Collins
The Federal Correctional Institution in Cumberland, Md., with its sparkling windows and quilt-making inmates, is certainly no Camp Cupcake. Meet the white-collar prison home to former New York City police commissioners and consultants for U.S. security in Iraq.Meg Graham
If you sometimes experience startup fatigue (you, too, right?), get“non-ironically excited” forVentureBeat’s list of awe-inspiring young companies. Among the startupskeeping our faith: broadcast TV disrupter Aereo and home security device Canary, whose $100,000 Indiegogo campaign pulled in nearly $2 million. One less enthusiastic footnote: None of the 26 companies is based in Chicago. (Shakes fist atTampa.) Here’s to next year.Sara White