I'm Drew Breunig and I obsess about technology, media, language, and culture. I live in New York, studied anthropology, and lead strategy at PlaceIQ.

These are reactions to things I feel are important.


These children are not the ones giving adults much trouble, so they’re easy to miss. They’re the daydreamy ones, the ones with work that’s not turned in, leaving names off of papers or skipping questions, things like that, that impinge on grades or performance. So anything we can do to understand what’s going on with these kids is a good thing.

Dr. Keith McBurnett, a professor of psychiatry at UCSF, describing “sluggish cognitive tempo”, the newest en vogue ‘diagnosis’.

"What’s going on" is creativity and exploration. If we vanquish these things in pursuit of turning in structured papers on time we’ll commit a very grave error that will haunt us in generations to come.

Three thoughts:

  • No one would get jokes in early Simpsons episodes anymore if these drugs catch on.
  • I bet Einstein would have filed twice as many patents if he had been diagnosed and medicated. He’d stop wondering about how railway clocks could ever truly be in sync (and arriving at relativity in the process) and would have blasted past his performance reviews.
  • Personally, my time spent daydreaming, drawing, and writing prepared me for my career significantly more than turning my work (which I constantly didn’t do)

(Via NYTimes.com)

This is my favorite part about how we make predictions: people make accurate specific predictions but completely blow the context.

Here, the author accurately predicts that computers will eventually shrink to a size where it’s practical to wear them on our wrists. But they completely miss wireless communication and non-QWERT interfaces.

In drawn out prediction work, the cultural context is adorably off. It’s a Jetson’s like future where cars fly and robots clean the house but it’s still a nuclear family with only the husband working, traffic jams, and the 9-to-5 commute.

My favorite example of this is in 2001, where Arthur C. Clarke imagines offices on the Moon, complete with a typing pool of female secretaries.

The view from the hotel.

"The nondescript meeting room in which Steve Jobs, Greg Christie, and others discussed the first iPhone prototypes."

It looks like they just put all the stuff on the table they wanted to jam into a single device. (via Ars Technica)

UberRUSH & the Return of Bike Messengers as an Icon 

I fear the tech industry might start fetishizing bike messengers again. Head for the hills.

But seriously, bike messaging became an icon of the outsider class in the mid-2000s and was co-opted by brands from Red Bull to Pabst to Adidas. The number of dollars spent on ad campaigns featuring bike messages had to have dwarfed the number of dollars spent on actual messengering.

As a result, I discussed the idea in many focus groups between 2005 and 2006. And based on this anecdotal experience, I don’t believe the mythical version of the bike messenger is a good omen.

The bike messenger as an icon rose as a symbol of freedom and authenticity admired by those in bureaucratic employment. People were burnt out and admired the idea of self-employment, no take-home work, and exercise (while ignoring the crushing healthcare costs). But they also admired the idea of working on something tangible and ‘real’. Neither of these drivers are good economic signals. Perhaps the mythical bike messenger, an easy-going self-reliant who performs tangible work, heralds corporate burnout and bloat at once. We shall see.

Ryan Lizza on the State of Chris Christie 

Chris Christie was invited to a roast of ex-New Jersey governor Byrne, but everyone kept cracking Chris Christie jokes. Then he got sore:

Joy Behar, the former co-host of “The View,” was even more pointed. “When I first heard that he was accused of blocking off three lanes on the bridge, I said, ‘What the hell is he doing, standing in the middle of the bridge?” After another barb, Christie interrupted her. “This is a Byrne roast,” he said. He stood up and tried to grab her notes. The audience laughed awkwardly. “Stop bullying me,” Behar said as he sat down. Christie said something out of earshot and Behar responded, “Why don’t you get up here at the microphone instead of being such a coward?”

Joy Behar had a solid Christie joke! (Via the New Yorker)

"The crewmembers used a 70mm camera to photograph this northeasterly looking view of the plume from the Kamchatka peninsula’s newly erupted volcano. The eruption was photographed from 115 nautical miles above Earth." (Via NASA)

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