We all know the feeling. You're sleepless in the sad hours of the night or stumbling around early on a hazy weekend morning in need of something to read, and that pile of unread books just isn't cutting it. Why not take a break from the fire hose of Twitter and RSS and check out our weekly roundup of essential writing from around the web about technology, culture, media, and the future? Sure, it's one more thing you can feel guilty about sitting in your Instapaper queue, but it's better than pulling in vain on your Twitter list again.
Grab the entire list as a Readlist.
On Veronica Mars
Jason Cohen tells the story of Veronica Mars creator Rob Thomas and the resurrection of a cult TV show.
Texas Monthly: Jason Cohen - Mission to Mars
"Veronica Mars is in the public consciousness now in a way that it never was when it was on the air," he says. "You know when you meet people in the airport or whatever and they ask you what you do? It used to be that one in fifty people would know what [Veronica Mars] is, and I feel like now it’s one in three people." Plus, he’s no longer automatically mistaken for the guy in Matchbox 20. One night during the movie shoot, he went to grab some takeout at an LA restaurant. When he gave the counter guy his name, the guy looked up and said, "The singer or the director?" It was the first time that had ever happened.
On internet emergencies
Ryan Bradley writes about an attempt to track DDoS attacks through a mysterious building in New York.
The Awl: Ryan Bradley - The internet terror phone
"We fell in love with the building," said Omer Shapira, a filmmaker and journalist. "It’s just so insanely big, and dark, and what it contains no one knows. There are no blueprints online. Maybe there are NSA servers in there." Shapira said that they first did their pondering before anyone knew who Edward Snowden was, and before cybercrime was something normal people might talk about. He and his partners, Max Ma and Ryan Bartley, wanted to find a way to link that building, full of phone lines, to its surroundings, full of Internet. "How about if we make this phone that shows the emergencies on the Internet," Bartley said. "It would be like there’s this enormous building screaming for help."
On Michael Crichton
Keith Phipps continues a series on science fiction films with a look at Michael Crichton's dire technological warnings.
The Dissolve: Keith Phipps - The technophobic fantasies of early Michael Crichton
The Andromeda Strain is filled with blinking lights, primitive electronic graphics, green monochrome monitors, and banks of control panels, all whirring in service of some indecipherable pursuit. All this, and an electronic score by jazz musician Gil Mellé, suggest a place made by humans, but seemingly designed to create a completely inhospitable environment for humanity. They serve an important narrative purpose, but Wise’s shots of a crying infant alone in a metal room, unable to be touched by human hands, feel like they belong in a nightmarish experimental film.
Susan Young writes about CRISPR, a genome engineering tool that could provide therapy for everything from sickle-cell anemia to autism.
MIT Technology Review: Susan Young - Genome Surgery
Many human illnesses, including heart disease, diabetes, and assorted neurological conditions, are affected by numerous variants in both disease genes and normal genes. [...] If a scientist wants an animal with multiple mutations, the genetic changes must be made sequentially, and the timeline for one experiment can extend into years. In contrast, Jaenisch and his colleagues, including MIT researcher Feng Zhang (a 2013 member of our list of 35 innovators under 35), reported last spring that CRISPR had allowed them to create a strain of mice with multiple mutations in three weeks.
BuzzFeed founder Jonah Peretti compares his site to the "new media" of the early 20th century.
Medium: Jonah Peretti - Is history repeating itself?
One of Murrow's contemporaries, a writer named Robert Landry, summed up Murrow's advantages: "Murrow has three advantages over correspondents for the greatest American newspapers: 1) He beats the newspapers by hours; 2) He reaches millions who otherwise have to depend on provincial newspapers for their foreign news; 3) He writes his own headlines. That is to say he emphasizes what he wishes — whereas the newspaper correspondent writes in cablese."
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Have any favorites that you'd like to see included in next week's edition? Send them along to @thomashouston or share in the comments below.