1. Why the Government Shutdown Isn’t Going to End Any Time Soon
Day two of the government shutdown came and went and our nation’s leaders managed to make absolutely no progress towards a budget deal. It seemed like a meeting between President Obama and the heads of Congress had potential for a breakthrough, but the session ended up degenerating into a game of finger pointing. Even worse, it looks like things could stay this way for a while. The most frustrating part thing about the standoff is that a bunch of Democrats and Republicans actually agree on the budget; there are only about 30-40 hardliners who are torpedoing the whole process. Let’s hope they can learn a thing or two from this nine-year-old’s letter telling them to grow up.
• 7 congressmen give millennials advice on how to deal with the shutdown (PolicyMic).
• This is the saddest paragraph you’ll read about the government shutdown today (Atlantic).
2. The FBI Just Shut Down Silk Road, the Darkest Corner Of the Internet
The war on drugs made its way to the internet on Wednesday when the FBI arrested the man behind Silk Road, the world’s largest online black-market for drugs. Ross Ulbricht (aka the “Dread Pirate Roberts”) brought about his own downfall with a shockingly boneheaded mistake: He used his real name to post a question online that connected him to black-market activity. And the feds aren’t just after the Dread Pirate for his website; he allegedly offered a hitman $150,000 to knock off a drug dealer on his site. The end of Silk Road isn’t just bad news for druggies: Bitcoin lost 15% of its value in response to the shutdown of its main marketplace.
• Everything you need to know about Silk Road (PolicyMic).
• Get to know the Dread Pirate Roberts (Forbes).
3. These Two Cases Could Determine the Future Of Online Privacy
Prosecutors are moving ahead with two major lawsuits against Google that could change the way we use the internet. One of the cases accuses Google of violating users’ privacy by autoscanning Gmail messages to create targeted ads, while the other charges Google with secretly collecting personal data using the company’s Street View cars. The Gmail case is especially important since it could result in a massive fine for Google, and the verdict will set a precedent on the privacy of online data. Things could get interesting if Judge Lucy Koh stays on the case: She’s famous for facetiously asking a lawyer if he was smoking crack.
• Google Street View as art: modern portraits of the poorest neighborhoods in America (PolicyMic).
4. You’ll Never Guess Which School is the Top University in the World
The London magazine Times Higher Education put out its list of top universities in the world on Wednesday, but it’s up for debate if they used the right criteria to rank the schools. Not too many millennials will be surprised to learn the U.S. has the most universities in the top 200, but you might do a double take at the school that took the top spot: the California Institute of Technology. Cal Tech tops the rankings because it funds the Mars Rover space mission, and it doesn’t hurt that Cal Tech faculty have won a combined 31 Nobel Prizes. Times’ rankings also take teaching quality into account, but that’s determined by professors’ fame in their fields. Am I the only one who thinks famous researchers don’t always make the best professors?
• How to pick the right college for you (PolicyMic).
• How a purse snatching led to the legal justification for NSA spying (Wired).
• BREAKING: Joe Biden’s “classified document” is actually a coloring book (PolicyMic).
• The science behind why Doritos are so damn tasty (NY Times).
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