Caroline O'Donovan, BuzzFeed (7/6)
O'Donovan's piece follows a group of "Taskers"—twenty-somethings living in the Bay Area who use an app called TaskRabbit to pick up odd jobs. Though the Taskers met while working at a wifi-free National Park, the group epitomizes the flexible, on-demand sharing economy that is made possible because of smartphone technology. Read about how this crew manages to support themselves while simultaneously following their passions. Is it an unsustainable lifestyle or is it the dream?
Hazem Zohny, Scientific American (7/7)
If you've ever used a "smart drug"—for those not in the know (anyone?), they're ADHD medications taken by people who do not have an attention disorder—then you know what it's like to be totally amped to write a college paper, or clean your room, or whatever. This article on Scientific American is a super interesting take on Adderall, etc, focusing on the difference between "cognitive enhancement" and "artificial willpower." Smart drugs help motivate you to do tasks you might not otherwise be excited to do (they're often used for classwork or in the workplace) and thus this article explores whether they enable those who use them to lead "deeply inauthentic lives, using pharmaceutically-induced willpower to waft through a life that otherwise means nothing to us." ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
David Pierce, Wired (7/7)
In the ~digi~ age, we've all gotten accustomed to pretty much exclusively using keyboards and touch screens in order to write. Do you even know what your handwriting looks like anymore? Well, there have been countless studies that show that writing things down—physically, with a pen in your hand—helps you remember things. According to David Pierce at Wired, the next step for the pen is to forego ink and go digital. Don't get it twisted, though: there's no suggestion that keyboards or touch screens will go away, just that pens "should also be a powerful computing tool." As a new technology, this won't be hard to learn, as pretty much everyone already knows how to use a pen. Plus, almost everything man-made was sketched out first as a drawing. And, in more drawing news from this week, Steven Heller over at The Atlantic explains how doodling has immense cognitive benefits.
Steve Featherstone, New York Times (7/8)
NYT had a big spread this week about the synthetic drug crisis in Syracuse, NY. Synthetic drugs are banned in every state, but it's synthetic cannabinoids especially that are causing a problem. It's called "spike," and if you saw that Vice News episode about them, you'll know that its molecular structure can be tweaked to create new "strains" that are arguably legal. That means you can get them at a smoke shop or deli, where they're sold in foil pouches. But unlike marijuana, spike is highly addictive and dangerous. Read Featherstone's account of his hometown's spike crisis.
Devin Friedman, GQ (7/8)
"Magic City is a place where fortunes rain from the rafters, where women with impossible bodies call the shots, and where a DJ who spins your track can make you a star." This is the story of an Atlanta strip club dubbed "America's most important club," where Future, Young Thug, 2 Chainz, and so many more got made, and where FADER favorite DJ Esco spins gold on the regular.
Rob Walker, Bloomberg Business (7/10)
We all use SoundCloud everyday—but did you know it was a rogue streaming service from before the monetization of music streaming? It's where people like Skrillex find music—“I use it just like any normal kid," he told Bloomberg Business. Music listening options used to be seemingly endless, but now that Spotify, Apple, Google, Pandora, etc. are beefing up their streaming options, SoundCloud wants a piece of the game while staying true to their origins. Can they do it?!
Gabby Bess, Broadly (7/10)
There's been a lot of pot talk these days. In this past week only, GQ wrote a piece about weed delivery, New York mag published a piece about "The Women Hoping to Become New York's Pot Moguls," and Annie Lesser posted a user's guide to drug apps. Notice a trend? Apparently this whole "stoner ladies" trend is popping off, and weed dispensaries are taking notice (read our piece for more on the female pot-smoking contingent). SkinnyGirl Weed is a thing, as is something called SexxPot. WTF? Yeah, weed culture has been male-centric for, like, forever, but as Gabby Bess writes in this article on Broadly (Vice's new women's interest channel), "what all women really want from weed is something that works." And speaking of lady stuff—Can We Just, Like, Get Over the Way Women Talk?