Category Archives: Read This

No, Courtney Love Didn’t Find Malaysia Flight 370 — But Tomnod Might

It’s been over a week since Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 disappeared en route to Beijing, an unfathomable amount of time to completely lose a 100-ton Boeing 777 and 239 people.

Despite 26 countries helping with the search (and, perhaps, rescue), not much is known for certain, other than the flight’s last transmission was an hour after takeoff. And so, the conspiracy theories run rampant: Did the plane disintegrate mid-air? Was it hijacked by terrorists? Did it sneak past radar and land somewhere? Is this Lost come to life?!

Radar suggests that the airplane could have left its flight plan, banked west over Malaysia, and traveled as far north as the Kazakh–Turkmen border or as far south as the southern Indian Ocean. Flight 370 could be anywhere within 2 million square nautical miles, according to CNN. In other words, they need help looking.

Yesterday’s trending story was that Hole lead singer Courtney Love, a reliably loose cannon, thought she might have found Flight 370 while examining satellite imagery. She posted her findings on Facebook, with some handy arrows to illustrate:Screen Shot 2014-03-17 at 10.22.26 PM
We’re all so desperate for news about Flight 370 — good or bad — that this finding exploded across the Twittersphere, with snarky asides cloaking an overwhelming desire for Courtney Love to be right.

Sadly, she wasn’t. Tomnod, the crowdsourcing site Love used to examine satellite imagery in Southeast Asia, looked into her claim and discounted it on Facebook:

Screen Shot 2014-03-18 at 1.43.49 PM
What’s more interesting than Love’s detective work is that millions of people are also using Tomnod to search for oil slicks, wreckage, rafts, or any other clues that will reveal the location of Flight 370. You can help. Colorado-based DigitalGlobe, a satellite imagery firm that has supplied Google Maps and Google Earth, bought Tomnod in 2013 and now uses it as its crowdsourcing arm, notably during an international crisis. (Read more about DigitalGlobe in this excellent Fast Company brief.)

With 2 million+ people searching 2 million square nautical miles, the wreckage territory seems slightly more manageable. Think you can handle 1 square mile? Visit now.


Lit Links: Literature’s “Women Problem,” Lego Red Wedding

Every Friday, we share a roundup of some of the best literature news from across the interweb. 

How to Tweet like Boris from The GoldfinchThe Million‘s Claire Cameron nails the voice of Donna Tartt’s most fun character.

Millions of People Reading Alone, Together The Atlantic looks at the success of Goodreads and what this means for publishing.

Literature’s “Women Problem” Spurred by Wikipedia’s recent move to separate female writers from American writers, Brainpickings revisits anecdotes by Margaret Atwood, Joyce Carol Oates and more on the issue of being “a writer who is also a woman.”

On the Road, now in Google Maps – A German student, Gregor Weichbrodt, plugged all the coordinates mentioned in Jack Kerouac’s On the Road into Google Maps, creating a new document for Beat die-hards to follow.

Your favorite scenes from literature…now in Lego form.  British book retailer Waterstones is running a Lego competition, so get in your best versions of Pet Sematary or Infinite Jest while you can.
(via Bookriot)

**Image is “The Red Wedding” from George R.R. Martin’s Storm of Swords. And you thought we weren’t going to do anything special for Valentine’s Day!

Read This: Russell Brand on Heroin, Abstinence, and Addiction

In the last few days, as I’ve tried to make sense of the loss of Philip Seymour Hoffman, these words from Aaron Sorkin keep bouncing around my brain:

“Phil Hoffman … did not die from an overdose of heroin. He died from heroin.”

What Sorkin manages to — once again — succinctly boil down to a soundbite, Russell Brand explains in detail in a March 2013 article in The Spectator. The British actor-comedian, who’s been very open about his addiction in the past, talks frankly about his daily decision not to drink, not to take heroin, a round-the-clock battle with himself.

“I cannot accurately convey the efficiency of heroin in neutralising pain,” Brand says in the opening paragraphs. “It transforms a tight white fist into a gentle brown wave, and from my first inhalation 15 years ago it fumigated my private hell. A bathroom floor in Hackney embraced me like a womb, and now whenever I am dislodged from comfort my focus falls there.”

The only way to help addicts is to treat them not as bad people but as sick people, he says. Find out how we can help.

Read This: Russell Brand on Heroin, Abstinence, and Addiction

Read This: Pharrell’s Productivity Secrets

Despite being overshadowed by his Vivienne Westwood/Canadian mounty hat, Pharrell Williams was one of the stars of the Grammys this year. Seven nominations. Four wins. Producer of the Year. He co-wrote and performed two of the 2013’s biggest pop hits, Daft Punk’s “Get Lucky” and Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines.” He even learned how to speak “French robot” so he could accept awards on behalf of Daft Punk.

We’ll be hearing even more about Pharrell as the Oscars approach—he’s up for best song for Despicable Me 2′s “Happy”but Fast Company has one of the best profiles out on the multi-hyphenate man. Not only is he self-deprecating, he’s a philanthropist–fashion designer–tech entrepreneur.  Can we all work for Pharrell?

Recommended reading: “Get Busy: Pharrell’s Productivity Secrets.”