Weekend Long Reads – September 27, 2014

Larry Ellison Bought an Island in Hawaii. Now What?

Jolicoeur spent about three weeks strolling around the island, asking locals to hold his ungainly, foam-sheathed microphone and tell the camera how they felt about the big acquisition. Everyone seemed to feel very, very good. “I want to thank Mr. Ellison,” one fishing-boat captain says. “He’s got a vision, and he’s taking care of us over here on Lanai.” A pack of landscapers, shown assiduously raking dirt, say things like: “Thank you for work, Mr. Ellison! Thank you very much!” The owner of a salon: “I just want to take this time to thank Mr. Ellison for the unbelievable, incredible takeover of Lanai.” Inside the island’s Catholic church, a priest in a purple robe, surrounded by children, says: “Heavenly father. . . . We ask for your blessings for Mr. Ellison, particularly, and those who work with him, that all the good plans and intentions that he has for Lanai be fruitful.” Elsewhere, a woman shouts a little breathlessly: “Mr. Ellison! Thank you for being here! We love you! I’ve never met you before and really would like to, and I can imagine that you will do awesome wonders for this place!”

The Power of Sleep

“Chronic sleep restriction is a stress on the body,” says Dr. Peter Liu, professor of medicine at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center and L.A. Biomedical Research Institute. And the cause of that sleep deprivation doesn’t always originate in family strife, financial concerns or job-related problems. The way we live now–checking our phones every minute, hyperscheduling our days or our kids’ days, not taking time to relax without a screen in front of our faces–contributes to a regular flow of stress hormones like cortisol, and all that artificial light and screen time is disrupting our internal clocks. Simply put, our bodies don’t know when to go to sleep naturally anymore.

iPad: The Microwave Oven of Computing

The microwave isn’t easier for every cooking task, and perhaps it takes longer to prepare a complicated meal in a microwave. Perhaps no award winning meal will be created in one, unless it’s a special contest for microwave cooking. But it simplified simple cooking, and consumers around the world saw it as a necessary piece of equipment within in years of it becoming popular. It didn’t need to be an oven, and didn’t need to be better than an oven. It just needed to be the best for some certain cooking scenarios, and that was enough to win the hearts and minds of people around the world.

Anthony Bourdain and the Future of Cable News

Another person I find fascinating is Anthony Bourdain. I love that he stands out from the other TV chef personalities and he doesn’t fit into the typical reality TV chef mold.

In the kitsch-prone world of celebrity chefs, Bourdain sticks out as an earnest, uncompromising voice and relentless advocate for authenticity, occupying a strange position as both an antiestablishment bomb thrower (he is known for ripping into Emeril Lagasse, Rachael Ray, and other famous chefs) and, at this point, an entrenched member of the culinary in-crowd.

Best known as the host of “No Reservations”, he now hosts “Parts Unknown” on CNN. When I first heard he was leaving The Travel Channel to go to CNN, I was a little surprised. After reading this article, the move makes a lot more sense.

Bourdain never expected to end up on a serious news network. “They called out of the blue, and our response was, really?” he says with a laugh. “We had a great discussion. They said, ‘We want you to do what you want to do and be as smart as you can. Any place that you haven’t been able to go, we’d like to help. Congo? No problem.’ ” Bourdain was impressed, especially if CNN could facilitate shooting in the kinds of logistically difficult areas that he was itching to visit.

If you haven’t read his books or don’t know a lot about Anthony Bourdain, this is a great read.

How To Survive a Lightning Strike

For most victims, it is not the unforgettable horror of an agonizing ordeal that haunts them—many can’t even recall the incident itself; it’s the mysterious physical and psychological symptoms that emerge, often long after their immediate wounds have healed and doctors have cleared them to return to their normal routines. But nothing is normal anymore. Chronic pain, memory trouble, personality changes, and mood swings can all follow an encounter with lightning, leaving friends and family members confused, while survivors, grappling with a fundamental shift in identity, feel increasingly alienated by the incomprehensible nature of their condition. Something happened in a single moment—something strange and rare, something unbelievable—and after that moment, everything has changed.

Appropriate on this first day of rain this autumn season.

What To Do If You Break The Screen Of Your iPhone or iPad

Do NOT do it yourself:

You can literally die if you try to replace the screen of an iPhone or iPad yourself and you don’t know what you’re doing. I’m not kidding.

The battery is very soft and squishy and isn’t protected by anything else besides the outer enclosure. If you so much as barely dent the battery or puncture it, it will burst into flames and spew poisonous gas into the room. Lithium-Ion batteries are extremely volatile when disturbed.

You can burn down your house, injure yourself, and/or die.

Don’t do it.

Anthony Bourdain On How to Travel

The other great way to figure out where to eat in a new city is to provoke nerd fury online. Go to a number of foodie websites with discussion boards. Let’s say you’re going to Kuala Lumpur — just post on the Malaysia board that you recently returned and had the best rendang in the universe, and give the name of a place, and all these annoying foodies will bombard you with angry replies about how the place is bullshit, and give you a better place to go.

I’m sure you could do this on Facebook as well.

I Had A Stroke At Age 33

Christine Hyung-Oak Lee describes what it is like to suffer a stroke:

One afternoon, I decided to make a pound cake. I used to be an avid baker. While the butter and sugar mixed, the phone rang. I answered the phone. I forgot about the cake. I hung up the phone. I sat down. I forgot the phone call. I turned on the television. I stood up, dizzy. Why was I dizzy, I wondered. And then I thought perhaps I hadn’t eaten. When had I last eaten? I didn’t remember. I went to the kitchen. There was a mixer running. Who on earth left it on? There was a cookbook with its page leafed open. Pound cake. Who was making pound cake? I turn the mixer off. I must have been making pound cake, I thought.

A Surprise $117,000 Medical Bill

In operating rooms and on hospital wards across the country, physicians and other health providers typically help one another in patient care. But in an increasingly common practice that some medical experts call drive-by doctoring, assistants, consultants and other hospital employees are charging patients or their insurers hefty fees. They may be called in when the need for them is questionable. And patients usually do not realize they have been involved or are charging until the bill arrives.


How “Lost” Changed the Way the World Watches TV

Maybe, in 30 years, people will think of Lost as that show that was cool for a long time but wound up having a terrible ending. But I won’t. Ten years since the pilot, it’s clear to me that Lost cemented itself in the TV pantheon as the show with the most involving, entertaining, community-like experience. Lost was the show that made you want to feel a part of something, and a lot of that was because of how incredible its timing was during an era of remarkable technological innovation. If it happened a few years earlier, it probably wouldn’t have been nearly as big of a hit.

Lost is 10 years old. Crazy.