FedEx, The Wire, Cellphones In Literature

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The FedEx Problem

graycat et al | Hacker News | 28th March 2015

A post to Hacker News argues that FedEx's Memphis hub is 315 miles from the optimal point for serving all America's major cities. Whereupon the executive who wrote the scheduling software for the FedEx fleet shows up in the comments and explains what else determined the choice of hub besides geometry; and discusses how FedEx plans delivery routes for planes serving multiple cities, a famously complex maths problem (6,100 words)

President Obama Interviews David Simon

White House | 28th March 2015

Obama sits down with Simon, creator of The Wire, to talk about drugs, policing and prison. Video followed by transcript. Obama acknowledges that America has pursued drug prohibition at too high a cost: "From a libertarian perspective, the way we treat non-violent drug crimes is problematic, and from a fiscal perspective is breaking the bank". He sees The Wire as an important early step in changing the narrative (2,100 words)

Reader, I Muted Him

Steve Himmer | The Millions | 19th March 2015

Authors of literary fiction hate to let cellphones into their stories — and with good reason. Cellphones ruin coincidences, dispel uncertainties, resolve tensions, and allow everybody to talk at once without being overheard. A popular workaround is to set the story in the 1980s and 1990s — a "nostalgic present" when life is recognisably modern, when modern stories can be told, but cellphones are absent (2,720 words)

Video of the day: Faux Shows

What to expect: Mock TV-show trailers stitched together from stock footage (3'43")

Thought for the day

Mere absurdity has never prevented the triumph of bad ideas, if they accord with easily aroused fantasies
Anthony Daniels (

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