Chicago’s untenable pension situation

February 18, 2015

The headline certainly sounds dire: Chicago sees fiscal doomsday if court suspends pension changes. The reality might live up to the rhetoric.

Across America, a patchwork of laws on same-sex marriage

February 17, 2015

If you’ve been following the on-again, off-again saga of same-sex marriage through the Alabama courts, your head is probably spinning.

Dior macaroons, the science of fidelity, how to block Valentine’s Day from Facebook and more

February 13, 2015

February 14 falls on a Saturday this year, and whether you’re celebrating Valentine’s Day with a paramour or sullenly observing Singles’ Awareness Day, Data Dive has a collection of links to improve your weekend.

The problem with in-flight Wi-Fi

February 13, 2015

Internet connectivity has become so ubiquitous that a spotty signal is enough to make some users downright grouchy.

Why we need to worry about space weather

February 12, 2015

Everyone complains about the weather, but NASA is doing something about it.

A Deep Space Climate Observatory satellite launched last night aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket will monitor solar wind, solar flares and coronal mass ejections, all of which fit within the definition of “space weather.” The concept sounds like, well, science fiction, but a washingtonpost.com article titled “When space weather attacks” describes the magnitude of the threat constituted by space weather:

Jon Stewart’s place among the kings of late night

February 11, 2015

Jon Stewart’s surprise announcement that he will leave The Daily Show left an adoring audience with a list of questions. The A.V. Club mulled a few of them: “No word yet on when exactly he’s leaving, whether this means he’s ending his time in the anchor chair to focus on being a Serious Movie Director now, or just how much this is Brian Williams’ fault.”

The case for an efficient cup of coffee

February 10, 2015

Americans are buying less coffee while drinking more of it. How does that work? The answer, Reuters’ Luc Cohen explains, lies in the rise of single-cup coffee makers. These machines are swallowing up significant market share by allowing consumers to brew only as much coffee as they need, which in turn means less coffee purchased and less coffee wasted. As Cohen writes, “Traders often quip that before single serve coffee pods gained prominence, the sink was the world’s largest coffee consumer.”

Oil strikes

February 9, 2015

Is OPEC’s low oil price gambit working?

Oil prices have been in a consistent free fall since a June high, and OPEC appears to be just fine with that. Some analysts have speculated that the cartel’s approach suggests an intent to let prices become low enough for U.S. shale producers to blink. This may be happening. As this Reuters graphic shows, according to data from Baker Hughes, 1,609 oil rigs were active on Oct. 10, 2014, but that number fell to 1,140 last week, the lowest since 2011. As oil prices continue to fall, the break-even point for shale extraction comes into play, and companies eventually don’t see the value of pulling oil out of the ground.

The case for ‘antiwork,’ a hamburger live stream, vitamins written in foods, and more

February 6, 2015

Once again, Data Dive brings you links ranging from interesting to somnolent, plucked from the week that was.