Weekend Briefing No. 43

Welcome to the weekend! Here’s my December playlist (rdio & spotify) to get your weekend going. This week we spent 11% less this Cyber Monday than last year, Iran conducted air strikes in Iraq, after taking Thanksgiving off, Serial is back, and… unfortunately, another grand jury fails to indict a white officer killing an unarmed black mail, this time in New York City.



Eric Garner. The grand jury, as the old legal adage goes, would indict a ham sandwich… apparently unless that ham sandwich happens to be a white cop killing an unarmed black male. It breaks my heart that I’m leading off this week’s Weekend Briefing with another story of another officer not being held to account for his actions. I was marching last night, in protest, so wasn’t Humans of New York. We shutdown Broadway in NYC, but in Boston they shut down the T. It was clear to see how events like this bring the racial divide to the surface. Sometimes satire is the best way to make sense of these issues, so check out John Stewart’s monologue and The Onion’s Tips for Being an Unarmed Black Male.

We’re Number 2! The International Monetary Fund recently released the latest numbers for the world economy. And when you measure national economic output in “real” terms of goods and services, China is now the #1 economy in the world. This China will produce $17.6 trillion — compared with $17.4 trillion for the U.S.A. China now accounts for 16.5% of the global economy when measured in real purchasing-power terms, compared with 16.3% for the U.S. But of course, as with any statistic, it depends how you count. Economist Jeffery Frankel notes that by using the correct metrics, it will be about 8 more years before China surpasses the US. Thanks to Hana Chang for the heads up on this story.

Can Facebook connect the world? Facebook has just turned 10 and the focus for the next decade has shifted. According to Sandberg, “If the first decade was starting the process of connecting the world, the next decade is helping connect the people who are not yet connected and watching what happens.” Zuckerberg says, “What we figured out was that in order to get everyone in the world to have basic access to the Internet, that’s a problem that’s probably billions of dollars,” he says. “Or maybe low tens of billions. With the right innovation, that’s actually within the range of affordability.” Read this exclusive long-form piece by TIME to learn more.

Evolution of a Brand. How did Ben & Jerry’s (a certified B Corp) go from a 2 guys serving ice cream out of an old gas station in VT, to being in everyone’s freezer? Watch this video on brand evolution from Fast Company.

3D printing bio-electric parts. Researchers at Princeton University have now taken an important step toward expanding 3D printing’s potential by developing a way to print functioning electronic circuitry out of semiconductors and other materials. They are also refining ways to combine electronics with biocompatible materials and even living tissue, which could pave the way for exotic new implants. This could open up the opportunity to create smart contact lenses and ears. Learn more about the potential of this innovation in the MIT Technology Review.



Let’s grab coffee. Is apparently not the best way to engage with an angel investor.

Gangnam Style surpasses 2 billion views. This chart from the Economist shows how the amount of time spent watching the video could have been put to better use, for instance we could have built 20 Empire State Buildings or 5 Stonehenges.

Russia’s police officers have an interesting way of earning the public’s trust. They post selfies with their moms.

The history of web design. In 9 gifs.



The Weekend Briefing is a selection of the best stories from around the web about innovation and society curated by Kyle Westaway – author of Profit & Purpose and Managing Partner of Westaway & Co.


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