Nerd Alert #60: Moonshots, Startups, and Funding Models, oh my!


What we're reading this week

  Adam: Startup founders, Jennifer Brandel (Hearken) and Mara Zepeda (Switchboard), argue that we need a new funding model for startups that recognizes founders with long-term, wide-ranging visions instead of focusing myopically on things that matter less just because they’re the things that are easiest to quantify.

  Ben: Not all encryption is the same, and the random number generator used in network appliances isn’t iPhone encryption, but for a peep into how convoluted this mess can get, check out the blog post at AgileBits explaining how the NSA backdoored the Dual Elliptic Curve Deterministic Random Bit Generator algorithm used to generate encryption keys. The math is explained in translucent prose, at least.

  Jack: The Wall Street Journal has a Snapchat team of five people pushing out content eight times a day. The Washington Post snapchatted (now a verb) during the Nigerian elections and has expanded its use of the burgeoning social media platform known for its young user base.  So how do many teens use Snapchat? It’s a different world.

  Ryan: Walk through this "Paint a room" exercise to see just how bad you are at schedule estimation. When you're through, send the link to anyone who needs to be convinced of the importance of evidence based scheduling.

  Bert: The Netflix graphical user interface is colorful and friendly, they say. But numbers are so much more fun.


This week's guest contributor

Our guest this week is Pam Dempsey (@pamelagdempsey), executive director, the Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting.

Four years ago, we refocused The Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting with an investigative lens on agribusiness. Based in Champaign, Illinois, agribusiness is a billions-dollar industry in our region which reaches nationally and internationally. Yet coverage of agribusiness is sparse.

But with our strategy to provide not only in-depth reporting but also training and research, our stream of content became lost in the noise.

To resolve this, we recently launched Big Ag Watch, a new brand of our Center to exclusively focus on the big dogs of agribusiness through original reporting, commentary and curation. This provides a clear channel for our investigative work on big ag while giving our research and training work - and more general agriculture stories - a better defined space at the Midwest Center.


Good jobs with good people

The Texas Tribune is seeking an Audience Engagement Director.

Oklahoma Watch is hiring a State Issues Reporter.


Gather ye rosebuds

LISTEN: Tuvan throat singer Huun-Huur Tu.

WATCH: In 1969 we either went to the moon or faked the whole thing.

EAT: Can’t go wrong with a recipe that starts with “Bacon wrapped cheese and mushroom”.

Houston we have a problem
moon with a rocket stuck in its eye