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Sarah Palin exits a voting booth in 2008. Credit: Shealah Craighead.
For your Thursday lunch break: Photographs of charming Paris storefronts.

If a computer set out to write a bestselling novel, it would write like Dave Eggers

Researchers studied 5,000 novels to determine an algorithm built to predict, with 80 percent accuracy, which books will become mega-bestsellers. Among the 2,799 features strongly associated with bestsellers: Young, strong heroines who are also misfits (see: The Girl on the Train, Gone GirlThe Girl with the Dragon Tattoo). No sex. Frequent use of the verb “need.” Lots of contractions. Few exclamation points.

Which recent novel was the algorithm's favorite? The Circle by Dave Eggers. "The computer found much to love: a strong, young female protagonist whose most-used verbs are “need” and “want.” A three-act plotline that mimics the satisfying one found in Fifty Shades of Grey. A focus on three themes (modern technology, jobs and the workplace, and human closeness)."


My last game, I was actually at the office until 4 o’clock, 4:15, editing a bunch of short stories. I lost track of time and looked at my watch and was like, 'Oh, I better go home. I got my last game to play.'

Kobe Bryant nearly missed his last game because he was revising his fiction. He's also working on a novel, and writes poetry.
↩︎ Complex
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Your Thursday fact about gun violence

Recent analysis about gun violence in the US finds that 99.85 percent of Americans will know at least one victim of gun violence during his or her lifetime.


We’re talking about a character seemingly incapable of empathy, and blind to the toll his selfish behavior takes on others—whether his two wives, his colleagues, or the country at large. The kind of man whose only friend says about him, after his death: “He never believed in anything except Charlie Kane.”

What does a presidential candidate's favorite movie reveal?
↩︎ Lithub

Donald Trump can win the White House—even without Tim Duncan

Nate Silver and his 538 team give Donald Trump a 16 percent shot at winning the presidency—"about the same as the chances of losing a game of Russian roulette."

Note that a 15 percent chance is what 538 gave the San Antonio Spurs to beat the Golden State Warriors the other night. The Spurs won by 29 points.


Vermont man likely sets world record for using your mouth to catch a grape dropped from the greatest height

"Most of the few dozen attempts ended with a goggle-clad Fraser getting smacked in the face and chest by the large grapes—selected because they were easiest to see—that were traveling about 56 mph. 'I felt like I was being punched in the face.'"

We’re in the biggest period of park expansion and development since the WPA era of the 1930s. Cities are competing to see who can build the biggest, the best.

Cities are booming—the 30 largest US cities host 46 percent of the population and generate 54 percent of America’s GDP—and consequently so are parks.
↩︎ Outside

MoMA just acquired the original 176 emojis designed by Shigetaka Kurita. "Released in 1999, Kurita’s 176 emoji (picture characters) were instantly successful and copied by rival companies in Japan. Twelve years later, when a far larger set was released for Apple’s iPhone, emoji burst into a new form of global digital communication."

The acquisition price is not known. MoMA previously acquired the @ symbol and a number of video games.

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