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On The Fappening, Kate Upton, ethics and all that

You may have heard about “The Fappening” recently. It’s also been called “Celeb-Gate,” and essentially it refers to the hacking of various celebrities and nude photos / sexualized images being displayed of them. The two biggest names are probably Jennifer Lawrence — there might not be a bigger name than her right now — and Kate Upton, although dozens of others have been afflicted. A lot of it began on 4Chan, but Reddit has been a source of information for a good deal of people as well. There are a couple of ways this could have happened — it could be an iCloud hack, or it could be a trading ring that’s existed for years. No one completely knows. The FBI is involved now, though.

A couple of thoughts:

The Ethics

There are a lot of very passionate views out there on this topic, like Lena Dunham:

I don’t really know the legal side of how this all works — whether a photo you take is necessarily your property, etc. — but obviously from an ethical side it’s fairly scummy.

There are basically two ways to look at it:

1. When you’re a celebrity, you have to realize this stuff might happen, so you shouldn’t do it in the first place.

2. What you do with your own phone / your camera / etc. is your business, and no one should be sharing that with the broader world.

I mostly agree with (2) above — more on that in a second — but the argument for (1) is simple: there will always be hackers so long as there’s an Internet. If you want to completely avoid a situation like this, just don’t tape yourself having sex or shoot yourself naked in a bathroom mirror. Even if you’re sending it to a person you think you love at that moment, you have no idea what could happen.

All that said, apparently you can still delete and have this stuff happen — which speaks again to (1):

Kate Upton 

I looked at a couple of the photos — it was hard to avoid them in Twitter streams, although Twitter did ban users who shared the stuff (which brings up First Amendment discussions, I’d reckon) — and here’s my one thing with Kate Upton. She’s attractive, and yet she doesn’t really do nudity. She does basic nudity, though — look at most of her magazine shoots or her “Cat Daddy” stuff. When these photos/videos leaked, you’re mostly just seeing another 2-3 inches of her that you’ve never seen. It’s cool in some ways, sure — I’m a red-blooded American male and it’s hard to immediately look away — but it’s not really that much different than even what you’d see in The Other Woman or whatever, so calm down.

Another thing: there’s been a ton of Justin Verlander / Kate Upton public appearances recently. There was even this special moment a few weeks ago at a Yankees game:

They did their Ice Bucket Challenge together, etc. Even though they’re both busy and have to travel a lot for work, they’re clearly making time for each other. Point being: they’re young, attractive people who love each other (presumably). So they take some naked photos and have sex and record parts of it. Who cares? It’s moderately hot, sure, but this is what a lot of young people — often not famous — do to make things hotter.

Look at this timeline of Verlander’s hacked photos. One of the sexier but tamer Upton photos — her basically topless wearing a men’s tie — was taken in Minneapolis while the Tigers (Verlander’s team) were in town. Minneapolis is not NYC or Los Angeles. She flew there to meet him, and probably to have some personal adult time. That’s not a crime, and we shouldn’t really be that fascinated with what happened therein. (Yes, I realize saying that and admitting I looked at some is a double standard.)

All that said, if you’re really into speculation on Kate Upton’s life, here’s a more interesting one for you. Remember this tweet back in the day?

Or this whole thing with Gronk and Upton?

Follow the bouncing ball here:

Sean Avery once tweeted at Kate Upton in a flirty manner (details here), and she smoked him back (“I wasn’t looking at you,” etc.) With Gronk, she playfully flirted back. See that tweet above? That’s playful. In that link above, you see stuff like “Someone’s confident … on Twitter.” Little jabs. 

Point is: if you’re interested in Kate Upton’s sex life solely for the visceral thrill involved, focus more on whether she had sex with Gronk — because honestly, we’ll never know. Who cares about what she does with Verlander? That might be the dude she ends up marrying. That’s love, and sex comes with that.

The Future

This stuff won’t stop, despite whatever privacy laws or Internet capabilities come into play. (Some no doubt will, especially if the names get bigger.) It’s just too hard to regulate. Dark corners of the Internet do exist, and will continue to. (That’s basically how things like ‘child porn’ became industries, honestly.)

I’m not sure what the next steps are — perhaps harsher penalties, or more secure clouds, or whatever — but I do think an intermediate step is that everyone should assume the world really isn’t all that private, and they shouldn’t make/do/save things they wouldn’t want to see in The New York Times. That’s a cop-out reasoning, sure, because I’m saying “Do this because this other thing will never stop,” but hey … reality.


IQ, EQ? Valid. How about CQ? (Curiosity quotient.)

A lot of times in job interviews, I would tell people that my main attribute — my real selling point – was that I’m a very curious person. That’s actually a bad thing to say in a lot of job interviews, because it’s not the precise language that the interviewer is really looking for, although that’s very flawed. It should be a really good thing to say in job interviews — because if you’re looking for a term like “a go-getter” or “a team player,” well, being curious rolls up with that kind of stuff.

Here’s a new post on Harvard Business Review that explains it a little bit, including this crucial connector: people who are more curious tend to be more comfortable with ambiguity. Can you think of a more ambiguous place than the modern workforce? Managers aren’t great, e-mails are coming from everywhere, no one really has any idea what’s going on, and everyone’s running around between meetings and telling everyone else how busy they are. It’s a world with a lot of ambiguity — so having a curious mind in there might be helpful.

Secondly, being curious leads to higher levels of intellectual investment and knowledge acquisition over time, which makes sense because (by definition) a curious person wants to “chase” information — to learn more.

Simply stated, a person who chases knowledge tends to have more options when it comes to breaking complex tasks into a series of simpler tasks — and at core, that’s all work where really is, whether you mop floors, fly planes, publish graphic novels, work on an assembly line, or whatever else.

So if you are a hiring manager and you come across someone who’s really, earnestly discussing their curiosity — give it a listen. It might not be exactly what you want to hear, or are conditioned to hear — but it might be exactly the type of person you need on the team.

If you don’t believe me (because who am I, really?), maybe you’ll believe Jack Dorsey, who started a couple of successful businesses (Twitter and Square) — and who we’ve talked about on this site before too:

Where can you get the cheapest flight from?

We have some science behind when you should book travel to get the best discounts, and now we have a little bit of science around where you should fly from. Of course, the latter is a little bit restrictive, as people tend to fly from, uh, where they live or are working out of. But it’s still kind of interesting.

This study is based on cost per 100 km; that’s about 62 miles. The cheapest place in the world to fly from is the Philippines, where it costs $7.86 per 100 km. That means if you wanted to fly the equivalent of NYC to Atlanta in that area of the world (about 761 miles), you’d pay about $96. If you try to get a flight from NYC to Atlanta on 30 days notice right now, the lowest shot you have is about $271. Thus, it’s much cheaper to fly around Asia than within the U.S. In fact, 7 of the 10 cheapest places to fly from in the world are in Asia: Read more

You can save two hours a day with this e-mail hack

EMail Hack

The average person receives 50 work e-mails a day (I guess I’m below-average, harrumph). A quarter of the workforce, give or take, receives more than 100. E-mail is all consuming — even on a day like today, the Friday prior to Labor Day weekend, close to 89 billion business e-mails will be sent worldwide.

Take the “50” number above, and take the “100” number for 1/4 of the workforce, and round ‘em off in the middle. Let’s say you get / have to reply to about 70-75 e-mails per day. If you’re a standard 40-hour worker (again, give or take), 70 e-mails a day accounts for about two hours of your workday, each day. (McKinsey, where probably a lot of e-mails are sent every day, has backed up that research.)

So, two hours a day x 5 days a week = 10 hours a week = 1/4 of your standard work week is spent answering e-mails. That’s a lot, right? (Here’s a different approach that probably wouldn’t work for most people, but eh.)

There’s a hack, though!

Read more

Why you should love college football

Above is the ending of the Auburn-Georgia game in 2013 that helped keep Auburn undefeated. At the time, it seemed like it might be the craziest thing that happened in the SEC last year.


If you’re a dude, you invariably get into a lot of bar conversations across your 20s and 30s (and logically beyond) about whether you’re an NCAA guy, an NFL guy, or something else. When the fall comes around, this is a much bigger topic; I’ve been in two of these discussions just today. There are arguments on all sides and ultimately it’s a personal decision, but I’m an NCAA guy. Read more

What happened to Brandon Jividen, Rebecca Adams, their kids and their dog? (The Alaska missing family case.)

Super weird, with primary details here: a U.S. Air Force veteran and his girlfriend went missing (i.e. completely vanished) from Kenai, Alaska (150 miles from Anchorage) — along with two kids and a dog (Sparks). Brandon Jividen is the veteran — he’s 37. The girlfriend, Rebecca Adams, is 22. The biological father of the two children died in a motorcycle accident and, within about a month, Jividen was living with them. The family has been missing since May 31 — basically the entire summer — and the last contact anyone had with them doesn’t seem promising: Read more

The AstroDome could become the new High Line

Harris County judge Ed Emmett seemingly has a good deal of power in the Houston area. That’s relevant, because he “absolutely opposes” demolishing the AstroDome, which basically hasn’t been consistently used in years. People have been discussing the fate of the AstroDome seemingly forever, and it admittedly is on the National Register of Historic Places.

There’s a new plan in play — from Emmett — that basically aims to turn the AstroDome into the world’s largest indoor garden. That theoretically doesn’t mean a lot, since most gardens are outdoors, but it’s a very Texas-type thing to say (and could help with tourism, although I feel like most tourism to Houston is likely business travel at this point). Whether it can actually happen is largely based on the details (of course), but if it’s not getting torn down anytime soon and it’s not really hosting that much, you could do worse than putting a series of beautiful flowers inside it for people to walk around. Read more


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