What We’re Reading: March 14-20

The death of IE, timely satellite maps, and commuting times

Microsoft officially admitted that it’s phasing out its Internet Explorer web browser. The company will instead promote an as-yet unnamed browser, code-named Project Spartan. Once the browser of choice, IE’s popularity continues to decline as other more modern browsers have come to the fore. Do you still use IE?

mapHave you ever looked at the satellite images in Google Maps and been miffed that the pictures are a few years old? If you’re in a major metro, things can change fast. Well, there’s a new service from MapBox that takes images from NASA that are only a few WEEKS old. They may not be the sunny, forever-summer images you find in Google, but if you’re looking for recent changes (or just tracking the melting of ice on Lake Michigan), they are very valuable.

A fast-growing body of research has linked artificial light exposure to disruptions in circadian rhythms, the light-triggered releases of hormones that regulate bodily function. Circadian disruption has in turn been linked to a host of health problems, from cancer to diabetes, obesity and depression. And it’s only getting worse as we turn to tablets and smartphones – as well as TVs – right before bed. Even the new compact florescent, LCD, or LED lights that are rapidly replacing incandescent bulbs emit light at more troublesome wavelengths for our rhythms.

The office of the New York City Comptroller recently put out a report on commuting and work weeks for the nation’s largest metro areas. No surprise, New York comes out as the ‘hardest working city’ when you add commute time to work week, but what’s more interesting to the rest of us is the comparison of commute times across the country. Chicago is in second place, followed by Philadelphia. The shortest commute? That’s Louisville.

In the final episode of “Jinx,” a six-part HBO documentary about him, Mr. Durst, the scion of a wealthy New York real estate family, seemed to veer toward a confession in the deaths of three people over the course of three decades. Now he’s been charged, arrested, and the investigation has been expanded to other cities and other cold-case murders. The series has been great TV, though many are complaining that it only complicates things for law enforcement.

Mario, Donkey Kong and Zelda will appear on smartphones and tablets at last—and that’s just the start. The announcement this week that Nintendo was finally allowing its franchises to appear on handheld devices sent the company’s stock soaring. Time interviews the company’s CEO who discusses what led to the decision and how the company will approach letting outside hardware work with Nintendo software.

K-Cups have been in the news recently as the latest poster child of waste and landfill demons. The little plastic coffee pods made for the one-cup coffee machine market have exploded in the last few years, with hundreds of millions of pounds of unrecyclable trash. Want to do your part to lessen the burden? Get out your craft supplies: Here are some ideas on how to recycle K-Cups.

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