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What Our Passwords Say About Us, the Death of Cash and More #Mustreads

Plus, a must-listen new podcast for your morning commute.

haveseen via iStock

Happy Friday!

The world is too much with us lately. Perhaps Re/code can ease the pain of existence:

  1. When you think about it, our passwords probably reveal significant stuff about us. And given how many passwords we need for all the things we do on the Web, it adds up to a lot of personal information you’re ostensibly never going to share with anyone else. In a New York Times Magazine multimedia longread that weaves together elements as disparate as 9/11 and SAT scores, Ian Urbina examines “The Secret Life of Passwords.”
  2. For years, futurists and tech companies have been hoping that eventually some digital gadget or product would replace cash. They’ve invested a lot of money in products and companies like Apple Pay or PayPal — and now Venmo. This cover story in Businessweek suggests Venmo is the real deal.
  3. Media critic Jack Shafer was one of the folks who recently got laid off from Reuters. A likable, no-bullshit character, Shafer has long been considered one of the best observers of the industry. Capital New York’s Peter Sterne caught up with Shafer just after the layoff news broke, and ended up with a delightful Q&A covering the state of media as a whole, and why sometimes you just can’t get mad about losing a job.
  4. Podcasts are sometimes good because they clue the reader in to Big Issues and Ideas. Sometimes they’re good because they spin a story that’s just so compelling you can’t stop listening. And sometimes podcasts are good because the people conducting them are just endearing, human and funny. Grantland’s Rembert Browne has a new culture podcast, “Rembert Explains,” and it falls squarely into the last category. Listen to or watch his first episode, with TV writer Cord Jefferson as his first guest.
  5. Paul Ford has a great story at the New Yorker on the history of HTML and how a single organization, W3C, wields an enormous amount of power over what the Internet gets to look like.

If you see any stories you’d like to send our way (or have any questions/comments about stories we’ve recommended), feel free to shoot an email to

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