June 5, 2014
1. Searching For Sugar, Man
“You find me the person who can blame obesity or diabetes on an excess of carrots or apples, and I will give up my day job and become a hula dancer!” That’s Dr. David Katz, director of Yale’s Prevention Research Center, responding to the growing attacks on everything that contains sugar. Sugar is the new fat. We’re being spoon-fed a daily dose of warnings, many of them coming from UCSF’s Robert Lustig, who refers to sugar as “the Darth Vader of this sordid tale, beckoning you to the dark side.” (In the end, he admits he’s your father and takes you out for ice cream.) How bad is sugar? And how good are its replacements. James Hamblin sweetens the pot with his piece: Being Happy with Sugar.
2. Daddy’s Home
The number of stay-at-home dads has doubled over the past 25 years. WaPo focuses on the increasing number of dads who stay home because they want to, while The Atlantic looks at those who stay home because they have to. (On days I’ve stayed home, I’ve found that the key is not to let your kids know you’re there.)
3. The Wanderer
A newly released classified report confirms that, in 2009, Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl “wandered away from assigned areas before — both at a training range in California and at his remote outpost in Afghanistan — and then returned.”
+ Here’s President Obama on the growing controversy surrounding the prisoner swap: “We had a prisoner of war whose health had deteriorated and we were deeply concerned about, and we saw that we had an opportunity and we seized it. And I make no apologies for that.”
+ “Bergdahl’s battalion lost six soldiers in a three-week period — all of these fatalities occurred on a mission that was related to, or influenced by, the effort to find Bergdahl. In this remote part of an increasingly remote war, suffering and loss — the senselessness of Afghanistan — often played out in Bergdahl’s name.” From Elliot Ackerman: I Was a Marine in Afghanistan. Bowe Bergdahl haunted us all.
4. Put Your Lips Together and Recall
GM’s inquiry into its own failure to recall cars with a deadly ignition switch found a pattern of “incompetence and neglect.” Fifteen employees have been fired, but there was no finding of a conspiracy to hide the problem.
+ GM’s CEO Mary Barra on whistleblowers: “If you see a problem that you don’t believe is being handled properly, bring it to the attention of your supervisor. If you still don’t believe it’s being handled properly, contact me directly.”
“What kind of person looks upon the world’s largest land animal — a beast that mourns its dead and lives to retirement age and can distinguish the voice of its enemies — and instead of saying ‘Wow!’ says something like ‘Where’s my gun?'” My immediate guess would be, an idiotic piece of garbage. In GQ, Wells Tower joins an exclusive hunting party to come up with a more complete answer: Who wants to shoot an elephant?
6. The Emperor Has No Wearables
We are constantly reminded that we are entering the age of wearable technology. But as Smithsonian Magazine’s Clive Thompson reminds us, to truly understand the oncoming trend, we have to look back at the original wearable tech: The Pocket Watch. (And let’s not forget Flava Flav’s wearable clock.)
7. A Sporting Life
“All I’ve ever been is a simple baseball man, but it’s never ceased to amaze me how so many far more accomplished people I’ve met in this life wanted to be one, too.” Don Zimmer died after spending 66 years as a key fixture and great character in the game of baseball.
+ The Economist on Soccer/Football: Beautiful game, dirty business.
+ The World Cup is the biggest single sporting event when it comes to the television audience. But what about when it comes to attendance. Here’s a chart of who attends what, and another reminder of just how big American football has become.
8. The Birds and the iBees
Parents are having the birds and bees talk with their kids at a much earlier age. Why? Because they don’t want the Internet to beat them to it.
+ MoJo: “David Allred was an infamous bee rustler in the 1970s. Did the rising price of bees inspire his most daring heist yet?” I know this story isn’t quite related to the one above, but I’ll do anything to change the subject.
9. Mind if I Comment?
“There’s a game I like to play sometimes. It’s called ‘How many Internet comments do I have to read until I lose faith in humanity?’ All too often, the answer is: one comment.” The Atlantic’s Adam Felder takes a look at what happens to the perception of a site’s quality (and what happens to its traffic) when you turn off comments. (Web comments put the mean into meanlingless…)
10. The Bottom of the News
“Are you surrounded by fools? Are you the only reasonable person around? Then maybe you’re the one with the jerkitude.” I distinctly remember my mom explaining this theory to me in junior high. For a refresher, here’s Aeon’s Eric Schwitzgebel with a theory of jerks.
+ Bill Gates could buy every home in Boston. (Or a flat with tandem parking in San Francisco.)
+ The strange beneficial/predatory relationship between TMZ and Justin Bieber (and by extension, the celebrity gossip-reading public).
+ Here are 30 commonly mispronounced food words (and a guide to saying them correctly).
+ (New feature – Let me know if you like it.) Popular from yesterday’s NextDraft: Our kids are typing their way through school. Is that hurting their education? The Handwriting on the Wall.