TIME NextDraft

How to Beat Procrastination and Other Fascinating News on the Web

July 23, 2014


1. Read This Later

It’s not pleasant. It leads to more stress. It worsens your health. “Why, then, is procrastination such a common phenomenon? If we don’t particularly want to procrastinate, and it causes us discomfort to do so, why do we persist in doing it?” The New Yorker’s Maria Konnikova tries to answer that question and help you along the road to getting over procrastination. But be forewarned. As one expert explains: “The ironic thing is that procrastinators put off dealing with their procrastination.” So even if you conquer the procrastination, you’ll still need someone to help you get over the irony.

+ Part of procrastination might have to do with a desire to control our use of time. From the WSJ: Why power in the workplace makes people feel they control time.

2. The Dehydration of Lady Gaga

Lady Gaga recently recorded a PSA urging Californians to conserve water. No matter where you live, you might want sing the same tune. The Center for Investigative Reporting explains why the California drought affects everyone. (And I mean everyone.)

3. Fight or Flight Response

The FAA has banned flights in and out of Tel Aviv for the second straight day, while former NYC mayor Michael Bloomberg landed at the airport via an El Al flight.

+ “After two weeks of protests and denunciations, it’s time to acknowledge that outrage won’t end the war in Gaza. The most plausible way to stop this cycle of violence is through internationally supervised demilitarization.” Slate’s William Saletan offers an idea for how to save Gaza.

+ Anthony Bourdain interviewed in Blogs of War: “Its impossible to see Gaza, for instance, the camps, the West Bank and not find yourself reeling with the ugliness of it all. The absolute failure of smart, presumably good-hearted people on both sides to find something/anything better than what we’ve arrived at. And the willingness of people to not see what is plainly apparent, right there, enormous and frankly, hideous.”

+ And PRI interviewed Debra Kamin about the bizarre growth in something known as war tourism. (They should only sell one-way tickets.)

4. Pieces of the Puzzle

Collectibles entrepreneur Ted Stanley saw medicine help pave the the way for his son to lead a normal life after a psychotic break and a diagnosis of bipolar disorder. Earlier this week, Stanley made a “$650-million commitment to fuel the search for mental illnesses’ biological underpinnings.”

5. Bipolar Bear

“It’s obvious, of course, that animals of all sorts suffer from physical pain. It’s also obvious that many animals can be tense, unhappy, anxious, enraged, compulsive, impulsive, sad, depressed, and so on. Still, it’s tempting for many people, even sympathetic ones, to put those words in scare quotes — to see animal ‘depression’ or ‘anxiety’ as a less intense or consequential version of their human equivalents.” Joshua Rothman on a new book that tackles the topic of mental illness and anguish in animals: See Spot Get Depressed.

+ Don’t think animals can get depressed? Try putting a polar bear into captivity, alone, and in a warm climate from which even an international petition can’t free him. From The Daily Beast: More bad luck for depressed polar bear

6. A Call to Ears

It seems clear that, at least in the near term, we’ll be getting our music via one of the streaming services. That’s why the startups are geting big valuations. And that’s why the big tech companies are getting ready for the ultimate dance off. From Quartz: An epic battle in streaming music is about to begin, and only a few will survive. Of course, you have to consider that as recently as 2007, CDs accounted for 90% of U.S. album sales. Things change fast in the music-tech space. So the winner of today’s battle may not necessarily be the winner of the war (which is just one of the reasons I’m hanging on to my 8 track tapes).

7. To Kale and Back

My wife has me trying out a pretty restrictive diet — less gluten, less sugar, less dairy, less joy — and I’ve responded by upping the portions (often measured by bunches, bushels, or cubic yards) of those foods I’m allowed to consume. So I suppose you can thank us for helping to bring on the great kale shortage of 2014.

+ NPR: Many kids who are obese or overweight don’t know it

+ Somehow that healthier lifestyle we’ve all been living has resulted in an increase in the sales of Doritos. (I blame Colorado and Washington.)

8. The Big Apple

Apple reported another record quarter yesterday and the company continues to be remarkably huge. The best way to understand how huge is to compare one of Apple’s individual units to the total size of another company. Or several other companies.

9. The Toddler Whisperer

“Despite the channel’s massive, sweeping, and somewhat perplexing popularity, no one — neither the toddlers who watch with near-religious fervor and their parents, nor executives deeply embedded in the YouTube ecosystem and its economics — seem to have much of a clue who’s behind it.” From Buzzfeed’s Hillary Reinsberg: YouTube’s biggest star is an unknown toy-reviewing toddler whisperer.

10. The Bottom of the News

“Christie Watson’s kids love eating ice cream. But one recent morning, she saw an uneaten ice cream sandwich sitting on her patio table. When she looked closer, she couldn’t believe what she was seeing.” It turned out that the ice cream sandwich didn’t melt. I think the bigger concern is that she has a kid who abandoned an uneaten ice cream sandwich.

+ Every now and then it’s nice to see some courage returning to the reporting business. Lindsey Weber explains why the Kim Kardashian game Is legitimately good.

+ It turns out that Pong was never intended for public release.

+ Kottke: A couple in a kayak gets too close to a whale and then the whale raises them right out of the water. And not just for a moment either. (They seem way to calm for this to be real.)

+ The bad news is that you got fired from SNL after only one season. That’s also the good news.


TIME NextDraft

The Argument Against Ivy League Schools and Other Fascinating News on the Web

July 22, 2014


1. Ivy Fatigue

In the New Republic William Deresiewicz, author and former Yale professor, argues against sending your kids to Ivy League schools. “Our system of elite education manufactures young people who are smart and talented and driven, yes, but also anxious, timid, and lost, with little intellectual curiosity and a stunted sense of purpose: trapped in a bubble of privilege, heading meekly in the same direction, great at what they’re doing but with no idea why they’re doing it.” I don’t know. I think most of these kids know they’re doing it for the IPO.

2. Complications

Within the space of two hours, two federal appeals courts issued two contradictory rulings on the health care insurance subsidies associated with (and necessary to) the Affordable Care Act.

3. No Fly Zone

Following a missile strike in the area surrounding Israel’s only international airport, the FAA followed the lead of several international airlines and prohibited all flights to Israel for 24 hours. From Jeffrey Goldberg: “The FAA may wind up having more influence over the course of the Gaza war than the State Department.”

+ As international efforts towards a ceasefire continue, Hamas claims to have captured an Israeli soldier.

+ “More than 500 Palestinians and at least 18 Israelis have been sacrificed on the altar of this deluded strategy. When we eventually emerge from the chaos, no one will be safer. And many of the wounds created can possibly never heal.” Claire Hajaj: My Jewish mother, my Palestinian father and a family torn apart.

4. Being There

As if we needed another reminder that location is everything, and that living in a society under siege can damage people in multiple ways, there’s this: 11 of the parents of the abducted Nigerian schoolgirls have died since their kidnapping. Seven by violence. Four from heart failure, high blood pressure and other stress-related illnesses.

5. A Little Help From My Friends

“If we expect a genius to be somehow fundamentally different from the rest of humanity, studying Einstein’s life and opinions will disappoint.” Aeon’s Matthew Francis takes on the notion of cognitive celebrity. “Albert Einstein was a genius, but he wasn’t the only one — why has his name come to mean something superhuman?”

+ “The lone genius is a myth that has outlived its usefulness. Fortunately, a more truthful model is emerging: the creative network, as with the crowd-sourced Wikipedia or the writer’s room at The Daily Show or — the real heart of creativity — the intimate exchange of the creative pair, such as John Lennon and Paul McCartney.” the NYT’s Joshua Wolf Shenk on the end of genius. (I think my body of solo-work suggests I was way ahead of the curve on this one…)

6. Corrections Academy

“Despite the inadvertent hilarity, the real marvel of our mobile text-correction systems is how astoundingly good they are. It’s not too much of an exaggeration to call autocorrect the overlooked underwriter of our era of mobile prolixity.” (More importantly, it has given wildly unfunny people a small chance of being inadvertently funny on occasion.) From Wired: The fascinating history of autocorrect.

7. Sleep Apathy

Researchers are staying up all night to prove just how many hours of sleep is ideal. The latest volley in the sleep wars suggests that seven hours is perfect, and the much-hyped eight hours could actually be dangerous. Wake me when it’s over.

+ Wired: Why does sleeping in just make me more tired?

8. Welcome to Landlordia

The guest checked in but he didn’t check out. And now the person who rented out the condo has learned a key lesson of the era: We’re all landlords now.

9. Peaking Early

“Everyone’s favorite seasons of shows are seasons two and three, because you’ve had a year to get to know them, and then you’re still in the honeymoon period where you go, ‘This is great!’” The Atantic tries to answer that age-old question: Why do so many TV shows peak in season three?

+ Netflix now has a ton of content and more than 50 million subscribers. Of course Netflix has 50 million subscribers. Where else can you get a babysitter for $8.99 a month?

+ Classism, sexism, anti-environmentalism bordering on racism, and more.
Tracy Van Slyke with a few thoughts on Thomas the Tank Engine. And don’t even get her started on Barney…

10. The Bottom of the News

New Yorkers are wondering who put the two white flags atop the Brooklyn Bridge. (You didn’t expect the hipsters to stand and fight, did you?)

+ The Cornish beaches where Lego keeps washing up.

+ Chipotle is now a $20 billion company and analysts say there’s still plenty of room to grow. (Sure, they could start selling real burritos…)

+ Derek Jeter by the numbers. It’s good to be the Captain.

+ And how about a little love for the Internet’s least viral videos.


TIME NextDraft

Why Things We Want Don’t Make Us Happy and Other Fascinating News on the Web

July 21, 2014


1. Happy Trails

Fame. Money. Multiple partners. Sounds good right? Abd Al-Rahman III was an absolute ruler in 10th century Spain, where he had all that and more. And yet, according to his own writings, he wasn’t all that happy: “I have diligently numbered the days of pure and genuine happiness which have fallen to my lot: They amount to 14.” The NYT’s Arthur C. Brooks looks at a series of studies and finds that the things many of us want don’t necessarily lead to happiness. I’d like to sign up to be a participant in one of these studies.

+ The Atlantic argues that polyamorous people handle certain relationship struggles better than monogamous people do. “Bill says watching his wife have sex with another man induces compersion — basking in the joy of a partner’s success.” (I’m pretty happy when my wife gets retweeted.)

2. The Bitter Trail

“What exactly are they trying to hide?” That was one of the questions President Obama asked as the international call for better access to the remains of Malaysian Airlines flight 17 grew louder. Meanwhile, a Russian general suggested that there were Ukrainian fighter jets close to the plane just before it was hit.

+ A deal has been reached with the rebels to hand over the black box, and a train holding the bodies of the victims has finally started to roll. Here are the latest updates on the story.

+ Nate Silver: Should travelers avoid flying airlines that have had crashes in the past?

+ Dutch cyclist Maarten de Jonge made last minute travel changes that kept him off both doomed Malaysian Airlines flights.

3. No Justice, No Cease

As U.S. Secretary of State John F. Kerry and U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon arrive in Cairo to urge a Middle East ceasefire, the death tolls continued to rise. More than 500 Palestinians have been killed, and 25 Israeli soldiers have been slain since the ground offensive began.

+ The Guardian’s Peter Beaumont on the children frozen in fear: “In most wars I have covered, you encounter one of the combatant parties, often both, but in Gaza, where death falls from the sky, those fighting are largely invisible except for the impact of their weapons. The result is that you see a war in Gaza through the prism of the suffering of the victims — a conflict in which those willing to offer an organizing rationale are absent.”

+ New Republic: The explosive, inside story of how John Kerry built an Israel-Palestine peace plan — and watched It crumble.

+ Buzzfeed: Jewish and Arab people are posing together in inspiring photos saying “We refuse to be enemies.”

4. You Can’t Get Off the Canvas

ProPublica has a report on a new kind of browser tracking tool called Canvas. It works sort of like cookies, except you can’t turn it off. Meet the online tracking device that is virtually impossible to block.

5. I’ll Show You Minecraft

“Minecraft is a game about creation, yes. But it is just as much a game about secret knowledge.” Robin Sloan on the secret of Minecraft. Amazingly, nothing about the game seems like a secret to my eight year-old son and his friends. Every party turns into a Minecraft party.

+ Maybe all this video gaming will pay off. The Verge takes you inside the life of a pro gamer.

+ And The Economist shares a chart that details just how lucrative video game prize pools have become.

6. Game Saving

Jon Michaud in The New Yorker: “My grades were mediocre, and my parents were worried about my prospects. I didn’t know it, but I was simply waiting for the right game to come along — a game in which there were no winners or losers. That day finally arrived in the spring of 1979. It is only a slight exaggeration to say that Dungeons & Dragons saved my life.” Most of my 1979 was spent on a beach waiting for Bo Derek to jog by…

7. Face Saving

Facebook has launched a feature that enables users to save links, pages and events for later reading. But the company’s much bigger initiative is the introduction of a buy button. Can Facebook and Twitter move you closer to the transaction without chasing you away from their services?

+ Shakira just became the first the person to reach 100 million Facebook likes. Here’s the WSJ on how she got to be the Queen of Facebook.

8. A Homeric Binge

Along with a new site design, The New Yorker has opened its archives on stories published since 2007. (You can find my stories rejected by The New Yorker since 2007 on my blog.) Longform has a list of their 25 favorite unlocked New Yorker stories.

+ When you’re done reading those stories, you can binge on some episodes of The Simpsons. Well, 552 episodes to be exact. FXX is about to redefine the meaning of a series marathon.

9. One-Way Ticket to Ride

“These two men are laying down their lives in mankind’s most noble goal: the search for truth and understanding.” It’s been 45 years since humans walked on the moon and returned to Earth. Here was the speech prepared to be delivered in the event that the men were stranded on the moon.

10. The Bottom of the News

Carlos Slim, the world’s second richest person, has an idea. He thinks you should only work three days a week. (This works better if you’re not being paid by the hour.)

+ New at Banana Republic: The Startup Guy Collection. In my experience, that just includes undershorts and equity.

+ In 2004, the odds were 500-1 that Rory McIlroy would win the British Open within the next decade. His dad took those odds and made the bet, and won it yesterday.

+ At long last, cake you can spray out of a can.


TIME NextDraft

The Malaysia Airlines Crash and Other Fascinating News on the Web

July 18, 2014


1. Outrage

President Obama called the downing of the Malaysia airlines plane an “outrage of unspeakable proportions.” Early indications suggest the plane was shot down by a missile fired from the area controlled by Russian-backed separatists. Meanwhile, the UN security council called for a “full, thorough and independent international investigation.”

+ Samantha Power, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations: “It is impossible to rule out Russian technical assistance” in the operation of the surface to air missile system.

+ “We have just shot down a plane.” Is this alleged intercepted audio a smoking gun?

+ Putin has now called for a ceasefire. (He’s a little late with that request.)

+ “Vladimir Putin, acting out of resentment and fury toward the West and the leaders in Kiev, has fanned a kind of prolonged political frenzy, both in Russia and among his confederates in Ukraine, that serves his immediate political needs but that he can no longer easily calibrate and control.” David Remnick nails it in a must-read New Yorker piece: After the Crash.

2. The Bitter Trail

There is the geopolitical story which is just beginning to unfold. Then there is the immediate shock of the human tragedy summed up just after the plane’s downing by the NYT’s Sabrina Tavernise: “Headphones and computers were scattered throughout a field of sunflowers. In another field, a Dutch passport lay open. Bodies fell from the sky, looking like rags or clumps of ash.”

+ Joep Lange and many other AIDS researchers were on the plane, enroute to a research conference in Melbourne. BBC on some of the passengers.

+ A family that lost two members on the still-missing Malaysian Airlines flight lost two more on Flight MH17.

3. Weekend Reads

“I was 29 years old and living the dream, or at least my version of it, when everything changed. I was in love with an amazing woman and had a rent-controlled sublet in New York City’s West Village and a good job at a glossy magazine. By any estimation as I now recall my life before it was tossed upside down, my girlfriend and I had no discernible problems.” In Matter, Larry Smith’s My Life with Piper: From Big House to Small Screen.

+ Pitchman: How Tom Emanski changed the sport of baseball — and then disappeared.

+ How long do you have to react when a line drive is hit into the stands? Sometimes, not long enough. From Atlanta Magazine: Foul Territory.

+ Speaking of baseball, if you enjoy the sport, you’ve got to watch the new Netflix documentary: The Battered Bastards of Baseball.

+ As NFL players and staff get ready to report to training camp, check out the story of the building of the new 49ers stadium. It began with a really bad stink.

4. No (Ha)mas

As his military targets tunnels used by Hamas militants, Israel’s prime minister warns that the scope of the ground war could widen.

+ Bill Clinton: “Hamas was perfectly well aware of what would happen if they started raining rockets in Israel. They fired a thousand of them. And they have a strategy designed to force Israel to kill their own civilians so that the rest of the world will condemn them.” Jeffrey Goldberg: Understanding what Hamas wants.

5. Calling All Cars

Law enforcement officials and fellow drivers rightfully cheered when California banned the use of handheld phones by motorists. The law has been in place for six years. So why hasn’t it reduced motor accidents?

6. Pill Drop Shipping

When your fix absolutely, positively has to be there overnight… “US prosecutors have unveiled allegations that FedEx, despite warnings from the government, acted as the distribution network for illegal online pharmacies that sold restricted drugs, from pain-killers to anti-anxiety medicines, to be used recreationally.”

7. Quinoat’s Up With That?

Here’s the thing about fruits and vegetables. They’re (sort of) designed to kill. And that’s the element that’s missing from many supplements. “Fruits and vegetables are indeed healthful but not necessarily because they shield you from oxidative stress. In fact, they may improve health for quite the opposite reason: They stress you.” They definitely seem to stress my kids. From Nautilus: Fruits and vegetables are trying to kill you.

+ Quinoa has risen to the top shelf in your supermarket thanks to the gluten-free movement. But there are more supergrains on their way to a shelf near you. (You can’t say you weren’t warned.)

+ Join Chris Ziegler as he spends a month living on Soylent. (Unfortunately, I’m lab-made liquid nourishment intolerant.)

+ What are we chewing now that we are chewing so much less gum?

8. It’s How You Live

The Espy’s are usually a pretty playful awards show. But this year, ESPN’s Stuart Scott gave a moving and poignant speech about his life with cancer. “When you die, it does not mean that you lose to cancer. You beat cancer by how you live, why you live, and the manner in which you live.”

9. Yo Money

Remember Yo, that sort of goofy notification app that swept the Internet a few memes ago? Well, they just raised $1.5 million to expand the product. Maybe to $Yo.

10. The Bottom of the News

Build a rocket. Shoot some arrows. Swim, ride, throw, camp, and more. It’s the season for Summer Camp for Adults. (When your kids are away at summer camp, and you’re at home, that’s summer camp for adults.)

+ The average shoe size is up about two sizes since the 70s. I wondered why my bell bottoms looked like skinny jeans.

+ It’s been a long news week. Let’s unwind with a kids swearing in movies mashup.


TIME NextDraft

The Parts of the Brain You Use The Most and Other Fascinating News of the Web

July 16, 2014


1. Use Your Brain

“It is estimated most human beings only use 10 percent of the brain’s capacity. Imagine if we could access 100 percent. Interesting things begin to happen.” That’s one of Morgan Freeman’s lines in an upcoming movie called Lucy. This whole 10 percent of the brain thing is a commonly held belief (more commonly held than evolution). But it turns out to be entirely false. As The Atlantic’s Sam McDougle reports, humans already use way more than 10 percent of their brains. (It just seems like they don’t.)

+ Pacific Standard: What if a drug could make it possible to learn any new skill as if we were children? (From what I can tell from my kids, that means learning a new skill by constantly complaining and screaming “I know, I know.”)

2. Fruity Call

Back in 2009, cigarette flavors with exotic fruity flavors were banned because they were (justifiably) believed to be targeted towards kids. Now we’ve entered the age of the E-Cig where your puff of nicotine can come in just about any flavor you can think of. The NYT’s Matt Richtel on this week’s big cigarette merger and the race for exotic vapor flavors.

+ Syndicated from Kottke: Over the past century, adult per capita cigarette consumption in the US rose from nearly nothing in 1900 to a peak of morre than 4000 cigarettes per year in the early 60s and then fell to the current rate of around 1000/yr. Currently, smoking in the US correlates highly with level of education and poverty. Check out this graph on the rise and fall of American smoking.

3. Storming the Beach

“The rocket threat cannot be addressed thoroughly from the air only.” So said Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman who urged a ground war in Gaza where four Palestinian kids were killed by a shell that landed on a beach.

+ The battle between Hamas and Israel is not only about military maneuvers. It’s a cyber and media battle for hearts and minds. I think our hearts and minds are ready for some peace in what seems like the world’s longest running series of bad sequels.

4. Throwing Sanity Under the Bus

“Bus coming in. This is not compassion. This is the abrogation of the rule of law … I was able to actually see some of the children on the buses, and the fear on their faces.” That was Arizona state legislator Adam Kwasman as he warned of a new bus of child immigrants rolling into his town. I’m sure the kids on their way to YMCA camp were wondering what all the protesting was about.

+ Vox: 14 facts that help explain America’s child-migrant crisis.

5. The Acquisition of Thrones

Rupert Murdoch reportedly offered $80 billion to acquire TimeWarner. The deal was rejected and talks have stalled, but Rupert usually doesn’t give up too quickly.

+ TimeWarner has plenty of valuable assets, but HBO might be the one Murdoch wants the most.

+ Interestingly, Rupert’s WSJ’s most popular story of the day is focused on the smartest ways to cut the cord.

+ Rupert’s not the only one who has deals fall apart. As many as two-thirds of Shark Tank’s done deals never actually get funded. There’s nothing left to believe in.

+ Forget all the fancy analysis. The only economic indicator you need to track is CEO F-bombs.

6. Club Med

Meditation isn’t just for relaxing and centering yourself. It’s now apparently a way for hedge fund managers to increase their performance. This is the age of meditation for strivers. In that case, I think I’ll settle for chilling out.

7. Human Achievement

Forty-five years ago, we landed men on the moon. Forty-five years later, Kanye West referred to himself as a genius for coming up with the idea of leather jogging pants, and Buzzfeed began work on its “What Astronaut Are You?” quiz. We never stop achieving. Here are some incredible photos from the moon landing. I’ll let you find the jogging pants on your own.

+ Why did Neil Armstrong get to be the first to step on the moon?

8. Jerking Soda

Like many countries, Mexico is facing a severe obesity crisis. They’re latest effort is to restrict soft drink TV ads during the hours when kids tend to watch. The rest of the world will be watching to see if that works.

+ My wife recently made me switch to almond milk. So this MoJo headline caught my eye: Lay Off the Almond Milk, You Ignorant Hipsters.

+ Make fun of my almond milk all you want. At least I’m not drinking seaweed craft beer. (Although I have tried a keg or two of the gluten-free stuff.)

9. SPF 1980

You are constantly told of the importance of wearing sunscreen. But the FDA seems to be in no hurry to approve new and improved formulas. Your sunscreen is out of date.

+ Looking for a growth business? Try tattoo removal.

10. The Bottom of the News

He feels like the game Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 portrays him as “a kidnapper, murderer and enemy of the state.” So former Panama dictator Manuel Noriega is suing Activision Blizzard for using his name without permission. The Onion should sue Noriega. This story infringes on their turf.

+ What happens to a parody artist when life becomes a parody. We’re about to find out. From Grantland: The Winter of Weird Al.

+ Street art emerges and gets painted over or washed away. But now Google is helping street artists to preserve their work forever.

+ A big crater just opened up in Siberia, in an area already referred to as the end of the Earth.


TIME NextDraft

What Makes The Myers-Briggs Test “Meaningless” and Other Fascinating News on the Web

July 15, 2014


1. With Friends Like These…

I was sharing some witty banter with my good friends George Clooney, Brad Pitt, and Jon Hamm when we started talking about the fact that not only do we tend to look a lot like our close friends, we also resemble each other genetically. According to a recent study, “our friends are as similar to us genetically as you’d expect fourth cousins to be.” My fourth cousin Ryan Gosling will totally get a kick out of that.

+ Don’t trust you genes to pick the right friends? You could take the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, which among other things, can serve as “a powerful framework for building better relationships.” The only problem according to Vox is that the test is totally meaningless.

2. The Undocumentarian

An undocumented immigrant was detained by border patrol officials at McAllen-Miller International Airport today. Ordinarily that wouldn’t be big news. But in this case, it was America’s most well-known undocumented citizen and a loud voice for immigration reform. Journalist and documentarian Juan Antonio Vargas just became the poster-adult for America’s child migrant crisis.

+ Here’s Vargas’ 2011 piece in NYT Magazine: My Life as an Undocumented Immigrant. And you can follow Vargas on Twitter.

3. Lull, Bye

A proposed ceasefire in the Middle East lasted all of four hours before it was rejected by Hamas’ military wing. Following the rejection and the continuation of rocket strikes on Israel (where the first civilian fatality was reported), Israel resumed its attacks.

4. Parental Guidance

A recent study may shed light on a key way parents can reduce their stress. It turns out that mothers who work full time report less stress than those who work part time who report less stress than those who don’t work at all. Surprise: You’re kids are stressing the hell out of you. (Bring them to work and let your boss deal with them.)

5. The Moonies

“Do we believe there is life beyond Earth? I would venture to say that most of my colleagues here today say it is improbable that in the limitless vastness of the universe we humans stand alone.” NASA scientists say they’re closer than ever to finding habitable planets and life beyond our planet. (Good, because we’re getting bored with destroying the Earth.)

+ Slate’s Gregory Benford on how to terraform the moon and make it habitable and a lot like Florida. That’s an idea that can make an entire galaxy cringe.

6. School Deform

“I’m not going to let the state slap them in the face and say they’re failures … I’m going to do everything I can to prevent the why-try spirit.” The New Yorker’s Rachel Aviv on the school that went to great lengths to ‘leave no child behind.’ Lengths that included a razor blade, a lighter, and a copy machine. In an era of high-stakes testing, a struggling school made a shocking choice.

7. Half and Half

“In elections up and down the ballot, each party now relies on voter coalitions that overlap remarkably little with each other in their demography, geography — or priorities.” Ron Brownstein explains why it’s become almost impossible to be the president of the entire United States.

+ They hate political parties, but they like Congress more than the rest of us. They want to cut spending and spend more. They think government is wasteful but want more government. In other words, Millennials’ political views don’t make any sense.

+ Some scientists think our biology determines our politics.

8. Dough Piercer

Want to see the new and critically acclaimed sci-fi movie Snowpiercer? You can go to one of a handful of theaters or you can watch it from your couch. This could be the new model of movie distribution where straight to video is the quickest way to take it straight to the bank.

+ Yahoo tries to get relevant in the streaming video game with a daily series of live concerts. The more the big players compete, the more they’ll be playing our tune.

9. Heavy Mettle

A heavy metal band that gained popularity via YouTube just signed a record deal worth nearly $2 million. And they’re in eighth grade. This is why I always let my kids rock out on their guitars when they’re taking a break from coding a messaging app.

+ Forget practice. You get to Carnegie Hall with talent.

10. The Bottom of the News

Whenever I call customer service, I warn them that the call may be recorded for quality control. Journalist Ryan Block should have done the same as he recorded the already infamous Comcast service call from hell.

+ What makes one design cool and another uncool? Here’s FastCo on the science of cool. And here’s BoingBoing on the history of weird.

+ A brief history of houses built out of spite.

+ And how a church ended up on George Carlin Way.


TIME NextDraft

Foods That Stress You Out and Other Fascinating News on the Web

July 14, 2014


1. You’re Not Human

Sure, you look human on the outside, but that’s just your shell. Inside, the real operation is run by “about 100 trillion bacterial cells. They outnumber human cells 10 to one and account for 99.9 percent of the unique genes in the body.” At the risk of getting too esoteric, these bacteria are the Oompa Loompas in your internal candy factory. And certain modern human behaviors, such as popping antibiotics like Tic Tacs, might be dramatically altering our microbiome. The NYT’s Jane E. Brody explains the problem: “Like ecosystems the world over, the human microbiome is losing its diversity, to the potential detriment of the health of those it inhabits.”

+ Gut Reaction: How what you eat can amp up or tamp down stress.

2. Turn Your Head and Upchuck

How do we know what to believe when it comes to health advice? We used to trust the doctors we visited regularly. Now, a ton of our medical tips come from TV physicians like Dr. Oz. Maybe it’s time to click our heels together and go back to the old way of making health decisions. From Vox: Meet the medical student who wants to bring down Dr. Oz.

+ WaPo: Scholarly journal retracts 60 articles, smashes peer review ring.

3. New Drone Zone

As clashes between Israel and Hamas intensify, Israel has shot down Hamas’ first combat drone. The drone — which experts believe was not armed — was shot down by a patriot missile. Meanwhile, residents are fleeing Gaza as Israel warns of more strikes.

+ Jeffrey Goldberg: What, Exactly, Is Hamas Trying to Prove?

+ “America has the capacity to save its Iraqi friends whose war never ended, before isis or the militias kill them first.” The New Yorker’s George Packer on the Iraqis that America left behind.

4. A Game Theory

“It’s been a formative narrative media for all sorts of writers.” That’s how author Junot Diaz describes Dungeons & Dragons, a game that he says served as “a sort of storytelling apprenticeship.” Did D&D influence an entire generation of writers? (A lot of novels seem like they’ve been more influenced by Donkey Kong.)

5. Waxing Brazilian

Brazil hosted a wild month of soccer, and a World Cup that — with some help from social media — may have officially welcomed Americans to the global party. Will this World Cup also be known for being won by the greatest team ever?

+ “Who doesn’t want to yell ‘Goal!’ five or six seconds before their neighbors?” This was definitely the year that Univision asserted itself in America, The network “dominated its TV rivals in several of America’s largest cities.”

+ From the beginning, the biggest personal question of this World Cup was whether Lionel Messi would finally bring Argentina the cup. Well, Argentinians are still waiting for their Messi-ah, and time may have run out.

+ When can we be sure soccer has arrived in America? When a New York TV station interrupts the end of the game for a weather update, and people go nuts.

6. Making Sense of Life

Nobel prize-winning writer Nadine Gordimer, a consistent voice for a democratic South Africa, has died at the age of 90. Gordimer gave voice to a movement through her fiction and through her personal political efforts. She helped edit Nelson Mandela’s I Am Prepared To Die speech.

+ “What all artists are trying to do is to make sense of life. So you see, I would have found my themes had I been an American or an English writer. They are there if one knows where to look . . . if one is pushed from within.” Here’s Nadine Gordimer’s interview in the Paris Review.

+ “I was part of it.” Watch videos of Gordimer talking about South Africa’s racism.

7. Welcome Back, Squatter

“The borough has become a Valhalla of bars and restaurants and parks and hotels where you can play shuffleboard, cheer a professional basketball team, buy taxidermy, pretend you are in New Orleans or Chiang Mai, enjoy the forgotten muscle memory of flipping through vinyl records, sip good coffee, watch Stephane Wrembel play and frolic in parks … But Brooklyn is still Brooklyn.” Only now, Vinnie Barbarino and Juan Epstein drink lattes and work for a tech startup. In the NYT, Wendell Jamieson looks at Brooklyn,Then and Now.

+ From the SF Gate: Are tech-sector newcomers elbowing out Mill Valley’s funky-arty vibe? Even people from Marin County are complaining about the influx of money. That’s like Brazilians complaining about an influx of people who are really into soccer.

+ How do you know when the housing and economic divide has gotten out of hand? When people are building backyard treehouses that are nicer than your home.

8. The Hitmaker

MoJo introduces you to the company that knows which artists you’ll be listening to six months before you’ve even heard of them. But is the music big because it has elements that can be measured as being potentially popular? Or is the music popular because the big data crunchers tells us it will be?

9. LeBron’s Got the Brains

“If you think of him like a genius, it makes more sense. He’s smarter about basketball than you and me, and, really, anyone else. He sees things that we can’t see. During that last Miami season, I don’t think he liked what he saw from his teammates. LeBron James wanted to come back to Cleveland, but he also wanted to flee Miami. His heart told him to leave, but so did his brain. And his brain works like very few brains — not just now, but ever.” Grantland’s Bill Simmons: God Loves Cleveland.

+ CityLab: Why people still move to unhappy places.

10. The Bottom of the News

Airbus has filed a patent to make flying even more uncomfortable. Imagine taking a long flight while sitting on a bicycle seat. If I see pedals, I’m out of there.

+ Maria Konnikova: What we really taste when we drink wine. (I usually taste drunkenness potentiality.)

+ Finally, in words and pictures, you get to follow the journey of a lobster from a trap to a table. (Spoiler alert: This doesn’t end well.)

+ Wolfgang’s Vault recently put 13,000 live performances on YouTube. Rock on.


TIME NextDraft

The Populations Priced Out of The Market and Other Fascinating News on the Web

July 11, 2014


1. There Goes the Neighborhood

You can think of it as a new form of segregation. Except in this case, we’re not just segregating by streets or neighborhoods. Huge swaths of the population are being priced out of the market across entire cities. The wage differential between those with college degrees and those without them is increasing. As WaPo’s Emily Badger explains: “This effectively means that college graduates in America aren’t simply gaining access to higher wages. They’re gaining access to high-cost cities like New York or San Francisco that offer so much more than good jobs: more restaurants, better schools, less crime, even cleaner air.”

+ “Last December, my partner Rebecca and I bought a rowhouse with another couple. Our wedding was this May. Next month, we’re expecting a baby — the other couple’s baby.” In The Atlantic, Ari Weisbard why he and his partner — faced with the increasing cost of city living — decided to buy a house with their friends, share their space and their lives, and all make a family together. (That sounds like the opening of a horror movie.)

+ “Property costs have dropped to the point that barriers to ownership — to a sort of mogulhood, even — are absurdly low.” Has Detroit hit rock bottom? Many investors think it has. Can this once great American city make a comeback? Welcome to the post-post-apocalyptic Detroit.

+ And welcome to the the post-post-apocalyptic Cleveland. LeBron James has clicked his high tops together three times and decided that there really is no place like home. “In Northeast Ohio, nothing is given. Everything is earned. You work for what you have. I’m ready to accept the challenge. I’m coming home.”

+ And no story on Cleveland would be complete without these two video clips: How do you feel about Cleveland, from Tootsie, and Hello Cleveland from This is Spinal Tap.

2. On the Road

“Of the 40 young people I interviewed, nine — seven boys and two girls — told me they were captured by the Zetas cartel in Mexico on their way to the United States. Rape is so common that many migrant girls get birth-control injections before they leave home.” Politico’s Susan Terrio interviews the children of America’s border disaster.

+ Drop the disease rhetoric. The Central American kids arriving in Texas are likely to be better-vaccinated than children in Texas.

+ Slate’s Josh Keating: “The Americas overtook Africa as the region with the world’s most murders this year, and Honduras now vastly leads the world.” The U.S. can’t just fence itself off from the crisis.

3. Weekend Reads

“Six years earlier, working as a functionary for a transportation company, Mr. Chen had read a story about the bridge in the paper, about bodies raining to their end. Soon after, he quietly took his post at the South Tower.” From GQ’s Michael Paterniti: The Suicide Catcher.

+ A.M. Radio. The Banksy of Second Life.

+ “We do need tools to buy and sell drugs online, to gamble online, to transfer money to Iranians and North Koreans, to enable kids to run business on the Internet to manage resources collectively.” From Wired: Inside Dark Wallet.

+ BloombergBusinessweek: America’s vanishing bowling alleys.

4. Back in the Groove

Streaming is dominating. Even downloading music feels like a nostalgic act. But the album is not dead yet. In one corner of the industry, the tables are turning: Sales of vinyl are spinning up the charts.

5. Waxing Brazilian

Here’s some good news for those who have hated every minute of the World Cup obsession: It’s almost over.

+ The final game comes down to the Man vs the Machine. And here are five things to know about the Germany vs Argentina.

+ SB Nation: Ron Vlaar’s huge missed PK for the Netherlands almost rolled back in. Wow.

+ Apparently, soccer players reach their peak at the age of 27. (Sadly, the same is probably true for newsletter writers.)

6. Swiss Chard Drive

Having a Swiss bank account isn’t as attractive as it used to be. But now Switzerland is becoming known as a place to hide something that could be even more valuable than money. Data.

7. Drone Home

Amazon has officially asked the FAA for permission to fly drones “as part of its plan to deliver packages to customers in 30 minutes or less.” And you thought/hoped they were joking.

8. Birds-Eye View

Speaking of drones, there is already a drone photography contest. Here are the winning shots.

+ And from the riding of Le Tour to the running of the bulls, InFocus has an excellent collection of the photos of the week.

9. Don’t Bogart That Brand

Venice OG. Cadillac Purple. King Kush. Chocolope. One thing we’ve learned about legal and medical marijuana is that you need a catchy name to really move some product. There are hundreds to choose from. You just have to play the medical marijuana name game.

+ WaPo: Marijuana demand in Colorado may be nearly a third higher than previously estimated. (I know it’s hard to predict the future, but seriously, who could possibly have estimated on the low end?)

+ With legal pot sales spreading like a weed, have the unions finally found their growth industry? (Relax. You don’t need a union worker. “My old man is a television repairman, he’s got this ultimate set of tools. I can fix it.”)

10. The Bottom of the News

Everyone in business likes to talk about going after the lowest hanging fruit. So Pacific Standard’s decided to go in search of the world’s actual lowest hanging fruit. (This reminds me of joke my great-Uncle Mordy used to tell in the steam room.)

+ The ten most effective editing moments of all time.

+ If you were born between ’93 and ’97, you may have just received a letter from the Selective Service ordering you to register for the draft or face a fine and imprisonment. Thankfully, it was for the years between 1893 and 1897.

+ Will time-lapse iPhone photography put and end to the Selfie craze? Or will you just sit still in one place for a really long time?


TIME NextDraft

The Emmy Nominations and Other Fascinating News on the Web

July 10, 2014


1. Hamm-let

Maybe this year’s Emmy statues should be made out of Valyrian steel. Game of Thrones dominated the Emmy nominations and is joined in the best drama category by the likes of Breaking Bad, True Detective and Mad Men. From the Yellow King to the Red Wedding, this is an epic era in television awesomeness.

+ Here’s the complete list of nominations, the reactions of the nominees, and a look at the nominations by the numbers (HBO won again with 99 noms).

+ Jon Hamm was nominated again this year. So the question is: Who will beat him?
Hamm has ten Emmy nominations and zero wins. Of course, as I like to remind people each year, Two and a Half Men has nine trophies and The Wire has none.

+ Emmy noms and snubs we’re sad about.

+ It seems like every network is trying to get in on the demand for quality television. But can Cinemax move to the high-end when we all associate it with the rear-end?

+ Take a look at this short video showing the visual effects created for Game of Thrones.

+ And the bigger Game of Thrones gets, the more people ask George R.R. Martin when the next book is coming out, and the more dire his related threats become.

2. Penalty Kick

Germany has kicked a top U.S. spy out of the country and relations between the countries continue to be strained.

+ Everybody spies on everybody. Including you. From Vox, here are 13 ways the NSA spies on us.

3. Caught in the Middle (East)

The rocket attacks and death toll continue to rise in the Middle East. As The Atlantic’s Jeff Moskowitz explains, young people are at the center of this conflict. “Perhaps the most dangerous outcome is that many on both sides could go their entire lives without saying a word to one another.”

+ The Economist: From two wrongs, ruin.

+ Around the world, there are fewer wars, but still a lot less peace. And it’s costing all of us, in many ways.

4. The Shirt Hits the Fan

“American Apparel has 249 stores in 20 countries; last year sales were $633 million … Its factory workers make an average of $12 an hour, generous by industry standards.” That’s all good. But then there’s the wild ride of the company’s founder (who was recently stripped of his CEO title), Dov Charney. Here’s BloomberBusinessweek’s Suan Berfield on The Fall of the Sleaze King.

5. Waxing Brazilian

We now know who is in World Cup final (Argentina and Germany). And we also know who won the World Cup. Adidas.

+ InFocus has another great collection of World Cup photos.

+ Roughly translated by SB Nation, here’s how Argentina’s Javier Mascherano described his game-saving stop: “I do not want to be rude … I tore the anus that play.”

+ As the World Cup winds down, the Tour de France is warming up. To understand the race, you have to understand the unofficial rules.

6. Money Shots

When Facebook shelled out $1 billion for Instagram, it seemed like a high price. In retrospect, it may have been one of the best buys in recent memory. Fortune’s Jessi Hempel provides and excellent snapshot of just how huge the service is, and just how much pressure is on its founders to figure out a way to turn a hyper-engaged user base into some real money.

+ The Verge: Can Snapchat make money without losing its cool? (If we can’t figure out a way to make money off of people taking half-naked selfies, the Internet is doomed.)

+ Does our current investment bubble extend beyond potato salad? Kevin Roose on the non-existent social network with no revenues that’s worth $4 billion.

7. Being There

Apparently, one of the reasons you’re so stressed out is because you’re being bombarded with bad news. (Don’t blame me, I led with the Emmys.) In a recent study, “researchers questioned more than 4,500 people across the country about their reaction to last year’s Boston Marathon bombing. The study found that ‘people who exposed themselves to six or more hours of media daily actually reported more acute stress symptoms than did people who were directly exposed — meaning they were at the site of the bombings.’”

8. Tenth Aisle Freeze Out

We’re getting more into healthy eating. And that hasn’t been very good news for the frozen-food industry. (Translation: Don’t be surprised to see Kale Pops in the frozen food aisle … and I’m not kidding.)

9. Baby’s Got Brand

“Making six-second videos with my baby started out as fun. Then came the followers, the money, and the fame.” Slate’s Nick Confalone: Confessions of a Vine Dad.

+ Back when I still had some control over my kids’ burgeoning personal brands, I did everything I could to exploit them for my personal gain. But, it was just my luck; my kids refused to go viral.

10. The Bottom of the News

Ever find yourself reflecting on a co-worker who has worked their way up the corporate ranks with seemingly litte talent and wondered, “How do they do it?” It could be that they know how to use the dark triad of personality traits: manipulativeness, narcissism, and antisocial behavior. (Those seem to be the same things that work in dating.)

+ Can you identify these 90s hits by listening to just one second of music?

+ How do you rate your Uber driver when he essentially kidnaps you?

+ I just took my kids to see Raiders of the Lost Ark for the first time. With that in mind, here are 53 fascinating facts about Indiana Jones you probably never knew.


TIME NextDraft

The Americans Who Ditched Landlines and Other Fascinating News on the Web

July 9, 2014


1. You’re OK, I’m IPO

“Techies tend to have strong feelings about immigration barriers (they’re against them), universal health care (for that), and environmentalism (a big deal). In their minds, there’s no industry more closely aligned with the quirky culture of San Francisco — so why now, after decades in the region, are they being attacked as interlopers from the wrong side of the ideological divide? The difference appears to be less one of substance than of style.” The Bay Area led the tech revolution. Are the apparent cracks in our culture a harbinger of things to come in other cities as well? The New Yorker’s Nathan Heller shares a letter from San Francisco: California Screaming.

+ We need to figure this out because the technology boom is just warming up. Today’s tech geniuses are just the beginners. The disintermediators will be disintermediated. Consider the rise of mobile. 128 million Americans no longer have a landline.

2. It’s Mourning in the Middle East

Hamas rockets are reaching deeper into Israel as Israel looks for more high-value targets to bomb in Gaza. And a ground invasion is now being considered.

+ InFocus shares a series of photographs that provide a visual backdrop to the growing tensions.

+ What happens when Israeli mourners visit a Palestinian family?

+ Is the Yo App being used to alert Israelis about rocket attacks?

3. Like to Be Watched?

In The Intercept, Glenn Greenwald and Murtaza Hussain share the latest Snowden data dump and it’s a doozy. “The National Security Agency and FBI have covertly monitored the emails of prominent Muslim-Americans — including a political candidate and several civil rights activists, academics, and lawyers — under secretive procedures intended to target terrorists and foreign spies.”

+ Surveillance tactics made possible by technological advances are both used and abused. The question we face is where to draw the line. The NY Daily News takes a look at the NYPD’s modern arsenal: Big Brother — With a Badge.

4. Waxing Brazilian

Before yesterday, Brazil hadn’t lost a competitive soccer game at home since 1975. They still haven’t. There was no competition in Germany’s 7-1 historic drubbing of the home team. It was quick (three of Germany’s seven goals were scored in a 76-second stretch). It was the most talked about game in Twitter history. It was enough to make anyone cover his eyes. And, it may have been Mick Jagger’s fault.

+ It was bad, but was it bad enough to actually change the nation of Brazil?

+ Here are 17 extremely sad Brazilian newspaper covers.

+ Amazingly, Brazil’s soccer team only had the second worst sports experience of the week. Chicago author of How to Survive the Bulls of Pamplona was gored during the running of the bulls. Of course, he plans to run again next year.

5. You Can’t Hide it Any Longer

I don’t want your money. I’m not asking you to invest in my startup or even to back my potato salad recipe. I just want you to help me achieve a goooooal. It takes a lot of time to read the Internet and this is a one dude operation. I don’t charge anything. I don’t sell anything. (Come to think of it, my business model sucks.) The only way I can grow this sucker is with your help. So come on and take one lousy minute and do me these two small favors.

1. Email this link to your two smartest (or dumbest) friends and tell them to sign up.


+ Share NextDraft on Facebook (you can add your own witty headline…)

6. Opening Pandemic’s Box

In an old storage room in a research center near Washington, a scientist opened a cardboard box and found several “decades-old vials of smallpox packed away and forgotten.”

7. Immigrant Song Doesn’t Remain the Same

The debate over immigration hasn’t changed much over the past few decades. But immigration has. FiveThirtyEight takes a look at some of the actual numbers.

+ Vox:14 facts that help explain America’s child-migrant crisis.

8. Such a Good Little Oy

Are we praising our kids to the point that they become entitled little monsters? Aeon’s Carlin Flora explains that the science isn’t nearly so simple. As an experiment, I spent one day praising my kids and one day criticizing them. They didn’t look up from their iPads on either day.

9. More Trix Up Their Sleeve

In the last few years, cereal has lost some of its grip on your breakfast table. But General Mills is not giving up. BloombergBusinessweek on the plans for a breakfast cereal revival. (Let me guess: Cinnamon Toast Crunchier…)

+ Here’s a chart showing who makes what at your grocery store.

10. The Bottom of the News

President Obama spent the day in Denver where he found himself shaking hands with someone wearing a horse head. Then things got a little weird.

+ Dubai’s plans for a 48-million square foot indoor city. (Suggested name: The Ass-trodome.)

+ Two dozen people offer you their best advice on how to invest a single dollar.

+ Let’s take a first-person trip down the world’s tallest waterslide. (For those who were rooting for Brazil yesterday, this will feel redundant.)


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