The House of the Future and Other Fascinating News on the Web

6 minute read

1. There’s No Place Like Home

Since we are encountering the inauspicious combination of a full moon and a Friday the 13th, it seems fitting that we lead today’s edition with Mat Honan’s ominous look at the house of the future in Wired’s: The Nightmare on Connected Home Street. “I know this sounds weird, but I actually brew coffee with a real kettle. The automatic coffee machine is offline. I had to pull its plug because it was DDOSing a gaming server in Singapore.” Comedian Steven Wright foreshadowed the connected home more than a decade ago with this joke: “In my house there’s this light switch that doesn’t do anything. Every so often I would flick it on and off just to check. Yesterday, I got a call from a woman in Germany. She said, ‘Cut it out.'”

+ Comcast is planning to turn the router in your house into a publicly available hotspot. (And although they can’t yet tell you why, you can get a monthly discount on your broadband bill if you wrap your largest child in foil.)

+ “On a bright April morning in Menlo Park, California, I became an Internet spy.” Ars Technica tests Internet surveillance by spying on an NPR reporter.

+ Sidenote: This particular Friday the 13th should only be of real concern to those who suffer from both paraskevidekatriaphobia and selenophobia.

2. The Lid is Off

According to the NYT, “Iraq’s top Shiite cleric exhorted all able-bodied Iraqis to take up arms Friday to combat the marauding Sunni extremist militants who have seized broad stretches of the country.” Meanwhile, President Obama wants a political plan from Iraqis before he commits to helping: “We’re not going to allow ourselves to be dragged back into a situation in which, while we’re there, we’re keeping a lid on things.”

+ Obama has already indicated there will be no American ground troops, but he has told the military to prepare a range of other options.

+ Vox: 11 facts that explain the escalating crisis.

+ NPR: Four things to know about the Islamist surge in Iraq.

+ Buzzfeed: Everything you need to know about the deadly extremist group ravaging Iraq and Syria.

3. Weekend Reads

“But here are two things you need to know about life after an arm amputation: First, your center of gravity changes dramatically when you are suddenly eight pounds lighter on one side of your body. Second, while my arm may be missing physically, it is there, just as it always has been, in my mind’s eye. I can feel every digit. I can even feel the watch that was always strapped to my left wrist.” Miles O’Brien on life after losing his left arm.

+ Mike Hessman has hit more than 400 home runs in his career. But you haven’t heard of him. Why? He’s hit them all in the minor leagues. Howard Megdal on a life of baseball.

+ Unsettled by the reality that the cops can’t help them, Oakland residents are hiring private patrols. Crime is down. But is the cure worse than the disease?

+ The Longform Guide to the World Cup. This is an excellent collection of reads, and you don’t have to be into soccer/football to get a kick out of them.

4. It Gets Way Better

If you’re in junior high and you’re sick of seeing all the fun that’s being had by the cool kids (from romance to minor shoplifting charges), all you have to do is wait. According to researchers, by the time these kids hit their twenties, they will be viewed as less socially competent by their peers. So while you may never actually be cool yourself, you can at least look forward to reveling in the Schadenfreude.

5. Waxing Brazilian

You want to ignore The World Cup? It’s no use. Just give in. The event is already bigger than the Oscars on Facebook and Twitter, and we’re only a day in.

+ Why do Americans call it soccer when the rest of the world calls it Football? Don’t blame the NFL. Blame England.

+ Want to know what can go wrong at the World Cup? Then ask the insurance underwriter.

+ Twelve things that the US does worse than soccer.

+ 10 demands made by World Cup teams.

6. The Juice

If you’re too young to have experienced it, it would be impossible to explain the massiveness of the O.J. Simpson trial. It was streaming video, social media, and realty television all rolled into one never-ending loop. The LA Times looks back at the case with a series of articles, twenty years later.

+ Need more proof that a twenty year-old case in many ways led to everything we now experience in terms of media and pop culture? Consider this: Following the “alleged” murders, O.J. fled to the Kardashian home.

+ Five facts about O.J. Simpson’s slow-speed chase.

7. Down to the Waterline

After decades of searching, scientists say they’ve found evidence of an underground vast reservoir that holds enough water to fill the Earth’s oceans three times over. I can’t believe the scientists found it before the surfers.

8. Unconscious Coupling

“Having a conversation sitting next to their spouse was, to their bodies, like facing off with a saber-toothed tiger.” The Atlantic’s Emily Esfahani Smith goes in search of what makes a lasting relationship and finds that it largely comes down to kindness and generosity (which in today’s nomenclature translates into Likes and Retweets.)

+ Please take a fraction of a second and show your everlasting love (or at least like) by Liking NextDraft on Facebook.

+ Advice from 617 years of marriage.

9. Wearing the Pants

A new ad campaign from Dockers takes aim at the scourge of Dad Pants. But as WaPo’s Robin Givhan argues, “the company is suggesting that it can save men from the very blight it was instrumental in creating.”

+ MentalFloss: Why did we invent pants? (In college, that was one of my favorite pick-up lines.)

10. The Bottom of the News

“But I’ll tell you the most believable thing about this whole series is the idea that Piper only got 15 months for running dope money … Because she’s white, rich, and blonde.” An ex-con reviews Orange Is the New Black.

+ “With a case of Busch beer by her side, a menthol cigarette in her hand, and a disco ball flashing overhead Miriam Burbank attended her last party.” Everyone wonders what it would be like to attend your own funeral. Miriam Burbank sort of did.

+ Is Tom Cruise still a movie star?

+ What’s the point of even having a mayor if he can’t keep Trump’s name out of the skyline?

+ Let’s go back in time and watch Louis C.K. doing some standup in 1987.

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