Are you having trouble sleeping? Perhaps it's because your pillowcase is dumb. Or maybe your nighttime wearables are not properly tracking your sleep patterns. Well, here's a bedtime story to help lull you into a gentle slumber: Technology created a problem, and now technology is here to solve that problem with ... wait for it ... more technology. Stat hit CES to report on one of this year's hottest device sectors: Sleep tech. I know, this all seems like a bad dream. But it can't be, because all these devices are keeping you wide awake.
After a completely incredible standoff with US intelligence officials, Donald Trump was briefed on the Russian hacks. After the briefing, he released a statement calling the meeting "constructive" but insisted "there was absolutely no effect on the outcome of the election." Earlier in the day, Trump called the investigation into Russian hacking, "a political witch hunt." (It isn't.)
+ Now it's time for your briefing. You can read the report here. "We assess Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered an influence campaign in 2016 aimed at the US presidential election. Russia's goals were to undermine public faith in the US democratic process, denigrate Secretary Clinton, and harm her electability and potential presidency. We further assess Putin and the Russian Government developed a clear preference for President-elect Trump."
+ In related news, Wikileaks complained about a leak. The irony hour is upon us.
+ Congress is looking to fund and start building the wall within a few months.
+ In other presidential news of the day, Arnold Schwarzenegger Fired Back at Donald Trump's ‘Apprentice' Ratings Tweet.
What to Inhale: In a clear example of interviewer typecasting, I will be chatting with the creators (and star) of HBO's High Maintenance as part of the City Arts and Lectures series at San Francisco's Nourse Theater. If you're in or around the Bay Area, grab some tickets and join us on February 18. (If you don't want to risk getting a contact high, I suggest sitting in the balcony.)
+ What to Doc: I've mentioned this documentary before, but just in case you haven't seen it yet, now is the perfect time to watch Zero Days, an absolutely riveting documentary on the Stuxnet virus and the rise of modern-day cyber warfare.
+ What to Hear: Marc Maron interviews Bruce Springsteen.
+ What to Worry About: "We're going back to the kind of dangers we had during the Cold War," Perry said. "I really thought in 1990, 1991, 1992, that we left those behind us. We're starting to re-invent them. We and the Russians and others don't understand that what we're doing is re-creating those dangers—or maybe they don't remember the dangers." From Politico Magazine: Bill Perry Is Terrified About Nukes. Why Aren't You?
+ What to Read: "When a creature mysteriously turns up dead in Alaska -- be it a sea otter, polar bear, or humpback whale—veterinary pathologist Kathy Burek gets the call." From Outside: The Detective of Northern Oddities.
+ What to Wear: For a few more days, the NextDraft Read Real News t-shirt is back on sale. Get it now. They look awesome in person.
"There's an easy answer, which is that they're stupid." That's one possible answer to the question: "Why would four suspects in Chicago broadcast the torture of a man on Facebook Live?" As we move into our new, always on and always broadcasting society, it's worth getting a better understanding of what motivates people to want to livestream themselves committing crimes. From The Atlantic: The Desire to Live-Stream Violence.
"We know it's going to be a tough fight. The forces of fear and misinformation will pull out all the stops, both in Texas and nationally. You can mark today as the day that Texas is drawing a line in the sand and saying no. Is that a speech about defending the Alamo? Nope. It's Texas lieutenant governor Dan Patrick announcing his plans to duplicate North Carolina's controversial bathroom law. And he's not alone. Bathroom bills are currently being planned in eight states.
"One of the bigger issues is cognitive distraction. It's not what your hands are doing; it's what your brain is doing." The NYT on California's tough new laws to crack down on distracted driving (and why some experts worried they aren't enough.)
+ At least one robotics expert predicts that kids born this year will never drive a car themselves anyway.
"A new cycle of nominations at all levels is about to begin, and some may want to know what the meat grinder is like from the point of view of the piece of meat." From Doug Wilson in WaPo: My three maddening, futile years inside the broken Senate confirmation process.
"Don't be fooled: Artificial sweeteners are not helping you lose weight or stay fit. In some cases, they may be even worse for you than real sugar." This is one of the few times that I actually hope I'm linking to fake news. I have a massive sugar-free popsicle habit. I've been working on getting it down to a hundred or fewer a month.
"Your time is valuable and my patience has already been tested, so I'll get right to the point. I want my new f#cking MacBook Air." Driven to the brink, I felt compelled to write an open letter to Apple, a company I love.
+ "Shared an article about fatalities in Syria accompanied by the comment 'So many feels.'" From The New Yorker: A Selection Of The 30 Most Disappointing Under 30. (Damn good.)
+ Was 2016 especially dangerous for celebrities? An empirical analysis.