Reminder: My kids are on Spring Break. So nothing (including daily delivery) is assured this week....
"Oh gosh. I haven't actually done the count yet. But somewhere probably around 70 or 80." That's Steven Pete estimating how many of his bones he's broken during his life. He can't be sure, because much of the time he doesn't notice. Steven Pete doesn't feel pain. "Have you ever been out in the bitter, bitter cold, where your feet were ice? Almost frostbite? Then you warm them up and it burns? That burning sensation: That is what it feels like all the time." That's Pam Costa on what it's like to live life of constant pain. As you might imagine, scientists are extremely interested in Steven and Pam. And a genetic link between the two could help researchers figure out how to lessen the impact of chronic pain. "Such a drug would not merely dull inflammation the way ibuprofen does or alter our neurochemistry the way opioids do: It would block the transmission of pain signals from cell to cell without ruinous side effects on the brain or body." From Erika Hayasaki in Wired: How a single gene could become a volume knob for human suffering.
"'I would like citizens to be able to use this to form intelligent opinions. People can disagree about what to do -- I'm not going to tell people what to do.' But, he said, people ought to base their opinions 'on common data sets that are believable.'" Only in today's America could that idea sound revolutionary. How does Steve Ballmer hope to enable it? He just released a massive trove of data that will make it easier for Americans to know exactly what government does with their money. The NYT's Andrew Ross Sorkin on Steve Ballmer's big project. Even the few examples in this article will surprise you...
"If we don't hold a general election now, their political game-playing will continue and the negotiations with the European Union will reach their most difficult stage in the run-up to the next general election." In a surprise move, Theresa May has called for snap British elections in June to strengthen her negotiating position when it comes to Brexit.
+ CNN: UK snap election: What does it mean?
"Since July, some forty thousand people have been detained, including a hundred and fifty journalists. A hundred thousand government employees have been fired, and a hundred and seventy-nine television stations, newspapers, and other media outlets have been closed. Many opposition leaders are in jail. That's not an environment conducive to asking a populace what it wants." The New Yorker's Dexter Filkins: Turkey's Vote Makes Erdoğan Effectively A Dictator.
+ The State Dept offered an alternate perspective, but President Trump called to congratulate Erdoğan. Why? Maybe because Erdoğan regularly says nice things about Trump?
+ "Everybody has been outplayed, they've all been outplayed by this gentleman. And we'll see what happens. But I just don't telegraph my moves." Trump may not telegraph his moves, but he sort of telegraphed that he doesn't know that Kim Jong-Un and Kim Jong-Il are different people.
+ Wait, was the US 'armada' actually sailing away from Korea?
+ Ivanka got a bunch of Chinese trademarks on the same day as the Chinese president was having dinner at Mar-a-Lago.
"King and Smith, who are thirty-two and thirty-one, respectively, had grown up watching Saturday Night Live sketches in which a sweaty, frantic Chris Farley character ranted, 'I am thirty-five years old, I am divorced, and I live in a van down by the river!' But, the way Huntington described it, living in a vehicle sounded not pathetic but romantic. 'I remember coming home and telling my mom, ‘I have something to tell you,' King said. 'She thought I was going to say we were getting married or having a baby. But I said, 'We're going to live in a van.'" The New Yorker's Rachel Monroe with everything you need to know about the emergence of a new lifestyle brand: Vanlife, The Bohemian Social-Media Movement. (Back in the day, we used to call this lifestyle brand 'being broke.')
Tonight, political eyes will be turned towards Georgia where "a 30-year-old former congressional aide and documentary producer" named John Ossoff will try to win a special election that could serve as a bellwether for the impact Trump is having on downticket races.
+ How important is this election? Let's measure it this way: Four tweets and counting.
+ All politics is local. But the money coming into Georgia's 6th district is anything but. From the Center for Public Integrity: Georgia special election: one local penny for every $10 in national cash
"While the company is talking a lot about cameras, it would be a mistake to look at what it is rolling out as a mere photography tool. Yes, there are cool picture effects. But what Facebook is really trying to do is to fully insert itself in the real world. Facebook's augmented reality camera effects are an early attempt to let the digital infiltrate the physical, a way for the company to become the conduit between everything you see in the world around you, and all the information that exists, via your smartphone." At Facebook's big event, Zuck presents the future of Facebook. Using your phone's camera to merge Facebook into your real life.
+ Recode: Mark Zuckerberg, in his own words, on why AR is Facebook's next big platform bet: "You want to play a board game? You snap your fingers, and here's the board game. You want to watch TV? You don't need a physical hardware TV, you buy a one-dollar app 'TV' and put it on the wall." (You want to go back to living your life without social networks? Bwahahaha!!!)
"We were also surprised to learn that virtually all CEO candidates had made material mistakes in the past, and 45% of them had had at least one major career blowup that ended a job or was extremely costly to the business. Yet more than 78% of that subgroup of candidates ultimately won the top job. In addition, we found that educational pedigree (or lack thereof) in no way correlated to performance." The Harvard Business Review on What Sets Successful CEOs Apart. (Or, how bad grades and a terrible track record are signs you're on the path to greatness.)
"They all pointed back to the same source: an April 12 story in the Mississippi Herald. Some referred to the Herald as a newspaper, but there's no print publication by that name." Buzzfeed on how a false story about a husband and wife being twins ended up on major news websites. (Romance is dead...)
So here I am in the Dark Horse Cafe in Truckee hammering out another daily edition during my kids' Spring Break... And it occurs to me that there's just no way in hell we're gonna let a couple little outlets like the Washington Post and Buzzfeed stop NextDraft from winning the People's Choice Webby for Best Newsletter. We're down to the last couple days: Let them feel our power.
+ Enter Sandman: Netflix subscribers have watched 500 million hours worth of Adam Sandler movies
+ In photos: Scenes from Coachella.