What a Total Load…

You've got the Tweets. The Facebook updates. The breaking news notifications vibrating in your pocket. The overstuffed inbox. The text messages. The conversations with Siri and Alexa. Real news. Fake news. All of it coming at you day and night in a never-ending stream that moves so fast that it becomes a screaming blur that makes you want to bang your head against a brick wall until the lost consciousness finally silences the machine and provides you with some degree of sanctuary from the madness. With this in mind, it seems clear that Americans are suffering from information overload, right? Well, according to the latest Pew numbers, only twenty percent of us feel overloaded by the glut of information we encounter on a continual basis. And that surprisingly low number is actually down pretty dramatically from a decade ago. (Maybe people are so overloaded with information that they didn't understand the survey questions...)


Check the Scoreboard

In the end, there's really only one number that matters. For the first time in decades, that number has dropped. Vox looks at the factors behind America's drop in life expectancy.


After the Fire

"Former residents and witnesses described the warehouse as a dangerous environment full of jerry-rigged creations by artists who paid $500 to $1,500 a month to live there. There was a hodgepodge of makeshift electrical hookups and exposed wires, witnesses said." The Ghost Ship -- the scene of Oakland's horrific fire that killed 36 people -- hadn't been inspected in three decades.

+ The NYT has several reporters sharing their reporting in realtime: The Oakland Fire: Delving Into What Happened, and Why.


Image is Everything

The rise of Trump and the nonstop election coverage made it feel like 2016 was a year with only one story. InFocus takes a look back at a pretty remarkable year in photos. It's broken up into three sections: January to April, May to August, and September to December. (For the last three weeks of December, you can just imagine photos of Trump Tweeting.)


Generalized Anxiety

"Chuck Jones, who is President of United Steelworkers 1999, has done a terrible job representing workers. No wonder companies flee country! ... If United Steelworkers 1999 was any good, they would have kept those jobs in Indiana. Spend more time working-less time talking. Reduce dues." In an exchange that was surreal even by 2016 standards, the president-elect slammed the president of the local chapter of the United Steelworkers union that represents Carrier employees in Indianapolis. From WaPo: The Art of Punching Down.

+ Fast food exec Andy Puzder is Trump's likely pick for Labor Secretary.

+ One thing a lot of the Trump cabinet picks have in common. They're generals.

+ What's the public's perception of Trump so far? Surprise ... we're split.

+ Mark Burnett is working on the Inauguration.


Higher Calling

"It's been a long day, but it has been very interesting." That was John Glenn after landing in the Atlantic following his feat of becoming the first American to orbit the Earth. Glenn, who also served as a Senator from Ohio for 24 years, has died at the age of 95.


Heart(beat) of Darkness

Many people have voiced concern that the Trump/Pence era will mean new and more extreme limitations on a woman's right to choose. That battle has been taking place for years at the state level. In the latest example, the Ohio legislature has passed a 'heartbeat bill' to ban most abortions.

+ BBC: Modern Family star Sofia Vergara is being, in effect, sued by two frozen embryos she conceived with the partner she split from.


Bot Feeders

You know the feeling. You go to the ticket site a few minutes before those Beyonce tickets are set to be released at 10am. You refresh and refresh, over and over, until finally, the moment has arrived and you've got the ticket page up at the exact right moment. You select your seat preferences and check for tickets. But you're foiled, because the event is sold out. It's 10:01. What happened? The bots happened. But thankfully, some new new bot-blocking legislation could make it easier to score tickets to popular events. (If I'm ever seated next to one of these bots at a concert, I'm gonna totally let them have it.)


Game Off

"Their voices got louder. She doesn't remember exactly what made him reach for the glass on his bedside table. He threw it with such force that it spun across the room and shattered against his closet door, carving a two-inch gash in the white painted wood. Tiny shards glinted on the striped rug." The specific descriptions in this story are extreme. But for many parents, the more general effects of videogames (and screen use in general) will be all too familiar. From WaPo's Caitlin Gibson: Video games are more addictive than ever. This is what happens when kids can't turn them off.

+ I wrote about the more common form of this affliction a few years ago: "Anyone who's been within a thousand miles of one can tell you… There is no tantrum like a Put-Down-the-iPad Tantrum."

+ Outline: The pressure is on for extreme athletes to be constantly producing content, and it's getting some of them killed.


Bottom of the News

Popular Science has put together its annual list of the 100 greatest innovations of the year -- which, in total, makes a pretty decent holiday gift list.

+ It's currently legal to have sex with animals in 9 states. Ohio is looking to remove itself from that list. (At this point, I'm even against playfull flirting.)

+ There are now eight humans who will call Mick Jagger Dad. That guy's got some stones.

+ The 2016 Hater's Guide To The Williams-Sonoma Catalog.