Black is the New Black

Black is the New Black

I didn’t spend a lot of NextDraft pixels linking to the endless and breathless coverage of the George Zimmerman trial. But now that it’s over, it worth taking a look at what the trial represents, and why the result was anything but a surprise. The New Yorker’s Jelani Cobb does a great job summarizing how the familiarity dulled the sharp edges of the tragedy: “The most damning element here is not that George Zimmerman was found not guilty: it’s the bitter knowledge that Trayvon Martin was found guilty … Trayvon Martin’s death is an American tragedy, but it will mainly be understood as an African-American one. That it occurred in a country that elected and reelected a black President doesn’t diminish the despair this verdict inspires, it intensifies it. The fact that such a thing can happen at a moment of unparalleled political empowerment tells us that events like these are a hard, unchanging element of our landscape.”

+ “Ask any black man, up to and including President Obama, and he will tell you at least a few stories that sound eerily like what happened that rainy winter night in Sanford, Fla.” The NYT editorial board on Trayvon Martin’s legacy.

+ The verdict led to several protests around the country. Here’s a collection of photos from the NYC Trayvon march.

+ The Atlantic Wire on the next three trials of George Zimmerman (and why he might win all three).

+ “Twenty years for a warning shot against a known abuser versus no time at all for killing an unarmed teenager leaves you scratching your head and wondering if justice is not just blind but also insane.” Slate’s Craig Pittman on justice, Florida style.

+ David Simon, creator of The Wire, on Trayvon: “You can stand your ground if you’re white, and you can use a gun to do it. But if you stand your ground with your fists and you’re black, you’re dead.”


The Next Big Thing: A Door

Over the past decade, we’ve watched and clicked as online stores rose and offline brands struggled to adapt to the digital era. But it’s not quite time to write the obituary for terrestrials stores. According to The Economist: “Last year online sales of shop-based American retailers grew by 29%; those of online-only merchants grew by just 21%.” The Emporium Strikes Back.

+ Someone slipped a cookie into my pocket in aisle four. One way offline stores are fighting back is by borrowing ideas from the online world where retailers have a whole lot more data about your every move. Attention, Shoppers. Store is Tracking Your Cell.


You, Meet You

“Video game violence research shows that if you put someone in a virtual scene that’s nasty and violent, they behave more aggressively in the physical world. What we need to do is to think about the wonderful things we can do in these virtual worlds that can make the world a better place.” From the PBS Newshour, here’s a really interesting report on how virtual reality games can impact society and encourage prosperity. Games can definitely have an impact. I developed most of my social skills playing Asteroids.


Malala Speaks

“I dont want revenge on the Taliban, I want education for sons and daughters of the Taliban … The extremists are afraid of books and pens. The power of education frightens them … Let us pick up our books and pens. They are our most powerful weapons.” On Friday, Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani teenager who was shot by Taliban extremists, celebrated her 16th birthday by giving an amazing speech at the UN.


Totally Writeous

It may not come as much of shock that writing about a traumatic event can help speed emotional healing. But new research suggests that writing can also help speed the rate at which one’s body heals physical wounds. Finally, my English degree is giving me a tangible advantage.


Take New Jersey and the Points

It’s a case that could quickly change sports-betting laws nationwide. New Jersey wants sports wagering to be legal. The folks who run the most prominent sports leagues in America are fighting the state, arguing that such sports wagering would threaten the integrity of their games. Meanwhile, millions of sports fans will continue to bet on the games, and if given the chance, on the legal proceedings as well.

+ Forget becoming a professional athlete. Now you can become a professional fantasy sports player.



Sharknado did good numbers on TV, and great numbers on social media. And everyone seems to be talking about the producers of the movie. GQ takes you behind the scenes with Asylum. “How many people are watching our movies because they like them, and how many because they are laughing at them?” And how many are just out for some retweets?

+ What are the movies that audiences loved but the critics hated?

+ Jon Negroni on his theory that all of the Pixar movies are connected.

+ You can limit their screen time and take the televisions out of their bedrooms. But in the end, kids’ television watching habits mirror those of their parents. I really have to stop getting drunk and watching The Backyardigans.


Thinking Outside the Bag

MoJo has the details on the truth about bagged lettuce. Even if it’s not good for you, who has time to actually slice a head of lettuce?

+ “At least 70 percent of the food we eat each year passes through or is entirely dependent on the cold chain for its journey from farm to fork, including foods that, on the surface, seem unlikely candidates for refrigeration.” Alexis Madrigal takes us on a journey into our food system’s refrigerated-warehouse archipelago.

+ Is this the summer of ice cream men behaving badly?


A Good Buyline

Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith ranked about 166,000th on Amazon’s book sales charts. That was until people realized that Robert Galbraith is actually J.K. Rowling.


The Bottom of the News

Emily Kraus was on her way to see a Dave Matthews concert when she came across a guy on the side of the road who had a flat tire on his bike and no cell phone. The guy just happened to be Dave Matthews. Luckily, he wasn’t singing Crash Into Me.

+ Eleven things that are banned in other countries but legal in the U.S. (including mullets).

+ Carly Rae Jepson’s epic first pitch.

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