Tuesday, November 12th, 2013


Sunday, Sunday, Sunday

Note: NextDraft delivery could be a bit sporadic this week.

Amazon is putting Sundays back in business. Thanks to a new deal with the e-commerce giant, for the first time in a century, the U.S. Postal Service will be making Sunday deliveries. Atlantic's Megan Garber looks back at the history of Sunday mail delivery. And on the seventh day, he rested (and waited for his Amazon prime delivery).

+ Think Americans are the only ones praying at the church of online consumerism. Think again. During China's annual 11-11 shopping event, Alibaba's payment service logged $5.7 billion in sales.


The Sopranos

"Puberty is always momentous, awkward and bittersweet, but perhaps nowhere more so than here." Puberty is hitting boys earlier. This is especially evident in the legendary Leipzig boys choir where its getting harder to find qualified sopranos. According to Michael Fuchs, the voice doctor of the choir, "Now we have the possibility of a young boy sounding like Joe Cocker."


Laughing Last

Steve Ballmer has one hell of a retirement plan. Since he left Microsoft, the company's stock has risen to its highest level in well over a decade. And Ballmer is worth $1.7 billion more than when he quit. Microsoft should rehire Ballmer and let him quit again. It's a win win.

+ The flubbed launch of Apple Maps was a debacle in large part because Apple so rarely botches launches these days. But according to ComScore numbers, people have gotten used to Apple Maps and their usage is eating into the market leader: How Google lost when everyone thought it had won.


Typhoon Relief

"The rest of the world needs to get mobilized, the rest of the donor community. A week from now will be too late." Marine Corps Brig. Gen. Paul Kennedy wants warships for typhoon relief in the Philippines. And he wants them now.

+ Aid has been pledged by more than 30 countries. But getting that aid to those in need has been difficult (or even impossible) in some of the hardest hit areas.

+ In Slate, an experienced humanitarian aid worker offers this advice to people who want to help: Please don't send your old shoes to the Philippines.

+ As usual, nothing tells these stories like photos. Here's a collection of them from In Focus.


Pain Pillers

In the decade leading up to 2010, sales of pain killers like Vicodin, Percocet, and OxyContin quadrupled in the United States -- where five percent of the world's population is consuming ninety-nine percent of the the narcotic found in Vicodin. The New Yorker's Celine Gounder asks a fair question: "How did doctors, who pledge to do no harm, let the use of prescription narcotics get so out of hand?"


The Art of Selling Out

Back in the day, a rock band (especially indie rockers) would have been lambasted for allowing a song to be used in a commercial. Times have changed. These days, fans seem happy when a band they like (or a newsletter writer they like) figures out a way to make a few bucks. From Buzzfeed's Jessica Hopper: How selling out saved indie rock.


Tweeting on a Curve

"We would have wondered about the judgment of someone who spends their time on their mobile phone and makes such awful remarks." That's Bowdoin's dean of admissions describing the Tweets published by a prospective student. A lot of admissions officers admit that they are visiting applicants' Facebook and Twitter feeds. On the plus side, maybe a lot of retweets can help a borderline applicant make the cut.

+ From The Atlantic: How getting into college became such a long, frenzied, competitive process. Someone should do a similar article on getting into preschool.

+ Are teens ditching Facebook for the slightly more private communication platforms offered by messenger apps? I can't imagine my kids will want to join any social network where I'm a member (and with any luck, they won't want to read my old tweets).


You Like-a Da Juice?

It's gotta be the juice is the new It's gotta be the shoes. People (a lot of people) are heading to the grocery store and picking up a bottle of green juice that can run them more than ten bucks. The WSJ says that carrying a bottle of vegetable juice has become a status symbol. (I guess I'm old school. I still prefer carrying around a bushel of kale.)

+ "Some time ago, I visited a place where seemingly protective microbes occurred spontaneously. It wasn't a spotless laboratory in some university somewhere. It was a manure-spattered cowshed in Indiana's Amish country." Moises Velasquez-Manoff searches for a cause, and maybe a cure, for the allergy epidemic.

+ Is your food allergy real? Food marketers don't care.


Gates Opens Up

"I am a little obsessed with fertilizer." In Wired, Bill Gates shares his plan to improve our world, and gives you some tips on how you can help.


The Bottom of the News

They gathered in a room and made their decision. And now they've spoken. One World Trade Center has been been named America's tallest building. And Chicago is pissed.

+ Now One World Trade Center just needs some more tenants.

+ Other things you can stick into your phone's audio jack.

+ There's finally a religion class for college students who worship Bruce Springsteen. Come on and raise your hand...