Monday, November 18th, 2013


The Slump

Between 1947 and 1974, American workers brought home most of the wealth they produced. Some businesses upheld the goal of making sure their employees made a enough money to afford the products they were making. Then suddenly, those values vanished faster than a Snapchat selfie. In American Prospect, Harold Meyerson describes the forty-year slump that followed that era: "The middle has fallen out of the American economy -- precipitously since 2008, but it's been falling out slowly and cumulatively for the past 40 years. Far from a statistical oddity, 1974 marked an epochal turn. The age of economic security ended. The age of anxiety began."

+ It's bad time to be a worker, but it's a good time to be an investor. The Dow briefly broke 16000 for the first time.



Several leading cardiologists are questioning new guidelines (and an online "calculator") that could lead to millions of additional people mistakenly believing that they should be on statin drugs. From a past president of the American College of Cardiology: "It's stunning. We need a pause to further evaluate this approach before it is implemented on a widespread basis."

+ The WSJ's Laura Landro on the biggest mistakes doctors make: Misdiagnoses.

+ Health care apps that doctors use.


Driving Miss Lazy

"A chime sounds, pleasant yet insistent, then a warning appears on his dashboard screen: 'In one mile, prepare to resume manual control.'" The New Yorker's Burkhard Bilger takes us for a ride in Google's self-driving car. Car crashes kill more than 1.2 million people per year. Self-driven cars may seem scary, but human-driven cars are scary.

+ A study commissioned by the FAA found that many pilots have difficulty manually flying planes.


Block and Shackle

I used to run a small, custom search engine. And trust me, there are few things that provide a more disturbing glimpse into the depths of human depravity than a perusal of recent search queries. With a push from the British government, Google and Microsoft have come up with better ways to block images related to the abuse of children.

+ Here's more from Google Chairman Eric Schmidt: "While society will never wholly eliminate such depravity, we should do everything in our power to protect children from harm." Google has more than 200 people currently working on the problem.


I Can Feel It In My Gut

Can you feel it in your gut? Researchers are taking a closer look at the connection between your gut and your brain. Could probiotics be a new treatment for psychiatric symptoms? If the answer is yes (and even if it isn't), we might soon see yogurt marketed as the new Prozac.


The Untwerker

"She is the No. 1 digital singles artist of all time. Since 2006, she has placed 43 songs in the Top 40 of Billboard's Hot 100 pop chart as the lead performer, more than any other artist in that period. She's had 31 Top 40 country singles, including thirteen No. 1's." Jody Rosen on why Taylor Swift is the biggest pop star in the world.


Homophobic for the Holidays?

It's not even officially the holiday season yet, but that's not stopping the Cheney family from having a very public feud -- and one that could have an impact on an election -- over gay marriage.


The Screenplayer

If you've ever tried to write a screenplay (and let's face it, that's what we were all doing before we started trying to launch a new photo-sharing app), you've undoubtedly read a book by screenwriting guru Syd Field (one is known as the bible of screenwriting). Field died at the age of 77, but his impact will continue for years to come.

+ In The Atlantic, Andrew Simmons explains how Facebook has transformed his students' writing -- for the better (sort of).


He Shoots, He Scores

On Sunday, playing in a Division III basketball game, Jack Taylor dropped in a cool 109 points (including 53 points during one nine minute stretch). That's not bad. But last year he scored 138 points in a game. (Ball hog...)

+ Here's one photo that pretty clearly explains why having really long hair hanging out of your NFL football helmet is not a great idea.


The Bottom of the News

Time's Jessica Roy on Auto Sensory Meridian Responses: "The Internet Gives Me ‘Brain Orgasms' and Maybe You Can Get Them Too." She's obviously a NextDraft reader.

+ "We picked movies for our employee favorites shelves more carefully than we picked our majors." The Awl's Erik Bryan on what Blockbuster meant.

+ Berkeley may move to ban smoking in single-family homes.

+ Why not cook your next dinner in a coffee maker?

+ And yes, at long last, I've thrown my hat into the ring and uploaded my first official Internet cat video: Introducing Meowdini.