Wednesday, April 9th, 2014


A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Insecurity

NextDraft will be on Spring Break starting Friday. (Whenever my kids are off from school, they refuse to proofread my stuff.)

You know that little locked padlock next the address of the site you're visiting? Apparently, it's intended to be ironic. Researchers say that about two-thirds of all the servers on the Internet are running security software that has a key flaw -- a bug called Heartbleed -- that could expose your data. Here's GigaOm's Mathew Ingram with everything you need to know about the Heartbleed web security flaw.

+ James Fallows shares the five things you need to do about the Heartbleed bug.

+ WSJ: "The bug exploits a problem in certain versions of OpenSSL, a free set of encryption tools used by much of the Internet. OpenSSL is managed by four core European programmers, only one of whom counts it as his full-time job."

+ How did Heartbleed become the first security bug with a cool logo?


Rock the Vote

Following Afghanistan's elections, "the leading candidate to replace Hamid Karzai is Ashraf Ghani, a former World Bank technocrat who has a Ph.D. in cultural anthropology from Columbia University, a Lebanese Christian wife." He's even done a TED Talk. But the big news out of Afghanistan isn't just the the election results, it's the turnout and the security. Even with the threat of Taliban violence, 58% of eligible voters turned out, and security seemed to hold.


School Stabbings

A student brandishing two knives is in custody after injuring twenty people at a Pennsylvania high school. He was eventually tackled and restrained by an assistant principal.

+ One of victims of the attack took a selfie from the hospital. The Internet is making a big deal out of that for some reason.

+ "The accident was that I discharged my firearm because I believed an intruder was coming to attack me... The discharge was accidental. Before thinking, out of fear, I had fired four shots." Things get heated as Oscar Pistorius takes the stand.


I Lost Myself

From NPR on our forgotten childhoods, and why memories fade. "Scientists have known about childhood amnesia for more than a century. But it's only in the past decade that they have begun to figure out when childhood memories start to fade, which early memories are most likely to survive, and how we create a complete autobiography without direct memories of our earliest years." And while we're on the topic, why do we mostly remember the bad stuff?

+ Narratively: My Childhood in an Apocalyptic Cult.


The Deep

Searchers have detected more signals that could be connected to Flight 370. Here's the joint Agency Coordination Center chief: "What we've got is a great lead. I'm now optimistic we will find the aircraft, or what's left of the aircraft, in the not too distant future -- but we haven't found it yet, because this is a very challenging business."

+ How challenging? To get an idea of just how deep the aircraft could be, take a look at this amazing graphic from WaPo: The Depth of the Problem.


Font Rushmore

"They were famous before they got together, so that's how they're not like the Beatles. It's more like Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young ... You know what -- I'll tell you what they were like. They were like Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt." From BloombergBusinessweek: Inside the Design World's $20 Million Divorce. (I just hope the Dear John letter wasn't written in Comic Sans...)


Rejection Letters

"Kids see that the admit rates are brutal and dropping, and it looks more like a crapshoot. So they send more apps, which forces the colleges to lower their admit rates, which spurs the kids next year to send even more apps." This year, elite colleges turned away up to 95% of applicants. And it's getting harder to distinguish between the credentials of those who got in and those who didn't.

+ "You could take Mad Men: Media, Gender, Historiography, with me, and make your friends wonder exactly how you got your parents to pay for you to binge a show on Netflix." What exactly do you get when you take a college course on Mad Men? Professor Anne Helen Petersen shares her syllabus.


Me, Myselfie, and I

They say that opposites attract. They're wrong. FiveThirtyEight's Emma Pierson studied one million matches at an online dating site and determined that, in the end, people may really just want to date themselves. (It's always nice when big data confirms what you've known since you were about eleven)

+ The same part of your brain that screws up your love life also makes you think you can win money at casinos.



Oy, I have such a deal to tell you about. Just in time for Passover, a private equity firm has acquired Manischewitz. For their sake, I hope they celebrated with someone else's wine.


The Bottom of the News

"As it was coupled with the bicycle emoji, I think this was the closest she's ever come to clicking through to my profile, divorcing Jay-Z, and giving this 17-year-old man from Missouri a chance." From McSweeney's: This is the Instagram comment that will finally ignite my relationship with Beyonce. (I think it's fair to assume that Jay and Bey are NextDraft subscribers.)

+ From ICEE through the present, at long last, here is the history of the Slurpee.

+ InFocus has some great shots from Smithsonian Magazine's Photo Contest.

+ A message in a bottle arrives after 101 years. That's a long time to wait for a retweet.