Thursday, April 10th, 2014


Punching Le Clock

Reminder: NextDraft will be on Spring Break through next week.

As a newsletter writer, I get a lot of out of office replies. But I never really believe them. While people might be out of a physical building, no one I know is ever really away from their work these days. But that's apparently not the case in France where employees are officially expected to be away from their work emails after 6pm. And the rule applies to smart phones too. Under a recent deal signed by French unions and the tech industry, "about 1 million workers will be required to switch off their work phones outside office hours." Ceci n'est pas une emploi...

+ France is not alone. Germany recently banned managers from calling or emailing staff after normal work hours, unless it's an emergency. "Managers should apply a principle of minimum intervention into workers' free time and keep the number of people whose spare time is disrupted as low as possible."

+ But don't worry. America is changing its overworking ways. A cafe in Vermont saw an increase in sales after they cut off WiFi and banned laptops. (Of course, the sales only increased because people made room for more customers by quickly satisfying their caffeine addiction and then running out to the sidewalk to tweet about it.)


School of Hard Knocks

There's something new popping up on college campuses around the country: Food banks. "Food insecurity ... is increasingly on the radar of administrators, who report seeing more hungry students, especially at schools that enroll a high percentage of youths who are from low-income families or are the first generation to attend college."

+ Quartz: These charts explain what's behind America's soaring college costs.

+ You don't have to wait until your kid goes to college to start spending the big bucks. In 31 states, day care costs more than college.


Weekend Reads

"Either, as Charlie says, he loved her so much that he had been willing to burn up a county because he thought it would make her happy. Or, as Tonya grew to believe, he loved her too much to let her be free while he went to prison alone." Some like it hot. Like arson hot. From WaPo: Love and Fire.

+ New Yorker: "He was the most vexing kind of workaholic, the ascetic kind: hard-edged and self-punishing. Through most of his productive years, he seems to have subsisted largely on Diet Rite cola, matzoh, and prunes." Cesar Chavez, Hunger Artist.

+ "If soldiers felt nothing about taking the life of another human being, that would be indicative of sociopathy." Aeon: When soldiers kill in war, the secret shame and guilt they bring back home can destroy them.

+ The Year of the Pigskin: My hilarious, heartbreaking, triumphant season with the American Football League of China.

+ "She was our neighborhood bag lady, but she looked more like a retired headmistress, or a librarian exiled from her bookish hideaway." She was also one of the most accomplished street photographers of her generation.


The New Math

"We identified 10 people, including Groves, who were beaten, burned, suffocated, or shot to death in 2013 and whose cases were reclassified as death investigations, downgraded to more minor crimes, or even closed as noncriminal incidents—all for illogical or, at best, unclear reasons." Chicago Magazine tries to get to the truth about the city's seemingly miraculous drop in crime rates. This is about as close to another season of The Wire as we're gonna get.

+ The scary things you learn from 23 years of Oakland police records.


You Are Full of It

"Recent studies show that our physical level of hunger, in fact, does not correlate strongly with how much hunger we say that we feel or how much food we go on to consume." As Maria Konnikova reports, a lot of things can make you hungry -- a song, a book, a smell, even a study. "Being genuinely hungry, on the other hand -- in the sense of physiologically needing food -- matters little." In other news, Tater Tots.


Colbert So Good

Only a couple days after David Letterman announced his retirement plans, CBS has announced that Stephen Colbert will take over his time slot. The Hollywood Reporter's Tim Goodman says he's the perfect person for the job. This is really pretty interesting. When he hosts the new show, Colbert will be Colbert the person and not Colbert the character that's been cultivated over the years. CBS basically hired an unknown.

+ Jon Stewart: "He's got gears he hasn't even shown people yet. He would be remarkable.

+ Meanwhile, Rush Limbaugh chimed in saying that, with the hire, CBS "has declared war on the heartland." Maybe it's time for Rush to give up the character Rush.


Did Jesus Put a Ring On It?

Recently, researchers introduced a piece of Egyptian papyrus in which there was a reference to Jesus' wife. It was immediately written off as a modern fake. But new tests have shown no evidence of forgery. I can see the wedding invitation: Save the Date (and your soul)...


Who Let the Kids Out?

Here's a strange correlation. It seems that the fewer babies Americans give birth to, the more small dogs they buy. (And people tend to have fewer children once they realize they want to keep the iPad to themselves.)

+ As of 2012, the name Khaleesi is more popular than the name Betsy.


One Eye Open

"So should we care about who gives the performance? Probably. But we rationalize away the flaws of the performer because we don't want to let go of the way he transports us outside of and beside ourselves." GQ's Andrew Corsello enters the moral universe of the artist (and the viewer). Is it OK to hate the sinner but still judge the damn movie for yourself?


The Bottom of the News

For the latest cover of Rolling Stone, Julia Louis-Dreyfus took off her clothes and had the Constitution Photoshopped to her back. A little lower, we see John Hancock's signature. Unfortunately, he signed the Declaration of Independence. It's now almost impossible to differentiate between Dreyfus and a real Veep.

+ At least five percent of American Samoa has pink eye. Islands are the new cruise ships.

+ Buzzfeed: 2,321 words for drunk, ranked.