Tuesday, June 3rd, 2014


The Handwriting on the Wall

Publishing will be sporadic for the remainder of the week. Among other things, my daughter is graduating from pre-school (and the after-party could get crazy).

Immune to my insistence that my poor penmanship would never matter, Mrs. Mitchell, my third grade teacher, used to make me spend my afternoons in her classroom where I was required to raise my level of legibility. When the world went digital and writing shifted to keyboards and touchscreens, I felt I had the last laugh. But is there a chance that handwriting -- the act, if not the quality -- actually does matter? As Maria Konnikova writes in the NYT: "New evidence suggests that the links between handwriting and broader educational development run deep."


The Barista Revolution

In a move that should delight baristas, umbrella salespeople, and grunge band roadies, the Seattle City Council voted to increase the minimum wage to $15 over the next seven years. From that point on, the minimum wage will be tied to the Consumer Price Index.

+ The new wage regulations could end up in the courtroom as franchise owners feel they are being unfairly targeted.

+ Some government workers in Gothenburg, Sweden are even happier than the folks in Seattle. This summer, they will become guinea pigs in an experiment to measure the productivity levels associated with the six-hour workday -- with full pay.

+ Will the shorter workdays mean more stress? Penn State researchers found that both men and women were more stressed out at home than at work.


The Cool War

At the outset of his latest European trip, President Obama announced $1 billion to fund additional US military rotations to Europe.

+ What do you do if Putin and Obama are both in town on the same night? You host two separate state dinners.


The Way of the Banana

Over the past year and a half, Chiquita has spent nearly $780,000 lobbying against the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act (JASTA), "a bill conceived of and supported by a group of 9/11 victims and families to aid their claims against actors who supported the terrorist attacks." It's a story about Colombian militias, the impact of money on politics, and the interconnectedness of everything from terrorism to the fruit salad you ate for lunch.


Caste Away

"Building a toilet in my home won't bring my daughter back. It's too late. The police and government never cared to give us security and decency so we could use the bathroom, and now my daughter is dead." Bloomberg's Andrew MacAskill and Kartikay Mehrotra explain how a toilet shortage is connected to the rape and hanging of two young girls in India.

+ NPR: Double rape, lynching in india exposes caste fault lines.


Doctor Feelgood

Alexander Shulgin has died at the age of 88. He was an organic chemist at Harvard, a professor, and while at Dow Chemical Company, he created the world's first biodegradable pesticide. But he will forever be much better known as the Godfather of Ecstasy. One hopes he died happy.


There She Blows…

According to a new study, hurricanes with female names kill more people because Americans are less fearful of storms named after women: "The stereotypes that underlie these judgments are subtle and not necessarily hostile toward women -- they may involve viewing women as warmer and less aggressive than men." Then again, maybe this study blows... (If your first name is Hurricane, I don't even care what your last name is.)


This Ain’t 40

Chile's Matías Anguita celebrated his 40th birthday by running forty marathons in forty days. "I've always thought that people are made to run ... I hang on to that premise so that my body doesn't resent me for running so much." (I don't know about his body, but my body definitely resents him.)

+ Anguita's antics are kid stuff for Harriette Thompson. She just set a new record in the marathon. And she's 91.


This is How I Caxirola

As the World Cup approaches, many of us are having horrific flashbacks of the never-ending drone of the despised Vuvuzela. Well, courtesy of MoJo, meet the World Cup's newest noisemaker: A rattlelike instrument called the caxirola. Supposedly these noisemakers will not be allowed in the stadiums.


The Bottom of the News

I've known about this app for a long time, but I've had to hold it in until now. Goodby, Silverstein & Partners has come up with an app to get kids to think more about the nutritional content of the foods in the grocery store. How could that be possible? Well, here's a hint: The app is called Fart Code.

+ What do you do if you just sold your headphone company to Apple? You buy the Tom Brady-Gisele Bundchen estate for $40 million.

+ Cat people are smarter than dog people. (In case that wasn't self-evident every time you saw a dog person walking around with a plastic bag on their hand.)

+ Related: Redesigning the fire hydrant.

+ Mental Floss: 25 things hiding in sports logos.

+ (New feature - Let me know if you like it.) Popular from yesterday's NextDraft: Why you hate work, ignoring co-workers, the Valley vs Hollywood -- Working 9 to Forever.