September 9th – The Day’s Most Fascinating News

This Time It’s Personal

Uneasy lies the head that wears a digital crown. In a scene that would make product announcements in Dave Eggers’ The Circle seem understated (giant screens, cheering crowds, near-religious fervor), Apple once again drew the entire Internet’s attention to its latest tech release. You’ve got the bigger iPhone. You’ve got a new wireless, online/offline payment system. And you’ve got the much-anticipated Apple Watch (with a digital crown scroll-wheel) that Tim Cook described as “the most personal product we’ve ever created.” You can track fitness, share a drawing, check the latest Tweets, pick a movie on Apple TV, or, if you really want to, you can “even share something as personal as a heartbeat.” This is the just a hint of our wearable digital future. It will feature technical advances. It will show off remarkable design achievements. And it will mean never being offline again. The Verge has a quick overview of Apple’s 15 most important announcements. (At the end of the event, U2 performed. That seemed backwards. Technology is the new rock star. U2 should have opened for the watch.)


The Rice Capades

The entire media world is attacking Ray Rice and investigative journalists want to know what the NFL saw and when they saw it. That’s all fine. But it should never have mattered. The initial video that was leaked months ago made it clear that Rice knocked his then-fiancee unconscious. What did the NFL think that was going to look like? From The New Yorker’s Amy Davidson: What the Ray Rice video really shows. And from The Atlantic’s Ta-Nehisi Coates: The Ray Rice video is not a revelation.

+ Nike has canceled its contract with Ray Rice. Apparently the first video of him simply dragging an unconscious woman from an elevator wasn’t enough. Rice has also been removed from Madden NFL 15. You can erase one guy. But you can’t erase the bigger story.

+ As they often do, The Onion sums up the hypocrisy.

+ Janay Rice speaks out and criticizes the media.

+ Olga Khazan: “Most women will experience physical abuse at some point in their lives, and most assaults of adult women occur at the hands of an intimate partner. But once it happens, the options for most women are few–and bad.”


Off Camera

It’s critical that we move beyond the incidents we see in viral videos and address the broader issues surfaced by the Ray Rice discussion. From Vox: 8 facts about violence against women everyone should know.

+ “The moment a man enlists in the United States armed forces, his chances of being sexually assaulted increase by a factor of ten.” From GQ: Son, Men Don’t Get Raped.


Poll Position

The terror (and media) campaign waged by ISIS has managed to change public opinion. When President Obama speaks about his planned next steps on Wednesday night, he will be talking to a nation that now supports strikes in Iraq and Syria.

+ NPR: Four things to know about Obama’s Islamic State strategy.

+ Twitter employees were threatened by an ISIS-affiliated group.


Bird, Bird, Bird. Absurd is the Word.

We’ve been hearing a lot about the dangers of climate change, so we’re at least slowing down the rate at which we release CO2 into the environment, right? Wrong. Greenhouse gas levels are rising at the fastest rate since 1984.

+ More than half of U.S. bird species are threatened by climate change. At this rate, human tweets may be around longer than bird tweets.

+ If we all adopt the USDA dietary guidelines, we’ll actually create more greenhouse gases. That’s why you should be eating more junk food.

+ Don’t blame Californians! They buy 40% of the cars in the plug-in market.


The Weirdo Economy

“Weird people oppose the norm, though not just for the sake of standing out. Rather, they are trying to see something or to achieve a larger goal, and they know that following a normal path won’t get them there.” In BloombergBusinessweek, Martin Davidson argues that corporations aren’t recruiting enough weirdos. Interesting. Here in the tech-focused Bay Area, you don’t hire the weirdos. The weirdos hire you.

+ Will your internship lead to a job? It depends on your industry. Here’s The Economist on Generation i.


Childproof Cap and Trade

You’re not supposed to throw or flush away unused prescription medications. And much of it ends up in he hands of kids and teens. So the DEA has approved a plan to allow you to return unused pills to your pharmacy. I’m a middle-aged Jewish hypochondriac. I’m gonna need to rent a U-Haul.

+ When it comes to vitamins, you might want to save your time and not buy them at all.


Between the Spreadsheets

“A flawed, messy, human thing that we probably could’ve intuited, but now, thanks to the data, we know. In the age of Big Data, the empirical has deciphered the intimate. And Rudder’s the one holding the cipher.” FiveThirtyEight on the guy who has the numbers to explain romance: Matchmaker, Matchmaker, Make Me A Spreadsheet. I still remember when romance was as easy as Pi.

+ People are questioning the validity of newlyweds, ages 96 and 95.


Baby Hold Onto Me

Slate’s Tom Vanderbilt on the history — and psychology — of hold music: Your call is important to us.


The Bottom of the News

“I wonder: What is the exact nature of the work that is turning her into a sleep-deprived teen zombie so many mornings? I decide to do my daughter’s homework for one typical week.” To celebrate the return of school, we return to Karl Taro Greenfeld’s: My Daughter’s Homework Is Killing Me. (My third grade son finished an entire week’s worth of homework last night … so we have the rest of the week to talk about the iWatch.)

+ Some folks reported that they didn’t receive yesterday’s NextDraft. Just in case, here it is.

+ Skin, glass, and plastic. Consider those ingredients before ordering your next beer.

+ 1,750 fans are injured by foul balls each year.

+ Finally, the battle to be the world’s largest ball of twine.

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