Wednesday, September 24th, 2014


I Don’t

Note: NextDraft will not be published on Thursday in observance of Rosh Hashanah.

There's never been a tougher time to be in the matchmaking business. According to the latest numbers from Pew, a record number of Americans have never been married. The reasons behind the dramatic shift since the 1960s include: People marrying later, economic trends, changing demographic patterns, and shifting attitudes about marriage. About the only group surveyed that shows less interest in marriage than never-married adults are adults who have been previously married. And what are those who plan on getting married looking for in a spouse? Similar ideas about raising children, a steady job, same moral and religious beliefs, and at least as much education. (I'd forget all those details and just make sure your spouse uses the same mobile operating system.)


What God Condones

President Obama made the case for striking ISIS during an address at the UN: "No God condones this terror. No grievance justifies these actions. There can be no reasoning -- no negotiation -- with this brand of evil. The only language understood by killers like this is the language of force. So the United States of America will work with a broad coalition to dismantle this network of death."

+ WaPo's David Ignatius: The administration has "focused on five main lines of operation against the Islamic State: direct military action, counterterrorism operations against foreign fighters, disruption of financing, humanitarian assistance, and media activities to 'de­legitimize' the extremists."

+ The most memorable address at the UN this week may have been a young mother's poem about her vanishing country.


A New Mars Bar

The orbiter launched by India ten months and 420 million ago is called Mangalyaan (Hindi for Mars Craft) and is currently orbiting around Mars. And the entire mission cost less than was spent to make the movie Gravity. (Just wait until they launch Mangalyaan 2 starring Sandra Bullock.)


Archie Bunker Buster

We all have biases and prejudices. But is it possible to change those feelings, even temporarily? Researchers and psychologists are working with law enforcement in an attempt to do just that. The notion that a person could be "de-biased" began with an experiment in which researchers "found they could temporarily reduce people's prejudices by showing them pictures of black icons like Martin Luther King Jr. in conjunction with infamous white villains like Jeffrey Dahmer." The Boston Globe's Leon Neyfakh on The Bias Fighters.

+ This Fall, we'll see a selection of new TV series featuring families of color. That might seem like a new thing. But ten years before The Cosby Show, network television featured shows like Sanford and Son, Good Times and The Jeffersons. Here's NPR on the pre-Huxtable golden age of the Black family sitcom.

+ Quartz: We haven't entered a new era of Black TV: How is it that in the 'Age of Obama,' there is even less black programming on TV? (It's really pretty amazing when you think about it.)


I’m In Your Head

"I used a program called TeenSafe, which is meant for parents to monitor their children's phones and internet activity. I could see all of her text messages from the last few months, all of her deleted texts, her browser history, bookmarks, contact list, her call logs, and her GPS location. Yes, it was all a little creepy." (What's really creepy is that there's a demand for this kind of software.) From Buzzfeed: Here's what I learned using teen-monitoring software on a sorority girl's phone for two weeks.

+ FastCo: Will brain-to-brain instant messaging eventually replace phones? (My phone is usually in my front pocket, so I doubt my brain will be the first of my body parts to learn to send messages.)

+ NY Mayor Bill de Blasio vows to end cellphone ban in schools. The only students who can't sneak phones into schools are those forced to pass through metal detectors. They face enough inequality as it is.


Sooth Decay

It seems every study on every topic related to health comes up with the same basic results. Exercise is good. So it's refreshing to find one that found the opposite. "Over all, the more hours that an athlete spent working out, the more likely he or she was to have cavities." That's why I follow a simple oral hygiene routine: Brush, floss, and sit on my ass.


(Almost) No Man is an Island

"For thousands of years, Lanai was ruled by the god of nightmares. No humans lived there until, according to Hawaiian legend, a teenage chief from Maui was banished to the island for bad behavior. The chief killed the nightmare god and routed his army of spirits. Then he lit a fire. People on Maui, eight miles to the east, saw the fire. It was a signal -- an all-clear. They got in their canoes and came over." And then a few years later, Larry showed up. From the NYT Magazine: Larry Ellison bought an island in Hawaii. Now what? (My first guess would be the apocalypse.)


Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner?

When Anthony Bourdain's hour-long food and travel show first launched on CNN, it marked the network's step away from 24 hours news and towards more entertainment programming. But maybe Bourdain is just the reporter we need these days when most of what we see of other cultures is satellite images or shots of rubble. "I'm not a foreign policy wonk, but i see aspects of these countries that regular journalists don't." From FastCo: Anthony Bourdain has become the future of cable news, and he couldn't care less.


Sit Back

"We ran an experiment to measure how much people value the ability to recline compared to extra knee and laptop room." Slate decided to investigate the economics of seat reclining in airplanes. It's interesting, but I doubt it will do much to deter the members of the Mile High Fight Club.


The Bottom of the News

"It all starts with a man named Rabbi Dov Behr Abramson, who migrated from his native Russia in 1888. How'd he do that? By buying the passport of a dead man, last name Manischewitz." Modern Farmer's Meaghan Agnew rings in the Jewish new year with the great story of a not-so-great wine. "The story of Manischewitz is as intriguing as the wine isn't..."

+ The coolest thing about Colon is that its named after a punctuation mark. The second coolest thing about Colon is that it's the Magic Capital of the World.

+ Syndicated from Kottke: I think this guy is the T-1000 robot from Terminator 2, but for chopping onions instead of assassinating future resistance fighters. Evidence...

+ And since Fall is officially in the air, here's an excellent set of in-season photos from InFocus. And of course, it's time for our annual reading of McSweeney's expletive-riddled: It's Decorative Gourd Season MFer.