Tuesday, December 23rd, 2014


I Won’t Post This

New Editions of Nextdraft coming Monday!

Update: NextDraft will return to its normal weekday schedule -- with a new logo, a new look, and a new app (hopefully) -- on Monday. In the meantime, here's a look back at some of the most fascinating stories from 2014, culled from the number 1 items that appeared throughout the year. And for the especially brave, here are the stories (all of them) that were included in the year's bottom of the news section.

The history of the Internet has been marked by our sharing, oversharing, and sharing some more. But in 2014, we were reminded of the many risks associated with that behavior. We were also reminded that we might not be able to turn off the hose. We're sharing even when we don't know we're sharing. Are the perils associated with tweeting, updating, posting, emailing, and picking up the phone more dramatic than we imagined? Here's a new post from me. I Will Not Post This: The Coming Age of Self Censorship.

+ Sony is threatening to sue Twitter unless it removes tweets containing hacked emails. But once it's out, it's out.

+ The "abundance of people proffering rumors, and of journalists ready to publish them, has helped North Korea become the beating heart of a burgeoning rumor economy ... This year was perhaps the best ever for the North Korean rumor economy, which is to say, the worst." A Digg Original from Craig Silverman: Did You Hear The One About North Korea?

+ And in an interesting twist, Sony has announced that The Interview will indeed be screened at select venues on Christmas Day. The Interview will be in theaters. The Dow broke 18,000. My nearest Chinese restaurant is open on Christmas. You can't keep America down.


It’s All Good

You follow the headlines, so it probably feels like the sky is falling. As the NYT's Roger Cohen recently wrote: "Many people I talk to ... have never previously felt so uneasy about the state of the world." But is it as bad as it seems? Steven Pinker and Andrew Mack are back to remind us things aren't so awful: "Never mind the headlines. We've never lived in such peaceful times." (Headlines like that scare me...)


Rescue Mission

"There was apparently some white boy from Princeton –- I assume from the State Department or Department of Justice –- who quipped, 'We're sending a Jewish anarchist lawyer who represents Hamas to the Middle East to negotiate with Isis and al-Qaida over Kassig?.' And apparently some serious true believer responded, 'Who the f-ck else would we send?'" The Guardian with an in-depth look at the race to save Peter Kassig


The Bang Bang Bust

"Only in the very back of the store, in a section devoted to what the toy industry euphemistically calls blasters, do we find a selection of 'Made in China' molded-plastic devices that shoot wan little foam darts that zip through the air with all the zest of overcooked ziti." From WaPo, the troubled legacy of toy guns.

+ Center for Investigative Reporting: "Americans are nearly twice as likely to die from suicide by firearm as they are to be killed by someone else with a firearm."


The Needle and the Damage Done

"Every reunion is a reckoning about merit, choice and luck, but as the members of the class of '94 told their stories, that weekend and in months of interviews before, they were also grappling with the nature of the industry some had helped create. Had the Internet failed to fulfill its promise to democratize business, or had the women missed the moment? Why did Silicon Valley celebrate some kinds of outsiders but not others? 'The Internet was supposed to be the great equalizer' said Gina Bianchini, the woman who had appeared on the cover of Fortune. 'So why hasn't our generation of women moved the needle?" The NYT's Jodi Kantor takes an interesting look back at the first graduating class from the Internet industry's original start-up incubator; otherwise known as Stanford University. A Brand New World In Which Men Ruled.


Taking Candy from Strangers

"These steps were derived from his observation of online products and services, as well as a wide range of psychological and neurological research, from B. F. Skinner to B. J. Fogg. The Hook, Eyal says, is the magic behind just about every icon of the consumer Internet, from Google to WhatsApp." Looking to create an addictive product? Looking to understand why you are hooked on one? Looking to take a break from that product and read something compelling? From Wired: How Facebook and Candy Crush Got You Hooked.


Soy Vey

I'm not sure anyone really needed proof that people (OK, Jewish people) really do love to eat Chinese food on Christmas. But just in case, here it is.

+ "For many Jewish Americans, the night before Christmas conjures up visions, not of sugar plums, but rather plum sauce slathered over roast duck." The Atlantic: Why American Jews Eat Chinese Food on Christmas. (Like they say, If you have to ask...)


An Oral (etc) History

"Now he wanted revenge. He wanted the drummer to feel vulnerable, to realize that he was just a human being, not an invincible rock god, even if he had sold 20 million records by the age of 32. So Gauthier decided to steal the giant safe he knew was tucked in the garage." From Rolling Stone: Pam and Tommy: The Untold Story of the World's Most Infamous Video Tape. (I've always been a sucker for feel-good nostalgia during the holidays...)


One Shot

"Sometimes you see something that feels like it was pulled straight from your imagination. It can almost feel invasive -- like someone has aggregated all the things that interest you, that haunt you, that titillate you, that you celebrate or loathe about yourself and others, and put it onscreen. That was True Detective, for me. It had Camel Lights, drugs, and Lone Star; it had Wu-Tang Clan, Lucinda Williams, and Grinderman; it had undercover police work, criminal conspiracies, and the occult; it took place at the intersection of the real world and some kind of purgatory that resembled it ... and it had the shot." In Grantland, Chris Ryan shares an appreciation of the six-minute tracking shot, and the night TV changed.

+ The ten most under-appreciated actors on TV this year. (There were several others, including Marc Pickering who played an incredible young Nucky Thompson on Boardwalk Empire).


The Bottom of the News

At this point in the story, it's hard to believe that -- just a few weeks ago -- Bill Cosby (and/or his management team) asked the Internet to "meme him." From the Daily News: Corporate social media fails of 2014. (And several more from AdAge.)

+ The worst segments that appeared on cable news in 2014.

+ The 13 most viral hoaxes of the year.

+ Adam Kuban: Eight Pizzas That Haunt My Dreams.

+ The Scientology Christmas Catalog.