Monday, January 12th, 2015


A Splash Landing

I'm pleased to introduce the all-new NextDraft splash page and site. It was designed by the talented Bryan Bell and coded by the noted Wordpress wrangler Andrew Norcross. As an indie publisher, I rely on people like Andrew and Bryan to take this publication seriously, and on the generous support of Wordpress dot com to keep the gears of my modern day printing press (and my palms) well-greased. I also depend on readers like you to help spread the word. So check out the new digs and share the hell out of it.


To Be Continued

About seven decades after my mom and her sister used fake passports to board a train from Germany to France where they spent their formative years hiding from the Nazis in a home for children, there's this headline: France sends 10,000 troops across country, protecting hundreds of Jewish sites. And history's longest-running plotline continues.

+ The Muslim who risked his life to save seven Jews at a kosher market.

+ Malek Merabet eulogized his brother Ahmed, a police officer who was killed by the Charlie Hebdo attackers: "My brother was Muslim and he was killed by people who pretend to be Muslims. They are terrorists, that's it. As for my brother's death, it was a waste."

+ In cities across France, Europe and the world, millions marched in defiance and sorrow.


In the Shadows

"How did the attacks in France so thoroughly bury the atrocities in Nigeria?" The Atlantic's Matt Schiavenza on Nigeria's horror in Paris's shadow. Sadly, there are many atrocities in Nigeria's shadow as well.

+ Quartz: Boko Haram is turning into the next Islamic State.


Gang Signs

"Being the member of a gang doesn't have the panache it did. Things have changed radically in the last five years." When dealing with the spread of terror cells, are there lessons to be learned from the way we deal with gangs? From Pacific Standard's San Quinones: The End of Gangs.


Gut Check

"These organisms are part of our developmental choreography. They're part of who we are." Some researchers now suspect that the culprit behind rheumatoid arthritis may live in our gastrointestinal tracts. This story touches on two health topics that will be heavily covered this year. The microbiome and the search for causes (and relief) when it comes to chronic pain.


The Golden JLobes

America's favorite televised drinking game took place over the weekend. Boyhood and The Grand Budapest Hotel were among the night's winners. The excellent Transparent also took home some top prizes and put Amazon on the awards show map. Fargo won for best mini-series or TV movie (while True Detective will have to settle for being one of the top two or three TV dramas of all time). And since you asked, I'd definitely queue up The Missing and the remarkable Olive Kitteridge for a little binge watching.

+ Buzzfeed: 53 thoughts you had while watching the 2015 Golden Globes. I only had two thoughts: JLo's dress and Prince's hair. And I'm pretty sure both used the same stylist.

+ Variety: 14 Biggest Golden Globes snubs and surprises, including Gina Rodriguez' win for her leading role in Jane the Virgin. (My high school experience doesn't seem so depressing now that I know you can win an award for playing a virgin.)

+ NY Mag: The highs and lows of the night. For me, the high was Michael Keaton's acceptance speech (when he thanked his son, I teared up and my son made a farting noise). And the low was when the Golden Globes TV voiceover guy pronounced GIFs with a soft G. Hollywood...

+ And finally, the red carpet hits and misses (I miss Joan Rivers). I'm not sure if it was a hit or a miss, but I'm pretty sure that Matthew McConaughey's beard is the Yellow King.


Making Love

"Love didn't happen to us. We're in love because we each made the choice to be." In a very interesting NYT piece, Mandy Len Catron attempts to find out if you can apply psychological and social techniques to essentially fall in love with anyone. For starters, you have to stare into the other person's eyes for four minutes. (Trust me, if your date can keep from checking their smartphone for four straight minutes, it's love.)


My Macbook Really Gets Me

"Today, computers can outperform most people in distinguishing social smiles from those triggered by spontaneous joy, and at differentiating between faked pain and genuine pain." That might not be setting the bar very high, but it is notable that the machines know how you feel.


Life Goes On

Many of the techies out here in the Bay Area have turned their attention from the Internet to life extension. Hey, we figured out a way to let you share filtered photos and cat videos. I don't see any reason why we can't kill death.


The Bottom of the News

"I'm amazed at what people do; pick their noses, get dressed, have funny face competitions. One girl watched herself cry for minutes as black mascara streamed down her face." I'm amazed that people can still be amazed by what people do. Especially in the name of a selfie.

+ Wired: What it's like living in the coldest town on Earth.

+ Austin Kleon on Bob Ross's rivalry with his mentor. (Related: Bob Ross had a mentor.)