Friday, January 16th, 2015


That’s Hot

Note: NextDraft will off on Monday, MLK Day.

On the off chance you get this before it spontaneously combusts, you should probably know that Earth just experienced its hottest year on record (again). You can blame humans, you blame nature, you can blame Mister Heat Miser. But for most scientists, there is a towering body of evidence to explain this inferno, and the debate over what's causing the warm-up has already been decided (which is good, because the venue where the debate was being held just melted).

+ WaPo got reactions to the latest numbers from 21 scientists: "The temperature record is yet another brick in the massive wall of evidence that the climate is warming due to human activity." Hey, (Science) Teacher, leave them kids alone...

+ If we're going down in flames, let's at least take 5 charts that explain 2014's record-smashing heat. Or perhaps you'd prefer an animation?

+ Apparently, human activity has pushed Earth beyond four of nine planetary boundaries. (In layman's terms: Uh oh.)

+ In other news, ocean life faces mass extinction.


Counter-Terrorism Revolution

"Counterterrorism used to be like counternarcotics. You wait and you wait, and then you get another guy, with the idea that you are working your way eventually to the boss. But time, which was the ally of counterterrorism in the past, is now the enemy." Christopher Dickey takes a look at Europe's new effort to arrest terrorists before they terrorize.

"Both involved people known or suspected of close ties to radical Islam. Both groups had acquired battlefield-caliber weapons that gave them enormous kill power." As officials uncover a plot and sweep up suspected terrorists in Belgium, they also look for connections to the massacre in France. There aren't that many, which complicates matters even more.

+ Is ISIS about to launch a TV channel?


Weekend Reads

"His former colleagues fought with him in court. He went bankrupt and was divorced, struggled with his sons' medical problems and his father's death. In 2010, he was living in his parents' house, an alcoholic with no players as clients." That was a long way to fall for a guy who had been America's most famous and powerful sports agent. Can he make a comeback? James Vlahos in the NYT Magazine: Show Leigh Steinberg the Money (Again)

+ NatGeo: "Brain injuries caused by blast events change soldiers in ways many can't articulate. Some use art therapy, creating painted masks to express how they feel." And from WaPo: Portraits of Loss. "The knock at the door. The shock and grief that followed. An absence that lasts a lifetime."

+ What it's like to date your dad. That an other issues are explored in NY Mag's What it's like series.

+ Longform has put together a handy clickable list of the 2015 National Magazine Awards Finalists. That should keep you busy over the weekend.


One Foot in Front of the Other

A police investigation of parents who dared to let their kids walk home from school has stirred up a heated debate. That makes this a good time to leash up your kids and take a look back at Hanna Rosin's Atlantic feature: The Overprotected Kid. When I was a kid, I wanted to walk home from school alone and my parents wanted to pick me up. So we compromised and they let me walk home from school with my therapist.


Backs Turned

"Almost immediately after the event, it began to seem that a third casualty might be the national protest movement focused on policing and racial injustice that had assumed, in recent weeks, the moral force of a fundamental civil rights issue." The murder of two police officers in New York City resulted in a series of political maneuvers and protests that may have upended a national movement. Michael Greenberg takes a look at how we got here: The NY Police vs. the Mayor.

+ The Daily Beast: The NY Police Union's Civil War.


The New Arithmetic

For the first time in five decades, a majority of public school kids in the United States are living in poverty. "Government used to be a source of leadership and innovation around issues of economic prosperity and upward mobility. Now we're a country disinclined to invest in our young people."


Summer Weddings

The Supreme Court has agreed to hear same-sex marriage cases from four states. Gay marriage could be legal in all 50 states by Summer.


Ai Yai Yai

"Things like computer vision are starting to work; speech recognition is starting to work There's quite a bit of acceleration in the development of AI systems. And that's making it more urgent to look at this issue." Wired's Robert Mcmillan on the arrival of AI and why that really worries the world's brightest minds.

+ Steven Levy: Google search will be your next brain. (Which is really only good news if your last brain was Ask Jeeves.)


Punt, Pass and Catan

"We're always looking for something to do, it's cold. No one wants to go outside, better find something." If you want to make the cut in the Green Bay Packers' locker room, you better get your nerd on. Many of the players are really into a board game called Settlers of Catan.


The Bottom of the News

It turns out that a 6 year-old's story about going to heaven and visiting angels was not entirely true. The publishers of the best-selling book based on the incident have decided to pull it from shelves. From the kid who has since come clean: "I did not die. I did not go to heaven. I said I went to heaven because I thought it would get me attention ... The Bible is the only source of truth. Anything written by man cannot be infallible." (I wish someone had explained that to my high school AP English teacher...)

+ BBC: Why would anyone want an eyeball tattoo? (Uh, possibly to scare the crap out of the rest of us...)

+ U.S. metro areas have too much parking.