February 4th – The Day’s Most Fascinating News

The Gene School

In the tech industry, young entrepreneurs pride themselves on using alternative models to disrupt existing systems. So it shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that homeschooling is the new homepage. As one homeschooling dad explains: “There is a way of thinking within the tech and startup community where you look at the world and go, ‘Is the way we do things now really the best way to do it? If you look at schools with this mentality, really the only possible conclusion is ‘Heck, I could do this better myself out of my garage!'” Wired’s Jason Tanz on the techies who are hacking education by homeschooling.

+ Schools are starting college-awareness programs earlier these days. From The NYT: Is your first grader ready for college? (In the tech industry, we’re more focused on a different question: Is your third grader ready for an IPO?)


Throw It Into Neutral

FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler came out strongly in favor on ensuring net neutrality: ” I am submitting to my colleagues the strongest open internet protections ever proposed by the FCC. These enforceable, bright-line rules will ban paid prioritization, and the blocking and throttling of lawful content and services.”

+ The Verge: Ross Ulbricht found guilty of Silk Road conspiracy charges


Stop or I’ll Nerf

Police officers in Ferguson are testing a new gun attachement that transforms shooting someone into a less lethal act. The attachment is called the Alternative. “When a bullet fired, it melded with an attached projectile the size of a ping-pong ball that flew with enough force to knock a person down, maybe break some ribs, but not kill him.” Needless to say, the prospect of arming officers with these attachments is stirring up a heated debate.


Remember the A La Mode

Do you have strong memories about a traumatic event? Those memories are likely quite accurate when it comes to the trauma at their center, but not so much when it comes to peripheral details. In The New Yorker, Maria Konnikova helps explain why you have no idea what happened.


Surreal Footage

At least 26 people were killed as a TransAsia plane clipped a bridge and crashed into the Taipei River. The plane’s descent was captured in a surreal series photos and video clips. The same airline suffered a crash of the same type of turboprop plane just last year.

+ Amazingly, there were survivors, including a toddler who was pulled from the wreckage.



“I was just at the gym watching the 30-year-olds at the pull-up bar building muscles in three weeks. And I’m at the pull up bar and nothing’s happening. I’m not feeling good. I’m sleepy all the time. All I want to do is sit down and eat potato chips and watch TV.” If you’ve experienced similar scenarios, you might soon find yourself with a prescription for Testosterone (either that, or a couch, a flatscreen, and a nice bowl of Ruffles). Fusion’s Alexis C. Madrigal on why testosterone is the drug of the future.

+ Hafthór Björnsson (better known as The Mountain on Game of Thrones) broke a thousand year-old record by walking five steps with a 1400 pound log on his shoulders. (The soundtrack to this video is remarkably similar to the noises being made at NextDraft HQ as I’m about to hit the publish button.)

+ Want to live longer? Run slower.


Quarters for Dime Bags

A tax law in Colorado could mean that all of the state’s tax-paying residents could (sort of) be in for a cut of the extra revenue brought in by sales of recreational marijuana.

+ The Atlantic: The radical efficiency of Seattle’s pot vending machine. Credit cards are not accepted. But Bitcoin is.

+ Buzzfeed on High Maintenance, the most poignant pot comedy on the Internet. (That headline probably sells the series short. It’s excellent.)

+ (Somewhat) Related: Watch a live stream of the only remaining McDonald’s hamburger in Iceland


That’s Hot

Want to find out if someone will be compatible with you? Consider asking them if they like hot sauce. It might tell you a lot about their personality. (I’d avoid the people doing shots…)

+ A Jewish businessman from the Bronx, Chinese takeout, NASA-approved packaging, and everything else you wanted to know about soy sauce packets.


Fake It Until You Make It

If you want to land that dream gig, you’ll need fictitious job experience and some fictitious people to confirm your excellent track record. But don’t sweat it, there’s a site for that. From Vice: The Fakers.


The Bottom of the News

“Terry, a retired Air Force veteran and sixty-four-year-old divorcé, is taking his doll for a stroll in the courtyard behind the building where he rents a small apartment in Toledo, Ohio. He takes her out as often as he can, although her seventy-five-pound weight makes a wheelchair often necessary.” Jonathan Alpeyrie shares the stories of guys and their plastic dolls.

+ NPR: Does binge-watching make us depressed? (The key is not to stop.)

+ Forty percent of Iowa voters agree with Mike Huckabee’s description of Beyonce’s music as “mental poison.” (And these folks get to vote first?)

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