March 20th – The Day’s Most Fascinating News

Going in Style

From the cool devices in our hands, to the software on our screens, to the smooth stylings of Jony Ive’s Apple product video voiceovers, it’s clear this is the era of design. Since design has touched and changed so many parts of our lives, isn’t it time that we redesigned death? The chief creative officer at one of the top design firms in the world thinks it is: “With just a little attention, it seemed — a few metaphorical mirrors affixed to our gurneys at just the right angle — he might be able to refract some of the horror and hopelessness of death into more transcendent feelings of awe and wonder and beauty.” From Jon Mooallem California Sunday Magazine: Death, Redesigned. (I like where you’re going with the embalming and the eternal darkness, I just think it could pop a little more.)

+ (Somewhat) related: Mike Lacher’s epic McSweeney’s piece: Client Feedback on the Creation of the Earth.


Your Money or Your Life

What would you do for a million bucks? For the million dollar check he just received, Ricky Jackson had to set a record. After spending 39 years in prison, Jackson is “the longest-serving person in U.S. history to be exonerated for his crime.” That’s a lot of hard vesting for very little equity.


Weekend Reads

“When I’m contemplating one of life’s difficult decisions, I generally consult with Ben Dorcy. Bless his barely thumping heart, Ben is my canary in the coalmine. When faced with a difficult decision, I observe Ben and do the opposite of what he does.” That’s Willie Nelson on his travel companion who turns 90 next month. In Texas Monthly, Paul Cullum introduces you to The First Roadie — Ever.

+ And from the WSJ, Roadies: Unlikely Survivors in the Music Business.

+ This seems like the right moment to listen to Jackson Browne playing his tribute to roadies, Load Out/Stay.

+ From Playboy’s Jeff Maysh: How a Michigan farmer made $4 million smuggling rare Pez containers into the U.S. (He would’ve been better off starting a photo sharing app.)

+ Mike Powell in Grantland: The Woman Who Froze in Fargo.


Goodluck With That

“I’m very hopeful that it will not take us more than a month to recover the old territories.” That’s Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan predicting that all the territory taken by Boko Haram will be recovered soon. (He faces an election next week.)

+ NYT: Nigerian Army noticeably absent in town taken from Boko Haram.

+ The Islamic State has taken credit for suicide bomb attacks that killed at least 135 people in Yemen.


Peak Cable

We’ve been hearing about cord cutting for a while, but Horace Dediu explains why, with Apple’s new TV service coming soon, we may have reached peak cable. “Over a period of about 40 years, watching TV went from free to quite expensive. More expensive even than a family’s communications costs (i.e. telephone service.) That’s quite an achievement at a time when technology diffusions caused huge price reductions in other goods and services.”

+ Buzzfeed: New Apple TV set top will debut this summer with an app store and Siri. (Great, I’ll teach my parents how to use that along with Amazon, Vimeo, Hulu, Comcast, and their DVR just as soon as I adjust the time and date on their answering machine.)

+ Speaking of TV, don’t miss Netflix’ latest drama called Bloodline starring Kyle Chandler (the coach from Friday Night Lights), created by the enigmatic genius Daniel Zelman, and written in part by the supremely talented and irritatingly attractive Arthur Phillips. (Arthur and Daniel are good friends of mine, but I’d throw them both under a bus if Coach Taylor told me to.)


Acid Test

A study in the Netherlands found that in boys with or without ADHD, Omega-3 fatty acid supplements helped improve attention spans. I’ve found the iPad seems to work pretty well.


Weather You Like it Or Not

People tend to be less likely to believe in climate change, formerly known as global warming, when it’s cold outside. That’s why this headline from WaPo hits the mark: This has been the warmest winter on record, except in the most politically important part of the world.

+ But it’s Friday, so let’s check out 26 charts and maps that show the world is getting much, much better.


A Developing Story

“Of the roughly 200 buildings that once stood on the 1,300-acre campus … in Rochester, 80 have been demolished and 59 others sold off.” The NYT’s Quentin Hardy on a once dominant company’s efforts to squeeze out a few more Kodak moments. You could think of plenty of examples (many of them more extreme), but let’s just consider one. Kodak’s current marketcap is about $800 million. GoPro’s is $5.6 billion.


An A For Effort

“It is impossible to hold completely fair examination without the cooperation of the parents.” Here are some incredible shots of family members and friends trying to help students cheat on their state board examinations in India.


The Bottom of the News

After reading this article by Ellen McCarthy, I finally realized that I’ve been tweeting entirely wrong: “When Larry King wants to tweet, he doesn’t log onto the Internet. He pops open the flip phone stored in the shirt pocket between his suspender straps and calls the number for a voicemail set up specifically for this purpose. Then he dictates a thought that will be picked up by an assistant and transcribed onto his KingsThings Twitter account. And nearly 2.6 million followers are there to receive it.”

+ Mr. T is set to star in a new home renovation series called I Pity the Tool. (I’m mainly including this as evidence that these puns in NextDraft aren’t easy as they look.)

+ Not sure we have a social media problem? Consider the Ring Cam; an engagement ring box with a built-in camera for capturing proposals.

+ Priceonomics: why are movie trailers called trailers?

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